Food | Lifestyle

Let them eat cake drink lattes. Sandwiches, millennials and the property ladder

November 15, 2017
millenialls saving for mortgage sandwiches

Sometimes, you scroll through Twitter and something with a clickbaity news title just sits in your feed, waiting for you. Everyone’s done it: in the times when everyone’s got the attention span of a goldfish (mea culpa, mea maxima culpa) various publications compete for engagement relentlessly. And the Evening Standard seems to get to me every time this week. Firstly, it was all about Amazon’s Alexa and its “party on its own“. That was exemplary, I’ve got to admit. Everyone should be more spontaneous, and everyone should be like Alexa, hashtag ace content. When a soulless device motivates you to be a better person, you know it did its job right for once. But today, when I saw that headline, I knew I was going to launch into a rant and I’d try to roast someone. Also, I haven’t roasted anyone for two weeks, which hasn’t helped in not writing this. And inevitably, here it is.

A real estate company summed up six luxuries that the millennial couples should apparently give up to save up for a mortgage in five years’ time. This is how it made me notice it: thinking of the generation of Instagram, I imagined hundreds of people who buy that one designer bag on credit to ‘gram it until the end of their lives. I thought, well, sometime in a distant future, when I’m finally able to afford something luxurious, some stupid ideas will probably cross my mind. They’ve got a saying in Poland that goes, “a Pole is always cleverer after the damage hits” and I don’t want to relate. Better to think about it in advance. I click.

Here it is, I whisper, getting myself ready while the website loads. You Can Save £64,000 In Half A Decade If You Do This, the universal guide to being able to scrap something of the tiny bits and bobs left after paying the bills. But these are “relatively small changes”, very non-invasive, so to speak. You won’t even feel their impact – it’s science! Okay. Sign me up. Give it to me, the Evening Standard.

But boy, if I wanted a material to roast others on my blog, they delivered. Oh, how they delivered!

Firstly, you’re telling me I need to give up my social life to get a mortgage. I respectfully beg you, stop right there, because you aren’t right and you know it. Various outlets are already accusing millennials of ruining everything – we apparently hate beer, golf and sex (speak for yourself though!) and get out less than the previous generations, and it’s all because of these pesky phones and social medias! Not that we’re perpetually broke already, no, but we ruined self-pity too, so we can’t openly tell you that. And when we finally decide to go out and splash the cash once in a while, you’re telling us we’re not allowed to have fun. Could you kindly make up your mind already?

Secondly, these mad city breaks. Okay, I must admit, I went crazy with them this year, so I wallop my chest in self-punishment. Then, I take a closer look at the article. But then again, we’ve got the open borders (fairly), five-pound flights, budget hostels and passports at the ready, why would we give up an opportunity to learn something new about different cultures, make new friends in situations you don’t plan, and collect some stories for the times when you finally get the dream house and sit with your friends by the fireplace, sipping beer and sharing stories? Why would you want this mortgage in the first place if you had no memories to fill your very own space with? You really hate people that have fun, you Older Generations, you… The people before us had that opportunity and used it; then they screwed it all up in 2007 by fiddling with hedge funds when we were thirteen and had no idea what hedge funds were, and now they blame it all on us? Excuse you, but that’s nasty. What an entitled, lazy generation that can’t take the blame, I scoff, shaking my head.

Then, phone upgrades and lottery come in. Most of the people I know don’t need the new shiny iPhone X to be happy. I saved up for my trusty Android and paid for it upfront, so my phone bill is minimal. I can text, keep up to date with memes and news on it, and make an occasional call if I really must. Duh, didn’t they revive a cheap, indestructible Nokia 3310 for the nostalgic kids of the previous millennium?! But don’t take it from me: a lot of people my age change their phone only when their old one has died. Or when they drown it in a toilet on a night out, so I reckon that collateral damage should be incorporated into the first category. And nobody I know plays the lottery, besides my dad; he’s not a millennial though, and he doesn’t complain because he’s a father of two grown daughters and sees how it is for them. Next!

Finally, we come to something that the older generations really hate about us. We know they don’t like the sound of avocado, and especially avocado on toast, and even less so if it’s avocado on toast in some hipster eatery in Shoreditch. But it doesn’t just stop there, no. This time, they tell us upfront: “don’t eat, for if you do, you won’t have a roof over your head”. Seriously. Sandwiches are a luxury and should be considered in the same category as Lamborghinis, trips to Bali, a dinner for two in a trendy Chelsea spot and silk dressing gowns from Prada. You guys have to stop eating. You breathe, drink and ruin everything, and that’s far too many vital functions already.

The rage fills me and I can feel it in my toes, and even in my nails. Here he is, a noble estate agent, a modern Marie Antoinette, repeating after the French queen: “let them eat cake!”. Don’t they have money for mortgages? Let them eat… well, let them eat nothing. All these annoying kids, latte socialists, with all their crazy demands! Why, could you please tell me why they need to eat? Have you got a source for that? Okay, okay, some people do read Goop and believe that you can feed on solar energy, so maybe count them out…

Here, I stop and I try to understand why sandwiches seem to be so popular with the millennial crowd. There must be a reason. Wait… What about time? That could be it! If you’re one of us, chances are you hustle in at least two jobs at once: you have a day job, then you clock out and blog, make music, paint, make viral comics, make apps, start companies, freelance, et cetera. Or you work two jobs because the economy is screwed and you’re actually trying to save up. Or you have a part-time job and study. Or you work and you do an unpaid internship at the same time. Or three, even. I did something maddening when I was still at uni that’s a perfect example of this: I had two internships, studied full-time and worked part-time to get a job and pay the rent. During that time, I fed myself mostly with fish and chips and sandwiches: although not the healthiest, they’re dirt cheap, and you probably don’t have the time to cook and prepare homemade meals in advance unless you’ve got a parent taking care of you. Quick calculation: by buying yourself that cheap supermarket sandwich, you’re not only stuffing your stomach for the time being, you’re also buying yourself some time to get the actual job experience or do something on the side. That sounds solid and philosophical, right? I shall leave it here before Heraclitus finds me and starts wailing over the destroyed concept of time. “The sandwich of time” doesn’t look as well on Instagram quotes as “everything flows”, I guess…

I scratch my head, looking at my phone in disbelief. I’ve just had my £1.60 supermarket sandwich, and it doesn’t make me any happier that I should feel pampered but I don’t. In fact, I think I’m still a little hungry. What’s more, I feel jealous and irritated, because I didn’t get my participation trophy for eating sandwiches with other millennials that would certainly make me feel better. To take my mind away from it, I wonder where said estate agent gets their lunches from. And one thing strikes me: using the bonus money they surely receive for the press release that went viral, they should go out and get some tasty sandwiches. And next time, to reason with us, given that they’re a sandwich expert, they should pitch us a sandwich guide to London or something. We don’t have money for mortgages for your real estate, so you need to befriend us. Make your brand relatable, you know, just in case we win that lottery we don’t play. So let us eat sandwiches and drink lattes, and share some ideas for these cool food places next time.

I’ve also published this little satire on Medium – come over and follow me there!

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