Being employed in the retail business, I constantly hear people complain about the high prices of products. This inevitably transitions into the broader complaint that the cost of living in general is simply too high. By far, the most common example used to illustrate the high cost of living is eating out at restaurants. We can all agree that eating out does typically come with a hefty price tag, but what’s wrong with that? Having someone wait hand and foot on us is a service typically reserved for royalty. Our entitlement mentality has simply conned us into believing that we have a right to these types of luxuries. And this is a very dangerous attitude.
Many Americans are quite wealthy and can afford to eat out on a regular basis, but there are also a great many who cannot afford this luxury. Those in the poor and middle classes often feel entitled to the luxury of eating out simply because they see so many of their wealthy neighbors doing so. Eating out has become so ubiquitous in our society that it is practically essential to our American identity.
Now there is an enormous problem posed when so many Americans feel entitled to something that should be reserved for the upper classes. Not wanting to be put to shame, and not having the discipline to simply say no, the American people have turned to credit cards. Payment via plastic has become the solution for people to indulge in behaviors that their income cannot support. This is why the people of our nation collectively owe $779,000,000,000 in credit card debt. The dirty little secret about eating out is that very few people doing it can actually afford it. Credit cards have given us a way to live a facade, and that is very dangerous.
Debt in general is very dangerous, but not for monetary reasons exclusively. The practice of financing things that one cannot afford directly leads to the entitlement mentality. When all one has to do is swipe a card to satisfy any craving, the value of things are no longer appreciated. Why would anyone not go out to fancy dinners if the only payment simply involved swiping a piece of plastic? And after a swiping routine is established, how could anyone be convinced that they cannot afford it? If someone gets in the habit of financing things that they can’t afford, they begin to believe that they can actually afford the things, and the next logical step is to feel entitled to those things.
It is easy for all Americans to feel entitled to the privilege of eating out, but if we truly cannot afford it, we need to be humble enough to admit it. Financing luxuries is never a good idea. We are never entitled to luxuries, and it is immoral to complain if we cannot afford them. How about instead of complaining of the high price of luxuries that are supposed to be reserved for the upper classes, we instead focus on working our way into those upper classes? Rather than complaining about how restaurants should lower their prices, why not find ways to up our income? It is a rather socialistic mindset to desire the bringing down of the economy in the name of fairness. Those who cannot afford the luxury of eating out should stop complaining about restaurants’ high prices and instead examine their own high level of pride and sense of entitlement.