The importance of shedding your sense of entitlement

Image by Thinkstock
Image by Thinkstock

Don’t let your daily frustrations get in the way of being excellent to your fellow man

By Alex Stanton, Staff Writer

Life can sometimes feel incredibly overwhelming. With the ubiquity of smartphones we are expected to be on the clock while off the clock. In addition, many millennials are going to school while working purely out of necessity. To be at your optimum mental state every waking hour is an entirely absurd concept. The paintings of Salvador Dali are more grounded in reality than the possibility of the existence of people out there with an infinite capacity for empathy.

None of this, of course, justifies taking out your anger and frustration on a fellow human being who is being paid minimum wage to act like the customer—that’s you, dumb-ass—is always right.

But before I, for the billionth time, go into my downright misanthropic opinions on the average Johnny Canuck, why don’t I talk about something that you would quite literally have had to live under a rock to miss, the recent storm and the subsequent power outages.

Starting from around the time TransLink dared ask for a bit more money to improve transportation in our congested region, it’s become super fashionable to direct your anger at one part of the public sector or another when, even for the briefest moment, the infrastructure of your city fails you. BC Hydro has been doing everything they can to remedy a situation that was an unfortunate act of God. I know a few fellas way up North in the BC boonies who had their asses out of bed at the crack of dawn and were on site in the Lower Mainland by brunch to help get Netflix back up for you, so there’s no use at all in getting all uppity and frustrated with those whose sole job is to provide an essential service. Shit happens, and BC Hydro undoubtedly was clutch with the Coquitlam-sized poop scoops.

I can’t say I feel too much for the guy who runs the BC Hydro Twitter account compared to, say, a 20-year-old woman who sells cigarettes and lottery tickets from behind the counter at a grocery store. Speaking as a smoker, sometimes it’s expected for people to be bummed out when their brand isn’t in or flustered when asked for ID. But taking it out on the person working their damnedest to provide you with a service? A service which, by the way, is absolutely nothing more than a privilege? I find the number of old, entitled, receipt-less people that go into my girlfriend’s place of work and end up hurling irrational abuse at her for something out of her control to be behaving entirely unacceptably, and this is unbecoming of a socially adjusted grown-up.

I’m the first to acknowledge that humans aren’t infallible, and that we can act like genuine pricks under certain circumstances. But next time you’re waiting in the express lane at the grocer and you’re stuck behind a Betty-White type counting her nickels, dimes, and coupons for minutes on end, go ahead and be frustrated. But don’t take it out on the little guys. An offhand comment under your breath about the crappy job the cart jockey just did helping you get on your way can potentially ruin some poor worker’s day.

Bill and Ted said it best: “Be excellent to each other.” Even when you don’t feel so excellent yourself.