What you think you are entitled to!”
I was on vacation last week. An amazing vaction on the new Disney Dream cruiseliner. I am truly living a charmed life. And I say that not to be pompus or a braggart. I say this because I pinch myself everyday when I think about my life, my work and all the experiences I have had.
Have I worked hard? Sure. Harder than some. Not nearly as hard as some others. Sometimes, not as smartly as I could have. Have I gotten some breaks (or I’d like to think, created them)? Sure. More than some, less than others.
I don’t own yachts or real estate holdings and will probably work until the day they close the lid on the casket to give my kids a leg up I never had. I look in the mirror and I see a regular Joe. I am grateful for everything in my life. Yet, I have high expectations.
But on this vacation, in observing some customers’ behavior, I started wondering when expecations morph into entitlement. It’s interesting that the Wikipedia entry for entitlement links to the defininition of narcissism.
Entitlement is defined as “a guarantee of access to benefits”. When I hear we live in a culture of entitlement, I’m not so sure that the definition is fair. And from my vacation observations, I’m grappling with what drives people of what most would consider an economically priviledged population to develop a sense of entitlement.
On a ship where every staff member bent over backwards, sideways and upside down to accomodate each guest’s every whim, for some, nothing was good enough.
Because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the psychology of consumers, my attempt at analyzing the root drivers of this behavior settled along two dimensions. It may be wrong-headed or unfair. But I wonder who has a greater sense of entitlement? Or at least, who is more prone to develop one? Those that came from priviledge and always had? Or, those that came from nothing and now find themselves, not Bill Gates kind of wealthy, but with a few bucks (and probably as many maxed-out credit cards) in their pocket? Or maybe a narcissist is a narcissist, rich or poor.
Can anyone set me straight?