Applebee’s, golf, and Buffalo Wild Wings are terrible. This isn’t headline news nor a shocking revelation. Yet, every week, some pasty news anchor in a bad haircut drops a story on their local tv station, proclaiming from the mount that “Millennials are killing” X thing. It never stops. It’s like a constant, droning drum of a mad shareholder screaming in his khaki slacks and looking at downward trending numbers.
Hate to break it to you, middle aged Phil, but Olive Garden is not good. Endless salad and breadsticks or not, Olive Garden tastes like cardboard covered in a variety of McDonald’s-inspired sauces. It’s TGIFriday’s with better wallpaper. And TGFriday’s sucks, too.
What do you expect when our entire generation is taught that mass produced food is cancer-laced poison? We kind of made a bold move to not eat like that, because you know, getting ass tumors is something we’re trying to avoid.
Because the older scope of the Millennial demographic was born in the age of brands advertising us to death, we learned to see through the schlocky miasma. Slick advertising doesn’t work like it once did, and instead of beating us over the head with cheap food, we’d rather opt for better food, or gasp, support small businesses.
Yes, big box food company – we’d rather support the neighborhood taco stand who’s been killing it for decades vs. a mediocre plate of buffalo chicken. How Buffalo Wild Wings managed to pull off the cultural dupe that their food is edible is a miracle. Have you seen those greasy potato disc things?
Let’s go Terminator on mediocrity
Eating at Buffalo Wild Wings is the equivalent of your sad, suburban friend who wears those hideous plaid shorts and flip flops with the beer opener on the heel. On the ride over, you’ll listen to Evanescence or Sublime cranked up because this his only escape from his mundane life.
Your buddy will get the tall Bud Light. He’ll talk about work and how he’s unhappy in his marriage. And all the while, while he ogles the cute bartender, you have to chow down on chicken that tastes like came from the depths of a Walmart-flavored hell. What an absolute joy. Don’t forget to wash the misery down with a tall margarita. You can add a shot that hangs from the side for $2 more. It even lights up.
Rinse and repeat and you’ve got what eating in one of these places is like with their ultra tacky decor and sports on 24/7.Applebee’s announced it was closing almost 150 stores. Of course, they blamed us. Eating in one of these bro-centric pits of hell isn’t an escape, it’s a season salt covered purgatory.
We’re also on the hook for joints like Hooters or Twin Peaks taking a financial nosedive. HOW IS THIS SURPRISING?
It’s no secret that sex sells. What’s not rocket science is that in an age where people are marching in the streets for workplace recognition and inclusion, how is it headline news that chains dedicated to women in skimpy outfits with their tits hanging out, serving fried meats aren’t packing em’ in like they used to?
If you want to see naked ladies, go to the strip club like a normal person. Trying to mix sex and food and social responsibility into some mutated “family friendly atmosphere” is weird. Really, who aspires to be a Hooters girl in 2017? More like, you end up one.
(Confession: that buffalo chicken sandwich from Hooters is dope, though.)
What else are we catching shit for?
Most people younger than forty don’t smoke. Why? Because we’re smart enough to realize that inhaling burning leaf shards doused in chemicals is terrible for you. And we’re getting the blame for ruining the tobacco industry. Smoking might look cool in the movies, but in real life it’s a pointless exercise in slow death, while also pummeling your wallet.
We’re killing the beer industry, too. Goldman Sachs downgraded Boston Beer Company and Constellation Brands. Now, this isn’t Budweiser or Miller-Coors, but the trend is obvious: blame the kids.
For my money, this one is a triple threat:
- Beer makes you fat – people gotta look tasty on them Instagram feeds
- Lots of specialty breweries are popping up. People love an IPA, and all that gross wheat-fart flavored shit.
- Weed is the mainstream. In the past, saying you smoked pot was a faux pas. Today? Half of VICE’s programming is dedicated to getting high and eating ass.
Apparently, Millennials are killing the wackest sport of them all: golf.
Sorry white dudes, but golf is THE WORST. Dressing up like a dork with your sweater vest, pulled up ugly socks and stupid floppy hat is wack bro-ness defined. Since most of my generation doesn’t have to suck up to the boss and try to get invited to hit the links with him, we can openly admit that that shit is terrible. Golf isn’t fun. Put-Put rules, but the actual cart riding, walking the course thing is a miserable experience. The best things to come out of golf are:
- People yelling Bababooey
- Tiger Woods being a creep
We’re the death knell of bar soap, apparently. Because who wants to wash their armpits with a piece of soap that someone just rubbed their balls with? The whole idea of bar soap is gross. It’s like the sponge in the sink. Throw that stuff out.
We’re killing diamonds, too. We know how this went down DeBeers. You planted a convincing ad campaign eons ago and millions of folks bought into it. We came along and realized holy shit. There are prettier stones for a quarter of the price. Seriously, look at an emerald or a sapphire.
Let’s keep going, what else are we getting blamed for?
- Napkins – we prefer paper towels
- Banks – cuz we don’t trust em.’
- Motorcycles – two-wheeled death machines
- Yogurt – straight up gross
- Fabric softener – because why?
- Homeownership – thanks for ruining the economy, Baby Boomers
- Hotels – cheaper to stay local and with street parking
- Football – CTE’s anyone?
- Oil – liquefied dinosaurs or charge a battery?
If there’s one prevailing theme here, it’s that consumer’s tastes are changing. We’ve found ways to upend traditional models, or just abandon brands that don’t align with our worldview. The Millennial is a maligned term, just as some old guy commenting on a Fox News article loves to point out.
This is all a footnote in the argument of the fossil fuel industry as well. We didn’t kill anything. Coal is dead as disco. Why people think it’s going to come back under President clown face is amazing and obtusely ignorant of the trajectory of technology.
There’s a societal misnomer that everyone under 40 is cruising around in a battery powered Prius just sipping away on their pumpkin spiced latte. We’re just laughing ourselves silly as coal is rolling in its grave. This perception is incorrect and frankly enraging.
Coal was dying long before us. Technology has emerged to automate jobs. Other sources of energy have been tapped like fracking, wind, solar, or whatever. But, laying the blame at the feet of millennials for the death of the coal industry is nothing short of a farce and everyone knows it. It wasn’t the EPA’s fault the mines have stalled, it’s the world that’s moved in a different direction. That’s not anything but short gain economics.
There will inevitably be another round of the blame game where we’re perceived as ruining as many cultural institutions as we can. We didn’t kill taxis. Taxis killed taxis. Decades of unchecked price gouging and reckless driving forced it’s own demise.
Here’s the basic breakdown of why things are failing to catch us:
We don’t want to eat food that’s cheap and will likely kill us. Riding around in a car that is slowly poisoning the earth, isn’t forward thinking. Girls having to wear low cut shirts to sell fried chicken seems pretty fucked up when you think about it and golf is a terrible game.
We’re trying to create a world that’s a little more value-driven, verdant, just and inclusive. Sorry, we’re not down with super-sizing.
Robert Dean is a writer, journalist, and cynic. His most recent novel, The Red Seven was called “rich in vivid imagery, quirky characterizations, and no holds barred violence and mayhem. I never knew what the word romp really meant until now, but in case you’re wondering, this is it.” By Shotgun Logic. Robert is finishing a New Orleans-based crime thriller called A Hard Roll. He lives in Austin and likes ice cream and koalas. Stalk him on Twitter: @Robert_Dean