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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Spoiled girls

I drove up to Providence yesterday to pick up my daughter from her two week session at Brown University summer school, for which I'd paid $3400. Rebecca pointed out that they tried to cadge money from you in every way they could once you were there as well. If you wanted to use the Brown athletic facilities, that was an extra $60. If for some reason you forgot your key and got locked out of your dorm, having someone come to open the door was an extra $75. And they had to buy a couple of books for the course, which my daughter bought used for $40. When it came time to sell the books, which she had barely used, back to the university bookstore, they gave her $8.50. (I guess that's why the Justice Department used to go after monopolies; someone should alert them to this one.)

On top of all this, the food was lousy.

The summer school, unsurprisingly, attracted a lot of spoiled rich girls. One of the girls, from Germany, took a shopping trip to New York City during the weekend break. She bought a pair of $500 shoes at Saks Fifth Avenue, then, because she didn't want to be troubled by actually having to carry them, arranged to have them shipped back to Brown. When she found out later that they wouldn't arrive in time before she left for Germany, she reportedly said, oh well, I have plenty of shoes like that back home anyway.

Several of the girls were evidently given credit cards by their parents for emergency use only; their parents had arranged to be called in case the credit cards were used. One Greek girl used hers to buy some clothes at Abercrombie & Fitch, even though it meant that her father would be woken up at 2AM. As she later explained to Rebecca, "But it was an emergency. We don't have any Abercrombies back in Greece." (Nor do you have enough politicians who will abjure credit, which is why your country is in the shape it's in.)

There were evidently several other girls who used their "emergency only" credit cards for shopping sprees as well.

What punishment would be appropriate for these girls? Grounding? No TV for several nights? Something tells me it's unlikely that any have parents who will penalize them, otherwise they wouldn't have gotten so spoiled in the first place.

(At least the girls had a strong sense of self though: several of the American girls actually took up smoking just for the two weeks in order to impress the European boys there.)

In the previous post I mentioned that were I somehow placed back in the Stone Age I would be helpless. But, given the proper training, I could probably survive, at least for a while. Life without the comforts I am used to, however, would seem awfully bleak.

Still, I'd almost be willing to make that trade just for the pleasure of seeing these girls have to make those same adjustments.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think we should bring back compulsory national service and ask these entrepreneurial folks at Brown to manage it on a revenue maximizing basis. Who knows, it might help retrain the spoiled and narcissistic generation, bring down unemployment and help cut the deficit. The last bit could probably be accomplished just by making them pay to recharge their iphones.
G

John Craig said...

Guy --
I'm not so sure that humans are that malleable. Aren't they a bit like fruit, which, once it's gone rotten, will never become unrotten, if there is such a word?

There are all sorts of good arguments for compulsory national service, or a national draft for the armed services, one of the most oft-mentioned (and best) is that it will cause our politicians to think twice before they send our young men off to some useless war.

I'd settle for some of these young girls (including my daughter) to be sent to Outward Bound next summer.

Anonymous said...

I hope you're wrong about humans John - I'd like to think there's hope for me.
G

Anonymous said...

PS At least we can enjoy the fantasy of the possibility of redemption.
http://justnotsaid.blogspot.com/2010/02/groundhog-day_07.html
G

John Craig said...

Guy --
As far as your first comment, sorry, no hope for either of us.

As to your second comment, if you hadn't used the word "fantasy" I would have reminded you that that's why they call it Hollywood. But you're way ahead of me.

Sandy said...

We all like to rank on spoiled girls. Two questions: What exactly is "spoiled"? (We all seem to recognize it when we see it, don't we?) And why do we all enjoy getting all self-righteous (hey, we would never act spoiled like that...) and disdainful and even angry (those girls could use a good dose of ....). I'd like to say that we're all pretty spoiled in the sense that we have so much more than we need, and in some sense, expect so much and whine when we are disappointed. (Let's make a big fuss at the restaurant when our dinner has not been prepared correctly.) Do some people have the "right" to be spoiled because they've earned their money/expectations, while kids have earned nothing but have only received? Hey, don't get me wrong -- as a teacher in a well-off town I'm very accustomed to spoiled kids and have done much bewailing of ridiculous parenting. I just find these questions interesting.

John Craig said...

Sandy -- You raise a lot of interesting philosophical questions. Yes, "spoiled" is a relative term; all of us are spoiled compared to, say, people who lived on farms one hundred years ago -- or people who lived in the Third World now. I think a lot of being spoiled (in the relative sense) could be defined as just being selfish and having no perspective. Someone who has her father woken up at 2AM so she can buy some Abercrombie clothes, or makes some poor waiter's life hell, is selfish; and you do get the sense that some of these girls have no real sense of how lucky they are. And you're right, there's also a certain amount of entitlement built in. (I DESERVE this, even though I haven't earned it.) I think the vast majority of girls in this town, even if they're well off, don't come across spoiled though. The key may be that even though they don't have to worry about their next meal, they don't waste money; the spoiled girls (and boys) are the ones who just squander it thoughtlessly and also blunderbuss their way through life without thinking about the effect their actions will have on others. I guess what we're talking about, again, is narcissistic personalities.