During a recent business trip I made a most curious observation. I stayed at a typical business hotel, meaning that you get functional, clean rooms, and a perfectly serviceable breakfast buffet. As is common, before entering the breakfast area, the service staff asks for your room number to check whether your stay includes breakfast. If not, they turn you away, asking you to buy a voucher at reception, for instance.
During one morning, two boomers who gave me strong early-lifer vibes were in front of me in the queue. They feigned surprise that their stay did not include breakfast and thanked the service staff member for the reminder to buy a voucher — but to make sure that the breakfast was up to their standards, they wanted to have a look at the buffet first, which they were granted. They then looked around, pacing themselves, and once they thought they were out of sight, they casually took a plate and piled up the food.
You may think that some entitled boomers scamming a hotel out of some food is not a big deal. However, this kind of freeloading mentality undermines societal cohesion. This is the so-called freeloader problem. Individually, those boomer scammers get a free breakfast, but they burden other guests with the costs as the food has to be paid for by someone. In the end, prices will have to be adjusted, and if too many people behave like those two parasites, then it is likely that hotels will need to hire security, which also costs money.
The fact that those people were boomers, in an environment where the guests as well as the staff were on average probably around half their age, was also most fitting because this kind of behavior is a perfect reflection of the problem of the boomer in society. You know about boomers telling you about how easy it is to get a job: just go to the business district, enter a building you like the look of, go to the reception desk and ask to speak to a manager. Then you look him in the eye as you shake his hand firmly and tell them that you are looking for work. It was really that fucking easy back in the days.
What I find aggravating when dealing with boomers is that many of them exhibit a level of solipsism that rivals TikTok thots. The boomer tells the 30-year-old guy that when he was his age, he had his house paid off and fathered four children already, so why are you slacking off so much? I know boomers who were able to retire in their early 50s, with a fully maxed out government pension, and a company pension on top. This was possible in Germany a few decades ago. The rationale was that those employees started to cost too much money and were not suited for managerial or elite specialist work, so companies and the government split the costs of their retirement. Today, you will not only get a much lower government pension, you will also get enormous penalties for retiring early, and if you are no longer of use to your employer they just kick you out.
The best encapsulation of how out of touch with reality boomers are is not the firm-handshake nonsense but housing prices. Housing used to be really fucking cheap. I know of some boomer who told me what he paid for the plot he built his land on, and the house. Mortgages for more than ten years seemed almost unheard off. Land was apparently easy to get, too. Well, in the decades since then, land has gotten so scarce that its price far outpaced inflation. In this particular region, you now pay over 1,000 times as much as in the 1970s. This is surely an outlier, but today the situation is that you can only afford buying or building a house if you are very well off whereas back then even people with comparatively modest means managed to build a house.
Of course, those boomers are also the people whose life you finance in the typical socialist European country. I pay sky-high taxes and social security so that boomers (and foreign-born doctors and engineers) have a good life, but my chances of meaningfully climbing the socioeconomic ladder are comparatively limited. I can consider myself happy if I manage to get to where my father was at 30 when I am 60, but chances are that we will see major economic and societal upheaval until then so the deck is stacked against me and others in my generation. They don’t see this, and they just feel entitled to all the effectively free money and economic opportunities they had gotten — and this may even mean that they don’t even shrug when they weasel their way into the breakfast area at your hotel and eat without paying.