Why is this Gen Y’s fault?

Apparently Gen Y are to blame for restaurants not taking bookings, catering to the latest food fad for pulled pork burgers, and having graffiti style street art decorations.

Firstly, I’m not sure why these things have to be ‘blamed’ on anyone. I remember, back in the dark ages when Gen Y would still have been in high-school or broke Uni students, restaurants that didn’t take bookings and people lined up outside variously eyeing lucky tablefulls of people chomping down on their food or glaring at people looking likely to linger over the last spoonful of rice or green curry. The number of people waiting outside to get in was how we chose our favourite Vietnamese restaurant in Marrickville. Restaurants in Newtown had, from memory, been operating on a first in first served basis for a while by then. So can we really blame Gen Y for something that was probably happening when they were in nappies and most likely before?

I am partial to a pulled pork burger myself and don’t mind the move towards them. Like many food fads before them they will drop off restaurant and cafe menus eventually except for a few hold outs who will continue to churn them out for an appreciative audience in the know. The Atkins diet was big in the 90’s, fondue in the 70’s, every fine dining establishment worthy of the name used to have a prawn cocktail on the menu. Flash establishments may have boasted their own house sauce. The humble prawn cocktail is hard to comeby nowdays as its fad time is past. They probably came and went before Gen Y were even born. So we can’t blame them for food fads either. Nor do I think we can blame them for restaurants catering to the type of food ‘Gen Y’ apparently love. Apart from the gross generalisation about a diverse group of people, who is surprised that people in the food business cater to people who want to eat that food?

Like food restaurant decor goes through fads. Remember when Italian restaurants were all raffia covered chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling, red and white checked table clothes and photos of Roman villas on the walls? Granted it has been a while since I went to one, but the last one I remember has pared down, simple white table cloths and minimal decorations. Great food though. Street art and people wanting decoration on the cheap or going to expensive lengths to make it look cheap have been around for a long time. Before Gen Y I would wager.

Is it now fashionable to hang crap on Gen Y? (I am Gen X btw so this isn’t personal).

Categories: Culture, media

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14 replies

  1. Doesn’t the youth of the day normally cop the brunt of the older generation unmet expectations?
    I’m pretty sure the folks born in the 40s were pretty upset when their kids were getting into psychedelic music instead of big band numbers and Elvis Presley, and likewise on down through the years. The diversional therapists of the old-folks homes of the future will be running beatboxing sing-a-longs. This is how the world turns, I think.
    I remember those raffia covered wine bottles, and when all pub dining rooms had a red or green rippled glass candle on it.
    In short, you could argue that pulled pork buns and texting are Gen Ys fault, but equally plenty of things are Gen Xs fault (the Spice Girls, VHS videos, sushi). Whether you are blamed or praised for it is up to society. Change is hard and not always welcomed. Society is diverse and fads come and go.

  2. Couldn’t get through more than a few paragraphs of the article when I went to read it. I got a whole lot of “get off my lawn, you kids!” and a whole lot of “I get tables at the flower drum, how can these rotten bastards make me wait?!?!?!” privilege from what I’m guessing is a senior food critic being made to do some “scutwork” now that the whole newspaper business isn’t doing so well.
    The only other thing I got from the article was a very two-year-old “I don’t like it, what is it” attitude. Oh well, time for the GFG to move with the times and leave Ms. Dubecki behind…

  3. Things change. I am no longer the young person setting the scene. Waaah.

  4. Pfft. I hate loud music in restaurants, but it’s hardly a new phenomenon. I seem to remember places like The Spaghetti Tree (yes I am into really fancy dining) being Too Damn Loud twenty-odd years back, and I don’t think even the oldest of Gen Y could be held responsible for that.
    It does seem harder to find somewhere quiet now, but that’s partly because I’m older and my tolerance for loud noise has decreased and partly because of the hard surfaces so beloved of restaurants/cafes because they’re less work. Again, a Gen Y thing? ::shrugs:: No idea.
    Plus there’s the whole lumping of everyone in an age category together. I was born on the Baby Boom/Gen X cusp and wonder what the hell I’m supposed to have in common with the stereotypes (like Baby Boomers having money … WHERE’S MINE I WAS ROBBED). Someone being in Gen Y doesn’t make them a walking stereotype either.

  5. I’m another who tends to avoid dining out due to noise levels (I have a lot of trouble dealing with a lot of extraneous noise, and I also have a lot of trouble picking conversations out of background noise as well; the hearing aids don’t help with this, either) and I find the problems I have with noise overload only get exacerbated by an environment full of hard surfaces and open spaces. Since this is the current “in” thing for restaurants these days, fine dining isn’t on my list of available recreational pursuits.
    Of course, being on the dole, I’m not likely to be able to afford restaurant meals most (any) of the time, either, so there’s another reason for avoiding it. Permit me my sneering at the article author’s First World Problems.

  6. Well, it appears that I am Gen Y (only my the skin of my teeth), so clearly this is my fault. I have to say that I quite like the whole ‘snack food’, casual dining thing that’s going on at the moment – not least because the price point is often a fair bit lower than for more formal dining. But also because good ingredients, fun food, often organic and with a good range of veggie options (except for the burger places- dude how hard is to have a veggie option that’s not a portabello mushroom). I can’t say I’ve noticed the loud noise and, because I like to chat, I do avoid eating in places where you can’t make conversation. If they’re busy and your sensitive to ambient noise, then you will be more aware of this than me though. In Adelaide (and elsewhere in the world) this movement is often accompanied by food in vans, so you ain’t sitting anywhere to eat!

  7. Well, I’ve just seen another “kids get of my lawn” article from The Age. I think they’re getting used to the idea that their core demographic is minimum 45 years old with an average well into the 60’s.

  8. Megpie – ::fistbump:: from fellow sensitive-to-ambient-noise person.

  9. I think it’s just code for “younger adults with disposable income, aren’t they just so damn YOUNG?” (the people with lower or no income don’t exist!) I don’t recall what the restaurant industry thought of them, but rewind 20 years and read all about Gen X and their flannies and their job hopping and you can substitute into current articles about Gen Y and their onesies and their job hopping.
    I always return to John Quiggin on this generation bullshit. The stuff about being young is an age effect: surprise, Gen Y likes young and casual because they’re young. (“We”: I am Gen Y according to about half the descriptions. I’ve also been a mother for 3 years, my ability to hang out with my tribe in echoey restaurants is diminished.) Cohort effects are usually more interesting, eg, richer Gen Ys really do travel more than past young adults did, because air travel is cheaper. Conversely, in many countries, Gen Y’s careers and adult lives will be permanently hurt relative to X by recessions and austerity. In the US, Gen Y has a lot of military veterans. (And these are all Western nations and military aggressors, the experience of an Iraqi my age is not at all captured by Gen Y tropes.) Charles Stross writes that as distance from job-for-life employer loyalty increases, Gen Y (and Gen X’s children, Gen Z) probably genuinely have much less corporate/employer loyalty. (Note: Stross agrees that such loyalty is irrational, he’s not “young people suck for their inexplicable failure to have one-sided loyalty to employers!”)

  10. I recall reading how Gen X were hit by recessions, and the job for life idea went out the window – not through their choice at all, necessarily. Now I’m never sure whether 1963 is tail-end Baby Boom or very early Gen X, but that’s certainly been my experience. I started work in the Vic public service in the Cain-Kirner years and lasted through the Kennett years, and every fucking department I worked in was shut down. Hell, Kennett even sacked everyone in the Premier’s office a week after he started, having done the “look forward to working with you” bullshit speech to begin with (one of my workmates had been there). So yeah, don’t any writer or employer whine about Gen X and Gen Y not having much sense of loyalty. Provide security, arseholes, and treat us like people instead of things, and maybe you’ll earn some loyalty in return!

  11. And mobile phones and texting.
    They have a lot to answer for.
    It’s what comes of raising kids on anime, sedatives and fast foods.

  12. I think Kitteh that they have stuck Generation Jones into the grey area between Boomers and Gen X which sort of starts around 1968 I think.

    Paul when I was growing up it was heavy metal and video games which were doing the youf in and look at how we turned out *bwahahahhahahaha*

  13. Generation Jones? Which Jones would that be?
    Can’t be Davy Jones, the Monkees were my sister’s great love and she’s nine years older’n me …
    It should be Generation W. Dr Who started in ’63. 🙂

  14. Mindy, am still conjuring with it. How could a nation that succeeded so handsomely with the Boomer generation falter so tentatively with X and Y?
    Actually, I think TKUH has it right in some ways, the fifties and sixties seemed to be coming from somewhere, but the seventies were a blow out. Since the mid seventies deindustrialisation and high unemployment have replaced the fear of nuclear war as the ongoing fear in the back of people’s minds.
    It comes down to disempowerment.
    Materially, life is tops, but there is a sense that things have been undermined and the future has become contingent on the good graces of people way apart from the concerns of ordinary people.

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