Social Question

Blackberry's avatar

Do you guys ever feel uncomfortable around places where everyone looks rich?

Asked by Blackberry (30929points) June 21st, 2014

I guess it has to be common but I really feel that way sometimes. Areas of a city where everyone looks pretty and successful, Audi and BMW everywhere etc.

What do you think?

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30 Answers

Dan_Lyons's avatar

No, not at all. Not only do I feel downright comfortable around rich clowns, but I don’t understand why anyone would feel less of themselves because people around you have a lot of money.

So what!

JLeslie's avatar

Rarely. The only time I feel a hint of that is when they own many businesses that make millions. Or, when they have that WASPy thing about them like they have a yacht and start drinking at 11:00 am. It’s not really because they are rich, it’s because I am not into their schtick so much. Although, I do love a boat ride.

I’m not rich (although we are upper middle class, and I am sure some people probably look at us as rich) but I am around rich people all the time. Even when we had much less money I never felt weird around most rich people. I guess I had enough in common with them that it wasn’t odd. We had things to talk about. Common interests. Some of the richest people I know don’t spend money on fancy cars and some people I know who really can’t afford it (in my opinion) have the BMW’s and designer clothes and I just think they are ridiculous. They are trying to hard and in the meantime making themselves financial wrecks.

I lived in Boca Raton FL for so long and everything was perfectly manicured and Disney-esque and it feels very normal to me. All income levels had very nice communities in that area.

Blackberry's avatar

Interesting and that makes sense @JLeslie because of the common interest.

I don’t have the common interest. The times I’ve been around the culture it was so entirely alien that it felt strange, although there is always the Ameican thing. We love each other deep down lol.

jca's avatar

No. I have rich people in my family and they are who they are and they have what they have, and I am who I am and I have what I have.

johnpowell's avatar

College is pretty easy if you didn’t have to pay for it. I went to school with so many people that never had to worry about paying for school and weren’t concerned with finding a job after school since their parents would take care of that too.

I’m poor and I look down on those people. They might look down on my 30K a year but at least I work for it.

dappled_leaves's avatar

No. The rich behave as if they belong wherever they are. So the key to not feeling uncomfortable around them is to behave as if you belong there.

CWMcCall's avatar

No. The rich go about their lives just as lesser wealthy people do only with more debt.

marinelife's avatar

No, I enjoy it when I experience it.

cookieman's avatar

I think “the rich” may be a bit broad. My friend’s wife makes half a million a year as a medical specialist. They lived in a crappy, water-stained, 4-floor walk up for years — and she sang in her church choir.

My ex-boss made two million a year but he ate lunch at the roach-coach like the rest of us, was often in beat-up clothes, and was the first guy to grab a shovel when it snowed.

Do we mean rich people that act spoiled, or condescending, or flaunt their money? I don’t feel uncomfortable around folks like that. I simply avoid them as I would any other asshole.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I’m not sure I’ve ever been in such a situation. And what constitutes as rich? The lawyers I work with/for are loaded, but I’m not uncomfortable around them. My boss drives a Honda, though, so that’s probably not “rich.”

I did feel out of place walking into the Coach store at the mall, thanks to a couple of snobby blond bitches working there that looked at me and my husband as if we could never afford anything in there. I make more money than Coach salespeople, though, so their income had nothing to do with it.

I guess I don’t get many opportunities to associate with the rich.

zenvelo's avatar

Most of the time, no. I know some people who are pretty damn well off, I’ve seen people make a couple hundred thousand in a day, others lose that much without it even fazing them. Rich people have their own problems, many caused by wealth.

But I do feel uncomfortable in circumstances where everyone is expected to spend large amounts of money. I live in a pretty upper class town, although I don’t own a house anymore. But people at the school expect everyone to be on a par with them. And I have been invited to things at some pretty tony yacht clubs where people look at you oddly if you’re not wearing a couple thousand dollars worth of clothes. But I figure I might not fit in, but then again I’m not a dick.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I don’t think we can ever really know what other people have or their exact circumstances unless they explicitly tell us. People can appear to have a great deal but may be in debt up to their ears. Or maybe they’re rich materially but miserable as sin. If I do ever feel a little out-of-place I remind myself of this.

johnpowell's avatar

For fun I looked up the management at Wal*Mart..

So then off to the list of Wal*Mart Billionaires.

Walton family fortune

The Walton Family Fortune according to The Forbes 400 Richest People in America

Christy Walton and family US$36.7 billion[4]
Jim Walton US$34.7 billion[4]
Alice Walton US$34.3 billion[4]
S. Robson Walton US$34.2 billion[4]
Ann Walton Kroenke US$4.7 billion[4]
Nancy Walton Laurie US$4.0 billion[4]

Total US$148.6 Billion

None of the names match on the two lists.

filmfann's avatar

At my 25th class reunion, the organizers asked the alumni to come in black tie. I showed up in a hawaiian shirt, because I didn’t approve of such pomposity.

tinyfaery's avatar

No. But watch out on Beverly Drive between Wilshire and Olympic. The more expensive the car the less they obey the traffic laws. Seriously. Some ass in a Mercedes SUV (gag) honked at me in the crosswalk, when it was my turn. I stopped and stared and mouthed asshole, and then he refused to look at me.

When I’m around richy-rich types, I look down on them and immediately want to leave their presence.

DominicX's avatar

I grew up around that kind of thing, so it doesn’t bother me. Going to an $11 million home’s open house where there were obviously “moneyed” people there who could afford it—I just thought it was cool.

JLeslie's avatar

@Blackberry I don’t think for you it is the money level. It’s what people maybe do with the money and the attitude of the people you are around. A portion of the new rich really love to show it. They (a portion of them) have a belief that when you get a lot of money it’s time to buy things that show off the expensive brand names they can now buy and prove to others they have arrived. We used to call it bourgeoisie (sort of pronounced bush-wa-zee). In fact it is really a term used to mean the middle class trying to look rich. Often, people with very little money mistake those middle class people for rich people. I’m not saying or assuming how much money you have, I am just making a point about the different social classes and even within the classes how people spend money varies widely. Plus, everyone has their own definition of rich, and then there are actual sociological ways of looking at income and wealth.

Maybe if you had a chance to really talk to people who were rich (maybe you have) you would lose some of the discomfort? Once they made you feel comfortable, maybe were interested in the many places you have lived, what you do for a living, your own interests. If you are in a circumstance where you are in the same place a lot of rich people are, they probably are not looking at you thinking, he does not belong here, not enough money. They have no idea how much money you have. When I am at Porsche events some of those people are so wealthy and some saved for years to buy their car. All the drivers have driving in common. If you are fast, they want to follow your line around the track and know whether you go up to fifth or stay in fourth for that turn.

@livelaughlove21 You might be wrong about how much Coach salespeople make. I have no idea what they do make, although I would be sure not enough money to call them rich unless they have some sort of trust fund or married into rich. Coach is one of those vendors I know very little about, but many retail employees make much more than people think, especially when they work for expensive designers. My friends and family who work as salespeople for top designers like Hermes, Louis Vutton, Chanel, easily make $40—$80k a year. I know that is a broad range, but still it isn’t terrible even on the low end. I also have no idea what you make. No matter what the salespeople were rude to you, made assumptions, and that is unnacceptable and stupid. A lot of people who can’t afford Coach buy it, and many people who can afford it might not look like they can according to some stupid stereotype in their head about people who have money and people who don’t. They probably are not rich, as you pointed out, because most people who are rich know better. But, don’t make the same mistake as them in assuming how much money they have. They are just rude, need a lecture from their boss, and a lecture in etiquette.

ucme's avatar

No, so long as the servants do their job well, my family & I are as comfortable as pigs in shite.

Coloma's avatar

No. I am the type that can relate to almost anyone.
I am naturally able to converse and engage with all types of people, but I don’t like arrogant snobs. I have a sharp enough wit and sense of humor and can fit in and socialize very well across all economic classes short of hardcore rednecks and ghetto gangsters. lol
Just because someone has money doesn’t mean they are a jerk.

cookieman's avatar

^^ Not to mention (but I will) that arrogance knows no balance sheet. I’ve met arrogant, snooty, schmucks, at my daughter’s school — and they’re probably no better off than I.

Coloma's avatar

@cookieman Exactly, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. Stereotypes go both ways, for the rich and the poor.

jca's avatar

I don’t expect people to be nasty or pretentious because they have a lot of money. That’s a stereotype.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

I generally avoid them because I feel out of place. There tends to be rude people, but some can be cool. And then there’s gentrified neighborhoods, which have really bland, expensive restaurants and cyclists who don’t know basic traffic rules. I just want to live in a rural area and start my own tribe.

gailcalled's avatar

In the Quaker community I lived for a while, the wealthiest family went out of their way to disguise their net worth. They had an old banger of a VW bus, painted dark green, rusted and dented. When they needed another car, my son (who was a close friend of their oldest daughter) came home and told us that the family planned to buy the same VW bus, year, model and color, and match the dings and dents in order to fool the world that they owned only the one bus.

It was very old money, and they gave really generous amounts to the school’s Annual Giving campaigns but kept it anonymous.

Paradox25's avatar

I’m not uncomfortable around people for financial reasons alone, but their attitudes, demeanor, mannerisms, personalities and other things would be a factor. My one uncle was ‘rich’, if you consider two million dollars in your savings to be in that category, but he lived in his basement of a half-double in a run-down area, had only junk cars and paid me with a six-pack of cheap beer for running lines for his dryer, washer and some of his shop equipment.

The way I see it if you seem like a decent person to me, and someone whom I can have a decent discussion with then your financial situation has little bearing to me. I was actually much more comfortable around lawyers, doctors and other white collar people at parties or other social situations than I was with the red neck and lowbrow types.

I don’t see too many people that I’d consider to be extremely wealthy in my area though. Those ones usually run for politics, and end up becoming senators, congressmen and commissioners.

gailcalled's avatar

The French, god bless them, stratify the bourgeoisie into four groups:

The ‘bourgeoisie’ consists of four evolving social layers: ‘la petite bourgeoisie’, ‘la moyenne bourgeoisie’, ‘la grande bourgeoisie’, and ‘la haute bourgeoisie’

If you want to wade through the subteties (be my guest)...

@JLeslie, Pronounced “boor jwa zee” by most.

Here’s a funny YouTube Expedia commercial giving their version of “nouveau riche,” another confusing term but I guess the opposite of “old money.”

fluthernutter's avatar

Not really . Probably depends more on the person than on their bank account.

JLeslie's avatar

@gailcalled Thanks for spelling out how to pronounce it better than I did. I know how to say it, just don’t know how to tell people well in writing.

I know at one point I learned that the lower-upper class was considered to be new rich, and upper-upper was old money, and they each had their own characteristics, their own psychographics, for how they spent money. The new rich being more worried about showing it off. That was one way they split the groups anyway, there are so many ways to split them. I have seen that stats of the town I moved from in TN and the generalizations made about spending habits of each income level coupled with other factors. It’s interesting.

The Quakers you mention remind me of the book The Millionaire Next Door. Basically, there are a lot of people in the country who have a net worth of a million dollars and no one would ever guess. Average working people who save, who buy a car (even better a used car) and use it for many years. They don’t care about their clothes having fancy labels. All those things are the very reason they become millionaires.

It also made me think of a show I saw on happiness, and in parts of Denmark there are rules and tradition not to be ostentatacious. It is a cultural thing. Store fronts can’t have big signs, there is an effort from the government for all people to have a reasonable income, and the government provides a lot of services for people to worry less about life and seek joy. In America the pursuit of happiness too often looks much different. It has a lot to do with feeling better about oneself, because you feel better than the person next to you, and it is judged on external things. It’s terrible I think. They worry about nicer car, bigger house, fancier clothes, better hair, prettier, and what ever else they can use as a barometer of how they compare to the next person. I should include myself in the hair, but I think I have inferior hair, not superior.

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