Millennials and their penny-pinching, Yelp-consulting ways are reshaping the economy; so far they’ve killed hotels, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Bud Light. (All of which, if we’re being honest, deserved to die.) But the generational changeover has had its most profound effects on the home. Millennials have no patience for almost everything about traditional homes, from cable TV to furniture; let’s look at some of the ubiquitous home features they’re quickly driving into obsolescence.
The doorbell is the latest thing that Millennials are killing off, and nobody seems to be very sad about it. The millennial the Wall Street Journal interviewed about doorbells (imagine carrying $100,000 in student loans from a top journalism school and then being sent out to interview a 23 year old about doorbells) said that their friends just text when they come over, and that the sound of a doorbell is “terrifying.” Kind of true. The doorbell, like the telephone, has gone from a source of pleasant surprise to a source of dread. Before, a phone call or doorbell ring was a friend or neighbor; now it’s a debt collector or political canvasser. My personal doorbell turning point was in Shaw, in about 2007, when my doorbell rang at 4 AM. I leaned out the window and a guy who looked like Jeff Foxworthy was like, “hey, I saw your lights were still on, and I wondered if you could give me ten dollars so I could take a cab to get my toolbox before my new job starts tomorrow.” When I (truthfully) said I was broke, he proceeded to throw a temper tantrum and threatened to kick my door down, before finally slinking off into the night. Since then, I don’t really answer my doorbell, especially at 4 AM.
This headline says it all: “Our Apartments Are Too Small for Pottery Barn Furniture.” Not to pick on Pottery Barn specifically, but their sofas cost $4000 and weigh about half a ton. Not really the sort of thing you’re interested in when you’re poor and move to a different apartment every few years. One of my exes owned a hideous Pottery Barn sofa that I used to joke looked like it was upholstered with Laura Bush’s old nightgowns, and every time she moved, she had to hire movers just for the sofa. Not only did it cost like half a Kia to begin with, but she had to continually throw money at it. (And it wasn’t even that comfortable.) Most old furniture is the same deal; massive, and massively overpriced. No thanks.
Cable TV (and TVs)
In every pre-millennial home in America, the living room is centered on the television. It’s literally like a temple of worship, with the 72-inch flatscreen as the altar. My parents even have those special recliners with little compartments in the arms for the, like, 8 remote controls they use. But most millennials don’t want TVs because they watch everything on their phones or, failing that, on their laptops. And they don’t need cable because they pirate everything. I literally haven’t paid for music in the 21st century. (The one exception: bros who watch sports.)
I never understood all those mattress stores you see in strip malls, where they’re selling mattresses for like $1100 a pop. They markup on those things has got to be 500% or more. It’s the same principle as the $150,000 cancer drug; they’ve got you over a barrel, so you’ve got to pay what they’re asking. (Unless you have the stomach for a – shudder- secondhand mattress.) Depending on who you’re asking, Millennials are either too savvy or too poor to shell out big bucks for a mattress; the big thing now is the comparatively cheap mattress-in-a-box, mailed right to your home. Also worth nothing – I have never, ever received a coherent, much less satisfactory answer to the question, “but what are box springs for?”