Usually, it takes years for spoiled brats to realize the world isn’t there to serve them–if they come to this realization at all. But sometimes a single incident can wake them up, so to speak. Sometimes, spoiled kids have to learn how to do simple things like peel their own oranges, do laundry for themselves, and work hard to be able to pay their bills.
In the following stories, people share the moment they realized how incredibly spoiled they were.
42. Not A Cleaning Ninja
I grew up in Indonesia, a third world country where you’d definitely have maids if you have the internet. I grew up thinking it’s common to have multiple maids. When I moved to Singapore, a first world country where people still have maids, but it’s more of an upper-middle-class and above thing, I got assigned to sweep the floors by the teachers. That was my first time holding a broom. I swept it back and forth like in cartoons, and everyone was looking at me going, “Er, what the heck are you doing?” Turns out I was just creating a dust cloud around me. You have to sweep in one direction and gather all the dust into the dustpan. Mind blown.
It gets better. For some reason, they put me in charge of supervising cleaning the canteen. No idea why. I saw the box of soap and thought we had to use the entire thing. Dumped all the powder on the floor, then dumped a bucket of water over it. There was soap everywhere and I didn’t know how to stop it. Three hours later, we still had bubbles. All of us had a blast because the entire canteen became a giant slip and slide, but the teachers were super mad. They wouldn’t believe me when I tried telling them it wasn’t deliberate. Well, as in, I didn’t know that was going to happen.
41. Good Thing You Have A Good Heart
As I child I was spoiled rotten, including into my teen years. My parents bought me a brand new red convertible for my 16th birthday. I threw a fit over it because what I actually wanted was my brother’s old car (that we still had) which was dark blue in color. I was so shallow and a horrible person back then … So what really turned me around? That next summer I took a job as a camp counselor at a local day camp. I did not have to work but I was bored and sounded like something easy to do. God, I was so wrong. This day camp was specifically geared to the lower classes who could not afford child care during the summer. We served them breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack. For a lot of the camp kids, this was all they would eat that day and on Fridays they would beg for extra food/snacks to take home for themselves and/or their siblings because they may not get to eat again until Monday. This really hit me hard but the part that got me the most was this:
This one kid (around 5 or 6 years old) would refuse to take their shoes and socks off, even if we were going to the public pool that day. I couldn’t understand why until one day he came in limping, like his feet were causing him so much pain. I convinced him to let me help him get his shoes and socks so I could see what might be bothering him. Once I did, it took everything in me not to break down right there. His socks were covered in blood. His poor tiny little feet were covered in sores and his toes seemed to curl under a bit. He was in so much pain from the state of his feet. As it turns out, he had been wearing shoes about three sizes too small. His family couldn’t afford new shoes. I took my lunch break and went out to buy him new socks and a few pairs of shoes. This broke me … which I definitely needed. It changed my way of thinking forever.
40. From Fancy To Crappy
I grew up in a fancy home, with more rooms than you could ever need, on a large property in a pretty rural area. I got everything I wanted whenever I wanted; huge plasma TV, DSLR camera, motorbike, pony, etc. I never knew what my parents really did for a living, I remember kids always asking what my parents did as a job in the playground and I never really knew how to respond.
I soon figured out what my parents did when my dad was arrested for selling illegal pills and the house, cars and everything else was repossessed by the government as profits of crime. I now live in a crappy house that barely stands in a dodgy area of town, it definitely was a shock to the system but I’m adjusting just fine I guess.
39. Not Everyone Will Treat You Special
I was raised by my great grandmother. She was well to do, active well into her 80s and her world revolved around me. Ballet, gymnastics, all the music classes I could fit in my schedule. I had a menagerie of pets. Christmases were obscene. She catered to my every whim as a child.
Now that I’m an adult and my wonderful grandma has passed, I’ve learned that what I had was really unique. The world does not wait on me, I’m not special to everyone. I struggle with entitlement and narcissistic tendencies. It’s isolating at times and I miss her.
38. A Food From An Alien Planet
I was in a military boot camp. During training, I was hungry like a vampire at a blood bank. The fruit of the day was oranges–whole, unpeeled orangey balls of edible glory. I wanted that orange so bad but had no idea how to peel it. I ate my food relatively slow so that I didn’t finish my food too early and end up staring at my orange as if were from an alien planet.
I slyly waited for someone else to start peeling before emulating him, but somehow I end up with a badly squashed, untidily peeled orange ball that tasted like hard reality.
37. “She Didn’t Realize That People Could Be This Poor”
This was a reality check for my “friend” (and me, because I realized she wasn’t really a friend). She lived pretty well off because her adoptive parents were from a rich family. She’s an only child and used to have everything she wanted. One Christmas she wanted to do a gift exchange–something small, around $1.50 each among four of us. She forgot to ask us if we wanted in; she just assumed we were fine with it. When she informed us about it, I said that my parents didn’t have any money to spare and since it’s Christmas, things were tighter than usual. She proceeded to yell that I better not give her something for Christmas, or she would be very disappointed because she got me something (spirit of Christmas right there, give something expecting something in return).
I went home and asked my parents if they could spare $5 for this. My father reaches for his pocket and takes out some change that was just enough for what I wanted. I debated whether I should take it because it meant that we wouldn’t have food for the end of the month. I ended up taking it, buying the thing and proceeded to throw in her face while crying “I hope you’re happy because this means that my family won’t have money for food.” She then apologized because she didn’t realize that people could be this poor. It ruined Christmas for me forever.
36. The Nanny That Changed Everything
I grew up living in a huge hotel. It was kind of like Suite Life of Zack and Cody except that I was a spoiled young kid. When I was 7, I’d have a nanny put on my school uniform, socks, and whatnot every day. I had four nannies before that and they all left. I made one cry once because I yelled at her for not helping me with my math homework. I slapped another one. She left three months later. It hit me hard a year or two later when my dad had to travel overseas to work so I was stuck with that one particular nanny named Tina. My dad didn’t really send a lot of money back to us. We had to live in a cramped apartment since we needed to move out of that particular hotel. I hated my nanny at the beginning because she was just so strict.
It turns out that she was doing this because she wanted us to change, and we did. Because my dad didn’t send enough money and didn’t want to (stingy guy), we had to ration our food on some days. I couldn’t go to many school activities because we didn’t have a car like we used to. We just plain didn’t have enough money. This was hard on my brother and I because we went to a private international school full of wealthy kids. It was really hard trying not to show others our personal struggles. It was even harder on me as I was in a leadership position at that school, so not attending school activities/extracurricular stuff was the worst. During that time period, I learned so much and began to empathize properly. I learned to socialize with my neighbors, be independent, and this made me enjoy my childhood living in that apartment more than I ever did living in a hotel. I owe it all to my nanny, to be honest. I consider her my surrogate mom now regardless of the rough beginning and, honest to god, I would not have changed one single bit if it wasn’t for her.
35. They’re Happy Doing Their Jobs
I grew up fairly well off. I wouldn’t call myself spoiled rotten, but I had luxuries and advantages most people don’t. It wasn’t until I went to college and started working in a restaurant that I was able to truly appreciate what I have. The kitchen guys (most of them of Hispanic descent) work sometimes 12-18 hours a day between two jobs, and guess what? They’re always happy. They’re happy to have a job that pays them, even if it’s only slightly above minimum wage.
These guys work their butts off, and I have so much respect for them. It really puts things in perspective. Oh, you think you’re having a tough day? He woke up at 6 a.m. and is on his 12th hour of work, what’s your excuse? These guys have totally changed my attitude and work ethic. If I’m ever feeling tired or sorry for myself, I immediately feel guilty because I know they work so much harder than I do and have so many more responsibilities. To all the unsung heroes and everyday hard-workers, please know your efforts don’t go unappreciated!
34. The Other Way Around
I grew up in a Midwestern town, middle-class neighborhood, private school, etc. I never needed anything but my dad grew up poor and my parents wouldn’t give in to any of my big “wants” (I never got Super Nintendo … haha). My neighbor and best friend got everything he asked for. I loved hanging at his house because he had the best TV, the best food, the newest video games, 100 pairs of shoes and 1,000 hats.
After we moved away, I found out that his parents gave him anything he wanted because they were in a loveless marriage and constantly fought around him. They were buying love when my parents were showing me love. I always wondered why he would prefer to stay at my house with a crappy TV and an outdated Nintendo with no games. Turns out he wanted to stay at our house because my parents didn’t fight and would actually listen to him. My parents became surrogate parents for him and to this day he calls them mom and dad, I’m happy to call him brother. If it weren’t for him, I would never have known how I won the parental lottery.
33. She Thinks Her Laundry Expense Is Just Normal
When I was 16, my parents left for a week vacation and gave me money for the week. Since I didn’t know how to do laundry (I’ve never even seen it done), I took all my clothes to the dry cleaner. Even my panties. The cleaners asked three times if I was sure I wanted them dry cleaned. I said yes.
Two days later, I got eight pairs of panties safety pinned to individual hangers. My “laundry” cost about $90 that week. I just assumed this was all normal. The real world hit me only much later. It’s only in retrospect I see I was spoiled. Probably around when I had a limited allowance and budget in college.
32. Lazy Leeches
I grew up in extreme wealth then went to living very humbly. I’m half Saudi, so I had maids all my young life who practically did everything for me. I remember whenever my brothers and I got off an airplane, we were driven to the executive “gold” lounge. Basically, we were minted. However, my parents got divorced and my mother decided, rightly, that I should live with her back in England. So, I went from having maids and living in a mansion where my bedroom was bigger than most people’s entire floor to sharing a tiny bedroom with my brothers. I remember my first time washing dishes at school. I did it with cold water and the other students laughed and said you’re supposed to do it with warm/hot water. I even had to wear second-hand uniforms. But it was the best thing to happen to me ever because … holy moly, when I went back and met some of my old “friends”… they were just not normal people.
This is when it really hit me because I just saw how different they were. Fully grown men being catered to by maids in their old age; do they have no shame? Rich coming from me, but hey, I mended my ways. Whenever I visit my father I see my stepbrother who continued being spoiled. He is a 35 year old man who has never had a job and leeches off his mom. Our maid is like 60; she cleans his clothes, washes his dishes, everything. I refuse to let the maid do anything for me. To see such a difference is what made me grateful. I am so glad I didn’t continue growing up spoiled.
Frankly, I didn’t grow up poor either. My perspective of poverty was warped compared to real poverty; our tiny shared bedroom was a luxury. I’ve learned never to take anything for granted. I’m so glad I grew up normally. I work hard now, I support my mother, I have pride, something I’d never have if I continued being a leech.
31. Not Prepared For Adulthood
I grew up with my mother doing everything for me. I was never taught many things because she would do everything (she’s an amazing mother don’t get me wrong but I wish I was taught more).
Well, I have a job now where I take care of mentally disabled adults. You basically have to do everything. You have to do all of the cooking, all of the cleaning, all of the laundry, and you have to shower clients and change their clothes and diapers. Some of them can change themselves. I’d say that this job is helping me a lot. It’s giving me more experience in the real world and a great opportunity to help my patients and spend time with them.
30. True Wealth Is Not Just About Money
I was spoiled rotten until my mid 20s. My parents gave me anything I wanted. When a new gaming generation came out, I would get every system and essentially every launch game. In high school, I drove nicer cars than all of my classmates’ parents, and I had THREE different cars depending on how I felt. Two of them were brand new sports cars, and the other was older, but still a very desirable sports car. I never paid for gas or insurance. I never paid a phone bill. I didn’t pay for food, movies, snacks–anything. I was given almost limitless amounts of money to spend on whatever I wanted. My parents paid for my college tuition and I later worked in the family business and was paid a very good wage for being simply who I was. I wasn’t a slouch, per se, but I had a false sense of security due to things being handed to me for years. My perspective of life was that you are always on an upward trajectory to earn more, more, more. I swore that by 25, I would own a Lamborghini and a half-million dollar house (at least). Anything less than that would be an abysmal failure.
While living in this excess, I met a girl who grew up poor. She didn’t live in poverty, but she had to work from a very young age and had to help pay the family’s bills. Basically, she lived a life that I deathly feared. Her financial situation stabilized by the time we started dating, but her life experience gave her a pretty solid background. I initially approached our relationship from a position of wanting to give her the finer things in life. I spent thousands of my parents’ money on her to take her on trips and buy her jewelry. She was never comfortable with it and frequently said that she is fine with a cheap dinner and a movie. She and I got married and were expecting a child soon after. My great awakening came when the family business fell to pieces.
Suddenly, the endless supply of money stopped. It was so bad that I couldn’t even receive a salary and had to look for a job. I had a college degree, but really no discernible skill set. Finding a job wasn’t the easiest thing in the world for me to do. I eventually found a very entry-level job in a completely different field. The salary was incredibly low by any measure. For the first time, I had to pay for gas, insurance, phone, food, etc. The high-performance car I drove took premium fuel and got abysmal gas mileage. I sold it and bought the cheapest car I could find (that was safe enough to keep my family on the road). I never drove anything so cheap in my life, was never paid so little, and had to pay bills for the first time in my life. I had to perform at work because I was almost literally living paycheck to paycheck (oh yeah, I racked up tons of credit card debt being irresponsible and knowing I could easily pay it–until I couldn’t). My one constant? My wife was unflappable. She had been in far worse situations before. She was pregnant yet calm, cool and collected despite the sudden life change. She didn’t stress and essentially pulled up her sleeves and devised a budget for the household to see us through our new reality. It was clear why we were put together. I thought I was the man! Look who ended up taking care of who. This experience taught me that money literally didn’t matter. Not only does it not matter, but it can disappear in an instant. I became closer with my wife, new son, and my faith after this experience. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
29. This Is Why You Should Appreciate What You Have
I wasn’t spoiled rotten but I had one experience that changed me. My family was middle class. We had a $90k home and two parents who were working (at the time). My dad was a pastor and he used to hold “a day in the park” thing where he would get a food cart, buy all the food with his own money and collect lightly used clothes to give to the homeless. Not a lot of people came. In fact, I will NEVER eat Grandma’s vanilla creme cookies ever again. That’s how many leftover bags we always had.
Anyways, I was 14 or something, on the food cart. All the food was free. So this homeless guy comes up and he says, “So I can have a hot dog and chips for free?” I said, “Yeah, you can, it’s free; do you want a soda?” He answered, “Yes, if that’s alright.” So I go to give him a hot dog and it drops on the ground. I’m like, “Whoops, sorry, you can just get another one and I’ll pick up that one.” And he just bends down and picks it up, puts it right back in the bun and said, “Oh, don’t worry I ate dirt before, I’m just glad to have something eat.” I told him twice he could have another one but he was fine eating it. He walked off. I still wonder what happened in that man’s life for him to end up in such a bad spot–I wish I could find him.
28. The 9/11 Tragedy
My father was the textbook example of working hard to achieve your dreams. Born on a farm to a poor Mexican family, he had to work for literally everything he had and managed to build a great life for himself where his family never had to work or worry about anything. The man is a bit of a workaholic, but I think he wanted to avoid ever living in such poverty ever again. Flash forward to me in 2011. All I knew was the comfort and luxury that came as a result of his hard work without really thinking about it at all. We always took nice vacations, I always seemed to get everything I wanted, I could always ask for money, and life never seemed stressful or difficult for my parents. I don’t think I ever once heard them discussing finances growing up. Of course, such an environment was naturally going to create a spoiled brat like I used to be.
Everything changed on 9/11. With the stock market drop, my parents lost a huge portion of their wealth. At the time, we had just recently moved and were trying to get reestablished in a new state. I think it was the first time I ever saw my parents worried, and something about it just hit me. I could see the life of comfort coming to a quick end and knew I’d have to start being responsible for myself. Most of my college tuition money had been lost, and my parents were forced to start working again in their 60s to supplement their income and make sure they would be okay as they aged. I think it really hit me when I saw my father cry for the first time ever, seeing everything he had worked so hard for disappear so quickly. That winter, I got my first job working under the table for a local hotel. That summer, I picked up a second job for the local grocery store. I managed to replenish most of the college funds that had been lost by the time I graduated from college. I don’t think I’ve ever asked my parents for money since.
27. Daddy’s Princess
My dad did everything for me. Class project? No problem. He would help but be so controlling that he just took over. He took care of everything. Even signed me up for my college classes. Car maintenance, what’s that? I was his princess. He ended up getting cancer and dying when I was around 22 or 23. I didn’t know how to do anything for myself as an adult. Car registration and inspection expired and the police were the ones to inform me. Oil change? Tire rotation? Figured those out the hard way too.
I always felt entitled and like I should get my way. I am a kind person but was also very easily agitated when I did not get my way. I have always had low self-confidence and anxiety. I really think I was never able to develop self-esteem because I was so spoiled. But, I am almost 32 now and functioning well! It took me a long time to learn how to be an adult and manage money. I still get flustered when I don’t get my way but self-awareness prevents me from acting like a jerk.
26. Other People Are Just “Frugal”
I realized that some people really struggle with money. I thought people didn’t buy the things they need (cars, appliances, clothes, a nice house) because they were really frugal and saving up.
It’s not even that I didn’t know about poverty but I thought it was a third-world thing and that everyone in the U.S. is pretty comfortable. This didn’t sink in until college. I’m terrified for after college.
25. “Never Bite The Hand That Feeds You”
I grew up basically not knowing the value of money. I had no idea how much effort it takes to earn a living. My parents weren’t anything like Midas-rich, but we went to private schools and I never had to work a day in my life for pocket money. It was an ask-and-ye-shall-receive system with them and they gave us regular pocket money and topped it up if we spent it all or wanted to go shopping. They paid for my college tuition, living expenses, everything. Well, one summer I decided to get $700 hair extensions and also blew my “living expenses” money on a whole bunch of unnecessary things.
Around this time, I also had a flaming row with my parents over something stupid (they wouldn’t let me move in with my friends next year). So my parents and I were not on speaking terms and I was absolutely broke. So, I got a job at a fast food place and MAAAAN that was a rude awakening. I wasn’t even manning the fryer–I was on cashier duty most of the time. But I would get home utterly exhausted every day and reeking of grease. I quit after a month because I found a much better gig doing statistical analysis, but yeah that was my first experience working and realizing that money isn’t infinite.
24. Fifteen Thousand Dollars On Clothes?!
At 20, when I started dating my now-husband. He was raised by a single mom who worked three jobs and they still barely got by, while my mom was a SAHM and my dad was/is successful in his line of work.
My husband and I went to high school together. At the beginning of every school year, my parents would easily drop $15k on me and my sister for school clothes (yes, I am aware and I agree that this is a stupid amount of money to spend on clothing. To clarify, a large portion of that amount was spent on designer items/accessories); my husband would go with our HS secretary to get clothes that were paid for by the school district. I didn’t even know that was a thing …
23. People Will Treat You Differently If You’re Rich
When I moved out of my hometown for college, it was an absolute culture shock. I met other students who couldn’t go to their dream schools because of how much it cost so they had to go in-state. They didn’t eat out every other day. They bought secondhand clothes. Some had never traveled out of the country, some never even out of the state. Some were driving their parents’ first cars. That crap blew my mind. This is how the rest of the 99% of the country lives. I come from a filthy rich background, but I work hard to hide it so that you can’t tell. I dress normally, I don’t really talk about my background, I try to buy stuff on sale. Sometimes it shows in ways that I can’t help. I’d never seen crappy cars before going to college. I don’t know how to drive cars with poor handling, and I always forget to turn off the headlights because I’ve never driven a car without automatic lights. I don’t know how much anything costs because it doesn’t matter. I’ll still buy it anyway. I also don’t really value money–$100 just isn’t a big deal to me, but I know it means a lot to others, so I don’t mind giving it to friends who are in need. But if you don’t look too closely at my habits, you can’t tell. And that was a conscious decision that I’ve made.
I’m grateful for never having to worry about money, and I likely never will. But I don’t want to go back to my hometown because I think the lifestyle is unhealthy. There’s so much entitlement, and the worst part is how rich people think that money defines your worth. I’ve seen them look at people with less money with such disdain, like their value as a person is less since they don’t have as much money. It’s disgusting. And I don’t want to be associated with that kind of person. I also loathe the comments that come with it like “if I were rich like you …” and I put an end to those immediately if they come up. I don’t like being treated differently because of how much money I have, and I won’t treat you differently for how much money you have. We are both people, and we are both worth something.
22. True Love Isn’t About Money
This wasn’t me but my wife. She grew up well to do. I grew up in a trailer (like I can’t watch trailer park boys because it’s too real) trailer. We met in college which took everything in my power to get to; she, on the other hand, had it all paid for. We met, fell in love, etc. The first break, I took her home to my parents. Again TBP (Trailer Park Boys), so drugs, dirty, dingy, broken trailer. She met everyone and was nice enough.
That night, we went to bed and I woke up to her just sobbing. She had never realized how great she really had it and how broken and rough the world can be. As to where I was just thankful to be home with my family, on my nice bed (which in hindsight is the sketchiest thing ever–a bed with no sheets and alcohol stains and all that crap). Had I known what I know now about the upper-middle-class/wealthy world, I would have NEVER taken her home until I knew her better; I was surprised she stayed with me. I just grew up thinking that the way I lived was perfectly normal, until I met her parents.
21. You Can Still Be Happy Even With Less Money
I never took public transportation until I was 16. I didn’t know how to buy a ticket (or in fact, that a ticket is required). I was on a train from LA to Anaheim when I got busted for that, and my first response was: “What do you mean a ticket?” Also, I had never seen a washer/dryer until college. I had to call my roommate to ask for instructions. I didn’t put in any detergent because didn’t know it was a thing. I’d always had housekeepers do it for me. I was pretty embarrassed since I was going to a public college. What else … Oh, I never shopped for groceries until college. The cashier asked me if I needed cash back and I didn’t know how it worked and thought it’s like a rebate or something where they give you free money for a discount. I said, “Sure, as much as possible.” Then there was an awkward silence between me, my friend and the cashier for a good minute.
My relationship with my family got worse around my junior year. Eventually, it got to a point where they decided to stop giving me any spending money or paying for my tuition. I had three semesters before graduation and decided to start out on my own. I worked multiple jobs on campus and off campus including working as a busser, delivery, waiter, TA at school, private tutor, late-night shift Taco Bell cashier, and so many others. I gave my Porsche back to my parents (didn’t want to sell it for money because they bought it after all), moved out of my condo and moved in with my friend (the one who helped me with washer/dryer crisis). It took me another two and a half years to finish school. I’ve been on my own since then. My wife and I don’t have as much money as I had before, but I’m really happy where we are right now.
20. Learn To Stand On Your Own Feet
I grew up very privileged. When I look back on it, I never even appreciated it. When I was 17, I came out and went from privileged to getting kicked out and living on the street.
That was some years ago now and I’ve made a pretty amazing life for myself. In fact, I’m almost 100% positive that I’m better off than if I kept on my previous track. In every way.
19. Grades Aren’t Everything, Life Skills Are
Between my junior and senior year of HS, I got a job at a local tire shop because I liked cars and manual work (and needed beer money). I was a straight A student and actually prided myself on being a hard worker, but didn’t really understand the degree to which no one gives a crap what your problem or excuse is; this work needs to get done. Two moments stick in my memory almost 20 years later: 1.) Mexican co-worker asks me, “What do they teach you in school? Because you can’t work for crap.” The dude was working six nearly 11 hour days per week and I was barely doing 40 hours. 2.) I screwed something up in the shop (I think it was mounting white walls the opposite of the customer’s request) and the shop manager was calling me an idiot for it. I said something like, “You know I have a 4.2 GPA, right?” to which he responded, “I don’t give a crap, quit screwing up.”
In those moments I came to realize my Golden Boy “gifted” status didn’t excuse me from getting the freaking job done right, no matter how simple I should be. It actually ushered in an attitude of reverse snobbery against upper middle class (and above) people and their incredible helplessness.
18. A Realization Trip
Three years ago, my girlfriend took me to Mexico City. She’s got family there, we took the local transport and started looking around slums and neighborhoods and I saw hardworking people that have to defend themselves from thieves, narcos, and cholos, lower hard working-class people, struggling through daily hardship. Ever since that trip, I knew what life truly means and the value of the privileges that I got, and how I was wasting them on material crap that I actually don’t need.
I called both my parents that day, crying, telling them how much I loved them. They got scared at first and told them that I’m alright I was just calling them to thank them for everything they provided and how sorry I was for being such a pretentious insecure unthankful jerk while growing up. I swore to them that I would work my butt off to give them as twice as they provided me, so they won’t have to lift a finger anymore. As of today I’m about to start a second venture, not a single dime from them was asked to any of them nor any family member.
17. A Small Amount Would Mean A Lot To Others
I wasn’t necessarily spoiled but I definitely grew up in a very privileged family. Upper middle class, academic dad and lawyer mum. I was 17 and I got a job as a porter at a hotel to save and travel for a bit before going to university. I went to Jogjakarta, Indonesia to see Borobudur, and I was staying in a decent-but-not-crazy-fancy hotel near the temple. It was my first night and I had no idea if tipping was the normal thing and didn’t have any rupiah on me so I put a US $5 bill under my plate when I left.
As the waitress cleared the plates and I was walking away, she freaked out, thinking I had left it there. She didn’t speak a lot of English but I got it across that it was a tip and she basically broke down. It was basically no money so I was really confused. I made the mistake of googling the median wages of the area when I got back. Median, not even minimum, salary is about $3,000 a year. What I made in about two hours at a minimum wage hotel job, she made in a week working hard for 80 hours. I tipped WELL all through my trip. Even bought the knickknacks from the hawkers by the temple. It was gutting.
16. Come On, Not Everyone Is Rich As You
The moment for me was when my parents forced me to work at McDonald’s at 16. I didn’t need the money but I was getting a paycheck from McDonald’s and my parents were also paying me to work there to develop character. So I was basically getting two paychecks, or one paycheck and a hefty allowance. It wasn’t until my manager said, “Who drives a Lexus?”
Three months into working that I got the reality check that I was spoiled rotten. I just thought everyone got a Lexus or BMW as their first car. She asked if I knew how much it cost and I said: “I don’t know–$10k?” They all had a good laugh and thought I was being humble, but that was my awakening.
15. When It’s Gone
I’m a teen living in one of the richest zip codes in the U.S. I have a college fund, a new car of my own, and have gone to private school my entire life. I’m terrified of being the spoiled rotten kid. As a child, I would be embarrassed when my dad came to pick me up from school in his Porsche. I knew the negative connotations of being the rich kid. I had seen Verruca Salt’s demise. I have a couple of very low-effort occasional jobs (i.e. babysitting), but the money ends up laying around.
I’ve only worried about money once in my life, when I was at a summer class and ran out of cash and didn’t know where the nearest ATM was. I have no budgeting skills, I don’t spend a lot of money on things but that’s because I never have to pay for essentials. I have no clue how I’ll know what to do when the cushion’s gone.
14. We Got To Learn Simple Chores
I believe that having maids present can spoil you quite a bit. I had a maid and she used to do all the cooking for us. While I did cook or bake from time to time (usually as bonding with my mother), all the ingredients were prepared for me.
One day I went to this camp and they asked us to skin some carrots. While my friends were happily skinning along, I was really struggling and having difficulties. In the end, my friend had to skin all my carrots for me. Later on, I found out that I was using the wrong side of the skinner the whole time. Though maids are helpful, learning how to do simple chores by yourself can really turn out useful in life.
13. Promises Are Just Words
My paternal grandparents are millionaires. I always assumed growing up that I would never have to worry about scholarships, grants, etc. as long as I got good grades in high school, because that’s what they told me. Fast forward to college, and … no. They took back everything they promised me and left paying for me and my sister’s education on my single-parent dad, who had experienced no trickle-down of his family’s wealth.
I knew that being the older sister meant I was the one who had the first and possibly only shot at school being paid for, being that my dad could only pay cash (he’d defaulted on his credit cards, taxes, etc). I dropped out of college in my third year so my sister could pursue her dreams and enroll in UC Davis. Now I work at a liquor store as a manager and I don’t even make a living wage. I grew up thinking that because my grandparents were wealthy, I could go to any school I wanted with a full ride. Ended up being quite the opposite. But at least my fee fee is happy.
12. There Will Be Lows In Life
My dad would take me clothes shopping every weekend. He would buy me any doll or video game I wanted. It happened for a while and then ended around the time I was 8. I, an obvious child, didn’t know anything about money–until our house was foreclosed on us. They couldn’t afford to live in the house anymore and we had 24 hours to get the hell out. I didn’t exactly know what was going on, but I knew it wasn’t good. My dad had to explain to an 8-year-old that the place I called home was now being taken from me. Thankfully my dad’s work paid for a hotel for a few weeks until my parents got enough money to find somewhere to rent. We eventually moved and then the worst happened yet again; we were facing not being able to afford things. I was in 5th grade worrying about money. I had to help my parents add up our items in the shopping cart to make sure we didn’t go over $100. I didn’t get new clothes until 7th grade and even then it wasn’t anything like how it was before. To top it all off, my mother got cancer and medical bills set us back like no other.
We moved back to the state we lived in before and we got a really nice duplex. There wasn’t any money issue for a few months until yet again … money becomes an issue and we get kicked out. We ended up moving to a place above a business meant for two people at most …we were a four-person family. It was horrible. My parents filed for bankruptcy multiple times and had to take cases to court because bills went unpaid. My dad is finally at 48 years old trying to rebuild credit but is still slightly struggling. It breaks my heart because I know all he wanted to do was provide for the family and couldn’t. Having those experiences may be minor to others but it left a big impact on my life. No 8-year-old child should have to worry about money. Ever. Instead of having a relaxed childhood, the real world hit me at 8 freaking years old. In a way, it made me who I am today. I get along with people older than me and I am much more mature for my age and have been since then.
11. No One Will Ever Love You Like Your Mom Does
I was raised just by my mom. We weren’t exactly rich, more like a middle-class, but she still spoiled me. If I wanted a new toy or game or whatever, she would get it for me even if it meant she had to work one or two extra shifts (even through the nights/early mornings, etc). Growing up I never realized how lucky I was and how much she worked and destroyed her health just so me and my siblings got everything we wanted. When I moved out at 17 (because of unrelated reasons) it broke her heart.
The real world hit me really hard then because I couldn’t (and now at 19 still can’t) handle money well and I learned what it means to save up money or that it’s more important to have dinner than to buy the latest steam games. But what also really humbled me was working at a homeless shelter. Seeing people that hit the bottom hard and just struggle to get by every day really makes one put things into perspective. Anyway, I still have a lot to learn and my mom still occasionally helps me out but at least I’m not an ungrateful little jerk anymore. I love you, Mom.
10. Don’t Judge People By Their Clothes
I was spoiled rotten until I had to move to another country to finish my studies. I never had to cut my own nails because maids will do it for me. Never cooked, never even clean up my own room. Then I asked my parents to finish college in another country and I became embarrassed by my own spoiled butt because I couldn’t do anything. I had a few housemates and friends and all of them were handy and … really “smart.” Like they knew how to clean things up in the most efficient way and they knew how to get along with people who didn’t wear nice clothes. I automatically wrinkled my nose whenever I talked to people who were sweeping floors or driving trucks, etc.
Life was quite hard in my first year of uni because of my own detriment. I tried to get off from my high horse and all of a sudden the world became better. It’s exhilarating not to think too much about how people were going to abduct me or rob me.
9. Struggles Turned Into Inspiration
I grew up thinking we had money. Turns out we didn’t. My parents just spoiled me every time I threw a fit. When I was 16, I chose to do a bio assignment on my mom because I realized I knew very little about her youth. My mother told me her best birthday gift was every three years, she’d get new slippers since she tore through her one pair from growing. And that her annual gift was fabric to make her own dress. I had recently begged for a homecoming gown that was $250 so that made me feel instantly horrible. She didn’t see a movie until she was 17 years old, which hurt me the most since the cinema had shaped my life up to that point. The thought of being deprived such a lovely escapism was hard to hear. She also never had an education and didn’t read until her late 30s.
Learning about how my mother grew up was life-changing to me. We weren’t rich but I was so spoiled rotten. I’m not sure if it was because my parents knew what it was like to have nothing. She grew up on a rural farm without electricity and when she moved to America for the first time at 23, she asked her soon-to-be husband what the white machine in the kitchen was and he said “a dishwasher!” This inspired me to never ask for money or beg again. Starting that month, I saved three months of wage to buy my first real camera at 16. I now make way more than I thought possible with my camera. I don’t think without her struggles and hearing her struggles, I would have ever gotten close. Believe me, I’ve tried to pay it forward to her. The woman does not want gifts ever. So I try to create experiences with her instead. We go on road trips, mommy/daughter dates, have daily gym workouts and I’m planning a really big 60th birthday party for her next year.
8. How Valuable Money Is
My family was always very well-off, but I never realized how much until I met my best friend. I remember him telling a story about having to sleep in a car for about a week and “showering” in fast food store restrooms. I was really confused, and asked him why they didn’t just go camping if they wanted to live away from home.
When he explained that his mother couldn’t pay for the house that month, I was dumbfounded. Even more so when he told me he had gotten used to going to bed hungry, and eating ketchup sandwiches as the end of the month drew closer. I couldn’t imagine the idea of being so poor that you didn’t have consistent access to food or shelter. The idea of money being tight at the end of the month was also one that I never thought about–I thought money was to be saved, collected for a rainy day and saved some more, not portioned out between necessities in a ratio that would make you least likely to feel pain and discomfort.
7. Barely Have Enough
There was this really cool bike that I saw while I was at Walmart with my parents. It had gearing in the front and back, with full-on brake disks, and a device that reads your speed and distance. I got on it, and started begging my parents to get it.
While that happened, out of the corner of my eye, I saw another kid. This kid had seen me on the bike and had asked his mother if he could have it. The mother replied, “No, we barely have enough to feed ourselves.” I sat there, thinking about it. It finally got me, and I became depressed the whole afternoon. To make matters worse, I got banned from club penguin.
6. Nothing In Life Is Just Handed Over On A Silver Platter
The first time I went a week living on beans and ramen because that’s what was in the house and I didn’t have any money. I learned that in the real world, everything is not just handed to you.
I’m still a bit spoiled and I still have issues with prioritizing expenditures, but I’m much better than I was when I was 21 years old.
5. The Real Spirit Of Christmas
I was born and raised in LA, California up until my high school years. My parents weren’t all that rich, but my aunt married a rich man (a great uncle at that too, not because of money) and we got A TON of gifts at Christmas every year. I mean clothes, my favorite books. My brother even got a Gameboy and a GBA that I would occasionally steal for my entertainment.
We moved to Washington when I was about to start high school, and still had the mindset of, I will get a ton of stuff at Christmas presents. A lot of things changed that year. I got a wake up call. During that same year, my Washington cousins’ house burned down. They never had the luxury to begin with, but during that Christmas I only got two gifts (I used to get what felt like a Dudley amount of gifts) but their local firefighters got together and came and brought them bags of gifts like I used to, but with clothes and other necessities. I was jealous. I wanted to cry, but for all the wrong reasons. I realized that day that those Christmas presents were more valuable than what I got before. I learned to appreciate everything that was given to me since then.
4. How Fortunate He Was
My parents were not rich by any means but my father was a good provider in terms of always making sure both me and my mother had what we needed, such as clothes, lunch money, food, and medical care, etc. He did not let us worry or do without. I was the only child and my parents had me late in their life so I was very overprotected and sheltered. I just thought this was how everyone lived.
That is until I spent the night with one of my friends from school whose family was of a lower income and struggled often. I had no idea how he lived until I got to his house and they were calling family members to try to pay some of their bills and talking about food stamps. They had no gas money to go anywhere and every one of them smoked and had five inside dogs which had ruined their carpet. I ended up eating a ham sandwich and having to use a wash cloth to take a quick two-minute shower. It opened my eyes to many things and made me realize how fortunate I was.
3. There Are Wealthier Families
I was spoiled but without truly realizing it until I was 10-12 years old. A few years before, my parents moved our family from the Pacific Northwest to London, England, and my brother and I later attended one of the most respected and revered schools in England. Royalty and peers have attended this school for centuries, and young me attended beside Princes, Dukes, and Earls, etc.
There was obviously some culture shock for me, moving to a new country, but at Eton, it was the first time I was exposed to the peerage, and to students that were FAR MORE wealthy than my (already very wealthy) family, while at the same time being around kids FAR less wealthy than my family who generally attended on scholarship or patronage. This exposure to the peerage and such broad ranging wealth disparity opened my eyes through my early teens, and I can truly say it changed my life.
2. Laziness Won’t Get You Anywhere
Now, I wouldn’t say I was spoiled by any means, but I sure as hell was lazy as heck. When I eventually moved out on my own, the word “consequences” meant nothing to me. It took me nearly starving a couple of times (including a particularly unpleasant three weeks in which I did some things I’m not very proud of) and eventually getting kicked out on my butt to learn my lesson.
I was taken in and given a job by the family of a guy I barely knew from high school, and we’re close as brothers now. But to this day I’m still working on paying back the kindness of friends I don’t deserve who paid my rent- multiple times.
1. When You’re Not Used To Do Things At Home
Not impressive, and I was not THAT spoiled. Like I had to work since 16 but I was definitely spoiled more than other kids as an only child and living only with my dad so we have a strong bond. When I moved out, all the little things my dad did for me that I took for granted was a reality shock when they were not being done.
Simple things like moving my clothes from washer to dryer and starting the dishwasher and buying for trash bags and toilet paper. I’ve been out for two years and it’s fine now but the first 8-12 months were a bit crazy and my girlfriend and I fought a lot over messy apartment because I could not keep up with chores.