Things you should never say to a poor person

I’m so sick of people stopping by my desk and casually remarking about their lives that are the way they are because that person makes more money than I do. Those people remain utterly insensitive to the fact that it hurts (yes, hurts) to hear about all the privileges they enjoy because of some combination of luck and circumstance. Here’s some advice for those tactless folks.

Let me preface this post by saying that I mean “poor” here with all of its colloquial, non-P.C. connotations intact. Just so we’re clear.

1.) “Why don’t you get a haircut/a new car/some new clothing/a manicure? I know a great place.”

A woman giving a manicure
Photo courtesy of Joe Shlabotnik on

Because getting a new haircut/a new car/new clothing/a manicure is out of my teeny, tiny, basically non-existent budget right now.


2.) “I used to work in retail, and I loved it!”

A man working in a convenience store
Photo courtesy of rpavich on

Oh, you worked in retail 30 years ago? When you were 16? I’m sure it was enough fun to fill 10 Boston Stores. Unfortunately, I’m working in retail for the same wages you made in 1986. But I’m in my 30’s, have two degrees, and am under-stimulated to death.


3.) “Can you tell me more about this hand-carved wooden bowl/pot handmade in France/hand-forged Japanese knife/scarf hand-knitted in Bali?”

The Royal Arcade mall in Melbourne
Photo courtesy of Alpha on

I would, but I don’t make enough money working in this store to buy that hand-carved wooden bowl/pot handmade in France/hand-forged Japanese knife/scarf hand-knitted in Bali, so I’ve never used it. Read the instructions.


4.) “Did you enjoy your weekend?”

A hand on a beach holding up a margarita
Photo courtesy of

YOU got a weekend. I had to work at my other job. If you don’t want me bringing you down with my response remember it next Monday and don’t ask.


5.) “I didn’t know what to do with poor Chairman Meow while we were in Cape Cod, so I took him to a pet spa and resort. They let him out of his room three times a day to walk around the Frisky Feline Freeway.”

Clothing at a high-end dog boutique
Photo courtesy of Mr.TinDC on

Not only does my cat not stay at resorts or spas when I vacation, I don’t stay at resorts or spas. It’s either couchsurfing or AirBnB for me. Assuming I’m lucky enough to go on a vacation.


6.) “My crazy neighbor keeps threatening to cut the branches off of my beloved elm tree because they hang into her yard. It’s really stressing me out.”

A mansion with a large yard
Photo courtesy of Dave Catchpole on

Newsflash: I have bigger problems than your crazy neighbor and your stupid  tree. Hell, give me a tiny shack with an overgrown elm and a neighbor twice as crazy as yours. I’d probably cry with gratitude.


7.) “How can I possibly eat all the fish from my organic fish share each week? I’m totally freaking out that I don’t have enough recipes.”

Fish at a fish market
Photo courtesy of Michael Maggs on

Let me get this straight: you have so much organic fish that you have to complain about it. And you didn’t offer me any? F@ck you.


8.) “It’s so annoying when (fill in spouse’s name)’s dad takes us to his Caribbean vacation home, then insists on buying us eggs for breakfast when there are mouthwatering croissants at this little bakery down the street.”

A croissant and other breakfast items on a table
Photo courtesy of

Ditto #7.


9.) “You know, Martin Luther King Day.”

Martin Luther King holding a medal
Photo courtesy of

(assumes that because you work at a low-paying job you must be stupid)


10.) “Didn’t you go to college? You must have done something wrong to be making so little money.”

An angry looking woman pointing at the camera
Photo courtesy of Luke Addison on

I’m clearly smarter than you, dickwad.  At least I’m intelligent enough to realize our economy is in the toilet and reports that it’s “bouncing back” really mean more low-wage, part-time, and temporary jobs are replacing the good ones.



7 thoughts on “Things you should never say to a poor person

  1. I know the exact feeling and I use to work in retail as a manager and while I had no degrees, as soon the economy went into the toilet, we had so many people with amazing degrees applying for part time positions and people (customers) would treat them like shit assuming if you are in retail you are stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

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