My Message to Millennials


Many of my working colleagues are starting to not think about work at all. Each evening they stare into the distant horizon at the sunset because they have nothing better to do. Those sunsets now begin to predict a different sunrise the next day. They fantasize about not driving in traffic. They fantasize about not participating in important meetings that only lead to more important meetings. They fantasize about getting up in the morning whenever they feel like it is time to get up. RRSPs will no longer be added, but subtracted from their life savings. The baby boomers are now senior boomers and they are going to retire.

Decades of conversations that were dominated by children’s hockey schedules, children’s dance lessons, the regretting of our parental support of Pogs, Beanie babies and Pokeman cards are now transforming into conversations exploring far less interesting topics like financial planning, aching bodies and trips far away from home.

What bolted me from my couch to my computer, and by bolted I mean I read an article about two months ago, and it occurred to me the message of that memorable editorial, was starting to affect the tempo of my golf swing. A female author, named Ashley Lutz, using something called research, offered insights into this mysterious group of young people we have labeled as the millennials.

The article supplied undeniable evidence that this developing generation, are making fundamental decisions that are and will effect the future as we know it. These young adults have an irritating tendency to participate in a non-invasive activity we call online shopping.

For those of you who do not possess a computer, or do have a computer but only use it to play solitaire because you believe this Internet is a tool used to perpetuate that long forgotten Communist Conspiracy that still surprisingly dictates your every move, let me explain to you what on line shopping really means. Online shopping is like real shopping except there are no crowds to deal with, no problems finding parking spots, no waits in long cashier lines, as the lady in front of you tries to exchange her husband’s slightly used bathing suit for brighter nail polish. Online shopping supports the notion that your personal hygiene status is irrelevant to your shopping experience as you continually add items to an icon that cleverly looks like a shopping cart.

Online shopping or more accurately sweat pant shopping, is like calling your favourite store on the phone to buy something, except, and here is the disappointing part, you don’t get to actually talk to sullen uninterested sales clerks.

Now that may sound all nice and science fictiony to you and your progressive technical attitude, but there is a catastrophic down side to this new shopping approach. Here is the line in this article that sent shivers down my old, arthritic spine, “the millennial generation is causing a significant decline in mall traffic.”

This trivial insight might not mean much to you today, but let me expose a little retirement reality based on my father’s past twenty years of unemployed bliss that may force your to declare, this is the most important blog ever written.

One surprising extracurricular activity that seeped into my parents daily retirement routine was mall walking. Every morning well before the long-term lease committed retail shops opened their heavy sliding doors at the local mall, my parents and hundreds like them, walked in circles around unopened designer stores. My parents and there friends tended not to shop at these trendy stylish emporiums because these fashion- setting outlets tended to appeal to more of the skateboarding demographic and far less to the Beatles generation.

My parents did this walk in circles for a short spurt as they waited for the coffee shop to open. When that coffee shop opened all walking activity ceased so they could sit at bolted down tables with bolted down chairs and solve the world’s problems. Protocol was established very early in these morning get-togethers. The men sat at their preordained tables and the ladies sat at tables just far enough away from the men, so they could barley hear their the gentlemen’s brilliant sports analogies.

As the years passed this happenstance grouping became the closest of friends. These walkers, “the walking dead” as my mean, insensitive brother calls them, were now the only network of contact each member could relate to with effortless commonality. All social activity revolved around these people and their family and homes. I got to know the names of the people, and met the walkers often. I was painfully aware of the maladies each had as each mall walker faced their own mortality with dignity and grace.

Like high school, factions emerged from the group. There were the “cool” walkers and the “not cool” ones. That segmentation led to my father creating an “A” list walker group, and the “B” list of his walker group. This important delineation allowed him to focus his aging energy. Simply put, he would choose to spend real non-mall time only with his carefully constructed A-list group.

As age overtook the old friends, the walking stopped, but the meeting for coffee every morning did not. Daily Trips to the mall were followed by daily trips to the hospital to visit these new old friends as they had tumours removed, appendages amputated, and electronic devices inserted into their vital organs whose human warranty had somehow expired. The walkers were never alone.

Jerry Seinfeld does a very funny stand up routine about humans making all of their friends by the age of seven. No others are allowed after that age. My parents have proved that to be wrong. I am currently in serious litigation with Mr. Seinfeld regarding the inaccuracy of his joke. We are at the discovery phase, and all I have discovered so far, is lawyers are very expensive friends to keep. As promising as this lawsuit appears, I find it discomforting when I hand over my certified cheques to these prestigious law firms, because hand rubbing and snickering is the only response I receive. I have learned a lot about the legal system during this landmark case, though I had to look up the word frivolous in the dictionary.  This word was used frequently to describe me in all of the legal letters I receive from these learned professionals… legal letters slowly written for $450.00 an hour.

Admiring my parent’s new tight group of friends, I have decided that this will be an essential part of my later retirement plan: So back to the millennials.

My message is short and sweet, as research and Twitter tells me if I use more than 140 characters to communicate my idea, you will quickly lose interest and download free software that will eliminate me from the internet. Speaking of characters one of my parent’s walker friends is a retired minister, who can recite the final scene from Casablanca verbatim.

So in 140 characters or less here is my message to the millennials.

Go to the malls immediately!

Using your parent’s money directed originally for their own retirement please purchase your must have labeled apparel and everything you don’t need at the mall!  Put your nicely encased iPhone down, close your iMac computer, shut off your iPad, put that iTune song you are currently listening to with your iBuds on pause, and  iTail to the mall right now.

When you meet your friends, who love to overpay for basic caffeine induced liquids, and you are purchasing your lattes, your espressos and your mochas, stay out of those cafes that rhyme with CarTrucks. Even though those cafes offer your required atmosphere to sip, let me restate and now I am begging you to go to the malls. Malls sell coffees. Sure you will have to navigate through the seventeen cellphone kiosks, that populate every mall on this continent but you will meet old friends. You will discover most of those kiosks employ your buddies from high school. This is where those long lost friends of your youth, who laughed at you when you applied for university, are currently reaping in the lucrative commission plan from their unique cell phone distributor who will gladly improve your current plan by offering unlimited texting throughout the galaxy.

I am not suggesting a long-term commitment here millennials, just a small commitment for about twenty-nine and a half years.  Do this, so I can enjoy the comfort of daily conversations with old friends like my parents do. Do this so that your parents will have somewhere to go after you eventually move out of the basement of their house.

Here are some, but not all, of the consequences of not complying with this simple request.

  1. When we are older we will all be moving into your house, emitting that old people scent all over your exquisite designer furniture.
  2. We will invite all of our old friends to your house every morning to share your coffee.
  3. Eventually we will figure out how your PVR works and we will record every episode of Greys Anatomy, or Matlock if we can find it.
  4. On the weekends my friends and I will just hang at your house and talk about things that will not interest you in the least.

That is it. Thank you millennials for your cooperation with your parent’s simple request. See you at the mall.







2 thoughts on “My Message to Millennials

  1. Dennis. Thank you for your insights into the importance of malls to our future happiness and well being (by “our”, I mean us aging folk) Currently, my visits to malls tends to be limited to the date “December 24th” of any given year, between the hours of 3pm – 5pm…usually in a panic induced hypertensive crisis. If your message is that we need to encourage Mellennials to visits malls on a frequent basis, I can assure you that my daughter Madeleine is more than making up for those Mellennials who are not doing their fair share!
    Thanks for your witty and insightful observations.

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