An article in an obscure Australian publication incited a baby boomer/millennial debate over avocado toast. Despite the pompous assertion that youngins could buy houses if only they saved instead of brunching, the old man has a point. Maybe we should all eat less brunch.
In a seemingly benign trashing of hipster brunch, writer Bernard Salt lampooned millennials for spending money on expensive meals. How you can you cough up “$22 a pop” for smashed avocado toast when you simultaneously complain about the price of housing, he wrote. The response to Salt’s comments was swift, with some calculating that it would take 9,100 avocado toasts to save for a down payment on a house in Salt’s lucrative residence of Sydney. His curmudgeon take on “the evils of hipster cafes” and the subsequent backlash from bloggers have come to define the baby boomer/millennial divide. While those over 50 wonder what happened to saving and frugality, the “younger generation” maintains that an expensive lifestyle is actually the only thing they can afford.
Calling brunch “the opiate of the masses,” columnist Brigid Delaney described the trend as excessive but sensible. While housing costs have exploded (at least in some cities), the price of other goods remain affordable. So unable to buy a house, millennials are spending money on food, phones, and travel. “The price point of entry is much lower than property,” she states. It is easier to have brunch in a nice neighborhood where she can’t afford to buy a house than to save for the ungodly-expensive real estate. At the same time, Delaney laments the drunken effects of brunch.
Sitting in a minimalist cafe for hours—sipping on bottomless mimosas and munching on artisanal bread—distracts from “the necessary activism or political action against the offensively unequal society we are now living in.” Full from brunch, we are unable to address the system that feeds us $22 toast. So despite the old-ass take on hipster restaurants spouted off by Salt, maybe we could all do with a little less brunch. Or maybe just make it at home.