A US man’s complaint about the “psycho behaviour” of Gen Z has backfired after the internet pointed out the issue seemed to be with his country, not the younger generation.
It is not uncommon to see older generations ranting about the behaviour young people online, but one man’s tweet about how Gen Z pay for their drinks in bars had really struck a nerve.
Last month Willy Staley, story editor at The New York Times magazine, took to social media to complain about “Zoomers” – another name for those in Gen Z – “paying with credit cards and closing out on every round” at the bar he was in.
“This is psycho behaviour. Someone needs to teach these children how to go to the bar,” he wrote.
According Staley, the only appropriate way to buy drinks at a bar is to start a bar tab and pay your whole bill at the end.
He even suggested it was “empowering to carry a little cash around” and that Gen Z should “know about stuff like this”.
The post quickly gained traction and it didn’t take long for people to point out that, outside of the US, paying for your drinks as you go and not paying in cash is the norm.
Many commenters were confused by Staley’s visceral reaction to young people not starting a tab and using their cards to pay for drinks.
People from Australia, the UK, Europe and other parts of the world were quick to turn on the US, accusing the country of being in the “dark ages”.
“In Australia most people go round for round because then you know who’s round you’re up to and it’s instant payments,” one person wrote.
“I’m Australian and haven’t paid for anything using cash for years. For real. America is in the dark ages,” another said.
One simply said: “Tell me you’re American without telling me you’re American.”
While Aussies may be used to just tapping their cards or phones at the pub, it turns out the process is very different for Americans.
Contactless payment is a lot less common in the US and, because of the tipping system, paying is a slightly longer process.
This means that for busy bartenders, having customers pay after every drink takes considerably more time than just adding it to a tab.
But it appears even some Americans are baffled by bar his strange bar etiquette, with US woman Haley Horton saying it was things like this that make her realise she is “not as culturally American as I think I am”.
In a TikTok video, she explained she has lived in the UK since she was 18, but when she was back visiting she paid for her drinks after every round “because that’s how everyone pays for drinks is every other part of the world”.
“We had absolutely no idea it was a faux pas. The psycho behaviour that this man has described is literally how you buy drinks everywhere else,” she said.
“It baffles me. That fact that it is not only the norm in America, but that they don’t realise it’s not the norm everywhere else. What insanity.”