“I’ll pay double whatever he’s offering!” Money = Entitlement?

At the ripe old age of 27, I had an encounter with entitlement during a quaint neighborhood garage sale in the suburbs of Chicago, which I remember with a mix of embarrassment and amusement.

The day was sunny and perfect for bargain hunting. As I strolled between tables laden with trinkets and toys, my eyes landed on a beautiful vintage bicycle. It was exactly what I had been looking for: a retro-style bike with gleaming handlebars and a charming wicker basket. The only problem? Another shopper, a middle-aged man, was already examining it.

In a moment of pure entitlement, fueled by my desperate desire to own that bike, I approached the seller and loudly declared, “I’ll pay double whatever he’s offering!” I flashed a confident smile, expecting applause for my bold move. The seller, a kindly older woman, looked at me and then at the man, who seemed both amused and annoyed by my interruption.

“Son,” she said, turning to me with a stern look that could wilt flowers, “this isn’t an auction, and I don’t appreciate that kind of attitude. I was just about to give it to him for free—he’s my nephew.”

The air seemed to whoosh out of me as if I were a deflated balloon. My face turned a spectacular shade of red, and I mumbled an apology before retreating, amid the suppressed chuckles of other garage sale goers.

The outcome was clear: I left without the bike and with a bruised ego. The lesson, however, was invaluable. I learned that being pushy and feeling entitled can not only ruin your chances at a good deal but also make you the unwitting star of a neighborhood comedy. From then on, I decided to approach life—and garage sales—with a lot more humility and a little less bravado.

Share the Entitlement!