Often, folks who haven't accomplished much in their lives but still want to take a dig against others will point to qualifiers that the other person doesn't have much control over. Aspects of their natural physical appearance, or their age, will often be brought up to demean that individual.
While it's pretty grimy to make fun of somebody because of the way that they were born or for how they look, ageism often doesn't get viewed in the same way, and there are plenty of folks out there who will be quick to laugh at someone because of their age.
Maybe it's got something to do with the fact that old, lame, and boring characters were always viewed as the enemy (for the most part) in the films that we grew up watching. Or, maybe it's because it's a crumby way for someone to feel superior to another individual who may naturally be closer to death than they are.
Natalie says that she came to this realization while shopping at the mall where she was asked by an employee at checkout for her email address to locate her account with the store, presumably for rewards/discounts/and all other sorts of goodies businesses offer repeat customers.
Natalie says that she was "email shamed" for the addresses she asked the worker to look up, and that the employee seemed aghast that anyone would have such esoteric-sounding email addresses. Natalie relayed her story:
"Gen Z really knows how to make me feel like I'm a dinosaur. Like I'm ancient. Like 27 is the new 50. I was at the mall today and I went to go return something and like everybody knows they ask for your email so that they can find your account. So the girl at the register looked like she was 15 or 16 years old. She, you know, asked for my email so I said yada, yada, yada, @aol.com."
Apparently, the young woman who was standing behind the counter had never heard of America Online, nor would she ever know the joy of not being able to go on the internet if someone else decided to make a phone call, or listen to the dial-up modem sound go off until you were finally connected to her account, ready to troll fans in the N'Sync chatroom to talk about how much better the Backstreet Boys were.
"You know she kind of like made a face and then typed in and she was like oh I can't find your name I was like okay why don't you try blah blah blah at bellsouth.net. Tell me why she made another face."
The second facial contortion was the last straw for Natalie, who had to ask the employee whether or not she'd ever heard of the telecommunications company that would eventually become a subsidiary of AT&T.
"And I was like have you never heard of like BellSouth? She's like actually no I've never heard of AOL either but sometimes like the older people that come in have those emails like Hotmail too." Older people. Older people," Natalie repeats again, not hiding how offended she was by the comment made by the teen retail worker.
At this point in the video, Natalie appears to do her best to hold back just how irate she is over the comment made by the employee, but nonetheless resolves her to not be nasty, but throw an equal amount of shade on the young whippersnapper who seems to believe that her parents' decision to conceive her at a later date is somehow a personal accomplishment: "Queen, I'm only 10 years older than you. So me, being the older adult that I am noticed that she was wearing a Nirvana t-shirt."
It's at this moment that Natalie decides to hit the teen worker with the mark of the poser: here this young woman was rocking a t-shirt for a band she probably never once listened to:
"Are you doing it for the plot or do actually know the band?" Natalie wondered to herself before verbally slapping the young woman with some payback.
"So I asked her oh my Gosh! I love Nirvana like what's your favorite song? She gave me a look. I gave her a look and that was it. The rest of the exchange was pretty quiet. You're calling me old through my emails and you're wearing a freaking t-shirt from an older band that you don't even know one of their songs?"
At the end of the video, Natalie still seemed to be perturbed by the younger employee's comment, stating that because she was born in 1996, she technically tows the line of being either a Gen Z'er or a last-year millennial.
"And just to be fair, Google says that anyone born in 96 considered the last year of millennials and then other pages say that 96 is the first year of Gen Z's and you know sometimes I'm like in the mix of both but I guess having a bellsouth.net email makes me millennial."
There's an argument to be made, however, is that if you can remember what life was life before always having a cell phone and internet access, then there's a good chance you're a millennial.
And while there were plenty of commenters who found it funny that there are Gen Z'ers out there who have no idea what Nirvana is, with some even quipping that youngsters think the Grunge band is actually a clothing brand, there were others who were millennials themselves who thought that Natalie's email address screamed "I've fallen and I can't get up."
What do you think the qualifiers of being considered "old" are? Does it really just boil down to one's age? Or does it have more to do with one's cultural upbringing, i.e. knowing what a BellSouth email address is or not? Hey, at least it wasn't MCI Mail she was receiving on a Lucent technologies device.