What to Do When You Become Middle Class: A Guide

Phew. Just had my tax appointment, at which I found out I actually made it into the middle class last year. That’s cool! Now I am the person to whom politicians are always directing their vacuous rhetoric. I feel special, because apparently the middle class is no longer a thing. Sort of like discovering a band before they make it big: you’re the only person at their monthly gig, thus making you the focus of all their attention.

Middle-class people have a responsibility to the rest of the population. They are to pay their taxes (check!), but complain about them vociferously, voting for whoever promises a bigger break. They should absolutely not help anyone beneath them, unless in the form of charity (tax-deductible!): in other words, should not go out of their way to help lower-class folks find permanent jobs or any corresponding perks such as benefits or sick leave. They should also complain quietly, but not too obviously, about upper-class people. Refrain from calling them elites and other such damning names, because they know deep down they too will be just as wealthy someday. It’s just a matter of time.

After all, the wealthy are wealthy largely because of an inherent benevolence that made them stomp less violently on others than they might have been inclined to on their way up. They are a gentle people, trained in the art of fork-selecting at dinner and deal-making over subdued golf games. And the wealthy desperately wish to help everyone else, so they are in the good business of creating jobs, one of which is held by you (now me!), the middle-class person. These wealthy sorts are hoping you will someday be like them and share in the wealth that they hold, so they are keen to create an upward path for the striving, deserving middle-class person.

Awright. This is awesome. While I do not have any benevolence in me as of yet, being only middle class, I do hope to acquire that trait when I’m rich. As such, I’ll write a wee how-to guide on being middle class for you all, seeing as I’m now an expert.

1. BUY SHIT.

Do you need this stuff?

I think you do!

It is your responsibility as a middle-class person to keep the economy going. I definitely know where I’m spending my lunch break tomorrow.

It’s better if you try to buy goods that are made overseas and sold here, since they are cheaper, which will free up your money to purchase more shit, and will also let you buy important things like free-trade coffee, free-run eggs, and sulfate-free shampoo; you see, it’s also your responsibility as a middle-class person to be quite liberal in your consumption practices. Not really. Just have like three or four things like that, which enable you to lord your social conscience over others at dinner parties and such.

2. When Not Shopping, Display Disgust at People Who Waste Time Shopping
You’ll need to watch your cash flow a bit, considering you’re not in the upper echelons of income earning quite yet, so when you need to hang for a night at home finding unique storage solutions for the shit you bought, consider also spending a bit of time doing any of the following:

a) watching Hoarders and congratulating yourself that you aren’t like ”those people”
b) reacting in a horrified way at the news footage of lower-class people pushing each other to get deals at Wal-Mart (there are also videos of this on YouTube)
c) getting angry that Housewives of Atlanta/Vancouver/etc. have nothing better to do than spend money on clothes, etc.
d) finding clothes you haven’t yet taken the price tags off of and trying them on

3. BUY SHIT.
Get back out there! Support the economy!

4. Open One of Your Bills and Complain.
It is completely unforgivable that interest rates on credit cards are 20%, considering the kind nature of your shopping acts. Perhaps you should call your credit card company and ask to speak to a manager. How dare they make money off hard-working people like you? Give them a piece of your mind. You can take your business elsewhere!

5. BUY SHIT.
You’ve had enough time off. Please shop. There’s a new artisanal cheese shop in the neighbourhood that should get you a few status points at book club next week.

6. Plan a Trip.
You work very hard. You deserve to spend a week at a resort, making non-white people serve you things in frosted glasses while you build up your tolerance to skin cancer.

Now, here’s the thing about planning a trip. You should sign up for the vacation deal emails that travel companies offer, because they too are in the business of ripping you off. But if you give up even 20 minutes of your morning every day at work to flip through the offers, you might score a serious deal. Seriously. Aim to pay less than $50 per day for food, accommodation, even a day tour off the resort. This is called supporting other economies.

7. BUY SHIT.
It is a temporary distraction from how bad you feel about yourself.

8. Write a Consumer Review.
This is the best expression of your middle-classness. Consumer reviews can take many forms: perhaps you did not receive quite enough foam on your Starbucks latte last time you were in the shoppe, and you’d like to give that overrun teenager sweating it out for $8 an hour a piece of your mind. Don’t bother. Email the head office instead. Demand a refund; in fact ask for a gift card that far exceeds what you spent if they expect to see your face in there again. Don’t back down.

Perhaps you enjoy the anonymous nature of online reviews. Opportunity for total jack-assery is the true gift offered by this forum. You’ll be able to replay the whole scenario of your disappointment with great detail, and future consumers will thank you for your candidness.

Sometimes news outlets offer a "consumer segment": your opportunity to become a star! If you had a really disappointing experience – like the wrong dishwasher was delivered to your house, or you bought a red car but ended up with a green one – you could call up your local TV station and regale them with the specifics. It’s great if you have a “human interest” angle (like, if one of the main functions of your car was to drive you to the volunteer job you hold after work hours, and now you can’t get there). People will weep for you.

8. JUST KEEP BUYING SHIT.
Soon, it will make you feel like your old, lower-class self again. Comforting.

That is, until you become a millionaire.