Hello! Self-absorbed millennial here. Can we talk a minute about avocado toast? Because there’s something about that douchecanoe’s statements that have been bugging me, and it’s actually not his complete ignorance of how much houses cost even though that is literally his job. No, it’s about the avocado toast itself.
See, I’m a millennial, and I subsist solely on overpriced brunches and selfies. But what if I took his advice and skipped avocado toast this weekend? Would the world come to an end? Would I suddenly be rich? Let’s find out.
I have never actually eaten avocado toast (I find quinoa to be much more effective at annoying older generations) but a quick google search of “avocado toast near me” leads to a hipster brunch place that serves avocado toast and eggs for $11. Adding tax and tip, that comes to $14. What will I do with these newfound riches? I should probably get some breakfast because I am still hungry. Let’s say I’m very frugal and pick up a granola bar at the bodega for $1.90 (including tax) instead. I put my remaining $12.10 into a savings account.
The best savings account I can find online (because of course I cannot look up from my phone for more than five minutes at a time) pays 1.05% APY. I might be able to get a better rate in a different financial vehicle, but with only $12.10 to start with I won’t meet the minimum balance requirements. After one year, though, I have earned 61 cents in interest. My frugality has paid off! Unfortunately, it has not paid off enough for me to buy myself a replacement brunch.
But let’s say I’m super frugal and not at all narcissistic just like those folks who non-ironically named themselves the “Greatest Generation” and I let that baby sit and gain interest for a full decade. My avocado-shaped nest egg has now grown to a whopping $13.43, which, although better than before, is still not enough to buy a goddamned slice of avocado toast. My overwhelming urge for instant gratification suggests that maybe I would have been better off just eating it when I wanted it.
“But wait!” I hear all 65 million Baby Boomers cry out in unison, “you haven’t changed your selfish avocado-eating ways! If you want financial stability, you have to make sacrifices and hard choices, like we did.” OK — let’s chug a kombucha and do this for real. I make the sacrifice of foregoing avocado toast for that *entire decade*. Unlike most millennials, who are special snowflakes and eat brunch at least six times a day, I’m more like the majority of Americans in brunching no more than once a month. With a monthly deposit of $12.10, I will have $1543 in my savings account after a decade. Now that’s something to tweet about!
But after living in a post-avocado nightmare for the past 10 years, when I finally emerge in 2027 all I can think about is avocado toast. It’s been so long, I’ve almost forgotten what avocados taste like. But while I stood still in my brunchless frugality, the world kept turning. Avocado toast prices are now over $17. But I’m rich, baby! I can buy — I tap my calculator app furiously because I got a participation trophy in math class — 91 orders! That sounds like a lot. It’s certainly more brunches than I could buy back in 2017. But before I invite 90 of my favorite Instagram followers to brunch with me, I realize that although over the years I skipped 120 brunches, now I can buy only 91. My bottomless mimosa does nothing to quench the existential despair beginning to claw at my throat. What have I gained? What has it all been for? Who ate the remaining 29 orders of avocado toast?
The brunch turns to ash in my mouth. I have wasted my youth chasing a promise of an avocado-free path to wealth and happiness, but where has it led? My toast is soggy with tears; it tastes of burnt crumbs and forgotten dreams. A familiar oldies song plays faintly in the background, reminding sad middle-aged millennials like myself that in the end, it doesn’t even matter.
Photo credit: John Cummings.