I’m not an angry person. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a happier person than me. I’m the guy that for some reason thanks a cop after getting pulled over and given a speeding ticket. I simply believe that acting sour serves no real purpose in my life. But there is one thing that usually turns my mood upside down instantly: the devaluation of any human being. Sometimes it’s purposeful, sometimes it’s accidental, and sometimes it’s just stupid
And for me, it all starts with the ridiculous phrase: Very Important Person (VIP). Maybe you haven’t thought twice about this phrase, but I’ve actually lost sleep over it. I remember hearing it the first time as a kid, and thinking “wow, I hope that I’m important someday.” Did those thoughts ever motivate me to try harder and do more? No. Could the phrase discourage a person who is in a rough spot in their life and already feeling an absence of self-worth?
The perfect example of this is the VIP section of a nightclub. You know, where they have the “bottle service”. Bottle service, if you don’t already know, is what people get in order to feel important. And in many cases, they make really stupid financial decisions in order to feel important. In fact, many stupid financial decisions are driven by the desire to feel important.
Unfortunately I have been called a VIP many times. Clearly, it’s not because I feel that I’m the classic definition of a VIP. I get called that because I’m in the media, and because Pete the Planner apparently is an easy to remember brand. But every time that I’m called a VIP or even wrangled into a VIP area, I feel like a jerk. I like to think that I have no sense of entitlement.
Maybe I’m overreacting, but I just feel that using the term VIP is an act of classless classism. Who is deciding who is important anyway? Usually the people that think they are more important than everyone else. I refuse to use this seemingly harmless yet subliminally harmful phrase. I ask you to join me. Say no to classism, and say no to lazy idioms such as VIP.
Am I overreacting? Leave a comment and let me know.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.