my trust fund coworker bullies staff for being “poor”

A reader writes:

We just got a new team member a few months ago, “Lucy.” Lucy makes no secret about it that she’s a trust-fund kid: private schools, Ivy League, owns a fancy horse, the works. She’s like a stereotype from a bad sitcom.

She’s in a role parallel with mine and we have to work together pretty frequently. We’re about the same age but I have a higher level of education (masters’s) and more time in our field than she does and this seems to annoy her. She always makes comments about “working hard” and “picking yourself up by your boot straps” and gets frustrated about “hand-outs.” She usually brings this stuff up in tandem with someone’s work she thinks is poor quality and it has nothing to do with the situation at hand — “Ted better fix this software glitch. Some people are just afraid of hard work and want handouts.” … “Laurie better not keep buying that Starbucks if she wants to save cash. Makes sense though with her work ethic.” Just awful, ignorant stuff.

We all live and work in a smallish city that’s been predicted to become a start-up boomtown but it’s very blue-collar and the median income is about $40k a year. The company we work for doesn’t pay more than $10 an hour at entry-level. None of us are making what we should be, but that’s a different story. I can’t help but feel like Lucy took a job here to lord her money over the poors. She makes it really clear she’s just gracing us with her presence and that she doesn’t need the paycheck.

In the beginning, it was annoying but now it’s downright baffling and infuriating. Our manager, “Sally,” hangs on her every word and has started mirroring Lucy’s socioeconomic ideas. Before Lucy came, Sally used to be very kind and well, normal.

People in our area struggled during the lockdown and a lot of my friends and family are in a financial bind through no fault of their own. My husband and I got by on luck and the skin of our teeth. Lucy overheard me make a comment about my landlord in conversation with another coworker and she gave me a disgusted look and said, “Oh my god, you still RENT? At YOUR age? That explains so much.” She then immediately ran to Sally and they spent the day whispering and looking over at me. For the record, Lucy owns three houses, two condos, and a beach house. There’s been rumbling that she’s given Sally keys to one of her vacation homes — a subordinate lending her expensive vacation home to her boss. That’s a problem.

Lucy and Sally now both make comments about people’s clothes, the cars they drive, and what they bring for lunch and have dismissed it all as obviously trashy or poor. Someone had ramen for lunch the other day and Lucy gagged and said, “Oh, gross.” It’s enough to make me start bleeding from the eyes, I’m getting so frustrated and angry. There is no reason for this kind of behavior ever. Is this a bad 80s movie?

Before I go to HR (because I have a lot of this documented), I want to make sure I don’t sound over-sensitive. I grew up poor and on food stamps. My husband was homeless as a teen. I’ve seen the drastic emotional, physical, and fiscal impact of poverty and am still recovering from it as an adult. To come to my place of work and hear someone like Lucy talk about her beach house and then call someone’s lunch “poor people food” makes me see red.

How can I approach this like a professional and not like my blood is boiling?

What the actual F.

Lucy is a terrible person and I want to banish her to a small and unpleasant island surrounded on all sides by oceans of ramen as far as the eye can see. (Although personally, I would love that island because ramen is delicious and eventually she would end up learning that out of desperation, so maybe that’s an insufficient penalty.)

And no, you are not overreacting or being overly sensitive.

It would be one thing if Lucy were just clueless — like if she were surprised to learn a colleague rented. That would still be quite obnoxious, but what takes this to a new level of awfulness is that she’s nasty about it. She’s gagging when someone eats inexpensive food. She’s giving people disgusted looks for renting and calling others trashy. She’s obsessed with the idea of “hand-outs.” She’s like a caricature of a villain in a teen movie, one that you’d roll your eyes at for being portrayed so unrealistically.

(Ironically, the only trashy thing here is Lucy’s behavior. She sounds like someone who thinks she herself is the epitome of class and taste, while daily showing herself to be classless.)

Has anyone tried calling her out on it? Like just saying, “Wow, you are really rude” or “What an grossly uneducated thing to say” the next time she makes one of these comments? If you haven’t, you should feel free to. Sometimes social shaming is warranted and effective. If nothing else, it might just feel good.

Of course, the more troubling part is that she’s sucked your boss into this now. If that weren’t the case, you could talk to your boss and ask her to tell Lucy to stop being hateful and obnoxious. But since Sally is apparently enjoying her proximity to wealth (or something?) in a truly screwed up way, you’re right to go to HR. I’m not normally a big fan of HR for interpersonal stuff — normally you should handle that stuff with the person directly or, if it needs to be escalated, with your boss — but in this case your boss is participating in really gross, classist, offensive behavior and has compromised her ability to effectively lead your team.

When you talk to HR, frame it this way: “Sally and Lucy have both been mocking employees’ clothes, food, and housing, and making fun of people for being what they consider poor. Some examples are X and Y, and this is happening daily. It’s made the working environment unpleasant and it’s difficult to trust Sally as a manager. I figured the company wouldn’t want this happening, especially from a manager. Is there a way for you to intervene and make it clear this isn’t okay?”

Sally and Lucy suck.

{ 642 comments… read them below }

    1. Campfire Raccoon*

      We can’t all be entitled classist trust-fund babies, Lucy. Some of us have to be genuinely good people and not base our self-esteem on handouts from our parents. But you keep doing you, because from here it looks like that’s all you got. We see you.

        1. Paige*

          LOL (makes me wish I had used Lucy as my sn for that reaction, just so your response would be extra biting)

        2. Can't Think of a Name*

          It might not be the most professional move, but nuclear sassiness would definitely be my go-to. Next time Lucy said something like that, I’d be loudly saying, “Not all of us can ride on our parents’ coattails,” “Not everyone can rely on the bank of Mommy and Daddy/can rely on HANDOUTS from Mommy and Daddy,” etc. Just really reiterate that she has earned none of her wealth

          1. Can't Think of a Name*

            Another potential comeback, “You still rely on YOUR PARENTS giving you money at YOUR AGE?! How embarassing!”

            1. drinking Mello Yello*

              Seriously. “Wtf is intergenerational wealth, anyway?”

              If I rolled my eyes any harder at Lucy, they’d pop out of my head.

            2. Marzipan Shepherdess*

              Wicked! I absolutely LOVE it! And the best part is that it’s all true: she didn’t earn anything of what she has, she’s had it all handed to her. She’s behaving like a bratty little kid who’s lording over the other children because SHE has better toys than THEY do…utterly oblivious to the fact that this is all due to her parents’ good income and good fortune, and that she herself did absolutely nothing to earn them.

              Are you SURE she’s over age 13? Because she certainly isn’t acting like it!

              1. MamaSarah*

                But to get anywhere with Lucy’s mentality, you’d have to both talk to her like she’s a spoiled tween and commit to not taking it personally. For example, “that was rude – is there another way to language your comment about poor people and ramen?” Or “Was what you said truthful, necessary, or kind?”. We do this as parents and educators because that’s the gig. Taking this on in workplace because you have an entitled co-worker…well, that’s not fair. And it sounds exhausting. Good luck, LW. Send an update!

                1. Can't Think of a Name*

                  This is definitely the better and more effective approach. The mockery/nuclear sarcasm is my knee-jerk reaction/what I wish I could say, but as other commenters have pointed out, sadly would probably not have the desired results

            3. PuzzleObsession*

              I think this Lucy’s behavior is atrocious. But I find it equally cruel to mock people for relying on someone else for financial support. I’m disabled and my parents support me. That shouldn’t be considered an embarrassment “at my age” or any age, and comments like these serve to reinforce that way of thinking. Why not just condemn bad behavior instead of adding to it?

              1. phred*

                Different situation, I’d say. Are you flaunting your wealth? Doesn’t sound like it. Do need the money to get by? Sound like you do. Are you a jerk? Hope not. :-)

              2. Can’t Think of a Name*

                I should clarify, I say this all as someone whose parents subsidize my finances VERY heavily. I just find Lucy to be so obnoxious, she deserves to have her noxiousness mirrored back at her

                1. Can't Think of a Name*

                  Of course! And thanks for pointing out your perspective about how these types of comments can be harmful. There is absolutely nothing wrong with needing to rely on your parents for financial support (our economic system has made that pretty much necessary for so many people), but putting down others and acting like it makes you better than other people is just… no. Just no.

              3. DyneinWalking*

                The difference is that she is taking pride in the parental financial support she receives, as if it was something that could be available to anyone if they just bothered to make it happen.
                It’s ok to have luck and accept its benefit, but not to consider it a personal virtue. By the same token, it’s not ok to mock someone just for benefiting from their luck – but many people will consider mocking someone for priding their luck quite a different matter.

                I totally get your knee jerk reaction to the suggestion, but please be aware that pretty much everyone who enjoys the idea of mocking her would also be absolutely horrified if this kind of mockery was aimed at someone like you.
                Most would probably also be horrified if the mockery was aimed at someone like me – I don’t have a need to be supported as such, but received a rather substantial “paving the way” type of financial support that aimed to reduce the cost of getting on my own feet. No, I wouldn’t dream of looking down at people for not having received this – I was raised to understand that it is luck, and that in a good political system should reduce the impact of such luck. As such, I have zero respect for people who’s world view perpetuates the cycle of unfairness

          2. AY*

            Or you could start singing “you can rely on the old man’s money, you can rely on the old man’s money” every time she starts in. Bonus points if you can get your coworkers to be your back up singers!

            1. 30 Years in the Biz*

              Great idea! I would hum it as an inside joke among colleagues. Your own little secret. Every time she walks by.

          3. Former Child*

            The thing is, we don’t really know that she DOES get money from the ‘rents.
            She may be like “the former guy” in posing as wealthier than they are. Some rich kids, the ones who work $10 jobs, don’t get an allowance just cause they were brought up well-off. Their wealth may have decreased but she’s fantasizing cause it’s all she’s got.

            But I’d call her each time on her rudeness, which knows no economic level.

            1. Miller_Admin*

              The trust fund may pay for only big cost items like a mortgage, property taxes, or a car. If she wants spending money she has to work.

              1. Former Child*

                OR she could be a compulsive liar.
                Her car may be leased, if it’s fancy. Her clothes may be fakes.
                Did I miss the PROOF that they know she’s rich? Why would she work for $10 if she were?

                1. Cactus*

                  Eh, my parents are pretty well-off, and I worked at a fairly low-wage, thankless job after graduating from college because it was at a nonprofit whose cause I believed in. And because it was the recession, and jobs were hard to find, and I didn’t want to live in my parents’ house forever. I don’t know if this applies to Lucy.

            2. Barbara Eyiuche*

              I wondered that too. I had a coworker who was always going on and on about how rich his parents were, but he had the same poor-paying job as the rest of it. One other coworker’s father made more money than the braggart’s father, actually, but he never mentioned his parents’ money.

              1. Barbara Eyiuche*

                Unfortunately, I don’t think this makes a lot of sense in the USA any more. Likely as not the target would not realize it was meant as a cutting remark.

                1. Megs*

                  It did take me a second to get it, but then I loved it all the more for it.

                  “Oh, right! Someone of your…background…wouldn’t understand the reference, Lucy.”

              2. Kristina*

                I need to remember that one – my family is decidedly not rich, but coming from a long line of goldsmiths, I have never bought silver in my life :)

          4. My dear Wormwood*

            I present my favourite schoolyard comeback: do you actually believe all that crap, or do you just enjoy being mean?

      1. EPLawyer*

        I love you. In a non creepy way. But that is just SO PERFECT. She complains about handouts but lives on a trust fund. Ummm honey, that ain’t your money you earned by having a good work ethic.

        1. Momma Bear*

          I read Lucy as terribly insecure, so that’s why she takes it out on other people. She has nothing if she doesn’t have money to lord over people. I wonder why she works if she says she doesn’t need to. We joked in college that our friends were weird because that’s all our parents could afford (the joke being you were so awful someone had to be bribed to be your friend – I don’t even know where that started and of course it wasn’t true). I guess Lucy thinks that friendships need to be/can be/should be bought?

          I do really love putting it back on Lucy like that.

          1. LKW*

            I don’t think she’s insecure at all. She’s been taught that money= superiority. If other people were better, they’d have more money. I grew up in a monied area where some people lived in trailer homes and other people had horse trailers, managed by their horse person, at the stables.

            She sucks.

            But if you want to really make her insecure ask her why she has to work. That if her family were truly rich, she’d be unencumbered by such trivialities. Most people who are that wealthy, simply volunteer a few hours a month. They don’t need to hang around the common folk.

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              I will admit I was the “poor kid” at my high school (which meant that my parents combined were very solidly middle, middle class – not the double six-figure salaries that most of my classmates parents made). The money makes me better attitude was a big part of why I applied to the colleges I did – I wanted the hades away from these “I’m better because money” attitudes.

              1. Anon gov bureaucrat*

                I had the same experience growing up. I went to an extremely competitive technical state school for college and my peers from home still looked down on it because it wasn’t an elite private school. leaving for college was when I learned my family was actually pretty well off, just seemed poor compared to the super rich people I grew up around

                1. LizM*

                  Yup. The state college I went to actually has one of the best programs in the country for what I wanted to study. I run into alumni all the time in senior positions in my field. But it wasn’t a small, private, expensive liberal arts college, so my “friends” in high school definitely thought I could do better, and didn’t understand why I didn’t want to take out six figures in loans when I could get a better education for in-state tuition rates.

                  I actually overheard a “friend’s” mom wonder out loud why I’d waste my potential like that. But here I am, in my dream job, with a manageable amount of loans that I didn’t need to take out until grad school.

                2. aebhel*

                  It’s funny – I had the opposite experience! I’d always assumed my family was pretty well off because we had never been evicted and I wasn’t getting free lunch at school by the time I graduated, and then I went to college and figured out that ‘well-off’ for an economically devastated rust belt town and ‘well-off’ for downstate NY suburbs were, uh, two very different things.

              2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                For the record I knew I wasn’t poor – I knew we were comfortable. I also had a great experience at the state school I went to, but it was a Division Two college, so didn’t have all the sports/parties that a bigger Division One school would have had. It can be odd what some people consider “less than.”

            2. PeteyKat*

              That would be so funny! Yeah cause there is rich and there is RICH (ultra high net worth) who as you stated usually just volunteers.

            3. Lizzo*

              “She’s been taught that money= superiority. If other people were better, they’d have more money.”

              The flipside of this: poverty is the result of some sort of character flaw or moral failing. That is the biggest lie that American culture sells us.

              1. JM in England*

                Have just had a touch of schadenfreude and hope Trust Fund Girl has a sudden financial reversal and sees firsthand what poverty is like!

              2. Freeatlast*

                That’s the big lie that Calvinism sold people. Your status in society was a reflection of God’s grace. Grace wasn’t something that you earned by your actions and by being good, it was just given to you and your status was proof of this. As was your lack of status proof that you did not have the gift of God’s grace. Absolutely, being poor was considered proof of lack of moral standing.

                1. BeenThere*

                  I had no idea this was a thing but it explains so much oh what I’ve encountered in my life.

            4. Koalafied*

              It would be kind of hilariously unfunny if the reason she got a job is because her parents have tried to keep her grounded by requiring her to have one or refusing to let her use the trust fund for particular things, and this is how that played out.

              1. meyer lemon*

                I actually once worked with someone who explicitly had the job as a punishment from her parents, which she reminded us every day until she quit without notice a few weeks in.

                To be fair to her, she was a teenager, but so was I, and I was sick of hearing about how horrible the job was and how unfair it was that she had to do it. It was a difficult and unglamorous job but we were treated fairly and our coworkers were nice people who had better things to do than hear entitled teenagers complain about the same stuff they did every day.

            5. paxfelis*

              It makes me wonder how she would respond to “It’s a pity you can’t afford manners.”

          2. NotJane*

            I’m not sure if it’s Lucy who’s insecure, or if it’s her parents who are insecure, because it reads to me like she’s just parroting the behavior of the people she grew up around (which likely extends beyond her family to the environment as a whole).

            I only say this because I think (in general) people who are insecure tend to have at least some self-awareness and ability to read a room, which Lucy decidedly does not. In other words, it seems like Lucy thinks (erroneously) that her behavior and opinions are totally normal for people of her socio-economic status. Add to that roping Sally into the “let’s make fun of the poors” shame-fest, and I think it all adds up to Lucy just being a horrible person.

            If there’s any upside for OP here, unsatisfying as it might be, is that Lucy is probably to be more pitied than scorned. Her parents clearly did her a disservice by not properly socializing her, so it’s possible, and perhaps likely, that she’s going to have to learn the hard way. And that’s really not going to be fun for her.

            Of course, there’s always the possibility that she’ll never have to learn shit, and will spend her life safely ensconced in her nouveau riche bubble. But even then, I wouldn’t want to trade places with her.

        2. lailaaaaah*

          Honestly, if you hear someone complaining about handouts, at least half the time it’s someone who only got where they did because of their parents’ money and connections. ‘Born on third base and think they hit a triple’ comes to mind.

            1. AKchic*

              Oh, they got a silver spoon all right! Unfortunately, the greedy git swallowed it and it never fully passed. They need to manually remove it from their backside!

            2. New Jack Karyn*

              I first read it years ago in a Molly Ivins column, but I can’t swear that she originated it.

          1. Shannon*

            “Handouts? You mean like what your parents have been doing for you since you were born?” might feel especially delicious to say. I would not have held my tongue this long, OP has saintly patience.

          2. Artemesia*

            I taught at a prestigious university and had many many students like this. They constantly made snotty comments about the cars of professors as they bragged about their own Porsches and Jags. The young women often had more money in clothes on their backs coming into class than I would spend in a year. They assumed life would continue to hand them everything on a silver platter. I am sure it often did.

            1. Distracted Librarian*

              You just described the college where I did my undergrad. There were quite a few middle class (and even a few below) folks on scholarship, but the majority of the student body consisted of entitled rich kids. I enjoyed educating a few of them when they made the kind of clueless comments Little Miss Trust Fund is making. OP has way more patience than I do.

        3. FrenchCusser*

          That’s what I’m thinking, too. Someone who’s had EVERYTHING handed to her from birth complaining about ‘handouts’ just makes me seethe.

          1. General von Klinkerhoffen*


            Unfortunately, it’s incredibly common for people who didn’t earn their wealth* to have this attitude.

            I think it’s simply that they’re judging others by their own standards: totally reliant on handouts from others and unwilling to do actual work.

            * yes I include billionaire CEOs in this, where their wealth is derived from workers on survival wages.

            1. JP in the heartland*

              Exactly. Why does a citizen (as opposed to a scientist) need to take a rocket to space??? People are starving

            2. lailaaaaah*

              God, if I have to see one more article about ‘the morning routine that will make you as rich and successful as Jeff Bezos/[insert entrepreneur here]!’, I will scream. They’re not rich because of what they do in the morning! They’re rich because mommy and daddy paid their way until they could leech off their workers instead!

        4. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Yeah – really have to ask her if she knows what a trust fund is – because it’s nothing more than free to you money that someone else earned and put into the fund.

        5. Observer*

          . She complains about handouts but lives on a trust fund. Ummm honey, that ain’t your money you earned by having a good work ethic.

          That was my first thought, too.

          1. matcha123*

            These types look at their hardworking parents or grandparents and use the story of how grandpa wiped floors at Macys in 1950 before becoming CEO as a justification for what “they” earned. Hard eye-roll here.

        6. Fran Fine*

          Right. So not only is she gross, but she’s also not very bright.

          Frankly, the next time she mentioned anything about “bootstraps,” I’d tell her I was shocked she even knew what those were since I was sure her maid tied them for her since birth.

      2. Stef*

        I honestly have no words to say about this situation. I would be pulling out my hairs with lucy.

        1. Decima Dewey*

          I’d rather pull out Lucy’s hairs, but that would mean she could file a workplace violence report on me.

      3. Aphrodite*

        Trust fund babies get the biggest handouts. She couldn’t make anything. of her life if she didn’t have that handout. (What a nasty, vicious person. Why do some people feel that because they are secure their only attitude is hate and never gratitude.)

    2. INFJedi*

      I am soo looking forward to the update after OP went with all their documentation to HR.

      (because Frankly, if I were the boss of both of them… I would probably start looking for replacements because the bahouviour of Lucy and Sally is very toxic! And I wouldn’t want that at my company).

      1. Medusa*

        Me too. I *have* to know how this ends, and it’s hopefully with Lucy and Sally being fired.

      2. esmerelda*

        Agree on all counts, INFJedi! I’d love an update from OP. I find myself wondering how Lucy acted in her job interview and how someone so toxic even got hired. But I guess if Sally hired her, then maybe toxicity was attractive? Scary.
        (also a fist bump to a fellow infj)

      3. quill*

        I want to know what kind of favorites Lucy played before this. Becoming Regina George’s minion may seem to have come out of left field, but it seldom actually does.

    3. Spoiler Alert You Live On Handouts*


      1. FrenchCusser*

        Hey, Lucy – when I was in college, I sent money home. You wanna see bootstraps – here are some right over here, Cher.

  1. Dust Bunny*

    Trust fund kid complaining that others want handouts LOL.

    (Not really LOL but how the Hell else do you respond to this?)

      1. Forrest*

        Yeah, Lucy has not changed Sally. She’s just given Sally permission to say what she was thinking.

        1. EPLawyer*

          Sally wants to be rich and she thinks this is how rich people act. Since the town is predicted to be booming she wants to get ahead of the curve so she is “old” money when it happens. Sally, you are just as working class as the rest of us.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            I think this is probably the reason as well. Lucy is the first “rich” person she’s ever met in person, so she’s copying Lucy’s bad behavior (not realizing most rich people aren’t this obnoxious)

            (Source: several of my dad’s good friends from college became millionaires- and they are the most down to earth nice people, but I went to school with a whole bunch of “Lucy Clones” who only thought they were rich because of what their parents made. Money will never buy you class.)

            1. Tara*

              Also, however your financial status, it truly shows that she is poorly educated. It’s absolutely awful etiquette to judge others openly, and to speak about her money in such a ridiculously obnoxious way. I’m waiting for the update, which I think will come, that Lucy is actually lying and living an Anna Delvey-esque fantasy, and Sally has ran away in shame when this is uncovered.

              1. Sinister Serina*

                I was thinking the same thing! Lucy is faking the whole thing and will run away when the truth is revealed.

                1. Kim*

                  Something seems quite off about her. She very well could be a fraud. I’ve known many independently wealthy/trust fund people as well as dozens of Ivy League grads and they don’t act anything at all like this. It could be, for example , that this “beach house” she may have offered to the boss is rented, not even owned by her or her family. You can pretty easily verify a lot with some research. I would do what Ask the Manager suggests. Then sit back and wait a bit.”Trust fund kid” won’t be around much longer, and I bet there is no trust fund.

                2. PT*

                  I knew a few trust fund people and typically the only way we could tell they had trust funds was they had a very expensive hobby that their job obviously couldn’t pay for.

                  They had a job and their housing was reasonably in line with it, but they all had some hobby that involved traveling to the corners of the Earth and participating in some expensive sporting event that required expensive training or buying random collectibles and shipping them back to the US for resale/restoration.

                  And after months of being like, but how does he afford it? Eventually it would click that they had another source of cash.

            2. HS Teacher*

              Most rich people I know are quite obnoxious about it. Obviously your mileage on that varies. I used to be a wealth manager, and some of my clients were just horrible, miserable people. In fact, I met very few rich people who seemed to enjoy their blessings. Most were obsessed with making more and retaining what they had.

              1. Anonny*

                I read somewhere that once you get past a certain amount of surplus wealth, something in your head changes and you stop thinking of people as people. They just become vermin trying to steal your money.

                1. JM in England*

                  This reminds me of a satirical joke about the wealth/class system:-

                  There’s a table with a plate on which sit ten biscuits. Seated around the table is a billionaire, a working class person and a poor migrant worker. The billionaire takes nine of the biscuits and then whispers to the working class person “Watch that migrant, they’re after your biscuit!”

              2. Pennyworth*

                Some rich people are very nice and you wouldn’t know they are rich from their behavior, its just that pesky listing in the rich list that gives them away!

              3. Anat*

                Well, but to be fair — you were interacting with them as their WEALTH MANAGER. Presumably the person whose JOB it is to show them how to make more and retain what they had. Of course they brought those issues to you! And you wouldn’t necessarily see their other interests.

            3. PrgrmMngr*

              I’ve got some wealthy relatives and we’ve broken them down into two groups: those who can find gainful employment that can pay their bills – they’re typically great- and those who can’t. Those who get to live a financially privileged life but haven’t shown the ability to sustain a job that would support even a modest life have a tendency to be so obnoxious and stupid. I think they’re also the way some fortunes disappear in a generation or two.

              1. TardyTardis*

                Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations (watching a certain national spectacle going on now and enjoying every moment of it).

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      It’s only a handout when it comes from the government.

      If it’s family money then it’s your due. /s

      1. The Original K.*

        There was a Twitter conversation in recent memory that was “What’s something that’s seen as trashy when poor people do it but is acceptable for the wealthy to do?” and one of the most popular responses was “Getting money from the government.” The wealthy get money from the government in all kinds of ways, but let someone struggling get assistance to eat and that’s immediately trashy.

        1. Nea*

          That and “expect to live on handouts” would be the two highest vote-getters, I would think.

    2. TiredMama*

      Right? Unbelievable that she can’t see how lucky she was to be born into money. I hate her and I hate using the word hate.

    3. Well...*

      Lucy really is so over-the-top in her behavior that even her projecting feels unrealistically obvious.

      What an awful person.

      1. Crazy Cat Lady*

        This reminds me of someone I used to work with who didn’t come from money but whose husband had a really high paying job that didn’t necessitate her working in order for them to live quite comfortably. I know this because she didn’t miss an opportunity to remind the rest of us (who were definitely working out of necessity) that she didn’t need to work and was just doing so to keep from being bored before they had kids. Saying this jokingly a couple of times…whatever. But she said it repeatedly especially when it came to doing something that she might not feeling like doing. As if the rest of us owed her for gracing us with her presence. It wasn’t received well by her colleagues who were toiling away and mostly living paycheck to paycheck. Well, fast-forward a few years and a couple of kids later, her husband left her for someone 10 years younger and all of a sudden she was a single mom (no longer employed) with two young kids who HAD to work. I wouldn’t wish this kind of karma on anyone but it sure gave her an attitude adjustment real fast.

    4. Twenty Points for the Copier*

      I would have a hard time not commenting on that or, frankly, bursting out laughing when she talks about looking down on people who rely on handouts. I say that as someone who received some help from family in my entry-level jobs and grew up among people with pretty extreme wealth.

      There’s a sort of insecurity that comes from knowing that deep down, you didn’t work for or earn any of it. Lucy’s nastiness probably comes mostly from thinking she’s better than anyone else, but also the fact that she 100% is getting by on what’s been given to her by others rather than talent and effort.

  2. StlBlues*

    Along with the “wow, that was a rude comment” reactions, would it be out of bounds to just straight-faced respond with “Well, we don’t all get money from our parents?” at every opportunity? It’s boorish that she’s acting like she is, but it’s really beyond the pale that she thinks OTHERS are getting handouts. Sorry, what is all that parental money then, if not a handout?

    I’m not saying this as a fantasy snark reaction. I really think someone should say this to her face.

    1. Littorally*

      Yep. It’s a source of continuing bafflement to me that people who get loads of money from their parents can genuinely believe they themselves earned what they have. What kind of cognitive hoops are Lucy and her ilk jumping through?

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        A classic formulation is that they were born at third base and think they hit a triple.

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          Yep, I live amongst these people. Many of them are nice, well-adjusted people who know they have it better than others, but many others think that getting all they had is easy for everyone and that the fact they have it and others don’t is a sign of their superiority.

      2. Anax*

        Speaking as someone who came from exactly this cultural background, while I can’t guarantee Lucy thinks this way…

        I would guess that with the talk about bootstraps, she really does believe that things like “making your own coffee at home rather than drinking Starbucks” are the reason her family is so successful. They’ve been so virtuously frugal and so hardworking that they deserve wealth and comfort, and she earns her intergenerational wealth by continuing to be virtuously frugal and hardworking.

        What sits right behind that mindset is a desperate terror that all that money will disappear if you DON’T act perfectly. If money is earned by being deserving, then as long as you’re “good enough”, you’re “safe” – and if you ever stop being “good enough”, then the terrible falls from grace that you hear about on the news could happen to you too. And since being “not good enough” means your wealth will instantly vanish, everything you have is “earned” – if you weren’t good too, it would just vanish.

        It’s basically a magic spell based on the Protestant Work Ethic, because admitting that intergenerational wealth is not earned and can be lost without any fault of your own is scary.

        Importantly, the frugality and hard work don’t have to be meaningful. My mom would yell at me if I got $3 shampoo instead of $2, because that was what would make us unable to afford private school – not the expensive karate lessons or the vacations. My dad has complained about being “sooo busy, from sunrise to sunset”, when he’s literally growing his own corn to grind his own cornmeal to make his own cornbread, which is obviously hard work but completely unnecessary and pointless hard work.

        It’s a magic spell to make them feel better, not actual meaningful action.

        Literally the only thing distinguishing Lucy from my parents and schoolmates is that Lucy says these things in front of people, not behind their backs. And I am so sorry that they’re ridiculous and terrible.

        1. MsSolo (UK)*

          I think this is a really useful comment (especially for the people wondering why Lucy works at all).

          The other thing to bear in mind is Lucy probably doesn’t think of herself as rich – she’s normal, and anyone could be normal, like her, if they lived a normal lifestyle, like her. Because if they can’t, then she’s not normal, which means she’s different, which is precarious. Wealthy people almost always think they’re middle class, which gives them permission to hang on to their wealth just that little bit more tightly, because it’s not like they’re rich and have money to spare.

          (I’m reminded of a girl at school who insisted she wasn’t rich, despite “but you have a pool”, “but I’m not rich”, “but you have tennis courts”, “but I’m not rich”, “but you have horses”, “but I’m not rich”. Honey, you have a house with several more bedrooms than residents, you’re richer than the vast majority of this country, let alone the rest of it!)

          1. LKW*

            If she has to work for a living – then I agree, she believes she isn’t rich. If she went to lavish private schools, then she was surrounded by people who may have been significantly wealthier. I went to college and my assigned roommate was from Saudi Arabia. About two weeks into the start of the semester she showed up at the dorms and told me that she took one look at the room and decided to spend the rest of the semester in a 5 star hotel. I never saw her again.

            1. Richard Hershberger*

              There is a useful distinction between the rentier class, living off of essentially passive investments, and people who live of their salaries and who are well compensation. In the case of Lucy, we have this: “Lucy owns three houses, two condos, and a beach house.” There is much that is not clear. We don’t know if these properties have mortgages, and whether they are rental properties or if Lucy cycles through six residences a year. If she is not paying off mortgages, these can bring in ample income for a middle class lifestyle.

              1. Anax*

                Yep, I concur. I also suspect that “Lucy” may not own these properties – her parents or grandparents might actually be the owners, and she just sees family wealth as collective.

                Also of note, if there’s no mortgage, every time an elderly family member passes away, a new property is added to the “potential rental properties” pool. That can snowball fairly quickly, depending on how things go. If both sets of grandparents and a great-aunt passed away, that would account for most of the “extra” properties.

            2. Anax*

              Yep. And the very fact that people spend their wealth differently almost guarantees this, even if her family’s net worth matched or exceeded theirs. My family insisted we were “poorer” than most of the other private school students, but I doubt that was true – we just valued different kinds of spending.

              My folks paid for karate lessons, which were “sensible” and “reasonable” – some of my classmates played golf, which was “a ridiculous waste of money.” My parents thought getting a bigger house was silly and flaunting wealth, but they would spend money on expensive vacations for the “experience”. It would be just as reasonable to get a big house you could live in every day, and see vacations as silly because they have no tangible long-term effects.

              If you’re determined to think you’re virtuous and frugal, it’s easy to find justifications for that belief, even without being surrounded by billionaires. Millionaires have enough net worth to spend according to their ideology, which gives enough room for this.

              (And it’s not that hard for intergenerational wealth in the US to pile up into the millions. My family, for instance, happened to settle in the Midwest in the mid 1800s, and their farmland became more valuable over time as the nearby city expanded. It’s rental properties now, and the rental properties bring in enough all by themselves for the whole extended family to live a reasonable middle-class life. Add to that that they had the capital to avoid student loans, medical debt, and mortgages, and… well. I have to work until my parents pass away, as they control that money – and hopefully they’ll live many more years, of course. After that, I could stop any time, just like my folks retired soon after Grampa passed away.)

              1. Mstr*

                “They control that money.” You mean it’s their money but you think of it as if it’s yours? It’s your money but they temporarily “control” it?

                1. gbca*

                  Since Anax mentioned land, I assume they know they will be inheriting the land and the income that comes along with it, but today it does not belong to them. The kind of land they are referring to is unlikely to suddenly lose value.

                2. Elizabeth Bennett*

                  Perhaps Anax is an only child and the foregone conclusion is that they will inherit everything, or maybe their parents have explicitly said they will inherit everything. My father has been open with his children about what’s what.

                3. Anax*

                  I mean, you’re not wrong. I’ve always heard it talked about as “family money”, as if there was collective ownership, but yeah, I have no legal claim on it and if I were disowned for some reason, I would not have access to any of it.

                  It’s not *mine* – it’s “the family’s”, e.g., me, my brother, any kids either of us have, and so on through the generations. There’s kind of a concept of the current owners being trustees for the next generation, more than it being *their own* – so it would be very frowned upon and gauche to spend more than necessary or one’s own “fair share”.

                  That being said, I don’t know of anyone in the extended family ever being disowned, I know what’s in their will, and I know that they would spend the “family money” on me if there were ever a need – like, if I wanted to get a house, or go to graduate school, or became ill/disabled for an extended period. All of those things have been offered. And I’m pretty sure that if I lived closer, and I expressed a desire to get involved with the accounting and learn about how everything was set up, it would be encouraged. Certainly, I was always expected to help maintain the properties and “do my part.”

                  There are a lot of jokes about my family being landed gentry in a Regency novel, and they aren’t far off-base. There’s an expectation that “The Estate” has a life outside any one of us, and will outlive us all.

                  That also means that it’s common for family to be entangled and enmeshed by shared financial stakes and property, which can be … not so great. I’ve distanced myself (physically and socially) from my folks partially because I’m transgender, and hoo boy does Mom not approve and try to use The Family Expectations as a bludgeon to keep me in the closet.

                  (The other main reason is because my folks are, uh, not always the nicest people and I don’t like how they treat others.)

                  To be clear, I try pretty hard to NOT be Lucy, but part of that is acknowledging the privilege involved.

                4. Anax*

                  @gbca Yep, you’re correct. It’s quite unlikely to lose value; property values in the city have been rising for decades, and even if it did, a lot of the “extra” wealth gets put into things like “very low risk investments, like the local power company”. It’s vanishingly unlikely that that would all fall through, even in a major financial recession.

                  @Elizabeth Bennett One brother, but yes, my folks have explicitly said that the two of us will inherit equally and jointly execute the will, and there’s enough for both of us to retire comfortably when we do inherit, barring some massive unforeseen circumstance. Like, if he has seven kids with expensive medical bills, we might need to discuss further, but that does not look likely.

          2. Chc34*

            I had an ex like this. He insisted his parents weren’t rich, just middle-class, and I was like “they own land on a Caribbean island”

            1. Anax*

              Oh, yeah. You know how many people I’ve had to tell that “if your parents own a private plane, you’re not middle class”? Because the fact that it’s MORE THAN ONE is telling.

            2. #Null*

              I think many people equate “loads of money in the bank” as rich, or at least the perception that they can get whatever they want as rich. My grandparents bought a lot of farmland and their grandchildren are inheriting it through a generation-skipping trust. So yeah, the balance sheet of the trust looks freaking fantastic under the non-cash assets header, but as the trustee says, we’re “land poor.” Growing up, it was a huge bottle of shampoo & conditioner from Sam’s Club for everyone and going to the movie theatre was a Christmas treat, but no snacks. Definitely middle-class values and perception of self.

            3. CoveredInBees*

              I still remember a girl in my history class saying that someone making $250,000 a year (in a presumed two-income household) was “only middle class”. Fwiw, this was in the late 90’s.

              1. Barbara Eyiuche*

                When I was in high school and university, I thought someone making that kind of money was poor. I blame a complete lack of financial education, and a refusal to discuss money on my family’s part, for this.

          3. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            Nobody thinks they’re rich, even Richard Branson will say “but look at Bezos”.

            If you ask someone to define “rich” they’ll almost certainly name a monthly sum of money somewhat higher than what they themselves get.

            1. David*

              I wonder if “rich” is better thought of as a relative term. I mean, sure, being rich relative to society as a whole is a thing, but what _feels_ rich to each individual person is probably relative to what they’re used to, so that after they’ve had enough time to acclimate to a given income level they’re pretty much guaranteed not to think of it as being rich.

        2. JRR*

          Thank you for this insightful comment. I confess I was skeptical of OP on first reading, but your comment rings true and adds helpful context to a bewildering story.

          1. Anax*

            No problem, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it and trying to do better. I don’t think I was ever as bad as Lucy, but I was definitely a judgmental little twerp when I was younger.

            1. AnonToday*

              Yes- thanks Anax for your contributions to the discussion about all of this today. You have clearly done a lot of thinking around this issue, and I feel like more attention to this might really help our culture right now.
              I’m struck by how well this scales down (up as well, I assume? But, down is what I have data on, lol). The magical thinking and superstitious thinking about how people justify wealth disparities in general (*inherited or not*) is so interesting and potentially so toxic.
              Same re the peculiar ways people find to manage the immense existential anxiety over the FEELING that their wealth (inherited or not) might just disappear. Strange symbolic self-deprivations… Lots of guilt and shame, fear and blame…
              This whole topic feels really central to the problem of humanity in general right now.

        3. Observer*

          and she earns her intergenerational wealth by continuing to be virtuously frugal and hardworking.

          By owning multiple homes? And insisting on only the BEST quality food and clothes?

          1. Anax*

            Trust me. Yes. There are a million ways for people to justify that kind of thing to themselves.

            I believe my parents’ preferred ones are, “it’s important to keep property in the family, we’re just holding onto it until one of the younger cousins needs somewhere to stay in a few years, or we can rent it out if they don’t want it,” and “it’s not wasting money – that’s just how much good food and clothes cost, and if you buy cheaper stuff or thrift your clothes, that’s the real waste of money, because they’ll just immediately fall apart or make you sick and you’ll have to buy something else anyway.” Lots of REI and Pampered Chef and the like.

            And just… laziness. Great-grandma’s house has been vacant for twenty-five years because no one can be bothered to go through her possessions and sell the place, and they’d rather have it rot from disuse than be sold to someone not blood-related. There’s no urgency, because they don’t need the money.

            1. Butterfly Counter*

              I mean, some of what you’re talking about is true when it comes to quality.

              Buying the $200 boots from REI will last a person 5 years. However, the $75 boots from Wal Mart will have holes after a year and need to be replaced. Being poor can be expensive. It’s how people stay stuck in poverty, too.

              1. Anax*

                Yep. Sometimes “the Best quality” really is… better quality. The “boots theory” of economics is a good one.

                Already having money a GREAT way to save money. On a larger scale, for instance, my folks borrowed money for their house from their parents, not the bank. They still had to pay the money back – but without interest. That saved them a ton of money, which they then got to put into savings, and the cycle continues.

                I will say that some of it is definitely just about emotions, and not real quality differences, though.

                Mom loves Pampered Chef and Williams-Sonoma, for instance, which I think are broadly considered overpriced for their (pretty good) quality. Meanwhile, she “saves” money in some meaningless ways which don’t actually help, but make her feel frugal – like driving across town to use a 25 cent coupon.

                Or those $200 boots, which are objectively great… but unnecessary for my mom, because she hates going outside in winter, hates wearing anything but tennis shoes, and will never wear those boots.

                Quality is definitely a thing, and it really can save money, but it’s not necessary that it *actually* save money for it to *feel* frugal and virtuous.

            2. Batgirl*

              I know these people; they buy the best of everything, saying: “buy cheap, buy twice!” .. never thinking that some people don’t have an option on that.

              1. Anax*

                Yep. I saw a meme a while ago, which I can’t locate now, to the effect of: “Saving is easy! Just skip your $5 Starbucks coffee every morning, and you’ll bring in an extra $150 per month! Over the course of a few years, that adds up to a downpayment on a house!”

                … without considering, obviously, that not everyone buys Starbucks daily.

                (Or, obviously, that living like a churchmouse without the slightest luxury for decades is… awful.)

                1. Emma2*

                  Apparently this is not obvious. I had an argument with someone who could not be convinced that people living at or below minimum wage are unlikely to be regularly buying Starbucks. Nothing could convince him – not an explanation of living expenses, not an explanation that in most countries McDonalds is the most popular coffee shop & still not something a lot of people can afford regularly. His point was that people should switch to buying sourdough from independent bakeries (healthier! better for the environment!) as it would only cost the equivalent of a couple of coffees a week.
                  Some people are just very narrow minded & committed to their ignorance.

            3. #Null*

              OMG, maybe your parents are my former employer. The family was very kind, rather wealthy, not snobby or rude at all. Perhaps the boss was a penny pincher, as he hated bank fees with a passion and would rather park a few thousand dollars in an account without interest than pay a $1.50 monthly fee. Sure, I get it.

              There was also a family home of which they had moved out. A year or so after I started employment, one of the children was tasked with cleaning out the house. It took them a whole year, more or less, of 8-5pm, Monday to Friday, of physical labor. Over lunch one time, when the old house came up, I casually asked when the family had moved out, thinking it was a year or two before my employment began. Nope! I could not hide my shock when I learned they had moved out of the house 20 years prior. Yes, for 20 years this home sat vacant, with utility bills rolling in, and property tax bills of about $5,600 in the recent years. Okay, so maybe they didn’t know how to rent out the house? NOPE. They were a multi-family property management company. The jarring use of money to keep a house that wasn’t even used (except for storage, apparently?) in light of his abhorrence of bank fees stumped me. But, it wasn’t my money, so c’est la vie.

              1. Anax*

                Weirdly, this is more common than you’d think. That’s definitely not my parents, but their situation is pretty similar, and I know of a few similar situations in the area – and unless you were told, how would you ever know?

          2. Pennyworth*

            My first boss was as frugal as all get out because he and his wife were committed to accumulating investment properties. They had (or had tenants paying off) at least six when he was in his forties – but he considered himself very poor because they were always saving for the down payment on the next property.

        4. Jesse*

          +1. No one who acts like Lucy does feels safe or secure. Everything anyone owns could vanish at a moment’s notice, and every human reacts differently to this. Sometimes it really brings out a nasty side of people.

          1. Redd*

            I feel like, for me, the upside of having been homeless and eaten out of trashcans, etc. is the knowledge that I am capable of surviving when I’ve lost everything. I imagine it’s disconcerting to not know that.

            1. Anax*

              It definitely is. I’m pretty comfortable with my ability now, but I spent a lot of nights as a kid crying myself to sleep in terror that we would somehow end up on the streets. (This was never a realistic fear, but I had no idea how or why poverty happened, just that it happened if you weren’t “good enough.”)

              Hope things are more solid for you now, that sounds like a rough time.

        5. Fierce Jindo*

          This is really insightful and I appreciate your taking the time to write it.

          Have you seen the book Privilege by Shamus Khan? He makes a similar argument about how rich kids think they earn their elite educations by working hard (but they don’t actually work very hard).

        6. PeanutButter*

          This is a very good explanation! I also grew up like this, and have had difficulty articulating the dichotomy between the ability to spend lavishly on “worthy” things while being a skinflint about “unworthy” things, and how it can mess with your head. I had a horse, and my parents spent ridiculous amounts of money for me to ride and show, but they also insisted on me contributing to the expense by paying off some of the monthly bill from the stable by cleaning stalls, grooming, etc. They spent $$$$ on riding lessons, music lessons, tennis lessons, etc, but would not buy non-generic shampoo/conditioner/soap or even new cars until the old ones completely broke down. My dad was an amateur pilot and we could afford hobby planes comfortably, but my folks would NOT spend money on trendy clothes for me, only serviceable, sturdy stuff I could “grow into.” We went on a lot of vacations but they were “useful” ones (filled with museums and learning opportunities). And of course you are correct about the making ridiculous comments about what other people spend money on in private. Arrgh.

      3. Clisby*

        In the run-up to the 2008 election, I had a first cousin say, with an entirely straight face, that Mitt Romney was a self-made man. I have nothing in particular against Mitt Romney, and he certainly was successful, but a self-made man? Come on. If she had said his father, George Romney, was a self-made man I would have agreed (I don’t think too many people who didn’t graduate from college made it to the CEO of American Motors and later became governor of Michigan).

        1. Brooks Brothers Stan*

          There’s this great American tradition of viewing what is for all intents and purposes its aristocracy as ‘one of the common folk.’ Simple farmers. People of the land. The common clay of the new West.

          1. MarsJenkar*

            I understood that reference, and am having a chuckle about how that particular speech ends.

      4. Sam I Am*

        Like most things, people believe this because it is what they were taught.
        It’s saddening.

        1. #Null*

          ABSOLUTELY. I’m still unwinding the myth of my success riding on my shoulders alone as I was taught – work hard, reap the rewards.

          1. Anax*

            Same, man. I don’t know your situation, but moving away really helped me untangle some of that mythology; it’s hard to disengage from a worldview when you’re still enmeshed in it, and meeting people from different backgrounds, while cliche, also helped a lot. I’m a lot happier now; a lot less secure that I “deserve” things, but a lot less fear that if I do fall on hard times, it will have somehow been my fault.

    2. Sasha Blause*

      They tend to sincerely believe they earned it by obeying their parents’ wishes, being the person their parents wanted them to be. (With a side of “my parents chose to give me all this; taxpayers are forced”.) [insert vomit emoji here]

    3. Elle*

      Agreed. It took a bit of practice/courage but I love replying to rude comments with someone along the lines of, “Wow, I can’t imagine what makes you think that saying something that rude/judgmental is okay.”

      1. Forrest*

        yeah, I actually prefer this. The thing about “we didn’t all get handouts” is that it relies kinda heavily on the idea that you’re going to make Lucy stop and think and view her actions in a different light.

        The thing is, Lucy is probably FINE with Lucy’s actions! Lucy has a whole worldview worked out where it’s Good and Moral that she has inherited money, and that proves what a Good and Moral Family she comes from, and she has a LOT invested in that worldview. You aren’t going to shake it, because that would shake her entire self. It also potentially opens you up to a situation where she gets to report you for being Mean or bullying her or whatever.

        But straight-up telling her that she’s rude leaves the worldview intact but just makes it a hassle to express it here at work. It’s much more likely to echo some kind of upper-class value where OF COURSE we know we’re better than the poors but it’s not POLITE to say so in front them, and cause her to feel shame about her manners / judgment rather than her entire self. I think it’s much more likely to make her stop.

        1. GammaGirl1908*

          I prefer this too, because, frankly, the issue is that Lucy is a jerk, not that she has family money.

          The problem isn’t her handouts; the problem is what she’s saying about others.

          There is nothing wrong with being rich or having a trust fund. I aspire to those things myself. (My “marry-rich” plan is going pretty slowly, so now I’ve pivoted to my “get in old people’s wills” plan…)

          It’s not her fault that her great-grandfather was good at business.

          She just needs to be WAYYYYYY less obnoxious about it.

          1. Observer*

            I prefer this too, because, frankly, the issue is that Lucy is a jerk, not that she has family money.

            The problem isn’t her handouts; the problem is what she’s saying about others.

            True. But the fact that she HAS family money and these handouts makes her much more of a jerk. Someone who came from poverty and clawed their way out with blood, sweat and tears is going to look very different. That kind of talk would still need to stop, but I’d have a much harder time condemning them that harshly.

            But as a pragmatic matter, it’s probably more useful to just call out the behavior as being rude.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            I’d be more than happy to earn my trust fund. I promised the universe that if I did, I would NOT be an obnoxious butthole. :)

          3. AKchic*

            You need to amend your “get in old people’s wills” to “get in *rich* old people’s wills”. Trust me. As a destitute person, I can “remember” anyone I want in my will, just so they can say they were “fondly remembered”, even if they get nothing, or nothing of value (hey, want a cheap crochet hook, or a skein of yarn of your choosing?).

            I am 100% that whimsical, though. Oh, you’ve been open about wanting X? You’re getting C because I hate it when a relative openly plans your demise 50 years before your expected passing. Have some craft products, make a replica.

            1. meyer lemon*

              At the rate that I’m using up my yarn stash, everyone in my will is going to be treated to vast quantities of cheap yarn. You’re welcome!

            2. Ace in the Hole*

              Yup. When my uncle passed away, I inherited… his old sawzall, a toolbag with some rusty hand tools, and a cheap pocket knife. I was honestly surprised to get anything at all, since we expected we’d have to just let his storage unit go to auction to pay the debts he’d racked up in his last few months.

          4. Forrest*

            I personally think there is something wrong with the dynastic hoarding of wealth, but YMMV!

      2. Wendy Darling*

        I try to do that but sometimes when I’m nervous I’m too blunt so what comes out is “Wow, that was HORRIBLE what the hell.”

        I’ve definitely ruined my relationship with a few people that way but on the plus side they weren’t people I wanted relationships with.

        1. Green great dragon*

          Yeh, that sounds an excellent response to me (I guess not so easy to do at work though).

        2. it's me*

          There’s also “I’m sorry, could you repeat that? I don’t think I heard you correctly.”

          1. ampersand*

            The only problem with this response is that people don’t understand the meaning behind it. You say it to someone like Lucy and they’ll just repeat what they said and then double down on it.

            1. BubbleTea*

              At which point you say “oh, that is what I heard. I thought I must have been mistaken because it was so rude.”

      3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        My favorite variant of that is “why do you think I would agree with that comment?”

    4. Esmeralda*

      Haha, or “it must be nice not to have ever worked for money” or “well, at least Ted doesn’t rely on mommy and daddy’s money”. Or, look puzzled, and say, “but isn’t your money from a trust? It’s not like you had to WORK for it.”

      Don’t say it that way…

    5. Dumpster Fire*

      “Isn’t your whole life a handout, Lucy?”

      “At least I buy my own Ramen. My parents didn’t give it to me.”

    6. lailaaaaah*

      No, don’t say ‘money from our parents’- say ‘well, we can’t all live on handouts from our family’. Really drive the point home.

    7. Hills to Die on*

      Not the right way to handle it, but an anonymous printout with all of the comments for Lucy and Sally. If they saw how they are being perceived I imagine this would stop quickly in Sally’s case. 50/50 on Lucy, who could entirely miss the point while she’s busy being indignant.

    8. Autistic AF*

      I worked in an office with mostly entry-level staff where I worked my way up to management. We shared space with another department of more senior-level staff, and their manager was full of similar comments. I remember her complaining about how the entry-level staff lacked work ethic because of parenting duties (school dropoffs, sick children, etc.), and she said that she’d routinely work until midnight. I did actually tell her that most people don’t have nannies – but it also occurs to me that they wouldn’t have been allowed to work from home, either.

      1. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

        Once had a retail manager who was mad that I had to miss a shift when my toddler son was to sick to go to daycare. I explained that I was a single parent and had no one else to leave him with (and when a 1 year old is sick they want Mommy anyway) and that by state law he couldn’t go to daycare with a fever. Manager said that he too was a single parent and he was always at work. Yes because your wife has custody.

        1. many bells down*

          Ugh yes I had a boss like this “if your kid is sick you need to get a sitter and come in anyway.” I just looked at him and said “Who? Everyone I know WORKS.”

          Same boss said I should get a taxi to work when my car broke down. I had an hour commute. You don’t pay me enough to afford a taxi there, bro.

          1. quill*

            Former boss told me I should have bought a Lexus, not a ford, for my first car. I was THIS close to telling him that he knew he didn’t pay me lexus money…

            Probably should have, I could have gotten fired a good year earlier and saved myself some time and hassle.

        2. LizB*

          There’s a crucial difference between being both single and a parent (what that guy was) and being a single parent…

    9. Aerin*

      My vote is to respond with “You realize you sound like the kind of 80s cartoon villain who gets taken down by three orphans and a dog, right?”

  3. Littorally*

    Nonsense likes this makes me think economic background should be a protected class. At least in one direction, as with age. This is gross and thoroughly bonkers.

    OP, Alison nailed it, and I really hope your HR is helpful! Please update us with how it goes.

    1. Mimmy*

      I was thinking the OP could claim “hostile working environment”, but legally, I’m not sure she would have standing as it’s not a recognized protected category, which is very unfortunate. I have seen nondiscrimination statements include socioeconomic status, but it’s probably voluntary.

      If I’m mistaken with any of these, please feel free to correct me.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        To quality as hostile work environment it would need to be based on race, sex, religion, disability, or another protected class. Economic status isn’t covered.

        1. INFJedi*

          Wondering, but what if one of the co-workers they are constantly talking about has a (hidden) disability, does that qualify as a hostile work environment?

          (To be fair, not living in the USA, this is just purely for my curiousity ;-) )

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            It would depend on the specific set of facts, but generally she’d need to be making hostile/harassing comments about the disability for it to approach legal territory. Just having a disability and being around a jerk wouldn’t qualify.

            1. Save the Hellbender*

              What if, by virtue of the fact that race and class are cross-cutting cleavages in the US, the majority of the people she’s bullying are people of color?

      2. Autistic AF*

        Even then, the burden of fighting that mistreatment falls on the mistreated – it can take years to fight and people still need to pay their bills in the meantime. Lawyers might not charge up front but there are plenty of other barriers such as child care or transportation.

    2. Anon for Today*

      I work at a company who’s harassment policy does cover economic status, but they certainly don’t have to.

  4. Foreign Octopus*

    OP, I would absolutely love for you to call this woman on her behaviour. She is completely in the wrong as any one with a braincell can tell (what the hell’s going on with Sally that this is passing her by?) and I guarantee that you’ll have a swathe of support in the office if you call Lucy out for her remarks. You can’t be the only one growing increasingly frustrated with her and it’s 2021: We’ve spoken enough about privilege over the last few years for Lucy to have found some time to educate herself on wealth inequality.

    Call her out on it. See what happens.*

    If anything, it forces HRs hand.

    *Obviously, this is with the caveat that if things go tit’s up, you have the ability to wash your hands of the job. If that’s not the case, treat this woman like an interesting anthropological exercise while telling her to fuck the fuck off in your head.

    1. Medievalist*

      In my experience, as someone who grew up very privileged and attended top private schools etc. (though no trust-funds in my family), I’ve personally seen that wealthy people really can self-isolate in a bubble where most of the only non-wealthy people they encounter are in positions of service to them, and it can *really* distort their views when they go out into the ‘real’ world. So far in life, Lucy probably has no incentive to educate herself on other world-views. … But that just means she really needs a lesson now. Document and speak up to HR for sure—and try to normalize calling her out on the rudeness more regularly, too, if you are comfortable with that.

      (As for Lucy’s renting sneer… I had to rent for over 15 years, even after landing a prestigious job. Down-payments are no joke and take serious time to build up, if you’re not born with one in the bank!)

      1. Farrah Sahara*

        I fully agree with your comment on not educating herself on other/ world views.

        This reminds me of a coworker I had about 10 years ago. She was quite a little princess and snooty to everyone. One day, she had to take the subway to work ( the horror!) and came in to the office all breathless and full of surprise. “OMG I had nooo idea what kind of people take the subway! It really made re realize that not everyone has a university education!”

        WTF lady? You realize lawyers, accountants, and people with “good” jobs also take the subway, right? By the way, she was a junior analyst at the company.

        1. UKDancer*

          Yes. It’s one of the many things that makes me laugh about “Emily in Paris” is that she’s always getting taxis and it’s completely unrealistic for her her likely income and status. Most people in Paris regardless of income get the metro. Using the metro or the London Underground isn’t a marker of status, it’s just a thing people do.

          1. BeenThere*

            This was the hardest thing for me to adjust to when moving to the US, everyone looks at you weird if you mention wanting more public transit (outside of NYC). I never understood why people where willing to spend all time driving themselves and back to the office when a train would be much easier and you get to read/sleep/decompress. At least until a friend in Houston was kind enough to respond and told me able folks that want trains was because they didn’t want the homeless catching them to the suburbs.

            My jaw hit the ground and has never fully recovered.

      2. BubbleTea*

        When I was at university I was involved in a project being run by someone who had been to a very fancy private school you have all heard of, and several of his friends from school were also involved. We were chatting about summer plans and I said I’d be going back to work at the shop I’d worked in before. They were astounded that I meant where I’d worked part time while at school. They hadn’t met anyone who worked while studying before.

      3. Sleeve McQueen*

        I know someone who works at a big consultancy. A lot of the ridiculously well-paid senior people there have investment properties but rent their residence for [finance reasons I don’t pretend to understand] so renting is precisely an indicator of nothing.

      1. MsSolo (UK)*

        It’s a pretty standard british colloquialism – it’s a jokey reference to death, in a sense of everything going as wrong as it can possibly go (it’s a military variant on “belly up” or “toes up”, starting to appear around WW2).

      2. JustaTech*

        Alternates would be “go pear shaped”, “go sideways” or “go completely sideways”.

      3. Retail warrior*

        It’s a very British saying. A quick google shows that the saying either comes from the term belly up as in dead fish or from failing over as in I’ve fallen on my bum and I’m now tits up.

      4. Jayne*

        Males have tits. See male breast cancer.

        And they can land tits up if they fall on their ass, which is the much like the “belly up” of dead fish, which is where the phrase may have originated.

      5. Sara M*

        Unclear origin but:

        Tits up: This is a 20th century phrase, probably of military origin. There’s certainly no mention of it in print prior to WWII. It has been suggested that the term derives from the behaviour of aeroplanes’ altitude indicators, which turn upside down when faulty and display an inverted ‘W’ resembling a pair of breasts.

    2. Observer*

      She is completely in the wrong as any one with a braincell can tell (what the hell’s going on with Sally that this is passing her by?)

      I think that this is explained by the rumor of her having a key to one of Lucy’s properties. Either she actually HAS one, or she wants one (or something like it.)

  5. LifeBeforeCorona*

    Sally is going to find that this will bite her in the butt sooner than later. People like Lucy turn on their friends and allies eventually. Sally is obviously a poor manager and when she refuses to grant special favours to Lucy, well Lucy is going to turn into the employee from Hell who will not work but won’t do her work because she isn’t dependent on the paycheck. All you can do right now is push back when you can and keep the popcorn handy for the circus.

    1. The Original K.*

      I was thinking the same thing. I don’t know why Lucy hasn’t deemed Sally trashy and beneath her, but she will do so eventually. Let Sally make a managerial decision that Lucy doesn’t like, and that will be that. Lucy is not Sally’s friend.

      I’d fire them both (I wonder why Lucy deigns to work at all?) – Lucy for her attitude and Sally for her poor management. Like, she is actively snickering about her subordinate’s financial status. She can’t manage.

      1. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

        If Sally is willing to validate Lucy’s prejudices, then she probably sees Sally as “one of the good ones” — the exception that proves the rule, as it were.

    2. Dust Bunny*

      Or Lucy will move on and Sally will be left to face the rest of her department after having torpedoed her relationship with them by being Lucy’s lapdog.

      1. LKW*

        This is what I expect will happen. Or Sally has a normal middle class emergency that strains her budget – like a busted transmission or the fridge conks out. And she’ll have no one to whine to about having to dip into savings or see if her parents can front her the money because she will drop 1000 points in Lucy’s eyes.

    3. NYC Taxi*

      100% true. Lucy will turn on her in a second when she gets tired of her, and Sally will have irreparably shattered her ability to manage at work.

      1. Momma Bear*

        Agreed. Sally’s hitched herself to the wrong horse. If I were OP, I’d point out how Sally’s behavior directly impacts her ability to manage and the morale and productivity of the team.

    4. Sylvan*

      She’s already getting bitten, so to speak. Sounds like the only person who acts like they like her is the one she’s given the keys to a vacation house. That’s pretty sad.

      Not that this changes anything about what OP should do, of course. Just know that karma’s already there.

    5. Bow Ties Are Cool*

      > Sally is obviously a poor manager and when she refuses to grant special favours to Lucy,

      I’m more inclined to think Sally would grant those favours, which can only make the rest of the team more resentful.

    6. Observer*

      Sally is obviously a poor manager and when she refuses to grant special favours to Lucy,

      Yes, Sally is a poor manager. So what makes you think she’s ever going to refuse to grant Lucy favors?

      It’s not like she has any integrity.

  6. TapDancingCats*

    I wonder why Lucy works at all, if she’s so stupid rich. If she took a job she doesn’t need just to lord it over the working stiffs, she’s even worse than she sounds.

    Good luck, LW; this is a ghastly situation. I hope HR can do something to help.

    1. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

      This smacks so much of insecurity — she is probably an unhappy person who needs to find reasons to feel superior to other people.

      She probably choses (on some level) to surround herself with people from poorer backgrounds because if inherited wealth is the only thing she has to hang her hat on, she’ll have nothing to lord over other people who can afford to go without working.

      1. JustaTech*

        Seconding on the insecurity thing. I’ve know people, both old money and new money, who are desperate to flaunt it, and they’re generally insecure and unhappy people. I’ve also know people (old money and new money) who felt no need at all to let other people know how much money they had, because they hadn’t tied their *worth as people* into how much money they had.

        One thing Lucy doesn’t have is class. Class isn’t about money, it’s about how you treat people, and she’s just awful.

    2. Esmeralda*

      People who are stupid rich may actually like working or want to work. Let’s not go down that path.

      1. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

        I don’t think anyone doubts that, but someone who acts like Lucy around the office doesn’t seem like someone who is especially enjoying their work.

        She sounds like a pretty unhappy person, actually.

        1. The Prettiest Curse*

          Crappy people need to constantly find new people to whom they can be crappy. You’re right, she doesn’t sound like a happy person, but the job is clearly fulfilling her need for a supply of targets.

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Agreed – Lucy sounds like she’s probably not really that happy (could just be unhappy about having to work though).

          Or she’s just super judgmental. But she really doesn’t sound like a happy person to be around overall.

      2. LKW*

        People who are stupid rich usually understand their position and don’t take jobs they don’t need.

        I grew up in an area with a lot of ridiculously wealthy people. What I can say with certainty is that overwhelmingly, people with stupid money (and especially old stupid money) never talk about money. They don’t need to, their money will always be there. It’s akin to discussing indoor plumbing. There’s no need, everyone knows you’ve got it.

        People who JUST made their money or have built a fragile edifice (up to eyeballs in debt making it look like they have money) talk about their money.

        1. CookieWookiee*

          Yes, this. I know an “old money” family—they are all unpretentious, generous, and kind. Every member works. Nobody wears or carries anything plastered with designer logos. No fancy jewelry, no exotic cars, nothing.

          The nouveau riche, otoh…the ones in this area like to make a Big Deal about their wealth. Flashy jewelry with huge diamonds, LV-branded everything, cars that could pay off the national debt for a small country, bad attitudes, “do you know who I am?!” tantrums.

          Just goes to prove that money doesn’t buy class.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            I think it’s more just money doesn’t buy class. A few of my dad’s really good friends from college became millionaires (one a multi-millionaire), and none of them were ever this obnoxious. They never talked money, didn’t flaunt it, and never talked about others as if they were less than because those people didn’t have their wealth.
            I asked one once what he would do if something happened and he lost all his money. I was able to earn it once, was fortunate in the company I was able to co-found to make that money. I’ll just change jobs and go earn it again. I honestly think his “I earned it once, I can do it again” self-confidence was a big part of why he was so down to earth – money was just a tool to him – and he didn’t define himself by how much money he had sitting in the bank.

            1. CookieWookiee*

              Yes, I agree. I started to write something similar but deleted it because I didn’t want my comment to be a novel.

              I know families that have earned wealth through hard work. Like the old money families, they don’t flaunt it at all. They have lovely homes, were able to send their kids to good schools, etc., but again you wouldn’t know it to speak with them. They had class before they had money.

              1. tangerineRose*

                Yeah, I know some people like this too. Earned their money and had some nice stuff but didn’t flaunt it. They acted like regular people.

          2. Sasha*

            Hmm, I’m always quite suspicious of this noblesse oblige idea that old money are all salt of the earth types who get on great with their servants, and are therefore deserving of their position in life, and nouveau riche are obnoxious and don’t know how to handle it. The only people it benefits are those who want to maintain the current social order, and prevent arrivistes from stealing their children’s position in society.

            There are plenty of upper class people who are just as obnoxious as the nouveau riche. Look at the Bullingdon Club, look at Prince William’s very old money friends shouting “doors to manual” every time Kate Middleton walks into a room, because “hahahaha her mother once had a ^job^, can you even imagine? How embarrassing”

        2. GammaGirl1908*

          YEP. Old money with more than enough money never to touch the principal doesn’t need to talk about money. They are too secure in their wealth. They may discuss money-adjacent subjects — their new wealth advisor or a new company they’ve invested in or cutting off a wayward grandchild or where they’re buying a piece of vacation property — but never actual figures.

          New money or insecure money talks about money, and it’s usually super awkward when they do. Enter Lucy.

        3. Busty Ruckets*

          This is what I was thinking. If you want to be really mean to her, I would skip all the shaming her for her rudeness, or taking her parents hand-outs, and just off-handedly refer to her as nouveau riche. (She sounds DREADFUL, I am so sorry you have to work with this person!)

        4. TechWorker*

          Dyou not think that some of these people still talk about money without meaning to? Not in a ‘trying to flaunt it’ way, but because they have grown up around other astonishingly wealthy people and it simply doesn’t occur to them that not everyone can afford to live their lifestyle.

          1. Sasha*

            I think there’s talking about a ski trip to Europe because you just assume everyone skis, and talking about how scummy it is to rent.

            The speaker could mention the first one quite obliviously, but they know very well that the second one is sneering at people, whether they are present or not, and meant nastily.

    3. Jen*

      I would doubt that, though the LW did mention she thinks that. I would think that there is likely a stipulation in her trust that she has to work, or she really believes all her bootstraps nonsense and thinks she’s working so much harder than everyone because she’s “soooooo successful”.

      Either way, a coworker like this is obnoxious and should be made to keep her personal opinions to herself (like many offices have no politics rules) but the boss mirroring her actions is the bigger issue.

      1. a*

        I figured that, or that it’s a nonprofit and somehow working with charity gives her some sort of status. “Yeah, I help the needy. Not that I need to work but you know someone has to help the less fortunate.”

        1. Amaranth*

          I definitely saw that kind of acceptance from my mom’s social crowd. Somehow, working for nonprofits was seen as incredibly generous of me rather than my needing a paycheck to buy groceries.

      2. LKW*

        She could have a trust that doesn’t pay out until she’s in her 30’s. And just because she has a trust doesn’t mean it pays out anything significant. Some trusts can be a small percentage of earned income, so a couple of thousand a month, which is a cushion, not a full living room suite.

    4. JRR*

      Maybe LW and Lucy work for a charity or a political organization? I am aware of ultra-rich people who do that kind of work even if they don’t need the money.

    5. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      I wonder why Lucy works at all, if she’s so stupid rich.

      If this is the US, health insurance.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        You can buy health insurance on your own; if you’re rich, it’s not going to be an issue. That said, maybe she works because her parents require her to, or because she likes the work, or thinks there’s prestige to the type of work.

        1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          You can buy health insurance on your own; if you’re rich, it’s not going to be an issue.

          You absolutely can, but without the employer paying part of the premia, it gets beau coups expensive quick.

          1. nonbinary writer*

            If they only pay $10 an hour, I doubt their health insurance is all that generous.

          2. PeteyKat*

            But if you are so wealthy as to own multiple homes and have a trust fund, I feel comfortable stating that I think you can afford insurance premiums, if not pay for insurance outright for the year.

          3. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Tons of self-employed people (including me) buy our own health insurance because we have to. It’s definitely not going to be a big deal for someone who’s rich.

        2. Tara*

          All my super wealthy friends have jobs (they’re not dicks though). I asked one of them why once, and she said “my parents spent so much money on my education, how embarrassing for them would it be if I didn’t use it?”. They weren’t forcing her to work, she just couldn’t bear for them to think their ‘investment’ in her wasn’t worthwhile, and that was measured in her eyes by her being productive. They paid all her expenses and monthly credit card bill, and told her just to invest her salary.

          1. Observer*

            They weren’t forcing her to work, she just couldn’t bear for them to think their ‘investment’ in her wasn’t worthwhile, and that was measured in her eyes by her being productive.

            It sounds like her parents did something right. And, unlike Lucy, she sounds like a decent person.

            I can’t imagine that Lucy thinks this way, though.

        3. maybemaybe*

          Of course I don’t know for sure but..since she is a “trust fund baby” its possible she won’t get her trust fund until she reaches a certain age. It’s possible it has stipulations attached to it, or just pressure from her parents to work. Maybe she doesn’t get it until she reaches 30 (just an example), or some other thing. Who knows.

    6. londonedit*

      I’ve known a few women from wealthy families who were sent out to do some sort of job or other after university – something like working in an art gallery or being an assistant at a small literary agency or publishing house. They’d be low-paid jobs, definitely not the sort of thing you could survive on in London unless you didn’t really need the money (or unless you did what those of us without rich parents with properties in London did, and lived with a load of housemates while surviving on beans on toast). You could absolutely tell that they really didn’t need the money – they treated the whole thing as a bit of a laugh, just a little job to keep them busy during the day. Of course the idea was that by their late twenties they’d have found themselves a nice rich banker to marry.

      1. LKW*

        Yes, these are jobs that a) the parents’ network helps them get and more importantly b) allows them to meet people who can afford art. For young women it’s a way to impress the parents who are buying $X million in art.

      2. Generic Name*

        Right. Wasn’t Princess Diana a preschool teacher before she became the Princess of Wales? I’m sure she didn’t need that income (and I’m sure she also didn’t need flatmates).

        1. UKDancer*

          Yes, she worked as a nanny and a teacher’s assistant. If memory served her mother bought her a flat in London and she lived in that (possibly with some friends). I’m sure she didn’t need the income from the job but it’s the sort of little job that women of her class and background did in that era.

        2. Jaybeetee*

          Correct – bearing in mind she was all of about 19 when she met Prince Charles, she was some kind of preschool assistant, I believe. She had never been academically inclined, so once she finished secondary school, the attitude was just that she had to spend her days at something until she married a fellow Duke or Earl and started having babies.

          (That said, “old money” families like theirs tended to be more inclined towards “noblesse oblige” and service towards the less fortunate, as opposed to being openly snobby or judgy.)

          1. allathian*

            Indeed, and Diana was about as far from a snob as a rich person can get, and she was determined to show her kids that most people weren’t as fortunate as they were. She caused a stir in the early 80s when she held the hand of an AIDS patient without wearing gloves, for example.

      3. GammaGirl1908*

        Of course the idea was that by their late twenties they’d have found themselves a nice rich banker to marry.
        Coming to say this. She’s “working” to expand her social circle to find a wealthy partner, although this doesn’t seem like the right job for her to do what she’s planning to do. She needs to hang out at her club or on trips with equally wealthy friends or at charity events.

        1. penny dreadful analyzer*

          and drives down wages! the kinds of industries that little rich girls work in while they’re marking time getting experience or whatever are basically hell to break into if you *don’t* have a trust fund.

        2. Morning Glory*

          If she was less qualified and got the job through connections, then sure.

          If you mean that wealthy people should never work, that’s a pretty weird world view. Plenty of people from privileged backgrounds are nothing like this person and just fine to work with. Just because I come from below the poverty line doesn’t mean that I am more deserving of a job than someone else.

      4. GammaGirl1908*

        And Catherine Middleton was an accessories buyer, and Prince William was an air ambulance pilot, and Princess Eugenie was an art gallery director, et cetera, et cetera. All wealthy enough not to have to work, and for the ones born royal, clearly they won’t be working an outside job for long. Just enough to get a taste of what it’s like.

        Ha, I read a book once where the female lead was a trust-fund type who was kind of dizzy and just wandered around aimlessly. At some point she said, “I tried working. It just wasn’t for me.” Well. That must be nice.
        As I said upthread, I don’t fault anyone for lucking into having a great-grandfather who was good at business, but that is a real luxury.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Actually my understanding (from news stories) is that Beatrice and Eugiene still have their jobs, and they don’t get any living expenses from Grandma the queen (and neither do any of the cousins outside of William, as he is the future King). However, yes they started at a huge advantage and have a lot more starting capital to work with.

          1. UKDancer*

            Definitely. Neither Beatrice nor Eugenie are working royals. They both have to earn their own living. Admittedly they had huge advantages, family wealth and a lot more doors opened for them than someone working class would have but they are at least gainfully employed.

            I’m not a vast fan of royalty but looking at the working royals who do get paid by the privy purse, a lot of them are kept pretty busy doing charity work and visits. Princess Anne’s work schedule in particular is punishing. There’s a pretty strong expectation that if you’re a working royal you give back and do a fair amount of charitable activity which seems to me fair enough.

            1. BubbleTea*

              And royals almost never retire. The queen is still working a frankly ridiculous schedule in her 90s.

              1. allathian*

                Indeed. Prince Philip was an exception, he officially retired from public appearances a few years before he died, in 2017 I think.

          2. GammaGirl1908*

            Not disagreeing with you, but, financially, all of those folks still are working by choice.

            There is nothing at all wrong with that, and I’ll never hate on rich people just for being rich, but …”living expenses not subsidized by the Queen” is very different from “has no other money beyond that one paycheck.” (…not that anyone said that.)

            None of them HAVE to work; they are choosing to do so for a variety of reasons, not least because there is an elaborate awkwardness — for minor royals especially — between being idle rich because you can afford to be, versus taking a job from someone who needs it more, versus donating your salary, versus showing off your wealth. It’s hard for them to win.

            But however you slice it, whatever money Eug is making at an art gallery is not supporting her whole lifestyle.

            I do think the British royal family is a weird and not-quite equivalent example here, though, so I probably need to back out of it.

      5. Yargh*

        Yup. I remember a particular internal department receptionist with an endlessly updating wardrobe of Gucci loafers, Balenciaga, and $3000 bags. She warmed a chair and never, to anyone’s knowledge, did much else. Took a lot of summer Fridays to go to the Hamptons. Not on the jitney with the dirty, low-rent Hamptons people. On a friend’s helicopter.

        This was at a creative firm. My guess was that she picked the job so she could name drop the firm and people would assume she was a designer or a copywriter. The actual creatives were all working class kids.

    7. Double A*

      In previous eras, the point of being rich was so you didn’t have to work.

      In America, we have this idea that because rich people work “so hard,” they somehow deserve the vast amounts of money they earn. The point of being rich is that you work even harder to show you’re important and worthy. It’s what allows disproportionately wealthy people to think they deserve the money; just like everyone else, they think they are worth what they are paid, or deserve even more.

      1. tangerineRose*

        I’m an American, and if I suddenly was rich, I might keep working, but I’d probably cut back on my hours, spend a bit on stuff to help with work, and take awesome vacations. But to each their own.

    8. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I wonder if there is some sort of requirement that Lucy has to have a job of a certain income level in order to continue her access to the Trust?

    9. Allison*

      Honestly, she may be working because she wants something to do. Having been unemployed more than a couple times, I can say from experience that once you get to a certain age, sleeping in, playing video games, and catching up on cleaning can get old pretty quickly. I once took a retail job between cushy corporate gigs just because I needed something to get me out of the apartment a few times a week.

      In fact, her family may be giving her money on the condition that she take a job, citing a belief in “hard work” and not wanting to appear lazy.

  7. Renee Remains the Same*

    Please call her rude to her face and then let us know what happens. I would just love to hear what happens after you calmly call out her behavior.

      1. Renee Remains the Same*

        Awwwww, that was unexpected… To be honest, Diane is cooler – but I can’t resist alliteration and partial rhyming.

    1. V$*

      I’d love to hear what happens if OP just says “Oh wow, that’s a very nasty thing to say” the next time she says one of her nasty comments. Just a nice calm “that’s nasty”.

  8. Chilipepper Attitude*

    Go to HR, say what Alison said to say, and don’t say a word to Lucy or Sally so that you don’t have to hear that you said something snarky too.

    I’d also work on going grey rock and saying something like, “you’re very focused on what others eat/where they live/what they wear” in a bored, monotone voice.

    1. Chilipepper Attitude*

      I mean, going grey rock AFTER you talk to HR and you do what they say to do.

    2. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

      Yes – as satisfying as a comeback will be, they tend to engage.

      Getting as boring as possible is probably the best way to go in terms of helping her disengage from you.

    3. Sylvan*


      Lucy’s a strange and unhappy person. You probably shouldn’t engage with her, even if you come up with something snappy to say, because you’re not going to get anything good out of it.

    4. learnedthehardway*

      Violently agreeing with this – DON’T confront or do anything that makes it a “well, she’s just as bad” situation.

      DO mention to HR, when you bring up the issues, that the behaviour is classist and the attitudes being expressed go beyond privileged and are truly offensive and demeaning to coworkers based on their economic status and backgrounds. Give specific examples and do demonstrate that Sally has adopted these attitudes.

      I would go so far as to suggest to HR that there is a clear pattern of behaviour that suggests the co-irker is deliberately bullying employees.

    5. nonbinary writer*

      Yes absolutely. All the snarky replies and comebacks would be satisfying, but they’re not going to accomplish anything. Lucy is clearly getting something out of this, and not being goaded into participating is the way to go.

      1. ronda*

        I wonder if you should ask Lucy…. “what are you getting out of making these comments about peoples wealth/etc?”

        Ask her to explain herself and see if justifying makes her realize anything…. probably not, but it might be interesting.

  9. OlympiasEpiriot*

    Oh please also say “Not everyone gets freebies from parents”

    And in a reply to this, I’ll put what I would be sorely tempted to play whenever she was close.

        1. OlympiasEpiriot*

          Yes!! (Although, I prefer the percussion in my offering.)

          I wonder if we can come up with a long enough list on this theme to make a good playlist.

        2. CatWoman*

          I cannot find a link, but if you can find “Common People” performed by William Shatner, Joe Jackson, and Ben Folds Five, you will NOT regret it…absolute classic

          1. The Prettiest Curse*

            That was not as bad as The Shat’s version of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, but it was still a tad painful to hear my favourite song of the 90s being put through the wringer. And the class commentary in that song makes a lot less sense when it’s sung by a non-British person.
            10/10 for effort, though. Ol’Bill definitely gave it some welly even though he clearly had no idea WTF was going on.

      1. Ralph the Wonder Llama*

        I can see myself sitting on ramen island, surrounded by condiments. Instead of “beach or pool today?”, it’s “peanut sauce with basil and mint or egg with cheese today?”

    1. JustaTech*

      Fun fact: when the inventor of instant ramen, Momofuku Ando, died so many people wanted to come and pay their respects that his funeral was held in a baseball stadium. He’s credited with preventing a lot of hunger in the world.

      So phooey on anyone who talks down about instant ramen.

    2. NotAnotherManager!*

      Same. Shrimp ramen with whatever leftover veggies we have in the fridge and fresh cilantro and jalapeño from my garden is my guilty pleasure, but I’m not above whatever flavor the mini-mart in the basement of my office building has in stock either. There are multiple ramen shops in my DC-area suburb, and my hoity-toity aunt makes a really delicious chicken salad that includes a broken-up pack of brick ramen. What a weird thing to be snobby about.

    3. TFB*

      Yeah, I’ve got a trust fund but ramen is still one of my favorite foods tbh. Delicious and easy to make, and while I may not *need* to eat super cheap food I still like saving money on groceries…

  10. Jean*

    I would just start responding to all her BS by reminding her that she works a low-paid, blue collar job and then just staring at her. I can’t even imagine the type of person who owns 7 figures of real estate and still chooses to spend their time this way. “Psychopath” comes to mind. Definitely go to HR. And don’t forget to UPDATE!

  11. SMH*

    This reminds me of the owner of a restaurant franchise that overworked his employees and didn’t pay them well and offered incredible expensive insurance. He would sit in meetings telling them he had so much money his grandchildren couldn’t spend it all just to humiliate them and make them feel less then. I hope one day someone will record the meeting and post on you tube.

  12. Anononon*

    She reminds of a girl I interned with for a brief period of time in college. Her dad literally owned a bank, and her mom, as described by the girl, was a philanthropist. It was about an 8-week long formal program, but she only popped in for about two weeks thanks to family connections. She was completely obnoxious and clueless with bragging about how rich she was, such as using her dad’s company’s private planes for girl trips and such. Fortunately, everyone I worked with just found her a mix of amusing and insufferable, so it wasn’t as difficult to put up with her. Also, I learned later that her family life probably wasn’t the best, as there was tons of drama between her parents, who eventually divorced.

  13. EarthenBiscuit*

    Oof. What a pair. The boss’s quick slide into smug nastiness is gross. I’m sorry, OP.

  14. anonymouse*

    Please update. I need to know how Sally’s inner teen who just made it to the cool table reacts when Sally’s outer adult with fiscal responsibility to the company is called to task for being a twat.

  15. HugeTractsofLand*

    UM beyond the obvious (Lucy is TERRIBLE, and asking to be screamed at, and why is she even here besides wanting to say “I don’t need to be here!”???), this coworker is bribing her manager and that’s a MASSIVE red flag. “Compromised” is the right word. I hope that HR listens to OP and also has the clout to ream Sally for this, because this is untenable.

    Also, can you enlist the aid of your coworkers? Even if it’s just for emotional support, you all must be lobsters boiling in the same pot of anger by now. Ask them to help document! Go as a group to talk to HR about your concerns! And good luck getting this situation improved, I admire you for not losing your shit and wish you the best.

    1. RC Rascal*

      This. As Jerky as the behavior is, this is the heart of the management issue. Lucy is manipulating Sally with access to a vacation home , leaving Sally unable to manager her.

      I actually had an employee try this on me once. It was weird and felt manipulative. I ended up firing him for performance reasons , BTW.

  16. The Bimmer Guy*

    This whole situation would make me wonder if I hadn’t stepped onto the set of Mean Girls. Yikes.

    1. HGNFP*

      At least Regina George had the decency to lie to people’s faces about liking what they wore!

      “I *love* your bracelet! Where did you get it?”

      1. TIRED*

        Yes! But also, this leads to a great meme for the OP. You know the one where Regina says to Cady- so you agree…. you think you’re really pretty?

        Lucy: Ugh people just want handouts.
        OP: So you agree? (beat) People getting handouts from their parents is a bad thing?

        or something like that.

  17. Trek*

    If you ever get a chance tell Sally she is not the person you thought she was and it’s disappointing to learn she cares so much about material things, money, and that she enjoys treating people badly. She thinks Lucy is going to raise her up but in six months Lucy will be gone and Sally won’t be a blip on her radar.

  18. Perfectly Particular*

    I mean, something’s going on with Lucy…. You don’t take a low paying job if you have enough money for financial independence for life. I’m guessing her parents made her get a job and threatened to cut her off if she didn’t. That doesn’t make any of this nonsense ok, but maybe puts it in perspective. I doubt that HR will be any help here… I would definitely start putting my resume together, not because of Lucy, but because she has poisoned Sally. Sorry this has happened – it sucks.

    1. Esmeralda*

      Or maybe you want to work. Or like to work.

      If you have financial independence for life, you can *afford* a low paying job.

      1. Seacalliope*

        Look, no one needs you to white knight rich people. Lucy’s behavior is appalling and it does beg for speculation — which does not need to be writ onto rich people as a whole, yes, but they REALLY do not need your defense.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Whoa, this isn’t white knighting, it’s engaging in the speculation/discussion about why Lucy might work. Please be less heated here.

          The fact that people with money can afford low-paying jobs is right on point; there are a lot of low-paying “prestige” industries full of people from rich families because of exactly that dynamic (see: some parts of museum work, fashion, publishing, art, nonprofits…).

          1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

            And there’s a whole field of academic study about how less privileged people are prevented from entering those industries because there’s such an oversupply of artificially cheap labour available to employers. Why would you pay $20/h if dozens of applicants would happily work for $10 or less?


            1. Anti anti-tattoo Carol*

              As someone who works in one of those industries, a thousand times yes. We’ve been trying to right the ship for so long, but as long as we’re reliant on the funding and benevolence of the wealthy, we end up doing shit like employing their relatives or people within their Very Rich People network. And THEN what inevitably happens is after they do their unpaid internship and have a few low-level, low-paying gigs, they skyrocket into executive work with a disgusting salary gap between them and everyone else. They perpetuate the issue by kicking out the ladder, hiring people in their own circle, and creating massive barriers for access.

              And for those who question “why do they even work?” Well, prestige, for one. I have worked in museums for quite a while and as such, have encountered these folks. It looks very, very good for the families if their heirs hold “normal people jobs.” And since a lot of these jobs are in things like the arts, gives access to a specific sphere of influence.

              It’s wildly demoralizing to hear someone at the same work tier as you chatting about their vacations and live-in staff, while you’re dodging the banks for those student loans you had to take out in order to be afforded the same employment opportunity as Lucy.

              1. Lils*

                Thanks for bringing this up. I really had never thought of it this way. I work in academia, where there is certainly some attention given to the idea that it attracts the independently wealthy (because who the hell else can afford to spend several years earning nearly nothing as a TA while earning their degrees?). But I don’t think academia is “high prestige” in the way you’re describing in museums. That’s fascinating and discouraging.

      2. UKDancer*

        Yes. My grandmother never needed to work. My grandfather earnt enough for both of them to live comfortably and gave her everything she wanted. She worked (as a peripatetic teacher) because she had a brain and a need to do something with it. She could not have lived on the money she made but she enjoyed her work and she seemed quite good at it (from what I could tell).

      3. Boof*

        I think the better question is not why does Lucy work, but why does she work AND THEN BE A TOTAL ASS TO HER COWORKERS. It really is pretty head-scratching; does she just like looking down on people? (gross). Is she doing this out of some sort of obligation she feels above? (really weird, still a jerk) Something completely different? Might make some difference on whether to grey-rock it or sass back.

    2. Betteauroan*

      Yeah, I’m hoping she has luck with HR, but many times HR is very ineffective in dealing with interpersonal issues and often they won’t get involved. I would not be able to endure this kind of hostile environment and I would be polishing up my resume and looking for a way out. Try HR first, but don’t be surprised if nothing happens.

      1. Colette*

        I think she can address it herself if necessary – not with comebacks, but by making it unpleasant do do around her. Carolyn Hax’s “wow” is perfect for this – there’s nothing to argue with, but the correct tone makes the point nicely.

    3. JRR*

      There are non-profits where wealthy people might choose to work because they believe in the mission. Maybe it’s a horse sanctuary or something like that?

      1. The Original K.*

        A lot of so-called “glamour industries” don’t pay well either, at least not at lower levels, and you’ll find people there who don’t need the paycheck.

    4. Observer*

      You don’t take a low paying job if you have enough money for financial independence for life.

      Not necessarily true as others have noted.

      I’m guessing her parents made her get a job and threatened to cut her off if she didn’t

      Because this is LUCY – who clearly is obnoxious, despises the people she works with, and doesn’t sound like she’s phenomenal at what she does – I think this is possible. Because I don’t think she falls into any of the types that others have mentioned.

      That doesn’t make any of this nonsense ok, but maybe puts it in perspective.

      What is useful about this “perspective”?

      1. tangerineRose*

        I think the perspective might be something like “Look at Lucy having to work just like us regular people; even though her parents are rich, they still insist that she works. She probably feels like this is a hardship. Maybe that’s part of why she keeps making a fool of herself with all of her entitled notions. “

    5. Hamish the Accountant*

      Many financially independent people take low-paying jobs in industries they enjoy, or even just to keep busy during the day with something that isn’t very stressful. Being able to do that is one of the privileges of having that much money.

    6. NotAnotherManager!*

      I live in an area with a lot of well-off people who do not need to work but still choose to for any variety of reasons. They may be bored sitting at home, they may take a low-wage/high-prestige job that people who can’t afford life on that paycheck could not, they may have family pressure/expectation to do something, etc. Even the ones who do not work for pay sit on boards or take choice volunteer positions with museums or other well-known entities.

      Honestly – and I’m not rich and won’t ever be absent a Powerball win – I’m not sure I could ever not work in some capacity. There are tons of things I’d like to do but I can’t because I have a mortgage and two kids, and they wouldn’t pay enough for us to live indoors in DC. My job is fine, but it’s primary selling point is the paycheck.

  19. Apocalypse How*

    You weren’t kidding about her being a bad sitcom stereotype. This reminds me of the Facts of Life episode where Blair visits a fellow rich-person friend in NYC. The friend gets angry when her maid can’t make food for a brunch gathering because she needs emergency dental work. Then she is horrified when Blair suggests that they make their own tuna salad, with (gasp!) canned tuna and mayonnaise. Blair tells her to think of it as “welfare sturgeon.”

  20. Mainah*

    I’ve seen this dynamic. Outside wealth can create the false illusion of professional success. For some reason people assume that if you’re rich you’re successful in every role.

  21. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    Can you hang a print out in the lunch room?
    How to pay off student loans:
    Make coffee at home.
    Buy in bulk.
    Buy and maintain a used car.
    Tap that trust fund.
    Share a Netflix account with friends.

        1. J.B.*

          I will jealously look at your ramen while I’m trying to get my weight back under control! Carbs, delicious delicious carbs!

  22. I'm A Little Teapot*

    Just because you think something doesn’t mean it should come out of your mouth. Seriously.

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        When we’re done with the Internet, I know of a whole planet that could benefit from that advice as well.

  23. I'm just here for the cats*

    WOW! Just WOW! I just, can’t even put words together on how this is so horrible.

    One thing I would be cautious against is saying anything in the moment, at least not until LW has spoken with HR. Since Lucy and Sally are buddies now if LW said something I can see Lucy going back to Sally and Sally taking action against LW.

    I really want an update on this. I want to see Sally get fired and Lucy get put in her place! or both fired. or Lucy to lose her trust fund and find out what life is like for the majority of people in this country!

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      This was the first thing I thought when I read this letter.

      I’m sorry Lucy hasn’t yet caught fire from the burning irony of calling other people tacky while behaving like a horse’s rear end.

      And I hate to tell Lucy, but the majority of Old Money rich folks frown on this sort of behavior and look at her like she looks at those without her advantages.

  24. Nea*

    For the record, Lucy owns three houses, two condos, and a beach house.

    For the record, Lucy is managing her money very foolishly, to be spending so much on mortgages/upkeep/taxes while having so many assets in a slow-to-liquidate form. She would be spending far less per annum to rent at luxury hotels when she travels.

    Remember that, when she goes on about the poors; she’s actually a rotten money manager herself. It may help ungrit your teeth.

    Potentially even ungrit your teeth enough to look at something HR will care even more about than the bullying – job performance. I understand and appreciate that it’s her attitude that is making your blood boil, and rightfully so. But can you step back from your feelings long enough to look with a cold eye at Lucy’s performance? Someone that invested in correcting everyone around them is probably hiding a billion of their own flaws.

    If you can go to HR with “Lucy is an unreliable employee because x, y, and she hides it by daily bullying, examples a, b, c. Ordinarily I’d take this straight to Sally, but she seems mesmerized by Lucy’s charisma and has joined in with the bullying, as in examples d and e.”

    We’ve seen HR handwave bullying as an interpersonal problem before, but it’s harder for them to handwave poor performance. And Lucy’s type tends to consider work deadlines and tasking as beneath them.

    1. Ginger*

      I wonder if the the multiple houses, condos, etc are real. Maybe they are her parents or other family but hers? Not so sure.

      1. irene adler*

        Good point. Ownership info can be looked up at the county recorder’s office. Obtaining such info could be very enlightening.

        Thinking the family actually owns these properties. Lucy just has full use of them.
        Maybe all this talk is Lucy’s way of hiding that she has never accomplished anything on her own.

        1. Jules the 3rd*

          Could also be in her name to hide assets. Common method of transferring wealth between generations.

        2. londonedit*

          Definitely a good point…it’s often the people who are least satisfied with their own lives who feel the need to brag and belittle others. A while back I had a social media acquaintance who was very similar to Lucy – constantly talking about her children’s private schooling, her husband’s job, their cars, the fact that they were booking into this or that fancy hotel ‘just for a weekend, we like to stay there whenever we’re in X town’, etc etc, while sneering at people who sent their children to the local state schools and drove cars older than three years old. It was blindingly obvious that it all stemmed from her own insecurities because she’d never actually done anything for herself and she knew her lifestyle came from having married someone with money.

          1. LKW*

            My dad was an attorney and did a good chunk of divorce cases. He had clients that sent their kids to private schools, vacationed 5 times a year, had a vacation home in the Hamptons, blah blah blah and when it came down to split the assets… they were splitting the debt because although they easily cleared a half a million (almost 30 years ago – so real money) they spent it all trying to keep up with the Joneses.

            So I suppose the question is does she actually own the properties or is she paying mortgages on any of them?

            1. Nea*

              Even if she owns them with no mortgage, they cost in upkeep and taxes (and potentially condo/home association fees). If they’re just there with no renters/air B&B income – and giving out the key to one/being horrified that people rent suggests that Lucy is the only person using the units – then Lucy is paying money hand over fist just for bragging rights.

              Which is another distinction between new money and old. Old is ALL about income, not outgo. Income could come from renting the properties out – which means you shouldn’t be nasty about renting to a potential source of income – or from simply not owning unnecessary money sinks and instead investing in stocks or bonds (or businesses).

              Most people bring up the Vimes Boots Theory when money gets discussed, for very good reason. It’s also good money management to buy the right (expensive) thing and let it do its job long after the cheap thing has worn out and been replaced over and over.

              But let us not overlook Lady Sybil, oldest of old money in Ankh Morpork. She has one form of outgo that she cares about (two when the free hospital is built). And she spends her money on nothing else. Lady Sybil is rich enough to roll around in coins like Scrooge McDuck, but she lives in a hand-me-down house stuffed with hand-me-down furniture while wearing her mother’s hand-me-down clothes. She does not follow fashion, she does not travel, she does not pay a single penny for anything that she doesn’t already have a useful version of.

              …I’m wandering off topic. Or maybe not!

              1. UKDancer*

                Lady Sybil is a pretty good stereotype of the old school British gentry. If you went to a horse show or a country fair 30 years ago you’d see a large number of large ladies in tweeds with loud voices who could pass for Sybil. Most of them would drive old cars and wear hand me down clothes. They would spend their money on their passions and give generously to charity because of a belief in duty and obligation but be uninterested in status symbols. It’s a cliche’d image but perhaps not an untrue one.

                I think part of the reason she likes Sam Vimes is because he’s not impressed by her wealth or position. He loves her for herself.

                1. Nea*

                  He also takes her seriously. Short of Vetinari, most of the people in Ankh Morpork seem to have written her off as slightly crazy, and many of them outside (I’m thinking Angua’s mother) as mildly embarrassing and unable to take a hint.

                  Vimes is also uninterested and bemused in Sybil’s greatest interest, yet he encourages her to continue and enjoy it, with only a few modifications that are ultimately for her benefit (i.e., insisting on her hiring staff).

                  Loves her, encourages her, and gives her her way (except when he puts his foot down). Vimes is in many ways the perfect romance novel hero.

                2. Vina*

                  One of my mother’s friends gave her the following advice about antiquing/estate sales in the 1980s (US): look out for the women wearing old (but in good condition) cashmere sweaters and pearls. Because those were the Old Money women who knew how to haggle, how to spot a bargain, and they were ruthless!

      2. Night Vale Seems Good by Comparison*

        I wonder if any of it is real. OP mentions a small town so it’s possible the co-worker’s family is known, but it’s really easy to fake wealth these days. Just look at the countless get-rich-quick scammers who are all over Instagram, YouTube, etc. They all brag about their amazing lifestyles (which somehow always involves giving them money) by posing in front of other people’s luxury items, or renting a sports car for a day (or snapping pictures at dealerships), or doing some basic Photoshop.

        That’s probably not the case here, but honestly it’s the first thing I think of when someone goes SO hard on something. I absolutely believe a trust fund baby would do this, but I have also met folks who put incredible effort into creating a fantasy life that doesn’t exist.

        1. OliveJuice90*

          I completely agree. In a similar vein, my brother in law was married to a woman who came from a very well-off family but not nearly as well off as she claimed. The family did own multiple properties, but she owned nothing herself and was in massive amounts of debt that my BIL ended up having to help pay off when they divorced. She worked low paying vanity type jobs for the entire time that I knew her and my BIL and her lived in her parent’s mansion, but because they had a $250,000+ wedding paid for by her family it looked like she and my BIL were doing much better than they were. She would make outlandish claims all the time that had no actual basis in reality, but her family truly did have enough money that she could keep up the facade that her and her family were much more well off than in reality.
          It is entirely possible OP that some of this is not the truth or not as it seems.
          I have a dear friend whose parents have spent years in massive amounts of debt, living at a lifestyle high above their means. But because they made six figure salaries they could afford to keep up the charade. It really damaged my friend’s relationship to money and caused a lot of confusion for her and only now that she’s nearing 30 is she getting a handle on her own finances.
          Please feel free to just call this person out on their rudeness- it’s disgusting and hopefully if enough people sneer right back at her snobbery she will be shamed into at least shutting up.

      3. quill*

        I mean, not to get too deep into class and spending habits, but Lucy’s whole personality is that she wants to be noticed as better / more successful / more deserving than the people around her. At some level, it doesn’t really matter for OP’s actual work problem if it’s all a house of maxed out credit cards, or if Daddy Warbucks left her such a ridiculous amount of money / property that everything she says about her spending is true. The problem is her attitude and it’s going to transfer to her work ethic the way it’s already transferred to her treatment of the entire rest of the office (just WAIT until only some people get off for the holidays!)

        Lucy is a snob, even if she thinks she’s in the sky with diamonds.

    2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      She may rent them all out and consider the rental income to be “earned” even though the property came from gifts/trust and she lets an agency handle the management.

      I come from a privileged background and have seen this.

    3. Polly Hedron*

      Lucy is managing her money very foolishly, to be spending so much on mortgages/upkeep/taxes while having so many assets in a slow-to-liquidate form.

      Alas! We don’t know that. Lucy might own all the property free and clear and also have substantial liquid wealth.

      1. LKW*

        Yes, but did she inherit those properties, buy those properties with her trust or work so so so hard that she was able to buy all of those properties with nothing but her own bootstraps. It’s one thing if she’s actually managing money she made herself, but most of us don’t have resources in our early 20’s to buy that much real estate. For me, that’s the crux of this situation.

        1. Polly Hedron*

          I’d guess it’s all just family money. But, even if Lucy were a self-made billionaire who had bought everything via her own bootstraps, her behavior would be awful.

    4. Lonely Aussie*

      Another point in the Lucy is foolish with money column: she has a horse.
      There’s a joke in the horse world about being able to write a cheque out for thousands of dollars with your eyes closed is a valuable skill to have.

  25. ChemistryChick*

    Oh my stars and garters. What the F, indeed.

    OP, I would have a very hard time not looking at Lucy dead in the eyeballs and telling her to shut the eff up. You are definitely not being overly sensitive about this. Please do take this to HR.

  26. Ginger*

    I would be asking her why she works if she is so well off. Like in a really confused, that’s-so-odd way.

    Also, next time she makes a comment about someone’s car/clothes/lunch/whatever, I would say “Money talks but wealth whispers and you talk a lot. Huh, guess that explains your situation.” Shrug shoulders and walk away.

    But really, HR is the way to go to address Sally being such a disappointing, cruel manager.

  27. CatCat*

    I would be loudly slurping Ramen noodles around her daily possibly also accompanied by a lot of “mmmmm, yummmm” noises. Not because I’m a big Ramen fan, but just because it vexes her.

    1. Lils*

      I came here to suggest this. I would also have a lot of fun pointedly making remarks about how much I loved ramen and how good it feels to be thrifty and save money and slurping it up like a madwoman while making sustained eye contact with Lucy. I would likewise walk around talking about how much I love my thrift store outfit (because my thrift store outfits are AMAZING), discussing how I love my crappy little cheap car, and otherwise just loudly and emphatically pooh-poohing her classist, a-hole worldview. Then eventually, after I’d had my fun, I’d look at Lucy straight in the face and tell her off.

      1. LKW*

        Yeah part of me would be dropping a copy of “the millionaire next door” on Sally’s desk. Anonymously of course.

  28. Elsavet*

    She reminds me of Nellie and Mrs. Olsen (for those old enough to remember the great TV show Little House on the Prairie.) Those characters could put on airs and lord their wealth over a region of hardworking rural folk with meager means, sure. But if they were in a population center among REAL wealth, they’d be nothing. Lucy is the “rich” person living in what sounds like a very modest region, choosing to work among people of modest means. Notice that she isn’t among her (real or imagined) socioeconomic “peers”—maybe because she can’t cut it in their world.

    1. The Original K.*

      This reminds me of a scene from one of my favorite sitcoms, “Girlfriends” (it aired in the early aughts and is now on Netflix).One of the characters, Toni Childs, tells her husband that her biggest fear is being poor because she grew up poor in Fresno. She points out that growing up in Fresno, when you see rich people, “they’re still stuck in Fresno and that ain’t much.” She lives in LA now and “in LA you’re poor if you wear round-toe heels in a pointy-toe season.”

      I suspect that you’re right that Lucy likes being a big fish in a small pond.

    2. Mimmy*

      Oh YES!!! I remember in the pilot episode, Nellie would obnoxiously say about Laura and her sisters, “they’re just country girls”. Thank you for making my 9-year old self smile!

      1. Elizabeth West*

        And in the books, they knew Nellie from Plum Creek, but much to Laura’s shock, she walked into the school in De Smet where they lived when Laura was a teenager. Nellie still had the same snooty airs. “Likely her pretty clothes came out of a barrel,” Ma points out when Laura complains, and Pa explains how Mr. Oleson had lost his business and was barely making a living.

        Then Nellie got in good with their teacher, Eliza Jane Wilder (Almanzo’s sister) and it turned into a situation very much like the Sally/Lucy dynamic. So this is a very apt comparison.

    3. Insert Clever Name Here*

      Fun fact: in the books, the Olsens lose everything and move out west a few years after the Ingalls and wind up living in the same town — except since the Ingalls had been there longer, they have an improved claim (ie, not a claim shanty like the Olsens) plus a store front in town where they can live during the winter.

  29. 3DogNight*

    I’m pretty sure getting paid to do your job isn’t accepting a handout.
    But, taking money you haven’t earned, that is.

  30. Delta Delta*

    This description of Lucy makes her sound a lot less like Lucille Bluth, who is rich-awful in a charming way, and a little more like someone with no identity other than her daddy’s money.

    Also, don’t get blinded by the fancy horse. I’ve got a very fancy horse whose sole purpose in life is to roll in mud.

    1. RC Rascal*

      Is he gray? All gray horses have the pig gene.

      Speaking as the former owner of a mostly white ( with pink skin) paint pony who loved nothing more than sleeping in a pile of his own soil. Especially the night before a horse show.

      1. Delta Delta*

        Nope. We’ve got ourselves a chestnut mare situation. She’s fancy and she knows it and being a chestnut mare, she DOESN’T CARE about “being clean” and all that good stuff. But we love her.

  31. Elenia*

    I had a coworker like this. Made it clear she was only working because she wanted to. her husband made a lot of money. Owned 3 BMWs. Etc.
    Well, one day his business came crashing down and the house of cards was revealed. Everything was on credit. Everything. The cars went back, the house was foreclosed on. Even the couches went back.
    For a while she was humble. Worked two jobs while her lazy husband “refused to work for the man”. But eventually she became arrogant again, while still poor!

    Report her to HR. She needs to be talked to.

    1. Windchime*

      Yep, I had an arrogant coworker like this. We worked similar jobs, so I never understood why she had fancy cars and constantly was wearing new clothes and going on Caribbean cruises. Once she bought her husband a ski boat for Fathers Day. Turns out it was all on credit and home equity loans. She lost her house and the fancy cars. But I saw her recently and even though she is now renting an apartment, she was carrying a new, $2k handbag. And still putting on airs.

  32. Schnookums Von Fancypants, Naughty Basic Horse*

    “Not everyone can be the lucky sperm, Lucy.”

    I mean, don’t actually say that, since my advice is awful and I’m a terrible human being. But that’s what I was thhinking.

  33. Construction Safety*

    Ah, Lucy was born on third base and thinks she hit a triple. Bless her heart.

    1. Squidhead*

      This is the best comment. And not just because I used to work with Lucy’s bootstrap-hoisting twin.

  34. lex talionis*

    Next time someone catches boss Sally criticizing the poverty of her subordinates I suggest you all get together and ask her to solve that issue by giving you all a raise.

  35. Brett*

    You have a company that apparently is partly reliant on underpaid talent sticking around and on low cost of living making that talent available. And in a city with a lot of startups.

    Lucy is going to hurt you at some point. You are going to lose key talent because of her, if you have not already. If you company hinges on talent retention (and it sounds like it does), it will get badly hurt by Lucy. And Sally is facilitating her doing this.

    That’s why this needs to go to HR.

  36. Chantel*

    I’d be very tempted to say, “Gee, Lucy, all that money, all that education, and you still don’t have any brains.”

    What a misfit.

  37. bunniferous*

    Truly rich people don’t flaunt their wealth. New money does. (Source-I once worked in a VERY fancy country club back in the day and got to observe for myself. The contrast was rather stunning.)

    1. Nea*

      Someone up thread used the phrase “money talks, wealth whispers.” I’d never heard it before, but it’s so, so true.

      1. Here we go again*

        Your coworkers are immature and need a reality check. Their acting like the stereotypical mean rich girl from a bad 90s teen movie.

    2. NYC Taxi*

      So true. I have an uber wealthy friend from a dept store fortune. You would never know it by the way they live their life. Couldn’t be more low key and humble and very grateful and appreciative of their luck of birth. Most of our friend wider group has no idea.

    3. Jennifer Strange*

      Can confirm. I’ve been working on non-profit fundraising for nearly a decade at this point and the really BIG donors are always the most laid back (and least flashy).

    4. Malika*

      The trust fund people i know bum around in second hand clothing and one of them has a bike they proudly inherited from their grandfather as their mode of transportation. I believe they would find this behaviour horrific. Anyone in that situation with an ounce of sense knows that looking down on people who have to work their way up is ignorant at best.

      From what I have observed people with inherited wealth often feel a sense of mild unease about it. It got handed to them by accident of birth and they have no way of knowing if they could have fended for themselves if they had not been so lucky. One of them even wondered if he was being infantilised by receiving a trust fund, even though he has a sensible full-time job and would be more than fine if it all disappeared. Never mind the unhealthy hold your family can have over your life choices if they are doling out the money that makes your fancy house and hobbies possible. Lucy’ s behaviour might be prompted by that unease and family pressure and it is her way of calming herself down when it rears its ugly head.

    5. Old Cynic*

      Correct. They don’t flaunt it.

      Back in the mid 70s, I worked at a country club and one of the members owned a large food related company, the name of which y’all would likely recognize.

      She pulled up to the valet stand one day in her fun car, a somewhat dirty, somewhat beat-up VW Bug. A newly hired valet tried to give her the bums rush. She was very kind, chuckled, and said “I’m Mrs. Carrington-Smythe, dear” without any condescension. Other valets swarmed and clued him in.

      1. UKDancer*

        There is a joke that the upper class drive beat up range rovers / jeeps and the nouveau riche drive posh cars which has an element of truth in it. If you look at who drives posh cars in London they’re often people from the oil producing countries or oligarchs or possibly footballers. People with family money don’t drive status symbol vehicles as much, perhaps because they’ve less to prove.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I’ve seen three Rolls Royce cars in my life. One was in London, near the BBC; one was in Santa Cruz, CA at the gas station (it was a gorgeous autumn red car—I should have asked for a ride to work, heh) and the other was in Springfield, MO (do not ask me why or how that car was at the mall—I don’t know. Probably some rich person from Branson.). As a kid, I used to be very impressed by them until I found out they only get around eight miles to the gallon!

          1. UKDancer*

            Rollers have terrible mileage to the gallon. I mean they look pretty but they’re not practical. If I had infinite money and cared about cars I’d get a Maybach any day over a roller. Not that I’m likely to be able to afford either.

        2. Nea*

          Upthread I mention Lady Sybil from the Discworld books, who lives entirely in hand-me-downs, with the philosophy that if it works, then she doesn’t need to spend money to replace it. She is also rich enough to rent the entire opera house out on a whim.

          She’s based off of British old money stereotypes. Her no-money husband at one point decides that families have old money because they don’t spend it on anything.

    6. Black Horse Dancing*

      Eh, I’d said that’s old money rather than truly rich. Look at Bezos and his “Going to fly to space” and Branson. Musk is really rich as well.

    7. Absurda*

      This thread reminds me of the book Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan. It really highlights the attitude differences between old and new money. Though, if the new money is big enough and the owner powerful enough, old money will overlook a lot. But really, old money doesn’t talk about wealth because they all take for granted that they have it and so do all their friends. They’re more who they know/are related to, clubs they’re a member of, etc as their status symbol.

  38. Former HR Staffer*

    we had a fresh off the boat masters graduate that brought up her degree every chance she got… like every day. if someone complimented her on her work, she’d say stuff like “yup, good looks and a MASTERS degree too!”

    so whenever this was mentioned, i’d say, “thats awesome! did you know cecelia has TWO masters degrees?” or “that’s great, but maddy and john have their PhDs, so it’ll be a while before you can catch up with those two!” yes, it’s petty. but one-upping her with other people’s accomplishments and changing the subject made her bring it up less and less.

    1. Tara*

      I am worse, when someone would do that at my work, I would go “hey, and look at me, achieving exactly the same with just my undergrad!”, very chipper. They never said it to me again, haha.

      1. JustaTech*

        There was an ad for one of the big shipping companies a while back where an older woman is showing her new younger man employee how to use the super-easy shipping software. “I have an MBA!” he proclaims. “Oh, OK, let me walk you through it then,” she replies.

  39. singlemaltgirl*

    this is my favourite alison response, ever.

    and lw, i’m sorry you work with a lucy. microaggression after microaggression. people who have been poor or who live in poverty or just above the poverty line have to suffer enough indignities in life. the fact that you have someone like that working alongside you? i would have fired her ass awhile ago. i’m sorry your boss sucks, too.

      1. A Person*

        Yup. It’s full-sized aggression.

        (Singlemaltgirl, microaggression is the kind of thing that doesn’t show if you only see it once and only from the outside, but if you live thru it over and over and over the pattern is clear. It’s often not openly aggressive so much as well-meaning and ignorant and clueless and *tiring*.)

        1. singlemaltgirl*

          “microaggression: indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group.”

          can’t tell if it’s unintentional with lucy. and it is indirect as it’s not always in the face of people who are poor – it’s talking behind their backs. she and the boss hackling about others? indirect. it’s definitely ignorant and tiring…i can hear it in the tone of the lw from here.

          but we can agree to disagree.

  40. Keymaster of Gozer*

    I once dated a guy who was incredibly rich from a trust fund, couldn’t understand at all *why* I’d budget to save for a car repair/new clothes when ‘you only suffer deprivation if you’re lazy’.

    (Yeah, he was against any form of benefits too. He’d never needed them….)

    It ended very very badly.

    15 or so years later I end up working with someone with similar views who expunged their notion that I my health issues/disability/time spent unemployed etc. were totally ‘revolting’ because if I’d just ‘worked harder at life’ I wouldn’t have them. I was a younger Keymaster then, without my evil powers (tongue in cheek though practically required in IT) and would go home and effing cry after each time.

    What I wish I’d done is to tell them to remove their nose from its current position between their gluteus maximus and realise we’re ALL biological machines that produce icky fluids and that theirs don’t smell any better just because they have more numbers on their bank balance.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer*

      (Btw translation for us UK lot who don’t have ramen: think really cheap Super Noodles)

        1. Keymaster of Gozer*

          Oops, my bad! Assumed ramen was like less than a quid and flat packed stuff you boil in a pan. I should really travel outside the British isles one day. Thanks for the correction :)

          (Pot noodles are fantastic but too expensive to eat often)

    2. JustaTech*

      I had a coworker who’d been in a car accident (totally the other guy’s fault, he was drunk and just plowed into her stopped at a stoplight), and for lots of reasons it took her more than a year to get the settlement from her insurance company. But in the meantime she still needed things like a new car, so she ended up with a bit of credit card debt.

      One day at lunch our very arrogant coworker was holding forth on how anyone with credit card debt was an “idiot” and I thought I was going to have to help dispose of a body, she was so angry at him. She actually had to leave the room.
      “Hey, that was super rude and hurtful to Coworker, why’d you just call her an idiot?”
      “What? Oh, not her, I didn’t mean her, I meant other people.”
      “Yeah, well, that’s not what you said.”

      No idea if he changed his way of thinking any after that.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Yeah, thank you. I’ve been in serious debt on credit cards due to horrible life situations and…yeah, it’s disheartening how some people like to think that’s a sign of lack of wits.

        (Escaping an abusive ex left me with less than nothing)

  41. Lav*

    Oh my goodness! This letter was insane. I could MAYBE see this behavior going in high school (which in itself is an issue no doubt), but she is old enough to know better. How do you make it through college without being exposed to a world outside of the one you grew up in?

    1. JustaTech*

      In my undergrad we had a couple of really rich kids who were just clueless (not unkind) and we were able to mostly-gently ground them on Planet Earth. (One kid was genuinely nice and super willing to help, but also kind of helpless on weird things, like he couldn’t peel an orange without using like 10 napkins).

      My dad used to be a professor in an MBA program and part of that job was being a reality check for a lot of literal princes (how you work with a team, how you work with women as peers or bosses, and “I don’t care who your dad is”).

      But those lessons only stick for people who are willing to learn.

      1. a*

        “How you work with women as peers or bosses”. I am torn between thinking that shouldn’t be necesssary in this day and age and thinking this should be taught in every school.

        1. JustaTech*

          These students are often coming from countries where women have extremely limited rights and aren’t often found in corporations.

          1. Adultiest Adult*

            Yup. Ended up having to tutor one of those for awhile in grad school (think literal Saudi prince) and boy, was that an interesting experience… Though he never said it, it was quite clear what he had been taught to think about me.

  42. Moocowcat*

    Is Lucy not aware that she’s living on “hand outs” from her parents? Like, that’s what money from a family trust fund is…. Lucy didn’t create that income from her own bootstrapping and high moral fiber.
    Lucy should be gifted Ramen packages at the next company Holiday Party.

    1. Nanani*

      She probably really doesn’t get it. This mentality that poverty is somehow a choice and lack of understanding that other people were NOT born rich – and therefore didn’t get poor by being bad with money they don’t have – is very real. And poisons reasoning ability.

      Plus anyone making that kind of comment is definitely low on self-awareness.

    2. Malika*

      Its handouts with strings attached. The trust fund usually comes with a lot of expectations of being able to nose through your life choices and to adhere to standards that might have precious little to do with your inner values and drive. A friend of mine is pushing towards 40 and still has to show what type of health insurance and energy contract he has taken out on a yearly basis to ensure his trust fund allocation. The endless questions about his career choices, when he has a regular day job and is a fully-functioning adult is mind boggling. It reminded me of my glorious days on the dole, and i at least could see the days of doing that were limited. A suffocating trust fund can kill your feelings of self-efficacy if you don’ t have a healthy sense of self. People with trust funds are immensely lucky and have a privilege it is hard to fathom. An unmixed joy it is not.

  43. Squirrel*

    Omg, I hate to say it, but you do sound like you’re stuck in a weird 80s sitcom! My sympathies.
    So, after you go to hr, try to have a little fun with this. “Ted better fix this software glitch. Some people are just afraid of hard work and want handouts.” You: “(stifling a giggle)What does that even mean? ‘Afriad of hard work and want handouts’? Not sure that applies here.”
    In my experience the best way to disarm someone who thinks they are better than you is to laugh at them. Sometimes just making them explain what they mean, or say the “unspoken” part. “So you think that people who are trying to save money can’t have starbucks?” If you repeat their ridiculous notions back to them they often back off. Or they double down, at which point the previously quizzical look on your face turns to concern for their immortal soul. ;)
    If you feel brave enough you can always spout off “I always thought rich people were supposed to have better manners than to comment on someone’s food/clothes/cars/income. Money can’t buy everything I guess!” Said while winking at your “poor” colleagues, of course.
    Best of luck to you!

    1. AKchic*

      I like this. Really openly highlight both her rudeness and her ridiculousness. It won’t change her mind, but it will start to make her rethink running her mouth so openly. She already targets everyone, because they are “so beneath” her, so I doubt she’ll hone in on the OP for extra ridicule should she get any pushback.
      I’d still tell HR what’s going on, and maybe give them a head’s up about how you’re planning to combat things at your own level to see if you can minimize the open distain she shows, but really, Sally’s involvement needs to have HR’s eyes on.

      1. Squirrel*

        Exactly. The goal is for her to take that rich shit attitude somewhere else. She’s not going to get satisfaction lording her “richer than thou” attitude with OP & friends anymore. She will get laughed out of the office for that kind of immaturity.
        And agreed, priority 1 is hr, priority 2 is calling out her behavior.

  44. Aunt Bee’s Pickles*

    I love how nearly all of the responses are doing the exact same thing that LW accuses Lucy of doing — only in reverse. To read these responses, one would think all financially well off people are spoiled, entitled brats who have never “really” worked and only achieved their wealth through luck or the sweat of others.

    And before anybody gets their hackles up, I’m not defending Lucy. She’s a jerk. Sally is no better.

    1. yikes*

      No, one would not think that, because nobody said anything like that. And also because no, the people leaving these responses are not doing the same thing, and what they’re doing does not carry the same weight. A rich person being shitty to their coworkers **because their coworkers have less money**, in real life, at the workplace, on the daily, is extraordinarily different from people online dunking on rude rich people for their rude **behavior**.

      Even if this “bullying” (quotation marks used because bullying is what Lucy was doing, but definitely not what this comment section is doing) were somehow equal, it turns out rich people still have more money, time, and influence than people who are not “financially well off” (nice term that potentially broadens the category of people who could be the recipients of these comments, btw — oh no, I’M financially well off!! People on the internet might be making fun of ME! except they’re not unless you are also as ludicrously rude as Lucy). Difficult to think of a more clear cut case of “punching up.”

      But to be honest… eat the rich. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      1. nonbinary writer*

        Nah, eating the rich is how you get brain parasites; gotta compost em for the community gardens!!

        1. quill*

          Eh, if we’re looking at prions there is no safe consumption of the capital-holders. Prions survive EVERYTHING.

    2. nonbinary writer*

      Oh please, reverse classism is not a thing. Eight million people are facing eviction this summer because of the pandemic; I think it’s okay to be upset at people hoarding their wealth.

    3. Macaroni Penguin*

      Lucy is being a very rude coworker. Her socioeconomic status is secondary I think. Generally speaking, people in upper socioeconomic bracket aren’t rude bullies.

    4. Observer*

      You’re being surprisingly defensive here.

      No one is claiming that this is “rich person behavior”. But there is no doubt that her position of wealth makes her behavior all the more obnoxious. Because, for instance, complaining about people in need getting handouts is obnoxious. Doing that when the complainer is living on handouts is an enormous extra level of obnoxiousness.

      1. JustaTech*

        Exactly. Lucy is being a jerk, and her money is an amplifier. Chances are excellent she’d be just as unpleasant, just in a different way, if she didn’t have money.

      2. Keymaster of Gozer*

        It’s rather akin the the derailing ‘not all men’ or ‘not all white people’ etc. stuff I’ve seen far too often when issues of sexism/harassment or racism are raised at various places I’ve worked. It can often seem to shift the conversation back to how we should consider the feelings of the people acting like total arses which….doesn’t help the situation at all.

    5. AKchic*

      It’s called Teaching Lucy A Lesson. Nobody is suggesting that OP do this all the time to all people with hefty bank accounts. They are merely suggesting that OP do it to Lucy as a response to Lucy’s own behaviors. Lucy is 100% in control of her own destiny. She could avoid this reaction by not doing the thing that causes the inevitable response.
      I.e., don’t want your hand burnt, don’t touch the hot stove. Lucy is choosing to stick her hand on a hot stove over and over again. We’re giving OP permission to burn the hand as a warning that Lucy isn’t invincible.

    6. NotAnotherManager!*

      Not really. No one’s walking up to Lucy on a regular basis to call her a lazy trust fund baby with no idea of the meaning of hardwork or a wealth hoarder lives on the backs of others. Were Lucy lording her privilege over everyone around her and finding truly bizarre ways to work it into conversations where there’s no need to include it, no one would be suggesting OP start harassing Lucy for being more financially well-off.

      Lucy is being aggressively and over the top rude. Personally, I find it most effective not to engage with this type of person at all beyond work-related conversations, but I can understand someone wanting to point out her total hypocrisy to her and find this sort of retort entirely different from what Lucy is doing. She’s the one who’s making class and wealth a thing, and the comeback are specifically directed at Lucy and that she herself is the very thing that she’s accusing others (i.e., not very bootstrappy or classy), not an entire class of people.

  45. Heidi*

    I’d still eat ramen no matter how much money I had. This is like the song “If I Had a Million Dollars.” They wouldn’t have to eat Kraft dinner. But they would.

    1. NotJane*

      I come from a very similar background as Lucy, the main difference*** apparently being that my parents taught me values and manners, because I’m just as disgusted with Lucy as everyone else.

      Anyway, I literally just got back from the grocery store, and guess what I bought? A six pack of Ramen noodles! Because ramen noodles are freakin’ delicious.

      ***And the house thing, although I’m giving serious side eye to Lucy’s claim that she “owns” all those homes.

  46. Andie Elizabeth*

    The specific comments Lucy is making really struck me from a psychological point of view. It sounds like the comments are really almost mantras for Lucy – these are the lies that the wealthy need to tell themselves about “the poors” because it’s evident on its face that the wealthy do not deserve the status, power, or resources that come with their money (and even the money itself was extracted via exploitation, not hard work). They need to lie to themselves, constantly, about how the poors are just bad money managers, inherently gross/base/trash, make bad choices, and just want handouts for no work, because if Lucy stops lying out loud to herself, she’d have to confront the fact that “the poors” are just people who deserve places to live and stability and security and nice things as much as she does. That is such an incompatible worldview to coexist in her brain with all of the Just World lies we tell ourselves culturally about wealth/success (and probably, the lies her parents and the people around her told her growing up) – that the poors only vote for policies that would allow the gov’t to steal her hard earned trust fund so they can sit on their asses unproductively all day.

    Psychologically she really probably can’t walk around without reminding herself out loud (and conveniently driving away any coworkers of fewer means that she might otherwise have gotten friendly with or come to respect for their knowledge/skills/work ethic that might have challenged that worldview simply from exposure) that these lower-status people deserve, in some way, to be lower status, and she doesn’t because she’s good and makes good choices.

    I don’t know if that helps at all but it is…interesting.

    1. Andie Elizabeth*

      And if she’s working this underpaid role in this not-yet-glamorous start-up town, there must be a reason – maybe the trust fund specifies that she has to work (but then why didn’t someone in her Ivy league network set her up with something cushy and overpaid closer to her people?) or she’ been threatened with being cut off, or some other reason but I definitely agree with folks above who say this comes from insecurity – I think insecurity would really kick the underlying perspective from my original comment into overdrive. I make good choices, I’m a good/deserving person, I don’t deserve bad things like ~*~you people~*~.

    2. Elbe*

      I agree that it’s very interesting as a case study of sorts. (I feel really badly that the LW has to live it, though!)

      It’s pretty clear that Lucy thinks about money and social status non-stop. It’s always top-of-mind for her. When she eats, when she hears office chatter, when she thinks about work performance. Everywhere she looks, everything she hears, it’s all indicators of meeting or not meeting certain standards.

      But the whole set up is suspicious to me. Why is she working a job that doesn’t seem to have high wages or social prestige? If her family is so massively wealthy, surely they’re connected enough to get her work somewhere else? There’s something else going on here. It could be that her family is wealthy (but not rich) and she’s exaggerating, or the money is running out and she’s terrified 24/7 that she’s going to end up like everyone else… and it will mean that she’s lazy and unworthy. She could be obsessing because her assumption that wealth = goodness is pretty inconvenient now that she’s doing the same thing with her life as someone who *gasp* rents.

      1. nonbinary writer*

        I know someone who inherited millions from a family member and worked a minimum wage job at a coffee shop. She just needed a place to go with a set schedule for the sake of her mental health. That said, she generally tried to hide her wealth instead of flaunting it because she knew it would be alienating for her friends.

    3. NotAnotherManager!*

      My spouse worked with a bunch of Lucys at a prior job, and there were very into how their financial security was a marker of higher morality and being a better worker/smarter/better person than those who struggled to make ends meet. (The type of people who said Hurricane Katrina victims should get aid because they knew the hurricane was coming and “should have just left”. Yeah. That sort.) It always really came off as really deep insecurity and needing to put other people down to make themselves feel better.

  47. Been there, done that*

    I worked in an office in the past full of rather entitled people, one in particular that went on and on about “crackhead” and “white trash” neighbors who constantly brought down property values by not mowing often enough. I straight out told her “maybe the neighbor is busy taking care of a sick relative” at the time I had 2 and she knew this…”maybe they’re overwhelmed with Bill’s are are working alot and just don’t have time to deal with it, why not go over and check on their situation rather than sit at work bad mouthing them? I know with my situation, I’d rather someone help me than just sit around complaining, because I sure need help” (my husband was recovering from heart surgery, my grandmother was needing almost daily help AND I was raising my child at the time of this conversation)..she looked at me like I’d just hot her with a board but finally slowed down with the complaints about the neighbors. And no…nobody has ever offered to help me with any of my issues.

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      That drives me nuts when people complain or leave passive-aggressive notes without thinking about other people’s circumstances. It took our next door neighbor at our last place two months after we moved in to stop mowing our yard because he’d always done it for the elderly lady who lived in the house before us. He cut our whole side yard the entire time we lived there. We mowed the yard of our elderly neighbors on the other side of us (and shoveled their snow) more times than I can count – it was a community thing. We rotated which family mowed, and snow was typically a joint effort of multiple households. It just seemed like the neighborly thing to do…

  48. Elbe*

    “Oh my god, you still RENT? At YOUR age? That explains so much.”

    WOW. It would be tempting, in the moment, to ask “What does it explain?” like you really want to know. Of course, that approach assumes that Lucy has a shred of decency and shame, which she doesn’t.

    Lucy is awful, of course. But all of this makes me suspect that she’s probably not as rich as she says she is, and that she and her parents probably have a ton of debt. Why would she need to have a full time job that is so beneath her? It also makes me think that she’s deeply insecure about her own abilities. People who are genuinely good at their jobs don’t have to give their bosses keys to their beach house.

    In the end, both Lucy and Sally will be their own punishment. Sally isn’t going to become magically rich by associating with Lucy, but she will feel progressively worse and worse about her income (and what that income “says” about her) until she’s completely miserable. And I’d be willing to bet that Lucy is miserable already.

    1. JustaTech*

      The comment about renting might explain why one of my former coworkers (who has previously owned houses) was always talking about how great renting was; maybe she was trying to preempt snarky comments about renters. (I totally get why someone would rather rent than own, even if you’re not living in a place with a lava-hot housing market.)

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        My c-level boss just sold her single family home and is renting an apartment and LOVES it. No yard, community pool, better commute.

        I find the snobbery around renting really weird. There are tons of situations in which it’s a much better choice than buying.

        1. allathian*

          Yeah, especially as there are luxury rentals available. In some markets, 10K a month for a 2 bedroom apartment wouldn’t be unusual.

  49. Lucille B.*

    Any response from Alison that begins with “What the actual F” makes me pause reading to go pop some popcorn.

    1. no phone calls, please*

      Same! I feel for OP (!), but omg, when you see that at the start of the reply buckle up, this is going to be amazinggggg! :oD

  50. CatPerson*

    How appallingly unbearable this must be to put up with. LW, I hope we receive an update from you after you talk to HR.

  51. Red Wheelbarrow*

    I’m so sorry, OP. This sounds infuriating and upsetting. You sound like a decent, compassionate human, and you deserve a better working situation than this.

  52. Chantal*

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE update us on this situation! I would love to hear that they got some kind of comeuppance.

  53. angstrom*

    Snark won’t help. Keep it simple, direct, and focus on the problem. “That’s rude.” That’s cruel.” The problem is how she treats her coworkers. You can’t change how she thinks, but there can be consequences for what she says.

    1. JustaTech*

      “That’s a very ignorant thing to say.”

      “Why do you keep saying such rude things to your coworkers?”

      It’ll also show your support to your coworkers on the receiving end of Lucy’s rudeness and hopefully you can all band together to just keep shutting her down.

  54. Archaeopteryx*

    People at that stratum of wealth have a difficult time evaluating the worth of anything in non-monetary terms. If it costs more, it’s “better”… which is why she has no concept of classiness. In her brain, designer goods are classy and anything else is trashy, etc, rather than classiness stemming from gracious, elegant, kind, mature behavior.

  55. Ummhmm yeah ok*

    So, Lucy is loaded – and she’s working a $10/hr job???

    Does not pass the smell test for me.

      1. Elbe*

        I’ve known a couple of truly horrible rich people and they wouldn’t work a job like this. Even if there’s an employment requirement for the trust fund, they would get a better, more prestigious job. For example, they would work at their dad’s friend’s company doing nothing while having a high job title.

        Lucy sounds pretty terrible. I don’t really see any reason to take what she says as actual fact. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there’s a lot more going on here than she says.

        1. Black Horse Dancing*

          Depends on the type of jobs
          Certain non profits, museums, social work–all pay low yet can be prestigious in certain ways.

  56. Lora*

    Unfortunately I had an inordinate number of colleagues like this when I worked in science-science (as opposed to science-y engineering, what I do now). Their weekend hobbies were like, yacht racing and traveling overseas. They truly, honestly believe that “everyone” can totally afford to do these things and if you cannot it’s because you made bad life choices and don’t know how to save or manage money, and if you just listen to their favorite podcast, you too can learn how to make passive income by renting out your desirable-location condo and not buying Starbucks.

    One of them I considered a friend, so I walked her through the whole accounting of how it works to be average (not even poor, just average): you have $35,000/year in income per capita, after taxes and insurance can be 25,000-27,000 net. You have a student loan, $200-400/month if you went to a “cheap” state school. You have a car loan for a decent used car plus insurance for said car, $400-500/month. How do you pay for rent, food, utilities on that salary? You can’t, you need at least two household incomes, but your partner also has a student loan, needs a car to commute, etc. Average rent within commuting distance of a smallish city with more than a couple of employers plus utilities and phones, looking at $1500/month. Where do you get money for gas to go to your jobs, groceries? What if you have some medical issue and have to pay a $2500 deductible in a year? What if you have a kid and need to pay for kid stuff? How can you possibly afford day care?

    She asked, well why don’t their families help them – when I needed an expensive thing, my family gave me the money. I replied, because family is all in the same financial position, with nobody available to help. There just is not money to be had from anywhere. That’s what average means, that over half of the country is in the same crummy boat. Which relative do you think I have who would give me money if I needed some? They don’t have more than me, I make the most money of anyone in my family. She got very quiet and said her family had always had money, was very educated. Okay, well…

    The part she really couldn’t wrap her head around was, you can be educated as all heck and still not get paid much at all. Like, professors with PhDs who are trying to piece together three adjuncting jobs are paid crappy despite their education, social workers etc have really hard jobs and a lot of education but are not paid well. She literally had zero concept that a job can be tough, require a lot of education, and still pay not enough to live well on, because why would anyone sign up for such a career willingly? Everyone should just get a better paying job, right? I asked if she was suggesting a general strike, given the scope of “jobs that don’t pay well”. We’re not exactly close friends these days…

    1. Elbe*

      You provided her a service, even if she didn’t thank you for it.

      I find it fascinating that people lack imagination to this extent. Even if they’re very sheltered, you’d think that there would be enough TV shows, movies, books, etc. that deal with these things that they would figure it out, at least a little. It seems like willful ignorance in a lot of cases.

    2. J.E.*

      “She literally had zero concept that a job can be tough, require a lot of education, and still pay not enough to live well on, because why would anyone sign up for such a career willingly?”

      Because people from wealthy families may not get a choice. They’re steered away from entire fields growing up because they aren’t well paid. Or they want to continue the lifestyle in which they grew up so they force themselves into careers they aren’t happy in but pay well.

      1. Lora*

        Yeah, that was another conversation – how if you’re the first person in your family (neighborhood etc) to go to college at all, you’re probably not getting the greatest career advice ever. Where I grew up, bright kids were steered to community college and really bright kids were given brochures about state university with no further suggestion than “you’ll have to sign up to take the ACTs”. Other kids were advised to choose either trade school or given a list of local employers: hospital, courthouse, a logistics warehouse, and a light plastics assembly plant. That’s it. Saw plenty of kids in similar situations when I was TA’ing, whose parents had said, “well, there’s always jobs for nurses…” and when they flunked out of the biology prerequisites due to their under-funded high school not preparing them for college level study, they were at a total loss.

        1. matcha123*

          Sounds similar to what my mom got in the early 70s when she was in high school. The school counselor told her to get married rather than go to university, despite her 4.0GPA. After bouncing around with different majors, she settled on one that helps people, but pays very low and is usually filled with wealthy women who want to look charitable. Of course there was no way for her to know that. So despite having an advanced degree, she wasn’t pulling advanced degree money.
          It’s also why I get annoyed by people who advise youth from poor backgrounds to skip college, rather than help them find a career that could ease them out of poverty. If Trust Fund Lucy doesn’t want to go to college, fine. But people from lower income backgrounds really need degrees in lucrative fields because we don’t have money to fall back on…

    3. quill*

      One thing I’ve learned from my brother going to grad school with a lot of ivy league kids – the reason you can get away with paying grad students and nonprofit workers peanuts is because there are a lot of people who can afford to be paid next to nothing because their family will take care of the rest of it, on their way to a position of greater prestige. And the reason why people with family wealth are overrepresented in many academic fields is because everyone else either barely makes ends meet and gets sick of the Lucys of the world mocking their ramen lunch, or flat out can’t afford it.

      1. Lora*

        ^THIS^ Yes yes yes. This is exactly what my Drug Discovery colleagues were like. Most were actually reasonably nice, quiet people who just wanted to maybe someday cure cancer or something, before they left for their 3:30 pm tee time at the country club. But if they had a couple of drinks and started talking about their private lives, I had to either excuse myself or change the subject fast. It only got worse when layoffs were announced and people were spectacularly unbothered by the prospect of being long term unemployed because their rich spouse/family would take care of bills…it did give their managers the impression that mass layoffs of productive employees aren’t all THAT bad anyways, nothing to stress about, people will find another job and be OK. Spoiler: some left STEM altogether and were decidedly not OK.

        1. quill*

          Yeah, came to the conclusion early on that even if I could afford academia, I couldn’t afford academics.

          My brother, on the other hand, just sells refurbished bikes to the trust fund kids at ludicrous prices to fund his habit of actually eating food.

      2. Windchime*

        This. My son was offered an awesome internship in the State Capital one summer when he was at University. But the capital is about 250 miles from his apartment and he would have to keep paying rent. Plus find a place to live at the capital. For an unpaid internship. He had to turn it down because, even with my help, we could not swing two apartments plus all living expenses for the summer. I’m guessing some rich kid ended up with the internship.

        1. Lora*

          100% agree. My undergrad did two really good things for me: 1) scholarship money 2) STEM independent research to be either published or presented at a conference was a graduation requirement and several credit-hours were provided senior year for this purpose, it was considered part of your regular full time student courseload. It was not something you had to have connections to get, you didn’t have to quit your evening/weekend job to do it, it was just part of the program. It included a once-a-week seminar class where public speaking skills were taught because you had to present how your research was going to the rest of the senior class.

          When I was TA’ing at Big State U, research experiences to look good for grad school or employers were something students had to go out of their way to do: they were unpaid, not advertised as open positions (you had to know about them through the grapevine), not considered regular coursework therefore they did it on top of a full course load and it didn’t count toward their eligibility for financial aid, there were only a handful of limited openings available only in certain professors’ labs compared to the hundreds of students enrolled in any given STEM program, and they had to make time in a schedule that already contained at least 18 hours of credits plus working 30+ hours/week waiting tables or bartending or whatever to make ends meet. That was if they even knew they needed to do these type of things for grad school applications: many didn’t, many thought it was purely gaming your GPA and MCATs or GREs, because their advisors didn’t tell them any different.

          When I pointed out to my PI that this was not the most meritocratic system ever, he shrugged and said it was more than he got, it’s just state university and these aren’t the brightest kids ever anyway.

    4. matcha123*

      I became irrationally angry reading this because it matches up so closely with things a now former friend used to say. She went to private schools but she wasn’t “rich” because the other kids’ parents were actual millionaires and hers were only making six figures.
      Her parents paid for her tuition at a big Ivy League school, but because she took a part-time job for a few months in college she knows what it’s like to be without cash.
      Almost everything you wrote was something she said to me, and like you I went and gently explained what it is like to grow up poor. I had to stop when she told me workplace harassment I received within my first week at a new job was my fault because I didn’t pay my harasser enough respect and my work quality must be poor. These people grew up with every advantage in life and get off by tearing down hardworking people. Literally told me to lie on my resume and in job interviews because “everyone does it.”

      1. Lora*

        OMG the lying on your resume! Friend did that too, got a job interview for a job she wasn’t really qualified for and called me asking what she could read quickly to try to learn the skill overnight. She didn’t get the job, anyway.

        Honestly, most of the Lucy types I saw were given Corporate Leadership Coaching to try to get them to see the value of at least pretending to be a decent human being. Those of us less fortunate are merely fired for not being team players. Yet another way in which the rich are not like you and me.

        1. matcha123*

          I also couldn’t believe it. She said I’d been out of the US too long and don’t know the norms, but I’m pretty sure that flat-out lying is not a “norm” I want to be apart of.
          They really do think that “this one small trick” is what will enable someone making a net $30k to save $40k in a year. *rolls eyes*

    5. HotSauce*

      I give you credit for trying to educate her, but I feel like a lot of people just don’t WANT to understand. The past few years has really opened my eyes to how many people that I know personally that have ZERO sense of empathy. They don’t want to try to understand, they want to continue being willfully ignorant and cling to their preconceived notions about “certain people”.

    6. NotAnotherManager!*

      When I move to the DC area, I could not understand how so many of my peers could afford to buy a condo, townhouse, or actual house. Home prices are insane here – a 1-2 bedroom condo is likely $250K and a very modest single-family home in commuting distance to the city is $500K. Even when I got to a point my salary would cover the monthly, there was no way I had a 20% downpayment kicking around, and you needed that for a competitive offer (and when PMI used to be insane).

      I finally realized their parents were giving them the downpayment. Never occurred to me people did this – certainly was not a thing where I grew up. My mom scrimped and saved to put me through a public university (before college costs skyrocketed), and I thought I incredibly lucky not to have debt ($0 > -$$). She didn’t have $100K sitting around that we could just have. We bought our first home in our 30s, and that took some creative work on the downpayment. When we bought our second house, the downpayment was no big deal because we were selling the other one – so getting the parents to subsidize the first house helps people property ladder up sooner.

      1. Robin Ellacott*

        I have a dear friend whose parent is the CEO of a giant corporation, and she bought her condo years ago. She pulled the “I can’t believe you’re still renting” on me and because she is a good person I didn’t say what my immediate thought was, but kindly reminded her that she had a TRUST FUND which she used for the down payment, and she works part time making considerably less than me, and otherwise couldn’t ever have afforded it. Which is all fine, and I’m happy for her, but it’s not a fair comparison with most other peoples’ situations.

        There was a pause, and she said “Oh, sorry, I never thought of that.” And she genuinely hadn’t, despite being a very clever person. It was just totally outside her experience. She has lived way above her means her whole adult life, without consequence or thought.

        Where I live a condo is $500 000+ and that’s in the suburbs – downtown is insane. I just bought one this June at age 45. I’m not ashamed of renting until now. It’s insane to me that people don’t realize they were given a big leg up (as I was when my family paid for most of my university).

    7. Macaroni Penguin*

      You’re a true hero of the people for trying to explain things to your friend.

      The Average Citizen can’t* borrow or be gifted money from family. It just doesn’t exist. Family is at the same or lower socioeconomic level, so there’s no extra.
      And generational wealth and education don’t always exist. For example, my family. Settled in Canada in the 1880s to escape from the Great Famine. One can expect they didn’t have much. My grandparents didn’t graduate from high school and were below the poverty line. One of my parents graduated from high school, then a lower middle class income. I graduated from university and can live at the middle class. And here’s the thing, I can’t educate myself to Supreme Wealth. Society (for arbitrary reasons) has determined that My Employment isn’t well funded. Realistically, there are good reasons why it would be Spectacularly Hard to transfer to a higher paying field. So yay? I guess I can hope that my kid will be a professional athlete.

  57. Retired(but not really)*

    Lucy sounds like she’s trying to make herself feel better by putting other people down. Unfortunately that is eventually going to come back to bite her. As mentioned above those whose families are long term multigenerational wealth usually are too genteel to even talk about money. It’s the newbies and the wannabes that do the vast majority of the talking. Now if she’s an insecure teen/young adult that could explain a lot, but immaturity is still no excuse for rudeness. I would not be surprised if her parents are forcing her to have a job in order to qualify for access to her trust fund at xx age or some other qualification they may have imposed. This would especially be true if one of her parents had grown up in a less privileged home.
    Also I’m sure her parents would be mortified if they knew how their daughter was acting.
    As for Sally, I see her as a wannabe. And this really is the true workplace issue. She is creating more as well as allowing the improper behavior to flourish. This needs to be addressed by whomever is above her whether that’s her manager or HR.

  58. Business Socks*

    OP, I would brush up on your break dancing skills, because it seems likely at some point you and your crew will need to use the power of dance foil this woman’s plot to demolish the community center.

    But seriously…my condolences. Truly, Sally is going to be the big loser in all of this, because at some point Lucy is going to get bored and move on to making someone else’s life miserable, and Sally will be stuck behind having burned every ounce of good will she had in the office.

  59. 653-CXK*

    Lucy is a full-on toxic snob, and your boss Sally enables her awful, nasty behavior.

    I’m chiming in with the other posters that you need to go to HR yesterday. Both Lucy and Sally need a Come to [insert favorite deity here] moment that their snotty, rude, and unprofessional behavior ends today, and that any further reports will result in immediate termination.

    1. 653-CXK*

      Oops…HTML fail…

      Both Lucy and Sally need a Come to [insert favorite deity here] moment that their snotty, rude, and unprofessional behavior ends today, and that any further reports will result in immediate termination.

  60. Blinded By the Gaslight*

    Things I would say to Lucy ad nauseum until one of us quit or got fired, all served stone cold:

    * “What an incredibly rude thing to say.”
    * “Why would you make such an uneducated and unkind comment?”
    * “Why are you financially shaming people you work with . . . ?”
    * “Trust funds from your parents are also ‘hand-outs.'”
    * “The only ‘boot-straps’ you know about came on boots your parents bought you.”
    * “If you’re so wealthy, why are you working here?”
    * “Maybe you should spend more time doing your job instead of making unsolicited comments about others. Where is that TPS report you’re supposed to be working on . . . ?”

    God, I hate work bullies. I hope HR backs you up on this.

    1. Tara*

      I would also like to suggest, “wow, for all the money your school cost, they clearly didn’t provide etiquette lessons”.

  61. Anna*

    This reminds me of an experience I had years ago at an old job, but which has stayed with me. We had a new colleague who we quickly learned was from a wealthier background than the rest of us, though not nearly this extreme. She was telling the rest of us a story about babysitting as a teen for a working class family, and that the father of that family worked about 60-hour weeks but that then he spent money on things like a 60″ tv. She paused for reaction there, and the rest of us nodded and said that yeah, that seems like he works really hard and deserves something nice to enjoy for his time off. She was quieted down after that, and I think that it helped to make it clear that her own background was the outlier here, so she could definitely still share her own experiences, but she truly couldn’t assume that everyone relate or even be admiring/envious of her position. I don’t know how much this helps with your manager being so fawning, but perhaps the rest of you could make a point of reacting with confusion each time, like “oh, you don’t like ramen? that’s too bad.”

    1. UKDancer*

      Yes. There’s a whole other swathe of issues with people looking down on how other people (especially working class people) spend their money. The footballer Marcus Rashford spent quite a bit of money on a house for his mother. Some of the tabloid media seemed to take real issue with this display of wealth, despite the fact it was his money and there’s a lot worse things to spend money on than bricks and mortar. I’m pretty sure some of the criticism was racially motivated as well which makes it worse. My reaction was “good for him.”

      1. allathian*

        Yeah. A vocal minority of English football fans are really awful, as the recent Uefa Eurocup has shown once again. My reaction’s the same, good for him!

    2. HotSauce*

      God, my mother is like that and it’s screamingly hilarious because I grew up POOR. My grandparents bought us a nice 27″ color TV with a remote (which in 1985 was really fancy) and people made comments to her all the time about it. My aunt would come over & tsk tsk about “should you really be buying a fancy TV if you can’t afford to buy groceries for your kids?”. This coming from a woman who never worked a damn day in her life & lived with her parents until she married a wealthy executive. No use in even trying to explain that we didn’t buy it. But NOW my mom has a lot of money after getting her master’s & marrying my step-dad who was a 6-figure earner, now retired. She literally said to me, “should you really be going to Jamaica for a Honeymoon when you need new windows and so many other things repaired in your… house?”. I wanted to slap her. You’re right, I had the cheapest wedding on earth at a park where my husband and I made all the food ourselves (taco bar for the win), which of course she did not help pay for AT ALL, not that I expected that, but yeah, I sure don’t deserve to have a decent honeymoon. I should just work every day of my life and never have fun, that sounds awesome.

  62. Jaybeetee*

    Wait, Lucy is judging people for Starbucks and ramen?

    She’s judging people for buying expensive coffee, but also for eating cheap foods?

    In all of this, I’d be tempted to straight-up ask Lucy what she thinks people should eat, if cheap and expensive foods are both bad?

    Also, nth to the idea that Lucy’s family isn’t as wealthy as she’s letting on. People secure in their wealth don’t need to snark on the poors.

    1. Business Socks*

      Yup – that’s the reality of being less well off, there is literally no way to live that is good enough. Like how if you’re unemployed, you should just suck it up and work at McDonalds, but if you are working at McDonald’s, and can’t afford healthcare or a place to live, that’s your fault for not learning a marketable skill, but no the government shouldn’t help pay for your college, you should save it up by working at McDonald’s….

    2. nnn*

      That’s what I was thinking. My experience has been that people secure in their wealth tend not to talk about how they have wealth.

  63. J.E.*

    This is completely clueless on Lucy’s part. Has she never worked before? It feels like she should know what’s professional behavior and that you don’t spout off like that and only someone who has never held a job and understands workplace norms and what’s appropriate would say things like this. A general cluelessness might be understandable, but most people (especially those who really have a lot of money) understand decorum. Most moneyed families would be horrified at her blatant remarks. They might say things like that in private, but wouldn’t think of being so blatant.
    I’m also curious about what industry this is. Certain industries can be magnets for hobbyists-aka people who have family money or a spouse who makes a lot of money and they aren’t supporting themselves with the salary, it’s more for something to do and some spending money. “Feel good” professions like nonprofits and libraries and other areas that are helping professions but notoriously low paying can have this happen. The person can say they are doing work for their community, but they don’t often advocate for better pay or benefits for their coworkers because it’s not on their radar because they don’t rely on it. Their health benefits are through their spouse/family and all major expenses are taken care of that way too. This can hinder change from happening in these sectors.

  64. Yep, me again*

    Personally, I like Ramen but I only like the .15 cent kind of Ramen, not any of that fancy dancy $8 stuff you go out and buy. Ramen, powder packet that will probably cause cancer of some kind in me and boiling water=yum.


    1. Well...*

      Ramen + free pizza pepper packets from the campus pizza hut = my grad school sustenance during the first two years when I was never home before 10pm to cook, and frequently pulled all-nighters. That 3am spicy ramen hit the spot!

      1. Yep, me again*

        Never did the pizza pepper packets with ramen. I’m a purist…in the mass produced sense of the word!

    2. Campfire Raccoon*

      I take the kids down to the Asian market and let them grab which ever ones they want to try. They’re developing favorites: Lucy would probably say I spend too much on ramen.

      1. Yep, me again*

        You spend too much on ramen. Why buy it from an Asian market when you can get it from the grocery store (and possibly glow in the dark but hey! All that salty goodness)!!!

        1. LimeRoos*

          ooooh it’s the variety of flavors!! and spice levels!! and noodle type!! there’s a whole world of ramen out there. granted, I am one to spend $16 on a bowl of ramen from a restaurant, so ymmv.

          1. Yep, me again*

            I like the brick of noodles and boiling it. Also, I drain the water and just add the packet to the cooked noodles! Heart-attack in a bowl and it is delish!

    3. Elizabeth West*

      I ate so much ramen in music school I couldn’t touch it again for thirty years.

      1. quill*

        I couldn’t touch ramen throughout college, because I got food poisoning during fall of freshman year and even though it was definitely not from the ramen… the sight of that sticks with you. And the smell.

  65. Observer*

    OP. when you go to HR please tell them that you are coming straight to them rather than talking to Sally first is because Sally is joining in with this behavior. What makes it even more difficult for you to approach her is that there have been indications that Lucy has actually given Sally the keys to one of her vacation homes.

    Any competent HR person is going to be APPALLED by the latter. Lucy is essentially bribing her boss.

  66. LavaLamp*

    I’m not a mean or rude person 99% of the time. I would have lost it on this woman.I very very rarely loose my entire cool, but this shit just makes my blood boil. The worst part is a lot of people like this think I agree with them because I wear fancy jewelry a lot (inherited pieces from mom) and get very upset when I don’t join them to berate a customer service professional for example.

    1. JustaTech*

      I would be tempted to put on my Upper Class East Coast Lady mask and give Lucy what-for, but it wouldn’t work. She either wouldn’t care, or would think she needs to be even nastier to be seen as “really rich”.

  67. Caradom*

    I would comment that she’s the only one receiving handouts. Point it out, say ‘I’m not a sponger / con artist like you. Your poor parents’. Then rush off to point and giggle at her with someone else. First put a tiny toy of a horse on her desk and point at it and her whilst you snicker.

  68. Well...*

    Also like, renting can definitely be the most responsible financial decision depending on your situation. There is NO shame in renting up to a certain age! Some of my friends who were too antsy to buy a house regret it now. Being a homeowner is no doubt a class marker, but obsessing over class markers leads to really bad financial decisions IMO.

    1. WFH with Cat*

      Agreed for the most part … but there is no shame in renting at any age, ever. Renting is not a sign of anything. People rent for all kinds of reasons and should never be judged for renting instead of owning.

    2. Gina*

      I’m in my early 50’s and I still rent. There is no way I could have ever afforded a house. Plus the last place I rented at needed an new oil fired hot water heater (those puppies are expensive) and a new roof. In the same year. That’s approximately $20,000 in repair costs in one year (it was a large farm house with a huge multi level roof). I know I don’t have that kind of money. We wouldn’t have had hot water but we would have had a leaky roof if I owned the house.

  69. Lacey*

    I knew someone approaching this level of cluelessness in college. But it was mitigated by the fact that she wasn’t horrible, just terribly naïve about how most people live and a little defensive about it.

    And Sally sounds like an aspiring social climber. I have a relative who is somewhat famous. She’s not an A lister or even a C lister, but she’s got proximity to those people and a loyal, though small, fan-base. I’ve watched my relative try to parlay that into more and I’ve watched the people she meets try to do the same with her. It’s uncomfortable and it leads to people doing lots of things they wouldn’t ordinarily do. Fortunately, most people regain their senses when you call them out on it.

  70. irene adler*

    “Oh, Lucy, I know exactly how you feel. Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”

    Maybe this holiday season would be a good time for Lucy to read a little Dickens.

  71. instantcarmelizedonions*

    The FIRE/early retirement poster from last week should read this! This is why it’s not good to talk about personal finances at work – you may be blind to your own privilege. You may not have family money, but being single/childless/able-bodied/from the dominant culture in your area/lucky enough to have never been laid off/etc. can go a long way to making your financial life easier. I say this as someone who hasn’t always realized her own unearned advantages.

  72. Tara*

    I put this as a reply, but I really want to put it as a comment.

    I think Lucy is lying. My prediction, we’ll get an update in 3, 6 months, maybe a year’s time, where it comes out that this was all a huge lie. Anna Delvey-esque. She will run for the hills, and Sally will be humiliated.

    Fingers crossed, anyway.

    1. ecnaseener*

      She sure does seem like someone trying her best to act like she thinks a rich lady should act!

    2. Anat*

      That was my thought as well. Has anyone independently verified any of her information?

      I’ve two people who pretended for a long time to attend specific top universities, when they did not. This stuff happens, not as rarely as we might think.

      Most actual Ivy League graduates don’t sound like that. You have to have intelligence, and enough ability to at least fake class to convince the admissions office. If she really did attend an Ivy League college, she might’ve had some kind of mental health crisis since then (which, of course, happens too). That doesn’t make someone a jerk, but it can make a pre-existing jerk more bitter, entitled, and less able to hide it.

      I don’t think she’d be at this job if she were really that rich.

  73. Elizabeth West*

    This letter made the top of my head blow off.

    Sally clearly thinks her alliance with Lucy will elevate her. It may have given her a toe in the door, but if Sally didn’t grow up like that herself, then she’s not part of the *club* and will be dumped when the novelty wears off or she ceases to be useful.

    Regardless, this is a manager problem. Sally has abdicated her responsibility to all her direct reports to ensure a respectful work environment. The vacation home thing alone is all kinds of unethical. If I were HR, I would definitely want to know about this yesterday so I could bring the hammer down on her. My recommendation would be to fire Lucy and either jerk a knot in Sally’s tail, or she can find herself in the unemployment office.

  74. Ladycrim*

    Lucy: “People need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps!”

    Someone please ask her whose bootstraps she’s using. Or take away all her trust fund cushion and make her start ‘bootstrapping’. See how far she gets.

  75. bluephone*

    People who look down on renters are the absolute worst, don’t even @ me on this :-( So right off the bat, Lucy sucks and can go eat a bee for all I care.

    1. 867-5309*

      I’ve made over six figures for a decade and STILL rent. I prefer it. I like to move semi-frequently and for my lifestyle, renting makes sense. While I know many people less well-off would like to own a home and cannot afford it, it is absurd to look down on those who rent regardless of the reason.

      Also, after living in NYC, do you know how many upper middle class people are renting because they cannot afford to buy and want to raise their kids in the city?

      UGH. People.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        After owning, I would 100% prefer to rent for a while so I didn’t have to do yard work because I haaaaaate it.

    2. nnn*

      Also, is Lucy a landlord? Like, she owns an awful lot of houses, which makes me think she might be renting some of them out.

      Wish fulfillment fanfiction: “Of course I still rent – it’s impossible to break into the property market when people who already own a house are buying up all the houses!”

    1. Admin 4 life*

      Yes! I need an update for this!

      I’ve dealt with plenty of Lucy-types and I’d love to see this resolved instead of rug swept.

  76. Old and Don’t Care*

    Honestly I would just respond to her with a combination of “That’s ridiculous”, “Don’t be ridiculous” or “What a ridiculous thing to say.” Maybe sub in “ludicrous” every now and then. Then grey rock. You don’t owe her any reaction or discussion on this (or any) topic.

    Obviously Sally is a different issue and Alison’s advice seems good.

  77. GreenDoor*

    Ha! I’ve actually been making it a personal development goal to study up on how to be a more elegant woman. Across every book, every podcast, and every blog I’ve read, a consistent rule is that whether one is very poor, very rich, or somewhere in between, it is NOT classy OR elegant to bring up one’s finances except with one’s financial advisor.

    Lucy is not classy. Go to HR. (And why does she even work there if she’s so darn wealthy and educated?? I’d ask her that every time she brings up her money. Every time.).

  78. ecnaseener*

    Hahaha hooooooooooly shit!

    “Is this a bad 80s movie?” My thoughts actually went to Cher from Clueless first, so 90s, but even she was nicer than Lucy!

    1. nonbinary writer*

      As ill-conceived as a forced makeover is, at least Cher wanted to help her friends!

  79. Bianca*

    The fact that she is a trust fund kid makes it even worse. She didn’t work to earn her money but was fortunate enough to be born into a wealthy family. You’d think it would occur to her that poor people may have been unfortunate enough to have been born to a poor family.

  80. HotSauce*

    If Sally is SO against handouts maybe she should give her trust fund back to her parents & pull herself up by her own bootstraps. This woman sounds absolutely monstrous. In addition to the advice already given I would start saying things like, “Please don’t comment on my clothes, food, living space, etc.” in a super monotone, every single time she says something offensive and get your coworkers on board, hopefully after being told this hundreds of time by dozens of people she will STFU.

  81. voyager1*

    I bet why Lucy is working there, she needs a job for health insurance. I worked a small credit union that had killer benefits. There were several folks who worked there just for the benefits.

    I would address the classist comments that deal with people’s work first and emphasize that, since that is just bullying and going to make your workplace pretty toxic pretty fast. But all of this needs to be passed up the chain.

  82. HS Teacher*

    I worked with 2 women who were shocked that I bought a house without a pool. “I don’t know how anyone could live in Arizona without a pool.” I was the first person in my family to own a house, and I was quite proud of my accomplishment. I didn’t let their BS ruin my excitement to finally stop renting, but it was so gross. I just feign confusion when someone says something inappropriate: “Why would you say that? Why do you think it’s okay to criticize my choice?” Stuff like that.

    OP should go to HR. It sounds like a toxic work environment, and someone needs to put both of them in check. The manager should NEVER be taking keys to a subordinate’s home. All of it sounds like a horror movie.

  83. New Mom*

    I work at a nonprofit and we definitely have some people who work here because they want to and not because they need money. We have a few people that own homes in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the entire country while most of the staff struggle with rent. Some of the wealthy employees can make really out-of-touch comments because they don’t fully understand the struggles a lot of other people face, and I guess don’t care to understand? But nothing like Lucy!

    I also have a good friend that does work in animal rights and she has a lot of very wealthy people who volunteer or work with her and she has definitely experienced quite a few Lucys in her time. She was shamed by one of them for not taking time off of her other job and going on a trip to a protest (which she would have had to pay out of pocket for) and they had implied that she was not as passionate or dedicated when it really came down to financial means.

  84. El l*

    You should take it as given that Lucy doesn’t like herself and her choices very much. Sounds like she considers her colleagues beneath her…so she blames them for this predicament, rather than herself.

    Why did Sally buy into Lucy’s nonsense? She might rationalize it as Lucy having high standards – or living the life Sally’s always wanted. I suspect she was always this way – she just didn’t have a trigger for it.

    The other thing to add to Alison’s comments: The office has become more concerned with this class-based gossip than in getting things done. Worth mentioning.

  85. Miller_Admin*

    I’m surprised that this “higher classed” individual hasn’t found their car keyed or tires slashed by her lower classed co-workers.

    OP and other co-workers should call her out on it each and every time. Type her ugly comments, and do a MEME and send it out to everyone — don’t do that; it would be harassment. But the fantasies of revenge must be ripe in that office.

    I’m surprised that someone hasn’t asked her; “why are you working with us low class individuals, if you have a trust fund.” I bet the trust has a stipulation that she must work in order to receive it.

  86. Batgirl*

    I’ve had some luck with letting people know they sound uniformed. “If you’ve never had any experience being skint, I would keep that to yourself because to be honest with you, it sounds pampered to people who knew better.” Or “I’m sure you can work out a budget and all that, but you’re not that well acquainted with a lot of other practical matters from the sound of it.” One time a friend’s husband made the point that cleaners must have been lazy in school and I just asked him if he knew any. He said no and I replied that I did and it would probably be less embarrassing for him to comment on things he knew something about. I said it very kindly, even though I was fuming. It’s nasty ignorance, but it is just ignorance.

  87. Kim*

    Something seems quite off about her. She very well could be a fraud. I’ve known many independently wealthy/trust fund people as well as dozens of Ivy League grads and they don’t act anything at all like this. It could be, for example , that this “beach house” she may have offered to the boss is rented, not even owned by her or her family. You can pretty easily verify a lot with some research. I would do what Ask the Manager suggests. Then sit back and wait a bit.”Trust fund kid” won’t be around much longer, and I bet there is no trust fund.

  88. Cheshire Cat*

    Wow, this is awful behavior.

    I haven’t read any of the comments yet so maybe someone else has pointed this out already, but if Lucy’s wealth is inherited she hardly used her own bootstraps to get where she is. OP, the next time she mentions other people’s work ethic, ask her what she personally did to deserve her money.

  89. Sara without an H*

    Hi, OP — Short answer: 1) yes, you have to go to HR; 2) no, you’re not being oversensitive.

    If the only problem here was Lucy’s behavior, I’d recommend either referring it to your manager, or teaming up with co-workers to indulge in a bit of trolling. She’s likely to quit as soon as she gets bored.

    Unfortunately, as I see it, your real problem is Sally. For whatever reason, she’s been corrupted by Lucy’s attitude and that’s bound to compromise her objectivity and judgement as a manager. When you go to HR, be sure you can document her participation in Lucy’s bullying and, if possible, cite some examples of things you’ve heard Sally say that reflect those attitudes.

    Do not — NOT — yield to temptation to tell Lucy what you think of her. Doing so will immediately put you in a weaker position. At most, you might try gently saying “Oh, you don’t mean that!” or Carolyn Hax’s “Wow!” followed by silence. While the examples provided by upstream commenters are fun as fantasy, they need to stay that way for your own credibility.

    1. quill*

      OP, I hope you’re not Charlie Brown, or you’re going to get a rock instead of a raise.

  90. Kat*

    I’m imagining her parents writing to the advice column: “We’ve given her everything, excellent nannies, good schools, the best of tutors, but now she’s so self centered that even her friends hate her. Where did we go wrong? Whatever shall we do?” And the agony aunt said, “Cut her off. Let her learn how to stand on her own and face the consequences of her actions.” And so off she goes into the working world for a novel experience, sure that if things don’t go her way, daddy will rescue her no matter what he said about it. Not a prediction or a diagnosis or anything, just a story of one way that someone with that attitude could be working there.

    1. irene adler*

      My cousin used to buttle for a living (i.e. he’s a butler).
      He’s watched a whole host of Lucy’s in his time.
      One employer he had were self-made, extremely wealthy, parents. They gave each child -when they reached age 21- a very large chunk of money (multiple millions). Each child was informed, “This is all you get. Nothing more. Manage it well and you’ll have a very nice life. Are we clear on this?”

      Each child said they understood.

      Each child blew the bucks in record time, returned home with hand outstretched, “Gimme more!”.

      Nope. You were told the rules.

      Cousin watched as each child had to find their own way out in the real world. Over time, they figured things out. Painfully.

  91. Phoenix Wright*

    Whoa. I just saw the latest Pixar movie, Luca, a few days ago and dismissed the villain as a ridiculous, over-exaggerated caricature that was hard to take seriously. Only now did I realize they based him on the villain from LW’s letter. Whatever I want to say about her is so unkind that it wouldn’t be appropriate for this comment section, so all I’ll say is that LW should go to HR as soon as she can. And I wouldn’t blame her at all if she dropped a precision F-strike next time Lucy spews some of her horrible hate in front of her.

  92. An Appalled Trust Fund Baby*

    My cousins and I all have trust funds from our grandparents, not large but enough that we were all (9 of us) able to make a comfortable start in the world by attending college with no debt, make a down payment on a home and still have a nice emergency cushion.
    All of us would be totally appalled at Lucy’s behavior. Go to HR this is not acceptable behavior for a team member and the giving keys to a vacation home to her supervisor….yikes!
    My parents always emphasized that we did nothing to earn that money. It was a testament to our grandparents hard work and generosity that they chose to give us each a gift and we should never forget that.

  93. tangerineRose*

    When she says “picking yourself up by your boot straps”, can you ask her how she did that? (By being born to wealthy parents.)

    When she says “Ted better fix this software glitch. Some people are just afraid of hard work and want handouts.” I’d want to say “Are you calling Ted lazy? He seems like a hard worker to me. You do realize that glitches happen. Do you know how to program software?”

    “We rent because we have to live on what we earn. Too bad we don’t have rich parents like you.”

    1. tangerineRose*

      You might get more ideas if you check out one of the “Millionaire Next Door” books and start using them. The author talks about people who are very wealthy but don’t flaunt it. Could be interesting to use quotes from the book as ways to indirectly tell her she’s being tacky.

    2. Galgal*

      The best part about the phrase “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps” is that it was meant to be a sarcastic demonstration of how ridiculous the idea that people can just “work hard” to get out of poverty when the entire system is stacked against them, in favour of the rich.

  94. Stina*

    Wow, Lucy, what an unkind, hurtful thing to say!” in that Mom’s I’m not mad but sad voice with a touch of shock. Change up the descriptors with “mean”, “snobby”, “____-ist” (racist, sexist, classist, etc) as appropriate. Or “Gee, Lucy, that makes you sound like a bully, I thought you better than that.” Especially do it when Sally is in ear-shot and *just* loud enough for her to hear.

  95. Snappybackb....*

    Hmmm, everytime she open her mouth ask her about her sister,” Violet, the one with the Mercedes, sauna and room for a pony…..” in short this woman is a despicable witch who deserves to be laughed at…. your manager is just sh*t and you need to visit HR.

  96. me*

    I live amongst people that have way more money than dh and I have or ever will have. We raised our kids here too. I’ve seen the stereotypical wealthy people and I figured out pretty quickly that all of them just wanted to know that they had more money than I do. I’m fine with that. I’m not into country clubs. Private jets and island vacation homes might be nice, and sure, a summer estate in the Hamptons would be nice, but it’s just not me.

    Dh and I raised our kids on summer camping trips within our state. We took one overseas vacation with them (with bikes!) We both make decent amounts of $, but we’re still working at jobs that exchange a paycheck for work. Our kids were pretty well insulated. The parties were crazy at times, but there are enough really decent wealthy people that the other folks in the neighborhood can pretty much be ignored.

    I have a relative with a trust fund. It’s well managed – they have to meet with the administrator once per year to map out their expenses and their allowed budget. They work a job that provides them a paycheck but they don’t have to worry about getting evicted. They’re required to pay a small portion of a mortgage – their administrator won’t give them the $ to buy a home outright – so they’re kept fairly grounded. They don’t flaunt their wealth and just talking to them, you’d never guess that they’re as wealthy as they are. (And to cap it off, the fund was set up after the death of a loved one at an early age).

    I work at a job with a lot of coworkers that make much less than I do. I drive a very nice car. My home is in a nice area and it isn’t the worst one in town. I cannot imagine making those sorts of comments to my coworkers. I’m well aware of how fortunate I am and even though I can’t relate to using food benefits, I certainly can carry on a conversation with someone that does if they bring it up. I remember picking up a benefit card on the ground one day in the cube farm; I found the nearest resident and it turned out it was hers. I didn’t go whisper to other coworkers that oooh… so and so is on food stamps. That’s just jack@ss behavior. Any functioning adult should know better.

    It seems that the comments are divided between “say something” or “go to HR”. It would be satisfying to say something but c’mon – just go to HR. Don’t be a Lucy, no matter how tempting it may be to say something in reaction to her obscene behavior.

    1. Boof*

      I hear you, though I want to put out there that it is not “being a lucy” to call out bad behavior. Making snarky comments may be a little iffy but simply saying “Wow, why would you say that?” or “that’s incredibly rude” is A OK!

  97. A Feast of Fools*

    Lucy makes me sad. Back when I worked in IT Support for a company that manufactured and sold pagers (yeah, *that* long ago), one of my peers was a trust fund baby. Her family was definitely in the Top 1%. She’d gone to private schools from elementary school through Ivy League, and had never paid for anything on her own.

    Which really bothered her. So she quit drawing any money from the trust fund and decided to make it on her own (with the trust fund waiting in the wings to catch her if she tripped, of course).

    I was prepared to hate her (a result of my own Us vs Them upbringing) but she was utterly delightful and wickedly sarcastic. IT is rife with practical jokers and she was the best of the best.

    Back when everything was servers-and-dumb-terminals, she found/wrote an app to run on our LINUX system that would make the screen of any client terminal look like it was melting. She would load it to some of our employee-customers who we all had good rapport with and when they’d call the support line, we’d make sure she took the call. “What do you mean, your screen looks like it’s ‘melting’? Is there smoke? If the terminal is melting, you should vacate the premises. Oh, you mean the *words* on the screen are melting? That’s not possible. Can you put me on speakerphone and go get someone else to verify?” When she heard the person walk off, she’d end the program so that the verifier would see a normal screen.

  98. Sleeping Late Every Day*

    Any chance of getting other co-workers to join you in a few rousing songs from Les Miz whenever the nasty comments from Lucy and Sally start? Or “Eat the Rich” if you’re not feeling subtle?

  99. Poor-ish*

    Anyone else also “poor” and doesn’t have the misfortune of having a Lucy as a coworker, but is surrounded by well-meaning people constantly giving hints on how to look less poor (which is mildly irritating at best and makes me self-conscious at worst)?

    Point of view: I used to be an adult that got paid $13/hr while the cheapest one-bedroom studio in the area was $1200/month. My income has significantly gone up since then and I do like my daily Starbucks now, but there are things that just aren’t a priority for me as a result of my past life, such as getting manicure/pedicure/my eyebrows groomed etc. I’m also fat and have bad teeth, and drive a car that’s turning 14 this year while my coworkers seem to think that a professional should get a new car every 4-5 years.

    1. J.B.*

      On the car thing, my mom got similar flack from her colleagues for driving a mazda or something instead of a fancy car. The thing was they were mired in debt and I guarantee she is doing better than they are now. I would just say you are comfortable with your priorities, and any car beyond reasonably fuel efficient and reliable is just luxury.

      1. Pennyworth*

        My niece went to an expensive private school and her mother was given a talking to by another mom because she drove a ten year old car. So the family decided to keep the old car instead of upgrading, and drove it with pride until her daughter graduated.

      2. Pennyworth*

        Or ”If you stop judging me by my car, I’ll stop judging you by your manners.”

    2. Caboose*

      A new car every 4-5 years??? That’s right about when I’ll have finished paying mine off, and I’m really looking forward to having that extra bit of money every month, both to save up for whenever I need a replacement, but also just for some extra wiggle room! The standards of “professionalism” boggle the mind.
      (My brother buys new cars pretty regularly, but cars are sort of his hobby; he likes driving very very quickly, and likes buying new toys because cars are fun for him, not because of a status thing. He takes the train to work, when he has to go in.)

    3. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Had the ‘you’d have more money if you ate less’ thing, which yeah, I’m fat a lot but it’s incredibly rude of people to assume it’s because I’m porking out on expensive fat/sweet food all the time. Also it’s not true. Also also v damaging to me.

      So I’ve got used to the ‘bold of you to assume that’ response to give.

    4. Boof*

      Huh. Are you in sales or something where appearance matters so much? I’m a doc, I don’t get pedicures or manicures, it’s been years since I got a haircut (though I’d consider doing it regularly if I had the time, energy, and yeah it costs a bit too) and I usually drive my car into the ground before getting a new one – no one’s said anything to me except once in med school someone said I should feel free to “have fun” with my dress (they were a woman, I think they thought it was weird I wore office shirts and pants all the time, even though that was what I felt comfortable in. )
      I guess just politely push back on the culture that’s doing “oh I hate it when people pick at my cuticles!” “oh but this car’s just getting comfortable!” “ah, that’s not really my style” or whatever, unless here’s some very specific work reason they are cultivating this look.

  100. Susan Ivanova*

    Has anyone seen the new Leverage series, and instantly went to Little Miss “I spent a year at art school in Paris”?

  101. Mrs. Hawiggins*

    I’d be THAT co-worker that would say, “Funny, doesn’t sound like you need to work HERE.” And walk away.
    Or, “How does someone like you need a job?”

    These types of people know exactly what they are doing and probably got a job in hopes of finding friends but nobody would be one.

  102. X-Man*

    I’m honestly more disgusted with Sally jn this scenario. Her job is literally to MANAGE her team amd instead she’s joined up in dividing them.

  103. WellRed*

    If Lucy and the mgr were both to lose their jobs how fast will Lucy take back her keys and leave the mgr wallowing I’m confused self pity.

  104. Chickaletta*

    Wow. Lucy clearly didn’t get anywhere in life based on her personality.

    Looking forward to an update!

  105. inaudible*

    I have learned to say out loud, “wow, that was rude,” but how about snort-laughing the next time she says something about handouts, “oh, really? but a trust fund, that’s not a handout.”

    1. Galgal*

      I’m still scratching my head on that one!

      What is it with the mega-wealthy (who don’t pay tax in the first place, most of the time) and whining about “handouts” for the plebs?

  106. Galgal*

    Lucy is an absolutely awful person and is exactly why many people think that eating the rich (as in, those of them who are like Lucy in vile and revolting behaviour and attitude to those not fortunate enough to be born to mega-wealthy parents) is a good idea.

    Lucy needs such a massive slap on the wrist from both HR and upper management. Normally, I find the USA’s complete lack of employee protections disgusting, but I’d be quite happy to hear that Lucy (who doesn’t need the paycheck to survive) is fired for this harmful bullying.

    As for Sally, she is the worst kind of fool. Babes, wake up. Lucy wouldn’t cross the road to pee on you if you were on fire.

  107. The Price is Wrong Bob*

    OP should get a tiny guillotine figurine for their desk and if Lucy asks about it, stare her dead in the eyes and say “Oh I’ve just been getting really into the French revolution lately.” And turn back to their computer.

  108. nnn*

    I can’t stop thinking about this post and, in addition to everything else, how weirdly incoherent Lucy’s comments are.

    How does “handouts” come into play with Ted not having fixed the software glitch yet? How does “work ethic” come into play with Laurie buying allegedly-unnecessary Starbucks? What could OP renting even explain? (Like I could see how other things might explain OP renting – for example, OP’s income and life circumstances explain why they rent – but the fact that OP rents explains…what?)

    It really sounds like a small child ignorantly parroting her pompous father’s dinner-table rants without even knowing what the words mean.

  109. Carol*

    LW, I am so upset for you and your team just reading this…you are justified in going to HR as this is not just incredibly arrogant and mean, it’s hugely disruptive to working relationships and morale.

    You are not being oversensitive. There’s nothing funny about systemic poverty or not being paid a survivable wage and the damage it does to our society, to children raised in it, is real and vast. This attitude would be uncalled for even in a prestigious law firm but is especially egregious in your environment. You are right to feel this level of anger.

  110. lockhart*

    I hope her business manager embezzles all her money forcing her to move to a small town her family bought as a joke, and then she learns some lessons over the next six seasons.

    1. FrenchCusser*

      Or the only thing she has left is a detective agency that she bought as a tax write-off.

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