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Voices: Sorry Millie Bobby Brown, complaining about shop assistants doesn’t make you relatable – just entitled

Brown admitted to leaving reviews for businesses whenever she’d had a bad experience  (Getty for Netflix)
Brown admitted to leaving reviews for businesses whenever she’d had a bad experience (Getty for Netflix)

Social media can be a pernicious place, but it is also a place where I uncover some of life’s greatest joys. Cat videos that make me laugh. Makeup tutorials that are strangely satisfying to watch while hungover. Tours of luxurious homes I can fantasise about living in while even more hangover. More cat videos. And then there are the celebrity complaints.

For whatever reason, there are few things more enjoyable than seeing a famous wealthy person resorting to the same old system as the rest of us: skipping the tedium of ringing up customer services and shaming brands on social media so that they take their complaints seriously. It’s a special type of schadenfreude – a feeling that these people are just like us.

In the past, I’ve watched from afar as reality TV stars have publicly lamented easyJet delays. Actors have complained about botched supermarket deliveries. Influencers have moaned about being let down by slow service in restaurants.

Now, we can add a new contender to the list: Millie Bobby Brown. Speaking on Jessie Ware’s podcast, Table Manners, which Ware hosts with her mother Lennie, the 20-year-old actor admitted to leaving reviews for businesses whenever she’d had a bad experience.

“Because I think it’s important, you know,” Brown said. “Here’s the thing, my whole life is people criticising me. So I’m gonna give it back to you sometimes.” The Stranger Things star continued: “Once we were at a hotel, and the woman was pulling my fiance [Jake Bongiovi] aside like, ‘We need to settle payment’, or whatever. I was just like, ‘yeah, we will, but at the end of our stay – like, we’re still staying here.”

Brown went on to say that the employee persisted with the request and after declining again, the actor felt compelled to leave a review online under a pseudonym. “It was just like, ‘I really think that you should encourage guests to complete transaction of payment at the end of their stay.’” She went on to mention another interaction that prompted her to write a negative review, recalling an encounter with an unhelpful shop assistant.

Ware laughed and asked the actor if she was a “Karen”, referring to entitled customers who tend to be overly demanding of service workers and complain when they don’t meet their standards. “Okay, I’m a Karen,” Brown replied. “Listen, I do think it’s important to know where you went wrong, and [there’s] always room for improvement.”

Even if Brown meant the comment in jest, it’s an astonishing thing for her to say publicly. Don’t get me wrong, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and yes, poor service can be frustrating. But does an A-list actor with an estimated net worth of $14m (£11m) really need to be the one voicing those frustrations? Particularly when the employees she’s taking a punch at are, in all likelihood, severely overworked and underpaid, as is the case in most service professions.

Let’s not forget that Brown has been a celebrity since she was a child, having landed her role in Stranger Things at the age of 11. Here is someone who has probably been spoiled and fawned over for most of her life courtesy of various assistants, and their assistants’ assistants. Like most celebrities, she has probably grown accustomed to having a team of people consistently genuflecting at her altar, with every demand catered for, no matter how big. Suffice it to say, Brown’s expectations of what constitutes good customer service might be slightly warped.

After all, is it really so offensive to be expected to pay for your hotel stay in advance? Isn’t that how most hotels operate nowadays anyway? And does the shop assistant really deserve to be torn apart online just because she couldn’t help you find some socks? I’m not so sure.

If these are the complaints Brown feels comfortable enough to share publicly, I can only imagine what else she’s taken issue with privately.

Perhaps Brown thinks sharing her compulsion to complain makes her more relatable to her audience. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. It just makes her seem entitled.