Is it fair to blame "First World Problems" on everything?


Recently, SNL put up a skit telling us to stop complaining about our iPhone 5's and what not. Basically, the skit was about people people complaining about the new Apple Maps, the purple hazing with the lens, having to wait 6 hours to buy Apple products as well as the scuffs on the iPhone 5. I thought the skit was brilliant, and it really describes the modern world we live in today.

However, is it really fair to just say "deal with it, stop whining" and blame everything on first world problems?

If we look at Apple Maps for instance, complaining about it being inferior is like complaining about something insignificant, but there is another side to the story which is that Apple Maps pose real difficulties in navigating around places as easily as using Google Maps would. So why is this a problem? We could all just use traditional maps and stop complaining. But think about it - we have all embraced mobile technology, and the way forward is to provide people with the best technologies to aid their daily life. We all never use traditional paper maps, and though it isn't hard to work your way through a paper map, the first thing we do is to open our phones and look for direction, so if Apple Maps doesn't deliver, many people will be disappointed because they will find it difficult to navigate. Think about the deserted areas where you can't easily find people to ask for directions - if you still have a phone signal, you could find your way through and not get lost. Having an inaccurate map will make it dangerous for you to navigate especially if it may be your last resource. We can't just tell people to stop whining and tell them to live in the past - it doesn't really make sense.

Let's take another example - Let's say we have a huge concert and due to the poor crowd management, there is a huge crowd bottleneck in the exit gates, causing people to take more than 20 minutes just to exit the venue. So people may just say: what's so bad about it - I mean, people in Africa are starving of hunger and you complain about this event? I know this is a pretty weird and myopic example, but my point is that you can't compare apples to oranges. When we look at problems, we need to look at the whole situation - and in this case it's that the event organisers cannot manage the crowd. Think about the consequences - what if people who become really impatient try to find alternative ways out like jumping over high fences and hurting themselves, or stampeding people in front of them, potentially causing injuries? We can't just dimiss problems like this, because if people are accustomed to having things go smoothly, the best way is to keep things going smoothly.

Generally speaking, we can't compare ourselves to people who are less fortunate, because the standards are different. The whole problem about poverty in Africa, or say China is due to poor governance or their highly ineffective policies. China for example, have many low cost labour because they are naturally endowed with such a large population, while countries like Hong Kong have smaller populations and are easier to manage as compared to China. I think the whole problem can be solved if the government were to change their values or weren't highly corrupt, but it would take very long for it to happen.

TL;DR The whole point of this article is to state the point that it isn't fair to say that people have to stop complaining about their problems, because we can't compare people's problems because the context of their problems differ. Also we need to be able to discern what really are first world problems, because only certain problems fit the description while trivial ones don't - one of which is having to get the remote on the other side of the room.