Lois: And did you... clean up afterward?
Carter: Nah, I used to have a guy for that.
Basically, when wealthy people have trouble grasping concepts that are a way of life for people without money. These people have been spoiled all their lives, and have had all these things taken care of for them, so when they try to do these things (by choice or not), they just don't get them.
Usually this is Played for Laughs since it's a form of saying "Money can't buy common sense". Yet it can be Played for Drama, particularly if the character, through no choice of their own, lived in a Gilded Cage and so is not to blame. The situation is sometimes accentuated to the point of hilarity or tragedy when such a character suddenly goes broke and is forced to face the realities of working-class (or worse) existence. The Prince and Pauper often has the 'prince' facing this problem.
Can overlap with:
- Socialite: Most instances are, if the character is a lady with nothing much to do except partying
- Upper-Class Twit: If this character doesn't really do much even by upper-class standards
- Valley Girl: If this character is fashion-conscious and inarticulate
- Rich Bitch: If this character is also malicious and looks down on the less affluent
- King Incognito: If the royal is doing a poor job of blending in
- Sheltered Aristocrat: A young and rich noble who can be either malicious, naive, or stupid
- Royal Brat: Spoiled youngster from a royal family
- Lonely Rich Kid: Rich kid who is very isolated and longs for attention from their family and to have more friends
- Spoiled Sweet: Sweet, pampered, and naive girl who has a good heart while lacking in common sense.
- The Ditz: If this character's ignorance would be at least somewhat present even if they weren't rich
- Nouveau Riche: If a lower-class character becomes wealthy and is very crass about it
- Lots of Luggage: Considers junk as "necessities", especially when camping
- Ms. Red Ink: If the character is a woman who has no understanding of personal finance
- Money Dumb: A character that has no understanding of how to manage their money
Conversely, a Rich Idiot With No Day Job would pretend to be like this, to make his masquerade more convincing.
This does apply in Real Life, but no specific examples will be put here to avoid Natter. And in some cases, contrary to the usual course of the trope where it's someone who is born into money, this can happen to people who were originally poor only to gain money. Unfamiliar with the amount of money they now possess, they do silly things, resulting in A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted.
- A Canadian Taco Bell commercial opened with a rap video of a Money Song with the rapper throwing wads of cash all over the place. It then cuts to an office where the rapper had been watching the video on the computer with his accountant.
Accountant: I probably don't have to ask, but... do you pick the money back up after you throw it at the camera?
Rapper: [chuckling dismissively as if the very idea is ridiculous] Naw, man.
Accountant: Well, you might want to try doing that. You'd have a lot more disposable income!
- Black Clover: Noelle grew up as royalty in the Silva family. As a result, she openly admits that she's never done cleaning or laundry. An early Running Gag had her pay ridiculous amounts of money for simple tasks, giving someone a small bag's worth of gold coins just for transporting her to a nearby town.
- Fairy Tail had Lucy's father. When he lost his fortune and had to get a job, he still thought of ridiculous sums of money the same way as pocket change.
- Louise of The Familiar of Zero displayed this when she went undercover as a commoner. She wanted to maintain her high standard of living while pretending to be someone poorer, had difficulty not treating commoners like a noble would, and managed to gamble away their entire mission's funds before the end of the first day.
- Hayate the Combat Butler:
- Nagi and Maria show this pretty well, though Maria is just Nagi's maid. When Hayate suggests using the subway, they're amazed. Nagi has gotten better about it due to Hayate's teaching.
- When Hayate is asked to go away for three days, he's given a million yen (about $10,000) for living expenses. He tries to protest, saying he could live in the lap of luxury for a year with that kind of money.note Maria asks him to not bring any of it back.
- On their trip through Greece, they use a helicopter. When Ayumu asks how expensive it is, Maria casually lists off a number in the billion yen figure.
- Kaguya of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is the definition of a sheltered princess. She has no idea how movie theaters work, is unfamiliar with popular fictional figures, and has no idea what the phrase "first time" means.
- Tsumugi Kotobuki in K-On! is a more positive portrayal of this idea. Her sweet personality lets her approach the mundane things of less-affluent living as a novel concept to be explored like some great adventure (such as dagashi stores, pillow fights and working a part-time job at a burger restaurant). She almost reaches the I Just Want to Be Normal territory where later on in the manga she cuts herself off from the family fortune to live her life on her own terms without relying on her parents, and to be on the same level as her friends.
- May I Ask for One Final Thing?: Noble lady Scarlet's Blood Knight tendencies aside, it's clear the first time we see her out in public she has no idea what she's doing. She's sold a lump of rock convinced it's mithtril, thinks a home looks like an old ruin and wonders if she can punch out a chunk of it as a souvenir, and buys a meat and vegetable skewer unaware that it's s rat meat and only interested in the unusual fragrance. Julius notes that, for all her attempts to blend in, Scarlet is very clearly a noble and just as obviously susceptible to snake oil salesmen.
- Momo Yaoyorozu in My Hero Academia. She's so used to her luxurious accommodations that she doesn't realize how badly she accidentally insults her working-class classmates when she talks about how many resources she has at her disposal nor does she notice how uncomfortable and out of place they feel in her incredibly large and fancy house. Incidentally, this is actually seen as an endearing trait of her, given that she's such a sweet and kind girl, her classmates just can't bring themselves to be mad at her.
- Pretty much every Noble in One Piece aside from a very few seem to think that anything can be done if they just throw enough money at it and have a high status. Also due to this they are morally bankrupt, and believe that the lower class are worthless trash due to the fact the lower class didn't "choose to be born noble".
- The boys of the Ouran High School Host Club can't grasp normal commoner things like the supermarket. Haruhi, in the meantime, feels her blood pressure rising. Most of them love experimenting and experiencing commoner things - especially Tamaki.
- Arche's parents from the Baharuth Empire in Overlord (2012) reek of this. They racked up lot of debts while continuing to live their lavish lifestyles, even when the Emperor himself deposed them from their former aristocracy for being typically useless. They also had the gall of berating Arche, their sole earner, for not behaving like a 'true aristocrat'. Then Arche dies at the hands of Nazarick while pulling One Last Job to take her sisters away from them. They are so out-of-touch and ungrateful that even the loan shark is pretty much disgusted at them (while acknowledging they make excellent targets).
- Ojou in Please Tell Me! Galko-chan is apparently very sheltered, and thus sometimes have difficulties grasping some ideas that Galko and Otako are discussing at the moment. The prime example is in Episode 6/ Chapter 12 when the two were talking about lingerie shopping, and as Ojou chimes in, she starts talking about embarrassment when the lingerie tailor comes in to measure everyone for their custom lingerie... To the point the Galko found it necessary to take Ojou out to the mall to know how commoner women get their lingerie.
- In Pokémon Adventures, as Platinum Berlitz grew up as a Lonely Rich Kid, she has trouble dealing with the Castle Point system at the Battle Castle, as this is the first time in her life that she has to deal with a limited budget to achieve her needs.
- Particularly in the anime version, Kodachi Kuno of Ranma ½ could be seen as a rather dangerous variant of this trope — while she has the right background, she seems to be vaguely aware that the way she was brought up is not the way the world works. So she's determined to change the world to fit her views. This, then, is why she does stuff like cheat before fights or paralyze her potential love interests — she's so used to always having her way, to always winning, to always being the center of attention, that the possibility that things might not turn out this way drives her to overcompensation.
- Aria of Seitokai Yakuindomo had trouble remembering the stairs of the school weren't escalators.
- As revealed in a side story, Princess Elizabeth from The Seven Deadly Sins is this. Not only has she never even seen a silver coin before but she also doesn't fully grasp the basic concept of what money is and its use.
- In Sgt. Frog, Tamama's first experience with human houses is billionaire Momoka's. He is then reunited with Keroro at the Hinatas' home and proceeds to ask where the maids are, what kind of stores are in the house... (along with detailed descriptions of his opulent lifestyle). Keroro is left seething with jealousy.
- "Sometimes I break stuff just to watch them [the maids] run around." While Keroro is cleaning.
- Veronica Lodge of Archie Comics doesn't know that camping should not involve telling your butler to bring you a first-class dinner by helicopter to the woods.
- Also, she seems to think that, because she has such immense wealth, she must never ever have a job of any sort, even if it's just to pass the time.
- In the 2015 comic book, it takes her a while to grasp that Archie's home is not the "guest building" and that most people don't have more than one house.
- Veronica's twin, Lola, in the Cherry comic books. Very rich, yet prone to doing things like taking up witchcraft and having it backfire on her.
- The Disney Ducks Comic Universe has a majority of the "lesser" members of the billionaire's club, who often look at Rockerduck's spendrift antics and Scrooge's largest schemes and decide to compete with them, forgetting that Rockerduck could casually buy out most countries and Scrooge is even wealthier and they have the business sense and skills to maintain and increase said wealth.
- A classic example came when Scrooge decided to bring asteroids in Earth orbit through disposable rockets and mine them for resources and some of them pooled their funds to compete and went to do the job personally as Scrooge was doing with his nephews and Gyro, forgetting that Donald and the triplets actually have the skills for it to work and that Gyro is a genius, and even decided to steal one of the asteroids Scrooge was claiming by diverting its orbit before Scrooge could... Not realizing Scrooge was taking his time because the calculations for it to enter Earth orbit and stay there rather than fall down were just that complicated. It resulted in the asteroid almost falling on Duckburg and Scrooge using his rockets to send the asteroid away from Earth's orbit and the billionaires, caught in the act by a scientific probe, being heavily fined and barred from outer space.
- Subverted with Scrooge and Rockerduck's antics: they may be really expensive and at times ridiculous, but not only they can afford them and the losses they could bring if they backfired, they actually prepare for them, with Scrooge's weirder business enterprises invariably starting with him consulting an expert (usually Gyro or Ludwig) to see if they're feasible and only starting pouring money into it once he has a positive answer (with the implication that at times they told him it couldn't work and he just dropped his plans).
- Tim Drake's father Jack may have been an entrepreneur that made a fortune but he founded his company alongside his first wife and after her death, he started making a series of blunders, like falling for obvious scams, that his son managed to save him from before he bankrupted the company.
- In Tom Poes, Tom's best friend is Olivier B. Bommel, a wealthy but boastful and none-too-bright bear.
- Played for Drama in The Karma of Lies: Because his family is so wealthy, Adrien Agreste has no real concept of the value of money, or what it's like for his peers who can't afford to buy whatever they want on a whim. As a result, he doesn't see anything wrong with letting Lila con his classmates. Despite Plagg repeatedly trying to warn him that his friends don't have the same amount of disposable income, Adrien repeatedly blows him off, insisting everything will work out because he wants it to.
- Adrien's also used to being shielded from the full consequences of his actions and sees no reason for that to change... meaning he's caught completely off-guard when his Karma Houdini Warranty runs out.
- Unlike his canon counterpart, Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series has Kaiba as a complete idiot.
Kaiba: Are you telling me that we can't build an elevator into space?! Because that sounds like something a guy who doesn't want to keep his job would say!
Employee: Sir, this space elevator project... what you're proposing is—
Kaiba: Really, really cool?
Employee: I was going to say massively unnecessary and likely to bankrupt the whole company.
Kaiba: Really? Well, when you need to go into space and don't have a convenient way to get there, I'll be laughing at you! From outer space, where I will be!
- Princess Jasmine in Disney's Aladdin never had to deal with money, so she nearly got in horrible trouble when she left the palace and forgot to bring any.
- Especially with the Islamic "eye for an eye" policy. Since she couldn't pay, that counted as thievery. And Islamic practice dictates that a thief get their hand cut off. Good thing Aladdin was there.
- Prince Naveen of The Princess and the Frog has this problem in spades. Fortunately his time with Tiana started him on the way to fixing this.
- Mr. Toad in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad sure counts as he wastes his fortune on his wild "manias." In fact, he gets arrested because no one believes his claims he would actually trade his hundred-thousand-pound worth manor for a motorcar. It's even debatable on the "rich" part, given how much damage he has to pay for from his antics.
- In Mean Girls, Regina George, the Queen Bee of the Plastics, is a very specific example. She can rattle off several weight loss products that are (mostly) illegal and most of which either were expensive before being banned or would be expensive to ship from countries where they're still legal—and yet she doesn't even know enough about health and nutrition to know whether or not something like butter is a carb (hint: it's not).
- In Troop Beverly Hills, the main character is leading a troop of ersatz Girl Scouts and at first treats it like lounging by the pool, including spending their first trip◊ "roughing it" wearing a mink coat, smoking a cigarette, and drinking chilled wine. And later, the troop spends a night in Beverly Hills Hotel, because the campsite is unsuitable for them, as the main character puts it, "there were no outlets, and, there was dirt and bugs, and it rains there."
- In Roman Holiday, Princess Ann gets so fed up with the demands and restrictions of royalty that she runs away and lives as a commoner for a day so she can experience "freedom." She's rather naïve about a lot of things, particularly the fact that being a commoner has demands of its own (such as actually having to work for a living).
- Arthur (1981): The title character, son of a wealthy family, has spent his life getting drunk and goofing off. When his mother threatens to cut him off, he knows that he'll be completely unable to function in normal society.
- Used in The Parent Trap: the twins and their millionaire rancher dad are used to camping, but his Gold Digger girlfriend isn't.
- Played for Laughs in Overboard — Joanna, the Rich Bitch, finds herself a Princess in Rags.
- Played With in Coming to America. Akeem (Eddie Murphy) deliberately lives below his status as a Prince, cheerfully living as a blue-collar janitor at a local burger joint in order to woo Lisa into loving him for who he is. While he is a bit naïve (it's stated he has never left his homeland before and was quite sheltered growing up), he is likable, has a good head on his shoulders, and acclimatizes well quite quickly. It is actually his servant, Semmi (Arsenio Hall), who bitterly and reluctantly has to go along with all of this and complains about this manner of menial work and lifestyle being beneath him.
- In Mel Brooks's Star Wars parody, Spaceballs, the bratty Princess Vespa's character arc is shedding this trope. She refuses to be rescued without her matching luggage and gasps for room service while stranded in the desert. Her father even considers sacrificing his planet to prevent her from getting "her old nose" back. Falling in with a group of blue-collar smugglers helps her mellow out.
- Grace in Dogville. Oooooh boy. And stubborn to boot.
- Too many people in Titanic (1997).
- This is done to a disturbing degree in The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. Albert Spicca is rich enough to own a high-class restaurant but is uneducated, rude, ignorant, and racist.
- Prince Edvard from The Prince & Me goes to an American college where no one recognizes him and he pretends to be a normal student. He actually keeps everyone from realizing who he is (until the tabloids find him) but his disguise is somewhat hurt by the butler who works for him in his dorm room.
- Prince Pondicherry from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He commissions a palace made entirely out of chocolate from Willy Wonka (paying generously for it)...in his homeland of India. When the palace melts (nearly killing himself and his wife in a deluge of chocolate), his response is to immediately call up Mr. Wonka and attempt to commission a new one.
- Love And Friendship: Sir James Martin is the ideal candidate for a husband, as he is rich, cheerful, and incredibly stupid. When he arrives at the Churchill family's manor, he admits to being confused by the fact that there's no church on a hill. At dinner, he's entertained by the concept of green peas. Later, he states that there are 12 commandments, and when corrected that there are actually only 10, he wonders which two should be left off.
- Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan has Alek, a sheltered rich sort-of-prince, who, when disguised as a commoner, doesn't even know how to pay for a newspaper.
- Mary in The Secret Garden. She doesn't even know how to dress herself because "it was the custom" that she stood there like a doll and was dressed. Her gaining knowledge is rather helped by the maid not being a proper lady's maid who knows it's her job to brush hair and the like, so Mary has to do things an upper-class lady would not normally have to do even in England.
- While his precise age isn't given, it's implied that Kal Zakath of David Edding's Malloreon managed to reach his late thirties to forties without ever having learned how to shave. Belgarath points out how surprising it is that the emperor of a culture that breeds ambitious backstabbers regularly let someone other than himself hold a razor to his throat. Belgarion, on the other hand, takes it as an opportunity to establish a peership between himself and Zakath.
- Michael Sevenson is the son of a wealthy baron in the Knight and Rogue Series, and even though he's been traveling and earning his own money for a year by the start of the books seems to have no ability to estimate the value on anything. Fisk often has to stop him from paying with the largest gold currency what's only worth the smallest brass coin.
- A theme of The Millennium by Upton Sinclair.
- Wooster of Jeeves and Wooster literally can't function without his valet.
As I stood in my lonely bedroom at the hotel, trying to tie my white tie myself, it struck me for the first time that there must be whole squads of chappies in the world who had to get along without a man to look after them. I'd always thought of Jeeves as a kind of natural phenomenon; but, by Jove! of course, when you come to think of it, there must be quite a lot of fellows who have to press their own clothes themselves and haven't got anybody to bring them tea in the morning, and so on. It was rather a solemn thought, don't you know. I mean to say, ever since then I've been able to appreciate the frightful privations the poor have to stick.
- When Morgase Trakand goes undercover in The High Queen to escape being made a puppet, she turns out to be comically bad at pretending to be a maid (and humility in general), making her disguise flimsy at best.
- British statesman Lord Chesterfield wrote about them in Letters to His Son: "He cannot withstand the charms of a toyshop; snuff-boxes, watches, heads of canes, etc., are his destruction. His servants and tradesmen conspire with his own indolence to cheat him; and, in a very little time, he is astonished, in the midst of all the ridiculous superfluities, to find himself in want of all the real comforts and necessaries of life." (letter 62)
- Confucius related an example of this in one of his parables. A Self-Made Man's second son is put in prison, and he wants to send his third son to pay the bail; however, his first son insists on going. The first son bribes an influential man, who convinces the Emperor to open the jails... and then the son, not realizing the connection between the two events, thinks it's a coincidence and asks for the money back. The man returns the money but then tells the Emperor to kill the second son before opening the jails so people don't think he's soft on crime. When he finds out, the father laughs because he anticipated this would happen; he wanted to send the third son (who grew up rich) because he didn't know the value of the money, while the first son (who grew up poor) would pinch every penny and get his brother killed.
- Lieutenant Blouse from Monstrous Regiment has strong elements of this, but turns out to be a subversion; he's inexperienced, a bit naive, and comes from a rather sheltered upbringing but he's not by any means stupid, even if he's not really cut out for field operations.
- In Heralds of Valdemar, this is a regular occurrence with young Herald Trainees from privileged backgrounds. One infamous example involves a boy being set to stuff a chicken for dinner and confusedly replying that it already is stuffed— with its guts; he becomes the target of ribbing for weeks (to the point it gets mentioned to a new trainee a few years after the incident). All such incidents are played for a combination of laughs and sympathy because he still qualifies to be Chosen.
- Ascendance of a Bookworm: Sylvester when he goes to tag along with a group of orphans to go hunt in the commoner forest:
- He gets his hands on poor commoner clothes and relatively tattered boots to use as a disguise but thinks nothing of bringing his clearly expensive bow and keeping his ponytail bound in a hair accessory that is clearly made out of silver.
- He turns out to have not brought any rope to hang his kills.
- The orphans need to teach him how to wash his hands in a river.
- The one person on the trip who knows who he really is scrambles to get a proper lunch prepared for Sylvester after noticing that he didn't think of this himself and that the lunch everyone else is having isn't going to work for him. That same person is also very grateful when one of the adult orphans takes the initiative of improvising a table for Sylvester.
- This is what happened to the Gaunt family in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Due to their mental instability thanks to generations of inbreeding, they wound up losing everything. In Dumbledore's own words, "Lack of sense coupled with a great liking for grandeur meant that the family gold was squandered several generations before Marvolo was born." Indeed, by the time Marvolo's children were born, the Gaunts were reduced to living in a shack with only two valuable family heirlooms left.
- In The Subtle Knife, the second book of His Dark Materials, Lyra is shown unable to wash her own hair, as there were always servants around to do it. Somewhat incongruous, as in the first book she spent a long time with the Gyptians, a lower-class travelling people.
- Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs: Marie discovers the hard way that the five capture targets of the Otome game are this after they lose their duel against Leon. All five are stripped of their nobility titles along with all the privileges they took for granted during their whole lives, and they constantly waste the little money they, or rather Marie makes, in presents that are next to useless and meaningless, much to her irritation.
- In one episode of Elementary, one murder victim was a rather rich doctor as well as a Crazy Survivalist. Before his death, he had been successfully scammed into investing in a "high-class survival compound" full of crumbling materials and empty supply boxes.
- Another episode has eccentric millionaire Baskerville bringing Holmes and Watson on a case of a man who seemed to predict the deaths of people with Holmes coming up soon. After Holmes survives, he and Watson go over the man's book to find that several pages of wrong predictions were torn out. They go to Baskerville who relates how he just paid a hefty price to the man's brother for a copy of the book. The duo instantly realize this whole thing was an elaborate con. Baskerville is talking of the "great responsibility" of knowing the future, not grasping he spent $4 million on the ramblings of a madman.
- On Bizaardvark, Vuugle boss Liam seems perfectly okay with how the staff of his video channel spend money outrageously on crazy stunts and props, puts them up for lavish trips, and will randomly mention spending millions on things like a space shuttle adventure or some company trying to create invisible sheep. It all comes calling in the series finale when Liam breaks it to the gang that all this wild overspending and bad investments has rendered him near-bankrupt and he has to sell off Vuugle to pay his debts.
- Game of Thrones:
- This is Tyrion's own self-effacing protest when Tywin names him Master of Coin. While he's one of the brightest political minds in Westeros, he hasn't got a clue when it comes to economics. See Bronn and Pod: he has no idea how much he's even paying the former and is legitimately surprised to learn he's not even paying the latter. He does pick up on Littlefinger's shady dealings with the Iron Bank of Braavos, though, with him expressing concern that the Kingdom has a bigger problem to deal with after the War.
- Viserys Targaryen and his interactions with the Dothraki. Illyrio warned him that kings often lack the caution of commoners, advice Viserys failed to heed. He believes his imagined status as the rightful king of the Seven Kingdoms is enough to demand respect from his Dothraki hosts. His ongoing open hostility and refusal to understand their customs lead to his particularly gruesome and humiliating end.
- London Tipton from The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, most notably in "Poor Little Rich Girl" in which her father loses all his money and she has to learn how to live like "normal" people.
- On Cheers, Woody's rich girlfriend doesn't understand why Woody "refuses" to buy her expensive presents. If he doesn't have the money, why doesn't he just stop at an ATM?
- Arthur from Merlin in the episode "The Once and Future Queen", when he's staying with Gwen. He says he'd like to take a bath, she tells him that might be hard as she doesn't own a bathtub, and he just stares at her, speechless.
- Most of the Bluth family in Arrested Development, the point where, among the adults (if you could call them that), nobody but Michael and occasionally George understand the concept of work as anything other than an abstraction.
Lucille: You couldn't give Gob a banana? It's one banana! How much could it cost? Ten dollars?
Michael: You've never even been inside a grocery store, have you?
- Shannon on Lost. She's painting her toenails and sunning on the beach while the others are trying to figure out how to survive on a deserted island.
- 30 Rock:
- Tracy Jordan was likely poor in sense even before he got rich, but he's certainly no good with money now. He wears shirts made out of money and shoes made out of gold.
- GE executive and Man of Wealth and Taste Jack Donaghy often displays this. An example is when his nanny wants to work fewer hours with the same pay, and Jack likens it to a "grocery concierge" revealing that a 5-pound bag of potatoes costs the same as a 10-pound bag of potatoes: $400.
- True to an absurd extent of Summer's family from Power Rangers RPM. They attempt to force their daughter into retirement from her job so that they can marry her off and get their wealth back as a dowry, despite her job being keeping the last human city on earth from being destroyed by killer robots.
- Rajesh Koothrappali in The Big Bang Theory. Hailing from a very rich family in India, he was known for spending lavishly on minor details (For example, he paid premium pedicure for his dog and was a regular donor to a Koala zoo and he didn't even know which one), and had no idea that his father was paying his rent. He wises up after learning this and takes another job at the planetarium (which became very popular) and straight away asks his father to cut his allowances (which Howard estimated in hundreds of thousands of dollars per month).
- Showcased on Silicon Valley with how you can make a mint in the tech world and yet not understand how to use it.
- Gavin is fond of wasting tons of money on everything from a $20 million hologram that can't actually communicate with people to getting rare animals to make a point on board meetings (one of which is an elephant that drops dead). A board member openly asks why Gavin goes to such cost when he can just show a photo of the animal in question and Gavin clearly never considered that idea.
- Gavin can get Hoolie in hot water with statements that show how utterly out of touch he is with the public. The best example is at a conference when he shocks guests by seriously stating that American millionaires are persecuted worse than the Jews in Nazi Germany.
- While a good guy, Nelson is basically a moron so it's no surprise that when he gets a huge buyout from Hoolie, he goes through it fast. He wasted money having the swimming pool of his mansion moved a few feet then had it moved back. It also turns out that he was renting most of the furniture and items in his home so he can't sell them off for his debts. While it's true his money manager stole much of his cash, it's obvious Nelson would have lost it anyway.
- Erlich thinks that by taking over Nelson's account via a partnership, he has an unlimited supply of cash. He thus blows a million dollars on a huge party at Alcatraz before finding out Nelson is broke. Figuring out the money manager was stealing some funds, Erlich heads to the district attorney to bring about charges. The D.A. however, refuses to prosecute as A) no jury is going to be sympathetic to a couple of millionaires being robbed and B) it's quite clear the two would have blown all the cash in any case.
- In one episode of Night Court, Dan is forced to go on a date with a mob boss' plain-Jane daughter and ends up connecting with her on a deep emotional level. But her father doesn't want them getting deeply involved, so he threatens to cut her off if she doesn't break up with him. She reluctantly agrees, explaining that she's lived such a sheltered life that she doesn't know how to live without her father's support—she once got mad at him and ran away to her summer home, where she nearly starved to death because she couldn't figure out how to use a can opener.
- Pretty much the entire premise of the series Odd Mom Out as Jill, wealthy but not overtly so, has to handle the lifestyles of the ultra-rich around her (including her mother-in-law and sister-in-law) who consider Jill as dead poor because she can't afford to waste money on massively expensive trips and clothing. A running gag is Jill openly asked how "the poor handle things like this" as her neighborhood is treated like a third-world country.
- This is really showcased when a Ponzi scheme causes many of these characters to lose much of their money. One man goes to a grief counselor for his yacht; a woman is literally unable to decide what art she likes without a paid expert; another woman seriously compares which property to sell off to Sophie's Choice; and hospitals are being filled with people burning and cutting themselves having to make their own meals for the first time.
- Having lost just about everything, Jill's mother-in-law lives with the family and talks about waking up at eleven in the morning "like a day laborer" and literally no idea how to clean up a room by herself.
- This is really showcased when a Ponzi scheme causes many of these characters to lose much of their money. One man goes to a grief counselor for his yacht; a woman is literally unable to decide what art she likes without a paid expert; another woman seriously compares which property to sell off to Sophie's Choice; and hospitals are being filled with people burning and cutting themselves having to make their own meals for the first time.
- In the Firefly episode "Safe" Simon walks into a General Store and can't figure out what a postholer is. Later River's It Has Been an Honor is "Postholer, digging holes for posts."
- Frasier where Maris completely and instantly falls to pieces over the simplest things. Often done with Frasier and Niles also but Maris is practically the avatar of this trope.
Niles: Do you recall what she used to do whenever one of our dogs needed a shampoo?
Frasier: Yes, she'd fill the bathtub with Evian.
Niles: Half the time she'd just get a new dog!
- Hilary Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
- There was a Reality TV show where millionaires went to live with lower-income folks for a week/month/whatever, that seemed to use this as part of the premise.
- Undercover Boss features the owner/CEO/president of a large corporation working anonymously (with a cover story given as to why a camera crew is following this person around) at an entry-level job within the corporation. It's fairly common for them to be really bad at it. The premiere episode actually featured the company president's fake identity getting fired by his supervisor for being so inept at his job... of cleaning out Porta-Potties.
- This is echoed in The Apprentice. a schadenfreude-laden delight of this show lies in watching people with big dreams and wholly inflated confidence in their own abilities consistently fouling up at doing the simplest possible things - then blaming everybody but themselves for their own misfortunes. The glee is tempered somewhat when the realisation sets in that whatever they do they are bound to end up as highly placed executives and managers in the sort of companies where lesser mortals do the real work - for a lot less reward. And then you look at your own bosses in a new light...
- Stingy from LazyTown has trouble functioning in regular life because he wants to own everything he sees.
- Rachel Green from Friends is a mild example of the trope. She was raised in a wealthy family and was set to be married to someone, but she wound up running out on her wedding and crashing at her not-so-rich friend Monica's apartment. For a long time, Rachel had to learn how to do things that were autonomous to everyone else, such as taking out the garbage and serving drinks to people in a cafe. She does get better in the later seasons.
- Rachel later tries to extend the same help to one of her sisters, and it fails spectacularly, although in her case she wasn't just sheltered, but remarkably stupid, to the point where she doesn't understand why her attempted baby salon business (which consists mostly of her telling parents that their babies are ugly) is failing.
- Inverted in The Beverly Hillbillies. A group of poor country folks become ungodly rich by finding oil on their land, and half of the humor of the show is them applying their extreme practical ideas, from long experiences of being dirt poor, to the luxuries of the rich.
- Parks and Recreation
Ben: I expect them to go bankrupt by the end of... this sentence.
- Basically the entire city of Eagleton. This is a town so well off (a volcanic vein allows them to have palm trees in Indiana) that they fill their pools and water lawns with bottled water, literally pave their streets with gold and even the garbage men are in a high-income tax bracket. And yet, they remain completely stunned when they have to file for bankruptcy and merge with Pawnee.
- Flush with cash from a settlement, Jean-Ralphio and Tom go in on Entertainment 720, a major promotion company. They buy a huge complex with video games, basketball court, and more, hired NBA players with no responsibilities, and kept a huge amount of models and employees, giving them free iPads and other items. When Ben is called in to look at their finances, he's stunned to see how they're spending lavishly with no business model.
- Paul Rudd's character is heir to the Sweetums fortune and has the intellect of a 10-year-old. This becomes particularly alarming when he runs for mayor of Pawnee against Leslie. When he tries to vote during the election, he's unable to operate the voting machine and wanders into Leslie's booth for help, whining, "I don't get it!"
- Succession: A major theme in the show is how the Roys have grown up wealthy and sheltered, so they have no idea how the world works and are essentially living in a fantasy world. They desperately seek to earn the approval of their Self-Made Man father but have none of the tools to succeed without his help.
- Grand Hotel
- Santiago prides himself on how he worked his way from a dishwasher to the owner of a posh Miami hotel. His wife, Gigi, also had to do some hard work to be successful. While Santiago's daughter, Alicia, follows his path in work, it's obvious that his son, Javi, and Gigi's daughters, Carolina and Yoli, are all spoiled rotten and not understanding what it's like to not live without money.
- This comes up with a staff strike forces all three to take jobs at the hotel. To his credit, Javi is able to grasp being a maintenance man and even takes over when his supervisor goes to the hospital. However, Carolina has no idea how to handle the simple job of restaurant hostess while the usually sensible Yoli is mopping floors in high heels.
- In one Key & Peele sketch, Jaden Smith is portrayed as this trope where his agent helps him audition for a movie role as a poor, average kid but has no idea how an average kid lives as he doesn't know what a mall is and is confused why the main character has to choose between pursuing his dreams as a basketball player or quitting to save his mother's life and can't choose both, which Jaden accusing his agent of giving him a Science Fiction role.
- Hawkeye (2021) has Kate Bishop becoming a Non-Idle Rich, embracing the opportunity to become the heroine she dreamt of being. Unfortunately, she is Skilled, but Naive, as no matter if fit for an Action Girl, she has a knack for getting into trouble for doing very stupid things without thinking them through first, not to mention clumsy and displaying how she has no experience in combat outside of a gym.
- Inventing Anna is based on the true story of Anna Delvey who successfully scammed hundreds of thousands of dollars from socialites by posing as one herself. She series makes it clear that Anna succeded not because she was a criminal mastermind but because every one of her marks was so used to throwing money around, they had no trouble giving her more and not one of them thought to look into her background.
- That's the topic of the Pulp song "Common People": a ditzy rich girl asks a lower-class guy to introduce her to his world.
Rent a flat above a shop
Cut your hair and get a job
Smoke some fags and play some pool
Pretend you never went to school
But still you'll never get it right
'Cause when you're laid in bed at night
Watching roaches climb the wall
If you call your Dad he could stop it all
You'll never live like common people
You'll never do what common people do
You'll never fail like common people
You'll never watch your life slide out of view
And dance and drink and screw
Because there's nothing else to do.
- Mentioned in the Nik Kershaw song "Wide Boy":
He got no sense but he got money
He got no sense but he got overnight success
Exceed excess, exceed excess
- The Bible:
- In Jesus' Parable of the Foolish Farmer in the gospel of Luke, a farmer ends up with such a bountiful crop that he doesn't know what to do with it until he decides to tear down his barns, build bigger ones to store his surplus, and then just live off that for years, only for God to tell him, "Fool! This night your soul will be required of you. Then whose will those things be that you have provided for yourself?" Jesus ends the parable by saying, "So it is with the person who stores up treasure for himself, and yet is poor in God's sight." (Luke 12:21)
- This can also apply to The Prodigal Son. The son of a rich man wants his father's inheritance before he died, and the father gives it to him. Then he runs to a distant land and lives it up on the money, but it soon runs out. He is forced to live as a farmhand (and is so hungry, the pigs' slop looks good), until he comes to his senses and goes back home.
- A sketch on an October episode of The Brian & Jill Show featured Jill Whelan as Contessa Bitsy Cargengie Worthington. A Blues singer who, due to being wealthy, had a very different idea of what the blues actually were.
My jet pilot got the gout... aaaannnnd his doctor won't let him fly.
So I'm forced to fly commercial... I might as well lay me down and diiiieeee.
I'd say flyin' first class is for peasants!
And I'd rather stick needles in my eyyyyyyeeeee.
- The Carrington sisters in Elite Beat Agents don't know how to eat bananas; they're too used to French or Italian food.
- Mitsuru Kirijo, the Ojou of Persona 3, is at a loss as to how to function in a fast-food restaurant and (in a classic case of situational irony) is unable to buy food at a vendor's stand because it doesn't accept credit cards.
- Luke Fon Fabre of Tales of the Abyss starts out like this, as an effect of his Laser-Guided Amnesia and the fact that ever since he lost his memory, he hasn't been allowed outside his parents' manor. As a result, he doesn't even know how to buy things at a shop.
- Played for Laughs with Dohalim il Qaras in Tales of Arise. Being from a noble upbringing, he doesn't quite understand the value of gald in Dahna. Often showing off expensive trinkets bought with the party's cash reserves. Thankfully, it does not actually effect your gald total.
- Cave Johnson of Portal 2 fame owned Aperture Science, a major research corporation, and it is implied that he was at a time astoundingly rich. However, his own issues (such as the obsessive development of the Portal Gun and his original job, selling shower curtains) and idiotic financial decisions (such as marketing Mobility Gels as pudding, compulsively buying moon rocks while his company was in financial straits) led to his downfall and may have contributed to his insanity.
- Two of the "core tenets" of Aperture, the Heimlich Counter-Maneuver and the Take-a-Wish Foundation, couldn't have helped, either.
- Conker's Bad Fur Day: The Panther King is very rich and powerful, but is so stupid that he has to have a scientist specifically tell him that his throne-side table is quite clearly missing a leg, which is why he keeps spilling his milk.
- Batman: Arkham Knight: When Bruce Wayne unmasks himself as Batman at the end, a few members of the crowd can be heard whispering in disgust at the billions in trust-fund money that he (in their philosophy) threw to the wind on those wonderful toys.
- In Final Fantasy XIV
- While Alphinaud Leveilleur does have Sharlayan's famed centers of knowledge for his education, when it comes to costs, what funds are available to him, and their source, he has an occasional habit of shrugging it off without a second thought. This ends up getting him in trouble twice, once for drama and later on for laughs. The drama comes from his lack of attention to the source of the Crystal Braves' funding, allowing for the Monetarists of Ul'Dah to gain vast amounts of influence with the Crystal Braves' second-in-command Ilberd and his loyalists. Later in 4.2, this gets played for laughs in the latest running gag of "Alphinaud gets served a slice of humble pie", when he absolutely pisses off Tataru by choosing to repurchase Gosetsu's katana, which the old samurai had pawned off for his own funds, thinking it should be no problem for the Scions' coffers to cover the costs as a favor for one of their friends, without even bartering a single gil down. It turns out much to Alphinaud's horror that a katana of a high-ranking samurai can be worth as much as a brand new and fully furnished home.
- Both Redmond and Blutarch Mann from Team Fortress 2 are heavy-hitters of this. All their lives and throughout their little proxy war with one another, these Upper-Class Twits have little idea of how the world really works: thinking that the Gravel Pits of New Mexico that they have been fighting over for decades was what made the world go round and powered the trains. And that when their twin brother Gray Mann sent them letters to trick them into a meeting proposing a truce; they decided to RENT OUT the Alamo and fly it to New Mexico for a meeting place... where the dimwit brothers thought they should build a machine in order to make one of them pregnant. With their only concern being if the plan was somehow too perfect.
Gray Mann: I sent the letters proposing this truce. Which, I might add, it took you literally thirty seconds to turn into a crime against nature. Congratulations.
- In Daughter for Dessert, Lainie had a large family fortune but also extraordinary naïveté, especially about the ulterior motives of people who wanted to use her.
- In Fate/stay night's background, after Tokiomi Tohsaka's death, his apprentice Kirei Kotomine was given control of his assets as guardian to Tokiomi's daughter Rin. Despite the Tohsakas being comfortably wealthy, by the time of the Fifth Holy Grail War, Kirei has managed to squander the vast majority of Rin's inheritance, apparently by sheer naive honesty and terrible management skills, though it's implied that it was actually another expression of his barely-concealed Troll tendencies and delight in tormenting Rin.
- In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc's School Mode, the otherwise very intelligent Byakuya Togami mentions that while he's heard of them, he's never seen a toy-dispensing machine up close before. He finds the Monokuma-themed machine inside the school store intriguing enough to demand that Naegi show him as much as possible about how they work, which happens to be one of the select few conversations he has where he's not being condescending and narcissistic, which he usually is.
- Weiss Schnee is played up as this in RWBY Chibi, especially in episode 18 where she berates Ruby for not having a "cake butler" (as well as having four of them back in Atlas), calls the kitchen a "food room" and nearly sets the kitchen on fire messing with the oven buttons. Though this trait of hers is just as likely to be downplayed if that's what the joke requires.
- In Drowtales, when the drow search party reaches the surface:
- It's played straight with the Ojou, Ariel, who gets agoraphobia (fear of open spaces), and Liriel, her pampered slave, who doesn't know grass =/= "weed". Ironically in Liriel's case she's actually from the surface originally, being Diva'ratrika, the former empress, through a Fusion Dance, not that she knows this at the time.
- Subverted in that Kyo, probably the wealthiest member of the group, has been to the surface before and likes it.
- Almost always subverted in A Magical Roommate, with the only exceptions being Lettie (who is DELUDED!) and Alassa (who is also deluded).
- In Agents of the Realm, Adele is extremely rich but dresses to impress when going on a short walk in the middle of the night and Drives Like Crazy.
- Stand Still, Stay Silent: While Emil is no longer rich in dollars, the poor in sense part is shown to be alive and well in some of his early scenes. He first hauls his luggage up a bunch of stairs, when the building actually had an elevator. He also turns out to have come to greet his new Finnish crewmates a day early because he aimed for the day their boat would be leaving from Finland and not the day it would be arriving in Sweden. The contents of his suitcase only add to this: military-grade Demolitions Expert explosives, that he's not supposed to bring into civilian quarters without a permit. No, he does not have the permit in question.
- Not helping matters is that all his private tutors lied through their teeth because they were getting paid too much to coddle Emil and not screened for actual credentials. As a result, he's thoroughly educated in fabricated bullshit, and it prevents him from learning 'what he already studied more than the commoners' like common sense and elementary subjects.
- Freefall has idiotic Corrupt Corporate Executive Mr. Kornada, who plainly doesn't understand why he was arrested - after all, the plan he commissioned (no, it's not his plan, he's far too dumb to come up with it) would have lobotomized almost half a billion robots, crippled Jean's terraforming (if not outright dooming everyone), and cheated countless investors to make him the richest man on the planet, sure, but it didn't work, so it's all right, isn't it. He's also completely deluded as to how the legal system works, thinking he can use lemon laws to complain about his trial for the aforementioned snafu and get a refund for the massive fines he got slapped with.
- As you would expect, Not Always Right is full of stories about extremely cheap customers trying to weasel their way into getting a discount. However, on the other end of the spectrum, there are just as many extremely stubborn customers who insist on paying full price even when there is a sale or discount in effect, usually due to some paranoid belief that all store employees everywhere are constantly trying to rip people off, and therefore everything they say must be some kind of trick.
- "Yes, ma'am, there is a 'buy-one-get-one-free' sale today. No, ma'am, this is not a scheme. Okay, fine, pay full price, it's your money."
- This potential employer from Not Always Working is completely bewildered by an unemployed applicant's explanation that they are living on savings from their previous job. Unsurprisingly, the applicant books it.
- Phase/Ayla Goodkind from the Whateley Universe, raised in a super-rich but sadly mutant-phobic family and only fully realizing just how good he had had it when disowned by them and left to fend for himself upon manifesting. Played sympathetically, though, as he's deliberately doing his best to adapt and where possible even improve conditions for others. ("Goodkinds don't complain, they fix things.") It helps that even with the "pittance" his family begrudgingly paid him to go away and keep quiet he's still one of the richest and most finance-savvy students on campus; does have to use the same facilities as everybody else, though...
- The Earl of Lemongrab of Adventure Time is a presumably rich heir of royal blood... but he's exceedingly sheltered and relies on his servants for basic things such as having food prepared for him.
- In "La Behemoth", the Hip Hippos tried to do all their own chores when their maid quit and failed miserably.
- In "Temp-orary Insanity", Thaddeus Plotz's secretary has to go home sick. She tells him to call a temp. Plotz is utterly terrified and overwhelmed by the process of using a phone.... and ends up calling the Warners instead.
- Arthur: While the entire Crosswise Family tends to fall to pieces in the absence of modern conveniences note , Muffy has demonstrated a complete inability to do housework or rough it in any way.
- Courtney Gripling from As Told by Ginger seems to have a hard time with this.
- Bianca Dupree of Beverly Hills Teens is forced to drive herself one episode, and she's horrible at it.
- Bob's Burgers: In "Sleeping With the Frenemy", Tina's Spoiled Brat classmate Tammy is stuck living with the Belchers after missing the boat for a family cruise. She's shown to be so sheltered she has trouble grasping the concept of passing someone the ketchup or using a sponge (which she calls a "table loofah").
- The Bluff family from Doug seems to have this problem in spades. In one episode, Mr. Bluff is trying to "inspire" Doug with the story of how he started his bumper sticker business all by himself before he remembered he was filthy rich and hired people to do all the hard work for him. In another, Beebe needs to have the meaning of "broke" explained to her.
- DuckTales: Scrooge almost married an already wealthy Gold Digger whose idea of wilderness was a hotel with no beauty salon.
- Family Guy:
- In Futurama, after Amy's parents go broke and lose their home.
Amy: Don't worry mom. You can always come live with me.
Mrs. Wong: No, we can't! Who do you think been paying your rent!?
Amy: [clueless smile] What's rent?
- In Gravity Falls, Pacifica Northwest is the richest girl in town and is shocked at the fact Mabel can eat in the car. She also is unable to pronounce sharing correctly, saying it with a hard R.
- Adonis from Hercules: The Animated Series. In one episode, he accidentally had Hercules trapped in holding up the sky (Greek Mythology) and Atlas was ready to leave him there. Realising he couldn't bribe Atlas into taking back the burden, the only thing he could think of was tricking the god into temporarily holding the sky so Hercules could give back Adonis' purse.
- Rhonda from Hey Arnold! also had to learn how to live poor after becoming such.
- In Iron Man: Armored Adventures, Tony and Gene have a few moments of these. However, Justin Hammer takes the cake with his Psychopathic Manchild personality, often believing anything can get done if he throws enough money at it.
- Kim Possible:
- Señor Senior Junior is a wealthy fop, who we first meet tanning under a sun lamp the size of a blimp. His father's decision to take up supervillainy as a hobby could be seen as another example, though he otherwise seems to have as much common sense as anyone. Interestingly enough, Junior does seem to possess common sense, if namely in Stating the Simple Solution regarding his father's supervillainy. Senior disapproves because it goes against supervillain tradition.
- In one episode, Ron suddenly receives millions of dollars in royalties for inventing the "naco". He spends much of the episode squandering the money on bling and frivolities until Drakken and Shego steal what's left (after which they blow it on another failed attempt to Take Over the World).
- Metalocalypse: Dethklok had trouble shopping at the supermarket, or "food library", as they thought it was called. In fact, most episodes are about them trying to do things outside their comfort zone. This despite the fact that their music isn't exactly the kind clueless rich people would play. In Tributeklok it's suggested that they forgot how to live like poor people because being poor is awful, right before they blow off a tribute gig to go back to eating expensive gourmet food.
- Thanks to a classic Merrie Melodies cartoon, we know not even pet heirs are immune to this trope. In "Aristo-Cat", when a rich cat's butler quits, the cat had no idea of how to feed himself. He thought about eating mice but this plan was halted by the fact he had no clue as to what a mouse looked like. One even tricked him into thinking a dog was a mouse.
- Pops from Regular Show. He was raised in a wealthy household but was very sheltered, resulting in him having a child-like fascination with EVERYTHING. He's an old man who acts like a very young child due to his naïvete. But this is also partially due to him being from another land entirely. It's implied that he was much more mature and lucid when he was younger, but then Mordecai and Rigby accidentally ran his past self over with a golf cart, possibly resulting in his childish personality.
- A Pup Named Scooby-Doo's incarnation of Daphne, who would randomly call her butler Jenkins in to do things for her, such as being scared. (Not that she couldn't have done so herself, but a Wild Take in the style of the other characters might have mussed up her hair.)
- In contrast, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated has everyone in the Blake family but Daphne being like this (though her sisters have successful careers of their own merit). Her dad once bought a car just to have it sit around their living room as a decoration.
Daphe's mother: Only need a little [money]? Where did I go wrong with her?
- Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!:
- In "In Space", Daphne says her mother thinks night is dark because someone puts a big blanket between Earth and the Sun.
- In "Naughty or Ice", Daphne says her family's partial ownership of the fancy ice hotel happened because her great-grandfather was so afraid the Government would freeze his assets he decided to "freeze" them first by investing in the hotel.
- The Simpsons:
- Mr. Burns was lost in the "real world" when he lost his fortune.
Mr. Burns: Ketchup... catsup... ketchup... catsup... I'm in over my head here.
- There is also the time that he started to do things on his own. Hilarity Ensues.
- Mr. Burns temporarily subverted this trope when he was attacked by Homer after Homer was put in charge during Smithers' vacation (Smithers expected Homer to do such a terrible job that Mr. Burns would be glad to have him back on his return, and not have to worry about losing his job). Smithers is proven right, but Homer goes beyond being bad and punches Mr. Burns after reaching his limit. Mr. Burns becomes so terrified of Homer he is forced to learn to do things himself (actually thanking Homer for this later) and fires Smithers when he comes back. Things go back to normal when Homer injures Burns again, requiring Smithers to take care of him (with Smithers sending Homer a fruit basket as thanks).
- Mr. Burns was lost in the "real world" when he lost his fortune.
- Sofia the First: In "The Baker King", King Roland the Second tries to get milk from a cow by commanding it to give him the milk.
- South Park:
- Will Smith's kids act like this when Smith moves to the town:
Token: I'm just so happy you guys moved into town. You see, I used to be the only rich kid. All the other families here are kinda low to middle-income.
Lisa: Why? What happened to all their money?
Token: Well, they never really had any money.
Lisa: Well, then, why don't their daddies just act in a movie?
- When Rob Reiner comes to protest the local tobacco company and berates a man for smoking a cigarette inside a bar:
Man: Look man, I work fourteen hours a day at the sawmill. I just got off work and I need to relax.
Reiner: Well when I relax I just go to my vacation house in Hawaii!
Man: I ain't got a vacation house in Hawaii!
Reiner: Your vacation house in Mexico, then, whatever it is!
- Will Smith's kids act like this when Smith moves to the town: