The Worst Kinds of Austin Transplants

Austin transplants
timnewman/E+/Getty Images
timnewman/E+/Getty Images

There are tons of weird and wonderful things about Austin, from Barton Springs to breakfast tacos, our millions of bands to our millions of bats -- so it was only a matter of time before the rest of the world found out. While we can certainly understand outsiders’ desire to move to our kick-ass city, they don't always make it easy on locals in terms of tolerability. In recent years we’ve thrown Southern hospitality out the window and have essentially transformed into curmudgeonly old men yelling at kids to get off our lawn (hence our partially tongue-in-cheek motto: Welcome to Austin, Don’t Move Here).

So in the spirit of feeling superior and basically just hating everyone that isn’t us, here are a few of the transplants who are slowly ruining our lives, in their own special ways. Because if you can’t beat ‘em, well, at least make fun of ‘em.

Yolo girl
Jim Vondruska/Thrillist

The YOLO Spokesperson

Attracted by a bevy of beautiful #nofilter Instagram photos of Austin, this transplant followed their #gypsylife and headed to Austin with nothing but what fit in their car... OK, their mom is going to ship them the rest of their stuff when they get settled. But still, BOLD MOVE! While you personally used to feel like a reasonably fun person, the YOLO Spokesperson has an uncanny ability for making you self-conscious about your stable and therefore boring life like working a 9-5, owning furniture, and, uh, having a mailing address. They’ve really romanticized this nomad notion, a lifestyle they talk about as much as they hashtag, and in hopes of absorbing some adventurous vibes by association and maybe osmosis, you might be tempted to let them crash on your couch until they find a place. Be warned: "free spirit" is often synonymous with "freeloader."

Tech Scenester
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

The Tech Scenester

California was out of their comfort zone (or at least budget), so The Tech Scenester opted for Silicon Hills over Silicon Valley and is currently building apps and pounding Topo Chico at one of 1,000 indistinguishable design studios. Easily identifiable by a T-shirt featuring their company logo and their double entendres about floppy disks, you can typically find them playing on company-sponsored kickball teams, invading Downtown bars for happy hour circa 3pm, and, on occasion, even working.

While they may be good for the economy or whatever -- and while you’ll likely date one at some point -- it’s kind of infuriating they make six figures and seem to spend the majority of the workday eating pizza and playing ping-pong. We’ll excuse you while you sign up for a coding class and make a career switch.

The Rowdy Student

When their parents dropped them off outside their dorm on Speedway with a stack of Container Store crates, they became an immediate boon to the sticky-floored bars of Dirty Sixth, whose owners can bank on four years of steady revenue from bar hopping. However, anyone over the age of 25 who isn't profiting from this demographic knows that, while their cause (higher education) may be respectable and they’re certainly paying their dues (literally: tuition), college kids are, to put it simply, the worst.

Whether it’s comforting a crying sorority girl in the bathroom at 9pm, force-feeding a lost and frightened freshman mozzarella sticks in hopes he’ll sober up, or yelling “Where are your parents?!” at a stumbling throng of burnt-orange clad youths, we've all suffered unfortunate interactions with these animals when they escape campus. At least most of them leave after four years?

Bitter bartender Austin
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

The Entitled Musician Turned Bitter Bartender

Inspired by the likes of Spoon, Willie Nelson, or Gary Clark Jr., they packed a used van with guitar pedals, amps, and reluctant band members and -- with visions of sugar plums and sold-out shows dancing in their head -- headed to the promised land to pursue their Top 40 dreams in the Live Music Capital of the World. Unfortunately they don’t have the the connections (or talent) to cut their teeth at the Austin venues they visited at SXSW that one time, and find their stage opps limited to open mic nights and acoustic sets at new, try-hard tapas spots.

Upset by the competition and clearly not cognizant of the fact that success doesn’t come free with an Austin area code, they now sling cocktails made with equal parts bitters and bitterness at a bar that will pay them to pour drinks but, alas, still won’t book their band. And, to be honest, it’s kinda killing your buzz.

The Remote Swiper

They haven’t moved to Austin quite yet (they’re 759 miles away, apparently), but they’ve already virtually invaded the city as part of the digital dating pool, which is both misleading and somehow even more annoying than them being here in person. Two seconds after you match with a Remote Swiper, you’ll inevitably be bombarded with questions about the best areas to live, the best things to do, and the best places to eat and drink in Austin, and an hour into the conversation -- when you find yourself scouring the interwebs on their behalf -- you’ll realize you’ve somehow transitioned from romantic prospect to on-the-ground realtor, event planner, and concierge.

Your best bet is to refer them to some helpful websites and focus on finding flaws in transplants that are here in the flesh. Oh, and don’t forget to unmatch.

Austin app pusher
Jim Vondruska/Thrillist

The App Pusher

Maybe it was the pre-existing startup climate or maybe it was the Uber/Lyft exodus, which created a huge, potentially profitable market: pissed-off millennials who like to drink and don’t do public transportation. Either way, here comes this ego with an idea, who built a not-so-cleverly named app and moved to Austin to take advantage of the talent and iPhone-addicted customer base.

More persistent than the clipboard-wielding donation seekers Downtown and more aggressive than those Bluetooth-wearing bros peddling perfume at kiosks inside Barton Creek Mall, they’ve invaded Austin to push their digital products, hounding you with flyers, promo codes, and Facebook event invites for launch parties that you sincerely doubt 3,495 people are actually “Interested in.”

The Condo-Residing Complainer

Totally jazzed about moving to the city that birthed music events and movements like Austin City Limits and SXSW, this transplant decided they wanted to reside right where the action is and signed a lease to become one of the 10,000+ people living Downtown. Optimistic (but mostly delusional), they assumed residence on Red River would simply involve enjoying the B+ bands headlining Stubb’s from their balcony for free. What they didn’t realize is that it’s more often loud-and-local punk rock rattling the walls and throwing off their 9pm bedtime (a requisite for the kind of job that affords one residence in the 78701), and so they do the unforgivable: issue noise complaints. Which result in noise ordinances. Which result in threatening the very fabric of society what makes this city great and DON’T THEY REALIZE THE IRONY OF MOVING TO A CITY FOR THE MUSIC AND THEN COMPLAINING ABOUT THE MUSIC?! *Whew* Don’t worry, they’ll start Airbnb-ing their place and flee to the ‘burbs in no time.

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

The Portlander

Tired of the problems plaguing Portland (and perhaps after getting rear-ended by the guy from Modest Mouse), this Oregonian decided to head to the other American city hell-bent on keeping it weird. After stuffing a suitcase full of flannel and filling up the tank of their Subaru, they asked Siri for directions to Austin and hit the road in search of greener, or at least significantly less drizzly, pastures.

Now, the problem with Portlanders isn’t a problem, per se; they’re actually an inoffensive, crunchy bunch with interests, priorities, and complaints that generally align with ours. In fact, if they didn’t insist on wearing the aforementioned flannel in July, one might actually mistake them for Austinites. The issue is really that the presence of Portlanders is just... redundant. And although this is by far the most preferable type of transplant, there are -- as we locals like to remind everyone every five seconds -- 110 people moving here every day, and we just don’t have room for watered-down, West Coast versions of ourselves.

The Comeback Kid

The prodigal son returneth! Or at least that’s how this person will frame their triumphant move back to Austin (otherwise known as Stage 7). After deciding that ATX was becoming too mainstream and [insert cliché complaint here], the Comeback Kid packed their bags to try out the up-and-coming American hipster town du jour. But before they could even switch out their Texas license plates they’re back with a “broadened worldview”... which really just equates to a holier-than-thou-attitude and propensity for complaining about how much things have changed in their absence.

While perhaps not technically a transplant, they lost their Austinite status the moment they desecrated the city by leaving it, and will therefore be treated as one. Forever.

Franchise opportunist Austin
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

The Franchise Opportunist

Whether in an attempt to capitalize on the influx of Californians (see below) via In-N-Out, make money on this impossible dating climate with Ben and Jerry’s, or invest in students’ and stoners’ late-night munchies by opening... well, anything, the Franchise Owner symbolizes what’s most terrifying about Austin immigration: the mainstream. And, more worrisomely, the local businesses in danger as, with every 75-cent scoop of guac, we inch closer towards becoming Everytown, America (our waistlines inching along with us).

Unfortunately, those burrito bowls taste way too good to boycott.

Soon to be ex Austin
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Your Soon-to-Be Ex

So you’ve closed the mileage gap on the long-distance relationship and your S.O. has made the move to Austin and, more specifically, your bedroom. What starts off as the best kind of transplant, however, is destined to become the absolute worst when you break up and are forced to fight for custody of your friends and favorite bars, restaurants, gyms, and even grocery stores. While Austin is a pretty big city, you’re still doomed to run into them occasionally -- or at least forced to live in constant fear that you might -- and their very existence puts a serious damper on pretty much everything.

You consider trying to get them deported, but apparently that’s not really an option when they just came from Delaware.

The Californian

For some reason, we’ve developed an unwarranted disdain for those from the Golden State. Though they aren’t even the “most invasive species” threatening Austin’s Austin-ness, and we were, admittedly, really stoked about Trader Joe’s, Californians have somehow become scapegoats for everything we see as wrong with Austin. And the thing is, The Californian has typically done nothing wrong at all; they’re disliked simply by virtue of being from California and because, like Kanye and Taylor Swift, some rivalries simply don’t make any sense. (Californians: “We would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that we have never asked to be part of.”)

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Sam Sumpter is an Austin-based writer who’s been here nine years so totally doesn’t qualify as a transplant, right? RIGHT?! Follow as she attempts to avoid answering the question “Where are you from?” at @Sam_Sumpta.