The only commodity people are willing to pay for and not get
The only commodity people are willing to pay for and not get is education. This is a favorite observation of a colleague and friend. He is referring to American university students. I think he is right.
That is not a generalization about all students. Most are very conscientious and concerned about performing up to their potential. But there is a growing number who expect us to hand them degrees with little or no effort on their part. And we, in the Ivory Tower, play right into it by dumbing down the curriculum, relaxing or eliminating standards, and acting like the truck farmers of higher education.
The problem has gotten worse with the advent of the internet, online learning, and the most insidious pedagogical abomination of all, compressed video. I teach a couple of online courses and I have pretty high standards, the most taxing on student commitment being participation in discussion boards where I and the students engage in structured processing of case studies. This activity accounts for 60 percent of their grades and is based on frequency and quality of contributions. In a semester course this means that students make an appearance several times a week -- each case study has a time limit of 3-4 days. Of course, one favorite complaint is, "I shouldn't have to show up more than once a week, just like in a regular on-campus face to face class" which is the schedule for graduate level classes.
Conducting an introductory on-campus orientation session for students is also a source of hostility. They resent the idea of having to get in the car and drive to campus; some refuse and then complain when I scold them for not following directions (and no, online orientation is not as effective).
Of course there are many other examples of "willing to pay and not get" behaviors. Professors everywhere probably have examples. But I don't know what to do with it other than tell students, "Hey, you don't want to do the work? Then pay the consequences."