You will often hear or read Scottsdale referred to as Snotsdale or Snobsdale, and Scottsdalians labeled snotty, snooty and/or stuck up. This isn't new--it's been this way for many, many years. I'll probably be sorry that I addressed this topic, but here's the reality.
An Affluent City
Scottsdale is generally considered the most affluent large city in Arizona. Sure, there are other high end neighborhoods, like Ocotillo in Chandler, or Arrowhead Ranch in Glendale, but those are neighborhoods and not cities. The towns of Cave Creek, Carefree, and Fountain Hills attract wealthy folks. The median price of a single family home in the Town of Paradise Valley is over $1 million. Still, Scottsdale gets the dubious Snotsdale moniker, because of its size and notoriety.
Lots of Affluent Activities
Scottsdale is internationally known for fine resorts and spas, expensive restaurants, superior shopping, art galleries, designer golf courses, ritzy night clubs, and country club living. Scottsdale generally has an upscale reputation, and as such is the address that many people would like to have on their mail. If your home or business is in Scottsdale, that might conjure up better credibility than an address elsewhere. As a matter of fact, there is one part of Phoenix that is somewhat popular for several reasons, one of which is that it is served by a Scottsdale post office; although the location (for tax and services purposes) is in Phoenix, the mailing address is in Scottsdale.
Small businesses like that concept.
So, What's the Answer
Are people in Scottsdale snootier than everyone else? Are they more pretentious? More shallow? Nastier? More stuck up? Are they really rich or just hopelessly in debt trying to look better than everyone else? Here's my personal belief: some people are and some people aren't.
There will always be wealthy people who don't "play well with others" who are not in their socio-economic strata, and there will always be people who are so envious of people who live the high life that they have to put them down somehow. People who can afford to live in affluent areas will often have nice vehicles, shop at gourmet grocery stores, eat in fancy restaurants, and wear designer clothing. Their kids may go to private schools, or better public schools. Why wouldn't they do all those things?
When famous athletes or movie stars come to town, you are more likely to find them stopping in Scottsdale than in Peoria or Gilbert. Why shouldn't they go to Scottsdale? I know and have known many people who live in Scottsdale. Some are nice and some aren't. That's pretty much true in every neighborhood in every city in the Greater Phoenix area. Probably in other cities around the country, too.
I don't live in Scottsdale, but I always cringe just a little when I hear it called Snotsdale, just like I dislike the generalization that the west side of the Greater Phoenix area is inferior to the east side. I guess that most major metropolitan areas have a Scottsdale-like city or town that is a target for criticism because of the affluence. Nevada has Incline Village, California has Beverly Hills, there's Miami Beach in Florida and Germantown in Tennessee.
It might come as a surprise to know that not all of Scottsdale is wealthy. The area south of downtown Scottsdale becomes increasingly middle/working class as you go toward the southern end of Scottsdale. Many A.S.U. students live in that area.
When you hear or see Scottsdale referred to as Snotsdale or Snobsdale, it's usually in one of two contexts: one is a playful tease, and the other has a much nastier tone. No matter how it's said, it will probably be offered by someone who really can't afford to live there, and claims they wouldn't even if they could afford it.
But that's just my opinion.