Not everyone believes that age discrimination is really a thing, at least not when applied to teenagers. I myself have practiced it when I worked retail. I might not have accused any young people of anything but I certainly kept an eye on any large group of them that came into my store and I’ve had to ask a few such groups to leave when they started damaging things. What I’m wondering today is, is that fair? Sure it’s fair to be thrown out of a store for behaving badly but what about the being prejudged part? No, probably not.
Today my fourteen year old daughter had a bad experience in a store at our local mall. It was a party supply store, yes a national chain. She went in with a large group of friends, that was the first check off the list against her. It was all girls, add another check. Ten teenage girls aren’t really capable of being quiet so I have no doubt they were being loud – check. In a group of people who large, the ones actually shopping are going to want different things but they wanted to stay together so they went down every aisle. It didn’t really take long for an employee to get so suspicious she had to say something.
Did she tell them they were being too loud or disruptive to other customers? Nope. The exact quote as repeated to me was:
“I hope you guys know this is not a playground, it’s a store and if you’re not going to buy anything we’re going to kick you out.”
A playground. Can you get any more insulting to a teenager? I think not. I know the employee had no way of knowing if these kids were paying customers or not, but isn’t that the point? As a matter of fact, five of them did make purchases, even after being humiliated.
Now as a parent of a well-behaved kid who has rarely done anything wrong in her life (she’s a people pleaser, poor thing), I’m furious with that lady. As a former retail employee I understand, to a point. I think she handled it badly and that perhaps she needs to not work weekends. I, for one, have never been into a party store on a weekend and Not seen teenagers in it.
My daughter also told me the store was actually FULL of teenagers, mostly in groups, so the party pooper in the party store probably has way less hair than she did this morning.
What would you have done in the employee’s place? For the parents out there, would you be angry?
Sidenote: I wrote for much longer than six minutes today and I’m very happy about it! What’s next for me? Why a story about a fictional grumpy, job hating, teenager loathing villain of course.