Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ageism- A Random Vent

Recently I have been infuriated by the ageism that exists in this country. To the point where I actually blew up at a furniture store, something I never ever do. I am 28 years old, considered young. But my life experience is not that of the normal twenty eight year old. Regardless of life experience, to judge a person based on their age is ridiculous. We are a nation that does not tolerate racism or sexism, but ageism is ok?

A friend and I have been furniture shopping lately. Furniture shopping is not something I do for the hell of it. We noticed that in the over a dozen stores that we have gone into, we get horrible, or no customer service. I have literally almost ran into a store employee and they didn't say a word, just sidestepped. I have looked at a sectional an employee was sitting on gossiping with another employee, a sectional mind you that I had the go ahead from my husband to purchase, but did not because of the treatment of the employee. I said, "I'm sorry if I am in your way" when he got off the sectional and walked around me, and his response, "Its fine." In a huffy tone. Did he offer to help, to give information? No.

Then there was the time we walked into a store, three men standing there, didn't say hello, welcome, nothing. But the couple who walked in, literally two steps behind us, in their forties, "Can we get you some water? Some soda? What are you looking for today?" As my friend and I look over our shoulders in shock. Really? When both of us have thousands of dollars we intend to spend on furniture? We didn't go shopping in sweats. I had on a dress, my hair done, makeup on. We were clean, well dressed, and ready to buy.

Same friend and I on another day go to a nice restaurant. We get HORRIBLE, I mean, the server should have been fired, service. Because, again, we are young, so surely we aren't going to spend much. Right? Wrong! We spent over $100! Yet, because of our age, we were treated poorly. I am nice, respectful and very sweet to those in the service orientated industry. Yet again, the couple in the booth next to us, in their 50's. They received excellent service. In fact, our waiter would stand there talking to them for ten minutes, walk by us without a glance. The glasses there were shorter than most and I finished my diet coke with my salad. It was not refilled, ever, not one time. Nor was my water. I finished my meal thirsty, not for lack of asking either. The busboy treated us awesome, the waiter, horribly. This is not the first, nor will it be the last time.

I am getting increasingly more angry with ageism. The problem here folks, is that my generation is not the generation of the 50's and 60's. Our generation has gone through so much. Traditional families are no longer involved. Most of us came from broken homes, the number of divorces, multiple marriages, child abuse, and single parents is overwhelming. Many of us came from hard childhoods. Many of us know what poverty feels like. Many of us grew up with violence, sex and drugs as the norm. We are survivors. We didn't have the two parent fantasy tv land, Nick at Night special homes. We fought for everything we have. Many of us have worked from childhood and know what it is like to struggle. We aren't a spoiled generation that has had everything handed to us.

Our generation has been at war for the last decade. I suppose, if you are young, you have no life experience, so the one, two, three or more deployments that millions of young Americans have been on do not count for anything either, because, you know, being young, means you don't know what it is like to live, to suffer, to survive yet.

Hell, what do we know?

We know more at our young ages then the generations before us knew when they were in their 40's. We have more life experience, more maturity, more experiences overall then some people in their 80s will ever have. We are a generation where sex is not for the marriage bed, a generation where drugs are not taboo, a generation where violence is an everyday experience. We are a generation that has lived through death, destruction, and pain.

We know what it is to value things because we have gone without. We know what it is like to love, because we have felt the pain of loss. We know how to appreciate life because we have seen it taken too often.

Don't judge a person by their age. I spoke to an elderly lady the other day who told me she couldn't understand how we do it. We are a new breed. What we have had to go throw as children and teenagers she never had to go through in her entire life.

We purchase cars, we buy homes, and we buy furniture. Yes, in our twenties.

Newsflash: My money is just as good as anyone else's. And if you are a waiter or working retail, how are you any better than me? (Ive had both jobs I am not putting them down), come on, stop snubbing your nose at youth and start treating them like they should be treated.

I don't care what a person's physical age is. How they act should be the only indicator of the service they receive. Respect begets respect.

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