Age Discrimination Affects Teens
By Sara Kaplow (November 27, 2002)
Iím sure you know the scene: you walk into a 7-11, and the eyes (and probably cameras) focus in on you. Why, you ask? Well, consider the stereotype. Youíre a teenager, probably wearing baggy jeans if youíre a guy, a tank top if youíre a girl, cell phone in hand, gabbing loudly and chewing gum. Thatís what they see, and so, you get the glares, cautious glances, and occasionally, open rudeness.
Now of course, there are some teenagers who are going to go into a store and cause trouble, but the vast majority of us do not go into stores in order to steal something. So why then, do store employees in general regard teenagers with an air of distrust? Why, when we attempt to be seated at a restaurant, purchase something at a department store, or anything else as a consumer, do they ignore us, disrespect us, or allow adults to take precedence over us? We use the same currency as adults; therefore it cannot be because their money is better than ours is.
There are always going to be those who look down their noses at people who are younger than them. However, for younger people to be treated differently simply because of their age is more than slightly offensive. My major pet peeve is when, at restaurants, the host looks to seat adults before teenagers, even when the younger group was there first. Some people may not have faced this problem (yet). However, as someone who enjoys going out and sampling different ethnic foods with my friends, this has happened to me on a number of occasions. And I, for one, would like to know why?
The people who participate in this type of age discrimination were once teenagers themselves. It is not as if they came into this world all grown up, ready to snub those plebian brats who spill out of the local high school in order to ransack neighboring businesses. And while times have changed, parents still educate their children on what is right and what is wrong, and typically stealing goes in the "wrong" category.
The theory that teens tip less canít be completely true. Our age group spends more money than any other age bracket, and that includes money spent on tips. Personally, I tip at least 20 percent at each meal, except when Iím treated like an unworthy customer.
So, is there a logical explanation
for this phenomenon? Maybe when Iím older, or when Iíve worked retail or
as a waitress Iíll know the secret. But it seems to me that everyone, regardless
of race, age, and background, should be treated with the same kindness
and courtesy as the next person. Even if that person is older.