Stereotypical Assumptions This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   With Green Day lyricsplaying in my head, I strolled into our local Wal-Mart with my mother and sister,excited to purchase a new set of headphones. For the day's attire, I'd chosenlong khaki shorts, a black band logo shirt, knee-high black socks, Globe skateshoes, and my cute Pokey backpack. As I walked along, I tried not to payattention to the fact that I was being stared at more than usual.

I foundthe electronics section and looked for the aisle with headphones. Then I sawthem, gleaming in their plastic packaging; you have to understand, my oldheadphones were terrible, so I was excited. I began to scan each row, looking forthe perfect set at the perfect price.

I didn't pay much attention to theemployee who looked down the aisle as I decided on a small silver headset. But inthe midst of grabbing my chosen prize, I noticed the same employee look down theaisle again. I froze, and thought, No way, you're overreacting. It can't be. So,headset in hand, I walked to the end of the aisle and looked over. The employeewas nowhere to be seen. I shrugged and looked back down my aisle only to see herat the other end, looking at me! I was startled and quite upset, so I gave her anodd look and started walking to the other side of the section. I wanted to seewhat would happen, and hoped I was imagining things. There I pretended to browse,then turned around. The employee was right there! She turned quickly to fixsomething that wasn't out of place. I was infuriated and humiliated at how I wasbeing treated. Not once was I asked if I needed help, but the whole time, I wasspied on. I am under the assumption that she thought I was a thief and I left thesection feeling extremely uncomfortable.

I find it really sad that thistype of treatment goes on. This woman, who did not know me at all, thought Iwould steal. I was appalled by this experience that probably goes on all thetime. No one has the right to judge someone because they fit some stereotype.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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blublood said...
Apr. 8, 2011 at 11:06 am
I agree with you completely. My "style" is punk-ish most of the time, and "ghetto" others, but everywhere I go, people tend to keep a closer eye on me than they would my little brother. I think that it's terrible the way that teens are treated just because of the way that they dress or how they look. Thanks for speaking out!
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