Another Form Of Prejudice This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   When we think of prejudice, we usually think of discrimination based on one's race or sex. It has come to my attention, however, that discrimination against young people is also a serious problem frequently exhibited by store owners and workers. Like any other prejudice, it is frightening, insulting and unfair.

I was discussing this discrimination with a friend who told me how he had been falsely accused of shoplifting. He had brought a CVS brand notebook with him to another drug store with a list of supplies he needed for school written in it. He wrote a few things down in the notebook, then returned it to his pocket. Two store workers ordered him into the back room and demanded he empty his pockets. When the men discovered it was a CVS notebook, they acknowledged their mistake, but did not offer an apology. I wonder: would the same treatment have been given to a middle-aged man? An elderly woman? Somehow I doubt it.

Recently, my friend and I were in a supermarket waiting for friend who worked there to finish. We decided to buy a snack and proceeded to look around the store. We decided to wait until we got to her house to eat. We were in a good mood and we were laughing about something that had happened earlier in the day. I noticed a man in a grey jacket staring at us. I didn't think much about it until we approached the door and the man stepped in front of us. Two men in green coats joined him and I saw they were managers. It dawned on me that they thought we had stolen something when one of the men said, "Open your bag." I angrily replied that I hadn't taken anything, and invited him to search my bag. He did, and upon finding nothing, did not apologize, but further accused me of having "dropped" whatever I had stolen. He said I had stolen cigarettes, which would have been a feat, since we had been in the back of the store and cigarettes were at the register. What angered me most was that this man had the nerve to lie right to my face, saying, "We saw you take them." Realizing that they could do nothing to us, the men quickly dispersed, saying "Shop somewhere else."

This incident infuriated me, especially after a friend had a similar experience in the same store two weeks later. He dropped a quarter in the 5-cent candy sample slot and took five candies. A manager approached him and accused him of taking the candy without paying. According to my friend, who used to work there, this is common.

If you are wrongfully accused, do not confess to anything you haven't done. If you are hassled, insist on seeing a tape from one of the video cameras around the store. There are many cameras, so this should prove your innocence.

This prejudice against teenagers should be tolerated no more than any other form. fl


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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Hammi said...
May 7, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Too Right        ;)

 

 
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