After retiring from my professional career two years ago but not ready to “hang ‘em up” quite yet, I began working in retail part-time.
As we know, this industry employs a great number of young people; teenagers and those in their 20s, students; and those saving up to eventually be students.
What I have noticed is how rude some members of the public can be to these young adults serving them.
There is the eye-rolling, head shaking, and heavy theatrical sighs to the more odious individuals who call them slow, pathetic, stupid and ignorant.
They have been yelled at, sneered at, laughed at, and had items thrown back at them, some of them heavy.
This ranges from unbecoming behaviour to physical and verbal assault. And all this on public display.
It has been my pleasure to work with an interesting circle of these youth.
Instead of chilling on a lumpy sofa playing video games in their basements collecting the federal largesse of recent months, they show up for every shift and put up with everything that comes their way.
They are earnest and willing. They work hard and remain cheerful and friendly. They watch their older siblings move away for more affordable housing in that Silent Exodus from the Fraser Valley to anywhere but here.
They’re waiting for programs in colleges and universities to accept them in a world where foreign students and their inflated school fees are accepted before local young people. There is a lot to navigate these days.
This is why I appeal to our shopping public to treat our next generation with more patience.
Remember you were that age once; learning all those job skills and people skills at the same time can be overwhelming.
Please refrain from any abusive behaviour. Got a choice comment to make? Swallow it. Common decency and respect go far in our social dealings.
Our young adults will keep working. They will endure and thrive. Things will work out. They always do.
Instead of embarrassing and unbecoming behavior let’s be on their side and build them up.
- A. Vandervelden