Ramblin’ Road: Teens really are allergic to workplace?

by Phyllis McCrossin

Two weeks ago I wrote about learning different cultures from a young co-worker. Since then, the young co-worker left (without notice) and a replacement was hired.

Also in those two weeks, I have not seen the replacement go more than 10 minutes without texting someone (yes, she has been told not to text while at work, I don’t believe she cares enough to comply). I suspect her grandfather (she lives with her grandparents) pushed her into finding summer employment.

She certainly isn’t happy about being at work. She spends copious amounts of time sitting on the counter and sighs heavily every time a customer comes into the shop and that customer has the audacity to expect to have someone ring up his or her items.

But the worst of it is, she cannot count change. I don’t mean make change, the cash register does that for her. I mean, she can’t figure out a quarter, a dime and a nickel is 40 cents.

Fortunately, most transactions are with debit or credit card. I try to tell myself it’s not my circus and not my monkeys, but it really does not help my demeanor. I’ve also been told by the other women I work with that this is normal behavior for teens. I truly do weep for our future.

In the meantime, the rest of us (the 84-year-old, the two seventy-somethings and I) work our tails off to take up her slack, because not only does she not work while on the clock, she has yet to complete an entire shift without asking to leave. I will admit to having pleasant thoughts of smacking the smug look off her face and sending nasty “your granddaughter is a spoiled idiot” texts to her grandfather (a retired teacher) who seems to contributing to her laziness by coddling her.

But I have vented enough.

Work remains pleasant. It’s not hard work and if one takes the time to talk to them, every customer has a story.

We had a teacher from Indiana come into the shop this week. School starts Aug. 10 in Indiana. Yes, I believe that is pretty much the middle of summer. She said Fourth of July is always bittersweet. “For us, it’s the end of summer,” she said. “It’s just a little depressing.”

I’ve also waited on a young couple who purchased a Teddy-bear hoodie for their son. Sometimes it’s easy to tell new parents. This couple telegraphed their newness. I asked about their son. He’s 18 months old and I knew without asking this was the first time they had been away from him overnight.

The woman had that wistful look about her. It was her birthday and the weekend was to be a get-away for them.

“He’s with granny and I know he’s having a good time,” she said with a slight catch in her voice. Again, not my circus, not my monkeys, but I kind of felt obligated to help both of them out: Dad, because he planned this outing for his wife; and Mom because she was struggling with being away from her son overnight.

“My kids always had the best of times with their grandparents,” I said. “There was something special about that bonding time when they were together.”

And it’s very true, but I also thought about the time my mother, who had this natural ability with children, met her match with my nephew, who cried the entire time she was watching him. I looked enough like my sister that he would allow me to sit behind him (but I could not touch) and he would play with blocks on the floor. Thankfully it was just a night out for a class reunion. An entire weekend would have been pure hell.

Which brings me round to our young co-worker; I get that grandpa might be a little over protective, but he’s not the first grandparent to raise a grandchild. King and I raised one of our grandchildren, too. And when she proved to be just as stubborn and willful as her father and the déjà vu set in we didn’t cut her ANY slack. She survived. So did we.

1 Comment

  • The government caused this problem years ago. Until you are 18 years old you can only push a broom. It was called child labor laws. It turned out to be no work for children. Then the computer games started, then cell phones with add and subtract. Parents bitch about kids playing games all day on computers, but they have no jobs, so who buys them? Discipline is the new child abuse. Years ago a crack on the ass did more good than harm.

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