Your humble narrator has had a trying time of late, due to a marked uptick in the number of inconsiderate old folks. I don’t mean to come off as “age-ist” or anything of that nature, but for the past several days every encounter I’ve had with rudeness has involved someone over the age of 60.
There’s a gentleman who owns an “antique store” right around the corner from the shop (it’s actually more of a “junque store”; so many of these businesses evoke thoughts of Sanford and Son) whom I’ve had encounters with before. Once, a line of customers stood in shocked silence as a police officer explained to him how many calls he responds to that could’ve been avoided if someone would have just “calmed THE FUCK down.” Those were the officer’s words, not mine.
On Thursday, this gentleman came into the store and purchased a bottle of iced tea. Another regular customer was standing by the counter, staying out of the rain while waiting for his wife to pick him up, and witnessed (and played a part in) the entire interaction.
“Can I get a straw?”
“Sure, here ya go” I replied, handing him one of the straws we keep behind the counter.
“I need a tall straw.”
“Oh, ok. Well, I don’t have any tall straws back here, but there’s plenty right next to the soda machines where you got that cup of ice (which, I just want to note, we don’t charge for).”
The other customer and I watched as this gentleman, on his way towards the soda fountain, took the completely unmolested, unopened, still perfectly serviceable “short” straw I’d given him and casually tossed it onto one of the shelves in the candy aisle…
“Seriously dude? I’d have taken that back.” I called. The guy waiting for his ride just looked at me and shook his head.
Returning to the counter to retrieve his tea, the straw-tosser says, “I don’t know why you felt the need to say anything, someone will get it. There was nothing rude about that.”
“You are always incredibly rude,” I say calmly, “You know who’ll get it? I will, because I work here and I’m the one who gets to clean up after you animals.”
“Oh, animal…that’s not rude at all, I guess.”
This was enough for the fellow waiting on his wife. He slapped one hand down on the counter and exclaimed “What the fuck is wrong with you?!”
“That wasn’t rude” the older man repeated. “What’s rude is the foul language, and the clerk here calling paying customers animals.”
“Okay, I’m rude. Take your shit, and your “tall straw” and piss off. Bye Felicia…”
“My name’s Pete.”
“Go away, Pete. Have a great day, see ya soon sir.”
Two days later, Pete returns and is polite and courteous.
I don’t know how long this post is; the app doesn’t have a word counter; so I’ll stop here. There are a few more stories along this vein from the last few days that I’ll share later.
One more thing, I don’t want to hear a bunch of bullshit about “maybe it’s dementia/early – onset alzheimers/etc.” This isn’t some feeble old person I’m talking about, this is an old man who runs a successful small business and makes a small fortune doing it. I firmly believe that the only reason he behaves like this is because he’s gotten away with it his entire life.)