It’s Friday evening, typically a wonderful time in the week. No school, no responsibilities and two days of freedom on the horizon. I won’t lie to you but I love spending my Friday evening relaxing, reading and maybe popping on an episode of Breaking Bad. What I don’t really go for is suffering abuse and discrimination on account of my age, being the youthful young lad that I am. Today was different though.
Picture the scene, it’s around four o’clock in the small town of Purley. As the sky grows darker, the air is filled with the noise of traffic, and of people leaving work for the weekend. Orion Pharmacy stands in the middle of the high street still had an hour until closing time. Inside the atmosphere is relaxed, if not completely without the usual end-of-the-week stress. The workload is slowing down for the woman manning the counter. After handing the local vicar his weekly dose of anti-depressants she turns to the woman behind him, a woman seeking medicine for an irritable bowel.
This is when I enter, refreshed from the cool winter air and clutching my oversized umbrella. I join the queue behind this woman, taking note of my surroundings; the large selection of sun creams available, the stylish light fitting above and another lady joining the queue behind me (remember this, it’s an important plot point).
So the shop-keeper woman goes into the depths of the shop, her well trained eyes searching the shelves for a remedy. She returns, sells the medicine and the customer leaves, presumably in hope that this medicine will do the job.
Now if you remember, I am next in queue, ready to be served. It hadn’t been long wait, I would go so far as to say that this bowel medicine scenario was over quite quickly. I was therefore free from anger and contempt when I approached the counter. I was however both shocked, befuddled and quite honestly bemused when the counter woman looked at me, recognised the fact that I was a teenager and came quite false conclusion that I had in fact jumped the line, turning to the woman behind me and serving her instead.
You see this is the discrimination part of my story. Yes I agree that my generation contains many an unsavoury character, some of whom may go as far as skipping a queue of one person. I agree also that this stereotype of teenagers has seeped into the mind of my elders. However what I do not agree on is the use of this stereotype to abuse and discriminate against honest, god-loving teenagers like myself. I’m getting quite angry here for the fact remains – I joined that queue from the back, I did not have any intention of moving forward or cutting people out! I waited my turn! I respected this orderly queue, something that is the very essence of our Capitalist nation! And yet my actions were cruelly and mockingly thrown aside, due to the mere fact that I was a teenager.
It is actions such as these, born out of pure hatred, that put all of us in danger. If a young lad waiting in a pharmacy queue is not free from the foul talons of discrimination, then nobody is safe.
I do not suggest that I have the power to make everybody boycott this pharmacy, but I would very much discourage anyone from going in there. This is ageism at its height.