kids at the wheel
I'm shopping at Haggen's, but before I start checking off my list and marching the aisles like I mean it, I stop by the Chinese food counter and order a small container of honey-glazed chicken. If you've never had Haggen's honey-glazed chicken, you probably shouldn't be giving me those looks.
The boy who scoops my chicken asks me if I want any sauce.
"Sure," I say. "How about some hot mustard?"
He's "down with that." And then, as if to cement my thoughts about his youthfulness, he drops my packet of hot mustard on the floor, glances around wildly, picks it up slowly, and asks, "Uh ... Do you still want this?"
I stare at the boy, wondering why he thinks I wouldn't want it just because it hit the floor.
Moments later, while meandering and comparing unit prices, I pick at my chicken and run through my shopping list, but my thoughts return more than once to that boy. I'd clearly presented him with a scenario not covered in his employee manual. At no point in his training had he been prepared for dropped hot mustard packets.
When my cart complains, I maneuver the mound to the checkout counter. There I stumble straight into a flirty spat between a tall, gangly boy and a short, giggly girl. The two banter while I fumble for my Haggen's "special shopper" card.
"Yeah?" he says to her. "Well, you're not the boss of me."
"Yes, I am," she answers.
"Nuh huh. John is the boss of me."
"But I'm the boss of the front end, so I'm the boss of you."
"I'm not doing what you say," he tells her.
"I hate you," she says back.
"Well, if you hate me, why are you talking to me?"
She squeals and slaps his arm.
"Original, Brittany. That was real original."
And I stand there waiting for my total, and realizing that one of two things has happened. Either the world is now being run by 12-year olds, or I've gotten old.
That's an easy choice. Obviously, the 12-year olds have taken over.