Teens face poor treatment because of their age

By Shawna Lacharite
Memorial High School
Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Stereotypes. Why do they exist? Can we blame it on society and say that it brainwashed us, and made us think a certain way that we grew up to believe is right? Or can we say it's our own ignorant minds placing people into categories in which they do not belong?

Whatever the reason, everyone stereotypes people at some part of their life, intentionally or not, and it's wrong. And some situations are less serious than others. Take mine for example.

The stereotype my situation falls under is the infamous "he/she's-a-teenager-and-they-are- casually-browsing-through-my-store-so-obviously-they're-going-to-shoplift." Want to know the irony? While this 17-year-old female is browsing through a store with no intentions to steal, all focus from the floor walkers and security guards is being placed on her, just waiting until they can catch her slipping a lip gloss into her pocket.

Meanwhile, this ever-so-obvious floor walker guy is following her around the store, while, lo and behold, a 23-year-old mother is in aisle three, stealing cans of tomato soup and cheese with the absolute greatest of ease. She could've been caught but no one suspected her. After all, she's not a teenager.

This situation has happened to me numerous times, as well as mostly everybody I know. I've learned to shrug it off. One thing I can't shrug off, however, is salespeople being snotty to me. Why? You've probably guessed it by now.

Rude salespeople in places such as jewelry stores and high-class department stores really bug me. If you look like you don't have money, or fall under the age category of "going to the mall by yourself "- about 24 years of age where I live, you don't get a second look from these people. They won't ask you if you would like a price for something, try on a certain article of clothing you've been eyeing, or have a sample of that new perfume they're introducing.

You don't get treated equally by these people, all because they stereotype you. Remember the movie "Pretty Woman"? She was snubbed by those salespeople because, as far as they were concerned, she didn't look good enough to be in their store. That is exactly what I am talking about.

People need to put aside their stereotypical minds for once, and treat people with a little respect. After all, being 17 years old or living just above the poverty line is not something anyone can help, is it? Some people just need to grow up and realize that.


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