Everyone is always talking about gender and race discrimination. However, the worst discrimination going on is AGE DISCRIMINATION. Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve had to deal with this type of discrimination in stores, at work, and anywhere else you can think of. It baffles me when I enter a store, and no one greets me, while the gray-haired person behind me, gets two Sales Associates saying hello to him/her right away.
I was at a furniture store called Haverty in Woodbridge, VA where it just occurred. I had on sweats and no makeup. Last night, I went to the restaurant and the girl thought I was 18, so you get an idea as to what age these associates probably thought I was. An old couple was right behind us, and they were greeted and attended right away. After looking around and noting which pieces I was going to buy, I looked around at the people just lounging around. They stared me right in the eye and looked away. One particular guy got up right away when this gray-haired man appeared.
I called the Manager after this incident, and he sarcastically told me there was no such thing because the employees are of all races and creed. I told him that instead of patronizing me, he should teach his employees to greet and attend everyone, and that I will go to the Fairfax one instead. Additionally, my family has bought tons of furniture from Haverty, including me, for me to have been treated in this manner. He sounded shocked and then he started apologizing. I told my mother about it, and we both realized that when I bought the furniture last time, she was with me. Hmmm…coincidence? I think not.
This has got to stop. You would think that these people would know that young people probably make more money than the older people that they are giving their utmost attention to. At work or in business? Everyone knows you are only taken seriously if you fit the “Gray-Haired Factor.”
Once I went on an interview at Unisys for a Sr. Technical Writer position. On the phone, they were saying that my extensive experience would be a great asset to them. When they saw me in person, it was a different story. The man kept referring to my age and how young I was. He proceeded to insult me by saying that I should just go for a Jr. Technical Writer position. I have almost ten years professional experience and you are telling me that I should be a junior Writer? I should have said something right there and then, but I was so shocked that I couldn’t even think straight. At my current position, I was on a short-term contract where I was in a group of ten Technical Writers who were all older and gray, and I was the only one that got chosen to stay on. Tell you something?
This type of discrimination has got to stop. You don’t know how much money or experience this person has. People sometimes look super young, so do you even know how old they are? I shouldn’t have to have gray hair, wrinkles, etc. for you to attend, greet me, or take me seriously. I am tired of feeling like Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman.”
However, I love when I can say to these Haverty, Unisys, stores and companies, BIG MISTAKE.