My son Isaac works part-time as a stock person in a grocery store, and he sometimes talks about "cranky old people". Usually, he's frustrated that they've scolded him about things that are totally outside his control.
At my job today, I met one of Isaac's "cranky old people". I asked a white-haired fellow if I could help him with anything, and he launched into a passionate complaint about my misleading labels.
My labels? I was taken aback, but when he paused, I spoke as politely as I could. "I'm sorry it's confusing, sir," I said. "I will pass along your complaint, but the store really has no control over that product's labels. The packages and the information that's printed on them come from the manufacturer."
My words only made him angrier. He spat out a few more paragraphs about "my" labels and "my" sizes and "my" products and "my" store, and I stood there meekly and heard him out. Finally he bought the only thing we had that resembled what he really wanted, and strode away, a thin, stiff, angry, elderly man.
This incident reminded me of my mother-in-law, who is now in her mid-90s. For the past few years (since breaking a hip), Mama N. has lived in an assisted-living home. She doesn't go out to shop anymore, which is probably just as well. The last few times I shopped with her, she had conversations with clerks that were quite similar to the one I had this morning.
|Portrait of a Elderly Lady|
If I make it through another decade or two, I hope that I don't go paranoid in the process. Being suspicious all the time surely must be exhausting. And it makes a person cranky, which certainly is hard on other folks.