For Truth, Justice, the American Way, and Geezers.
My grandmother used to say that “People never change, they just get more so”, and it’s true. Retired cops often become even more controlling and domineering after they leave their job authority behind than when they actually had some. Retired Marines do more shouting of Gung Ho, Semper Fi and Booyah after the uniform comes off than they did as active-duty servicemen, and they can get pretty obnoxious about it.
Crankiness seems to come with age for many of us, and it can be a real job keeping it toned down, especially if you’re still working and you deal with the public.
Several months ago, I went in to the local Rite Aid store to pick up a prescription, and paid cash for my co-pay part. Insurance pays the other part. Normally I pay by credit card. So when the clerk asked me to sign for it, I asked her “Why do I need to sign when I’m paying cash?” and she reminded me that it was for the insurance part. Oh, okay, I said, and signed. I was just curious and I’m sure she understood that.
Well, the cranky old pharmacist leaned over, stuck his face into mine and asked, “Do you have a PROBLEM signing for it?” I said no, do you have a problem with my asking? He turned away and ignored me until I started walking away, and then started shouting an angry tirade at my back.
I let it go and walked on out, but a few days ago I called the pharmacy to see if my prescription was ready and it seems the doctor had written it incorrectly and the pharmacist left it up to me to get it figured out. So I commented to him that I guess the onus is on me. He then told me that I thought he was playing games with me. I said no, I don’t. He said yes, you do, and you need to relax. I said that I was relaxed. He then responded, No, you’re not! No, you’re not! and launched into a tirade. So I hung up.
Today I went to the store after dealing with the clinic, to hopefully get my now late prescription, and was told they still didn’t have it ready. I didn’t complain and was about to leave when the same pharmacist said “I have something to say to you”. I responded that the last two times, he was verbally abusive, so what did he want to say to me now? He looked at me for a few seconds and then said, “Nothing, I have nothing to say to you”. Well, I’m getting pretty tired of this by now, so I found the store manager and told him of my experiences and reminded him that I can’t be the only victim of this employee’s behavior. He agreed, and went over to speak to the guy, and when I finally went to pick up my prescription, the pharmacist told the clerk “Just give it to him”.
His mouth was turned down in a deep frown, so obviously he still didn’t get it, but even if he stays bad-tempered, maybe now he’ll at least keep his mouth shut and just do his job.
None of us are in this world to take crap off of store employees, and I can’t help but notice that when I was younger, people were a lot more polite. It’s only as I’ve turned wrinkled and grey that clerks have become ruder and snottier, and I feel it’s my duty to myself to speak out and push back or get rolled over.
Young people and old people live in separate worlds, and the aged need the young to be respectful and protective of them. But if the respect is lost, so is the protection, and if you’re an old fart like me, it helps to give out a reminder once in a while that you’re not as helpless as some might think. The need to keep up a good front doesn’t end with retirement and sometimes that’s when it begins.