Thursday, March 31, 2005

Contributing to the delinquency of an elder

When did we as a nation abandon common sense? When did we forfeit the ability to act on our own without the aid of signs and reality TV hosts telling us what we should do? Could someone please explain to me when this happened?! Or am I just getting crotchety in my "old age"?

Tonight, after a stop by the Cambridge Public Library to discuss the upcoming book group I am leading with the librarian and order some background material for the next meeting, I stopped by what MBH calls the World's Worst Grocery Store; World's Worst for short. I needed to pick up a few items that somehow had been missed on my weekly list and well, frankly really REALLY needed a bottle of wine. As it was almost 5pm, the lines were rather long and since I had alcohol I decided to forgo my usual trip through the self check-out.

So there I was, standing in line staring at the mindless tabloids with headlines screaming about Charlie Sheen cheating on his pregnant wife, Britney Spears and Demi Moore's unplanned pregnancies (hmmm..a theme here) and the four headed aliens from Mars who really are in charge of the Vatican, when the most ludicrous and asinine display of what this country has come to played out right in front of my eyes. The elderly lady in front of me was carded for the wine she was buying. Yes, you read that. The 81 year old lady in front me with walker and all was carded by some ninny at the check-out. The lady looked puzzled and asked the check-out girl to repeat herself. "I need to see your id". "Oh, Dear, I haven't carried a drivers license in years. I'm 81 years old you know and have bought a bottle of wine here every Thursday for 21 years and they never ask for my ID". Idiot Check-out Girl from Hell points at a sign attached to her register that says "If you look younger than 50 we will ask for ID to purchase alcohol". I looked at the woman behind me to see if she was as incredulous about what was happening in front of us as I was. She looked at me with that "I can't BELIEVE I'm seeing this" look only intelligent people today seem to be able to produce. The obviously "under age" elderly lady looked at the check-out girl and said again, "Dear, I don't have an id. I was born in 1924. I think I'm just a bit over 50 and if you go ask the manager, he will tell you to just ring up my wine". The check-out girl just pointed at the placard on her checkout and put a look on her face that would have made the mule that lived behind my folks house in Michigan proud. By now, the elderly lady started to get frazzled and the people behind me started to grumble and rightfully complain about how stupid this all was and how they were running late. There was no manager around to walk over and punch into the cash register some magic code or better yet thwack the nincompoop behind the cash register for not being able to use any portion of her brain.

So, I did what any good girl raised to respect my elders would do. I took the old lady's wine, handed the mindless twit behind the register my ID, took the nice elderly lady's $10.00 from her and handed it to the check-out girl, gave the lady her change back and wished her a nice rest of the evening. My grandmother would have been proud.