Friday, June 01, 2012

I'm Mean

Retail employees see a lot, and some of it, frankly, we don't want to.  Makes us mean.

Take yesterday.  Two girls came in looking to do a little foraging.  These are awful girls, pre or early teens--hard to tell.  I can't help but imagine what terrible parents they must have, but that may not be necessarily so.  I've seen some nasty kids come out of great families, and some great kids come out of the worst situations you can imagine.

Anyway, I was checking and they got into my line.  Yay.  So I was already in a bad mood when they started picking on the customer I was helping ahead of them.  This disabled lady lives a full, independent life and she is tough as tough can be, but sweet and my kids like her a great deal.  I suspect that she knew that the girls were being mean, but accepted what they said at face value when the taller one said, "I like your eyes.  I think they're pretty."  The lady smiled from behind her coke-bottle glasses, her two lazy eyes wandering independently of each other, and said, "Thank you.  I'm just a brown-eyed girl.  You like brown eyes?"
The girl snickered so subtly that I almost missed it.
The lady noticed the shorter girl had zebra-striped fingernails.  "How did you do that?  The lines--they're so clearly defined."
"Oh, we were real careful," the taller girl said, and this time the smaller one couldn't help but smirk.  The nails, of course, were just a paste-on pattern.
I wondered if they thought I didn't say anything because I thought they were amusing, or because they thought I was stupid and didn't realize what they were doing, or because I'm just another mindless drone with no personality too meek to stand up for others.
Actually, I didn't say anything because I didn't want to pick on someone less than half my age and half my size.
Of course now I'm writing this blog post.  So much for that ... I'm not a very nice person.
After they bought their candy they started making the rounds.  Sadly, we didn't catch them, but they stole all the tampons out of the tampon machine in the bathroom.  (So that's why we never have any!  Mystery solved.)  Then they hovered near the birth control/intimates area.  My boss watched them, and overheard something about needing a pregnancy test.  He was too close for them to make the grab.  I guess the condoms they stole last time didn't work.
My cattiness emerged from its long sleep.  I'm not proud of it.  It's just there.  The girls went out the door, back in, out again, back in, circling, trying to get that pregnancy test but didn't manage it.  As far as I know, all they got were the tampons, unpaid-for of course, and the candy, which they forked out a couple of bucks (probably begged for--we've thrown them out for begging for money from customers before) and some coins, and probably used the bag to get more candy for free on one of their many rounds.

The second-to-last time the shorter girl was almost in tears.  "I'm sorry!" she cried to the other girl, who waited outside with a nasty expression on her face.  And I laughed.  Because they were so mean, they couldn't even be nice to each other.  I didn't even feel bad about it.

I know.  I'm terrible.

The last time they came in I laughed at them again, knowing that by this time every employee in the store was watching them and they wouldn't get squat.  I can be mean too, just like them.  It's human.  I think the difference is, I try to spend as little time being mean as I can.  These girls, who want (and often get) everything that adults have with none of the responsibility, who delight in mocking others, and who take advantage of others whenever possible, who steal and lie and cheat and leech off of others and yet are never satisfied, who feel cheated themselves and probably wonder why they can't have what everyone else seems to have, who most likely know that others look down on them and try to believe that it's everyone else's problem ...
Will be unemployable.  Even if they get a job, they won't keep it because they'll get caught stealing.
Will (maybe even soon) end up pregnant and living off of government money, assuming their health lasts long enough to take them into adulthood (age of majority adulthood--I don't know if stunted creatures like them are able to grow up.  That's a terrible thing to realize when you're looking at such very young girls.)
Will likely spend time in jail, wasting precious moments in their lives they will never get back living among criminals who will be mean to them and who will teach them how to become even nastier and less likely to live any kind of life above what the weakest of animals can scrabble together.
Will never know real friendship.  I thought that maybe at least they had each other, until I saw the vicious look in the taller girl's eyes after she turned on the shorter one.  (For spilling the pop they shared, it turns out.)
Will not understand the joy of real accomplishment or know the true value in striving or creating or being part of a community that doesn't despise them.

I hear the song "Mean" by Taylor Swift running through my head.  ... and a liar, and pathetic, and alone in life and mean ....

And I feel badly for them.  The person they picked on is so much better off than they are.  She is an independent, beautiful and kind woman, liked and appreciated by so many in our little town.  Those girls will never get anything from me, but that lady will always have my undivided attention and help whenever she asks for it.  She spared the unworthy a smile and a moment of her time.  They, the poor foolish children that they are, felt superior to her.  They probably always will.  I doubt that they noticed that I was laughing at them because they were too caught up in trying to score emotional/social points on each other.  I know that they didn't realize I wasn't cheering the lady on, and that I planned on writing about them, revealing their petty natures and stunted souls to the world.

I'm just not as nice a person as that disabled lady.

I'm mean.

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