Free Lecture with Purchase

by on July 3rd, 2014
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It was a day not unlike most others for me and my 17-year-old, the second half of my set of twins of the same age. I let her do the driving for the weekend errand running because she needs the practice and I relish feeling like Jessica Tandy (that’s a “Driving Miss Daisy” reference, for those of you born after 1985). With a teen who is almost an adult, I sometimes forget how much of a child she can still appear to be to the average onlooker.

You see, my 17-year-old is petite, very petite. Standing at a monstrous 4 feet 11 inches high, roller coaster attendants often give her the side eye when boarding. To make her diminutive stature even worse, she still has many cherubic features. If she doesn’t wear make-up and sports her glasses, she could easily pass for a middle schooler -and often does.

After retrieving our items, we reached the register and grabbed two impulse items, a couple of Monster Rehab energy drinks from the in-isle refrigerator. However, this seemingly inconsequential impulse purchase cost me more than I bargained for.

How Old is She?

I was in the express lane, not paying particular attention to the cashier above and beyond the obligatory small talk. Then out of the blue, she asked, “How old is she?” I looked up and saw that she was gesturing toward my resident small fry, with a rather unpleasant tone in her voice.

My brow furrowed a little, because it was a question I didn’t expect. I replied, “She’s 17,” more out of reflex than in direct response to her query.

The cashier then preceded to explain to me that she was not going to hand my daughter her tea-slash-lemonade energy drink -with less sugar and no carbonation than your average Red Bull-because she was a minor. Yet, the rant didn’t end here. The attendant then preceded to lecture me on giving my daughter the energy drink in the first place.

That’s where she went wrong.

I will put up with a lot. I will put up with the person who takes up two spaces in the parking lot. I will tolerate the individual who nearly mows me down in the crosswalk. I will even give a friendly nod to a blue haired biddy in a rascal after nearly taking me out while traversing isle seven. I will not, however, be told how to parent my nearly 18-year-old daughter by a cashier.

Mid-rant, I stopped her short. I said, “What I do with my daughter in regard to her nutrition is none of your concern. If you have something else you would like to share, you can do it in front of your manager, I would be happy to get him.”

I must have been effective in my curt communiqué because she stopped her chastising and wished me good day. I moved on. I didn’t see a need to make a big to-do about it and get her manager, there really wasn’t a point -and I had more errands to run. But I find that people like this judgmental, and frankly ignorant woman give me a case of severe cranky pants, nonetheless.

If my lifestyle somehow offends you, don’t watch it. Change your personal channel. You don’t know me. You don’t know that I only drink one energy drink per week (maybe). You don’t know that I don’t drink soda (and neither do my kids). You don’t know that my doctors tell me my kids are healthy as horses, with below average BMI. You don’t know that I eat 80 percent fresh fruits and vegetables while many other families eat fast food and processed trash. You don’t know that I make it a rule for my family to eat dinner together, every night, without fail. When you do know that, then you can lecture me about my impulse beverage. Until then, however, mind your own business.

What would you do if a cashier started telling you how to parent?

More from this Contributor:

Why I Nixed Home Schooling

Now ‘Banned’ Recess Activities that Never Killed My Kids

I Am Not Above Spying on My Kids

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