After my youngest daughter returned from rugby practice this morning, I accompanied her to the newspaper shop to hand her notice in.
While visiting the shop yesterday to buy a bottle of wine for our evening meal, the shop assistant (the daughter of the owners) made a point of telling me that a house on the newspaper round had made four complaints in the last week; three times of newspapers being screwed up, and once of the newspaper being left outside in the rain.
In the middle of apologising, I started mentally checking what I had just been told. Hang on. I had been with my daughter throughout four of the days, and my other half was with her on the remaining day. We had seen no newspapers get screwed up, and certainly no newspapers left outside – let alone in the rain (it rained on one day, we got soaked to our underwear, and we protected the newspapers like the crown jewels throughout the round).
I outlined this to the teenage girl reporting the complaints. She lifted an eyebrow at me, and shrugged.
I walked home and let our daughter know about the complaints. Her immediate reaction was fury, disbelief, and despair. She was upset all night about it, and spent most of Sunday morning depressed about the idea of going back out to be complained at again. We called it for her, and brought an end to it.
Here’s where it gets good.
Later in the afternoon I messaged a friend who’s son has started work as a paperboy on the same round (he does the weekend). I warned them what had happened in case they had it happen too. The friend immediately volunteered the exact address. They had complained about every one of their deliveries too. They had been late, screwed the paper up, left it outside – you name it – they had done it. On one occasion the parents had done the delivery, and found themselves being watched by an old age pensioner through the window as they made the delivery.
I have some thoughts. I’m not sure I’ll share all of them, but I’ll share some.
How does a world come to exist where a shop is so dependent on a small circle of customers that it is forced to throw it’s own staff under the bus repeatedly when faced with falsehoods, lies, and slander? How can people look themselves in the mirror, knowing that they are spewing such hateful, bitter, nonsensical accusations at anybody and everybody around them?
I’m pretty fed up with the small minority of pensioners that seem to think the rest of the world is fair game to take out their frustrations on. I’ve seen it myself countless times – thoughtless, crass, judgemental, racist, bigoted comments whispered out-loud at anybody that happens to cross their path. They seem to enjoy being nasty. There’s no excuse for it, and people need to start speaking out about it.