Monday, July 26, 2010

Parents Just Don't Understand...Anything

A mom and her high-school-aged son came to the register at lunch. The mom ordered her food, I confirmed it, and then the son started to order his. He looked at the ingredients to see what he didn't want on his sandwich. He had started to tell me he didn't want tomatoes, but the mom interjected, "No onions," which don't even come on that sandwich. She repeated the "no tomato" part in case I couldn't translate the native tongue of the exotic High School Boy, and then informed me her son would want "just lettuce," as if I couldn't figure out that taking away the only other vegetable on the sandwich would be equivalent to lettuce only. I repeated his order, choosing as I always do only to acknowledge the person to whom the food will belong. I said the "no tomato" part and she barked, "No onions!" a second time. Now I did make eye contact, gently reminding her that the sandwich already comes without onions. She just said, "Oh," as if she had been indifferent the whole time.

Contrast that with an order I took at breakfast. A mom came in with her daughter, who looked about five or six. They decided what they wanted and talked it over together, but to my surprise the mom ordered her bagel and coffee and then the girl ordered her own food, asking me politely,

"May I please have a cinnamon bagel and an apple juice?"

Then, when I rang up the total, the girl handed me her mom's credit card. I thought the whole thing was cute - an exercise in grownup-dom. Then, even more adorably, the girl came back after they had sat down and bought a newspaper. She may even be able to read some of it. I want the mom from the lunch order to meet the mom from the breakfast order.

It never ceases to amaze me how many parents with teenage or grown children still feel their precious offspring shouldn't have to do simple things like place a lunch order by themselves. Then, those same parents wonder why their children hate them, are reviled at school, and cannot advance in life due to their lack of social skills. The poor kid even TRIED to order his own food, and his mom just had to try to take control somehow.

I've seen worse than this, like the time a woman ordered a whole grain bagel on behalf of her son and, when I turned to him to ask if he wanted cream cheese and he said yes, she had to add,

"Reduced fat, please."

Good God, people. It's time to let the kiddies grow up.

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