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Mark Shields' op-ed column: Am I being grumpy?
WASHINGTON--Let me stipulate at the outset: I do not qualify for any youth movement. In fact, I first voted in the 1960 presidential contest between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon. No conscientious bartender, if I were trying to buy
But twice this past week, I fairly bristled when two early 20-something salespeople, working for businesses I truly trust, before waiting on me said with a slightly patronizing air, "How's everything going today with you, young man?"
The first was at Strosnider's--a legendary Washington-area hardware store known for its exceptionally helpful personnel--and the second was at Southwest Airlines, my all-time favorite carrier.
Reaching across the generational divide to address a customer or patient or anybody else who is obviously of grandparenting age as "young lady" or "young fellow" is just offensive. Would the bosses of employees who do this tolerate their asking a bald man, "How's everything going, Curly?" or greeting a customer with an obvious weight problem with, "Can I help you, Slim?" Tell me, please: Am I just being grumpy when I request that we permanently retire the condescending "young man" and "young lady" from our daily conversations?
Washington today remains a unique place. Just last fall, Wisconsin's Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP vice-presidential nominee, and incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama were locked in a no-holds-barred political slugfest. But this past week, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and the re-elected President Obama met in
The private lunch with Paul Ryan was part of the Obama administration's new "Charm Offensive."
Up to now, the Obama White House had appeared to be following the charm advice of Donald Trump, the annoying Simon Cowell, or Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.