How do you communicate with young people?

The kids at the Dunking Doughnuts are confusing me again. I was standing in line there the other morning when the young girl at the register asked me, “Do you have any drinks?”

It wasn’t my turn, but frequently, if there is a line, the cashier will jump ahead to the next person to get their order started while the person at the register is paying.

Personally I appreciate this system since standing in line is one of the things I truly hate in this world.

Anyway, she asked me if I have any drinks, and looking down at the crumpled up 5 dollar bill in my hand I answered, “No, I don’t have any drinks.”

So the guy in front of me finished paying, got his coffee and left, and when I stepped up to the register the girl asked me, “What would you like?”

I said, “I’ll have a coffee with cream and sugar.”

She gave me an exasperated snort and said, “Didn’t you just say you don’t have any drinks?”

I explained her, “I don’t have any drinks. YOU have all the drinks. I have money. When I give it to you then I’ll have a drink. If I already had a drink I wouldn’t be in here standing in a line.”

She just stared at me for a few seconds with a look like a cocker spaniel gives you when you ask her who made a mess on the carpet. And since I could already feel the people in line behind me fidgeted impatiently I relented and asked again meekly, “Can I just have a coffee, please?”

But this degradation of our language is worrying me. I’m afraid eventually I won’t be able to understand anything anybody says to me anymore.


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