What stuck in my mind most though happened before I even got to the retreat. You see Monday Mom had a headache and was feeling down so she didn't take me to town to pick up my snacks for the trip. That was okay because Billy was taking me to the meeting place where we would leave for our retreat and he said we could stop on the way. So Billy and I stopped at Dollar General in town. I didn't want to use my cash I had for the trip so I wrote a check for my purchases. This is where it went wrong. Dollar General refused my check. They said that they won't take a check without a Driver's License number. I told her I didn't have a driver's license because I was only 14. They refused anyway and I ended up paying cash. It was embarrassing to say the least.
I know being in business at 14 has it's own set of issues. I am sure that no one has ever called a big company, like AT&T or Walmart, with a problem and the person on the other end of the phone said "Hold on let me check with my Mom". I am also sure that other Business owners don't go to business lunches and end up at McDonalds or Braums. I know that I am different but I will say this. My Money should be just as good as anyone elses. And to think that this happened in my own hometown where most everyone knows who I am for one reason or another just makes it all the more embarrassing. I can shop the Family Dollar in town anytime and when I write a check and tell them I don't have a Driver's license they just ask for my social security number and go on. I have written checks at local gas stations and local businesses when ever I need to without worry, until now. I will add that I never take my checkbook out of town unless I have discussed a transaction before hand and who ever I am dealing with knows I am writting a check. Most times I ask if a check is fine or if I need to bring cash. And I have no problem taking cash with me. I purchased my first two alpacas for cash because that was before David and Karen know who I was. Honestly I have had no problem dealing with this issue.
I really don't understand why Dollar General couldn't take my Social Security Number and use that. It is the only Identification number link to that account anyway. The Government has made me loans on that same social security number and no one else in town questions it. I understand it is their store policy. And I understand rules and the need for them. However, My Mother (you knew she had to come into this at some point) once told me "you will get what you expect of people". For example my cousin once bought hay from us. Everyone in the family warned my Mom not to expect her money because this cousin always has some reason he can't pay his bills. Well, Mom would always answer that she did expect her money and that he would pay her because she expected it. She let him and everyone in the family know it. And you know what? He paid her like clock work. Mom never had a problem and she said it was because she expected it and she let him know it.
With that lesson in mind I ask you this... If everyone gripes about kids today and their lack of responcibilty and respect, why don't they expect more out of us? And when faced with someone who is doing more then expected, (paying his own way, taking care of his own checkbook and working on building my own business) why do other businesses have to treat us like we are doing something wrong? What message is that sending to us kids? Why does the world expect more but not accept it when they get it??
I know I can't take on big business. According to Mom's friend in the law business they have more money then me and in the attorney's words Dollar General will be more interested in winning the case then making right what they did wrong. He also said that it didn't make it right and that I didn't have to keep quiet about it. But lets face it I am a kid and who is really going to take me seriously anyway? That is what got me into this issue in the first place. Mom told me that one voice can make a difference, so to make her point she wrote a letter to the local news paper, The Nowata Star, in the Dear Editor section. It told my story but from her point of view and asked the same questions I will be asking you in this post. She even let me help write the letter. The only problem is that the Paper emailed Mom back saiding they would not print Mom's letter because it showed the Dollar General in an unfavorable light. So I guess one voice only makes a difference when they are on the side of big business and not a kid.
Well, in the end as you can tell I was hurt and no one but Mom seemed to understand and even after speaking with someone on the side of the law I figured out it is pointless to even try. But Mom told me to pose the questions we asked in the letter here. She said to ask If the local stores and newspapers won't build up kids in the community and show them that it is okay to do more then what is expected, Is there something each of you can do to make a kid feel better as they try? Has anyone tipped the paperboy who takes the time to make sure you always get your paper in the same place at the same time and then told him why?? What about the little kid who is selling you those fundraisers for school? Have you let him know you think he is doing a good thing? What about the boy scouts and girl scouts in your area that you see trying to help out? And you know I have to ask if you have supported your local 4-Hers???
My point is this ... According to Mom there are good kids doing great things everywhere. There are kids like Zach Bonner and Harry Moseley, who do huge fundraising charities and they are kids. Look at the cell phone for soldiers program, that was started by kids too. There are even kids that make a living at a young age without being TV stars or singing a single note. Do you know who Cameron Cohen is. He is the kid who invented the "Isketch" app for your cell phone. You know, us kids will do amazing things if people just expect it and let us ... So I ask if you have read this post Please let me know the simple ways you encouraged a kid in your area. At least I will know one voice made a difference somewhere in the world, even if it wasn't in my own hometown...