This past week I walked by the Wendy’s on 17th Ave and saw an interesting sign, it read: “14+? Work at Wendy’s”. I initially was shocked that out city’s worker shortage has become so dire that we were now willing to allow people who wouldn’t be able to drive for another two years to work in our stores.

I came home and immediately wrote a blog about it. It was about how ridiculous the idea of allowing 14 year olds to work and I even offered possible solutions to avoid robbing the newly minted teenagers of their ability to just be kids.. As chance would have it I didn’t happen to send it in and there it sat on my computer for several days. It was during these past days that I ended being happy that I didn’t send it my blog trying to save the 14-year olds.

Things started 6 weeks ago when I went in for a routine check up on my car at the Hyatt Saturn-Saab in the Deefoot Automall. After paying $300 for it’s annual servicing, everything seemed to order until two days later when my keys became stuck in my ignition and my car wouldn’t turn off. What followed has pretty much 6 weeks of ignored phone calls, rude customer service managers and a $500 budget car rental bill that remains on my Visa instead, as promised, on Saturns.

Earlier this morning, after another negative encounter with the dealership, it hit me: Maybe hiring 14 years isn’t such a bad idea after all.

When I was studying for my Education degree all my classmates agreed that the 12-14 age group would be the best to teach. We felt this way because at that age kids are growing up and yet still manage to be nice. They respect their elders and at least give the appearance of caring about things.

And wouldn’t you agree that this is what separates so many of Calgary’s customer service representatives from 14-year olds? What the grown ups in the this city have learned is that they can be as rude and unhelpful as they want to be and still suffer no consequences because, as they say: “This is Calgary, what are they going to do fire me?” Usually followed by a chuckle or two.

Let’s be honest, 14-year olds would make great workers in and around the city because they are still impressionable. They still know what respect is and they would know that without the customers they wouldn’t have their jobs. They would also appreciate the money their new jobs would bring them because then they would be able to buy Pogs or Air Jordans, or whatever those crazy kids are into nowadays. Not too mention they are way easier to scare into getting what you want.

So while I initially was appalled by the idea of tweens serving me at Wendy’s or ringing me in at Gap, the idea of having them grow up thinking Calgary’s lackluster customer service is both acceptable and responsible is way worse than working at an early age. Now Zac Efron give me my Frosty!

Mike Morrison