Age Is But a Number


The amount of years poured into one cause, just one cause, adds up to a number. Age works the same way; it adds up to a number, just a number.

Julie Day, Staff Writer

Everyone ages through time, yet old age is considered to be taboo. Why is there an inequality associated with aging?

At 67 years old, Mary Pitts did not believe in the word retirement. She was insistent on working, as she did not have the funds to retire, but money was not the only factor keeping her at the Publix bakery. Pitts worked there for nearly 20 years; it was her home.

Approximately seven months before retiring, the Publix that Pitts worked at gained a new, younger manager. Along with this manager came several new, younger employees. Pitts described this manager as “ rude and snippy.” She also lists the interactions between them as “ heated. It was like she had something to prove.”

The manager told Pitts she was,” too slow, and was lacking behind.” The manager also evaluated her harshly and changed her morning duties that she had performed for several years.

Even though Pitts was a Publix veteran, she felt as though the new manager was degrading her. Because she resisted the manager’s sharp tongue, a shot was fired: Pitts’ hours were changed.

Previously, Pitts was working five to one; those were her hours for several years. The manager changed her hours to twelve to eight on some days, others seven to three. After working her new hours for a week or so, her body grew weak. Pitts, being a diabetic, needed to be careful about her health, but these new hours pushed her to the limit. Illnesses ran rampant throughout her, adding to the poor state of health she was already fighting.

After several doctors appointments, she realized she could not take the physical stress that work brought; at this point in time Pitts was out of options. She needed to leave Publix. As soon as a money plan was made, she enlightened the manager about her choice to leave the job. The manager’s response was sarcastic with underlying tones of joy. She told Pitts that she was “already replaced.” With a smirk, the manager walked away; as for Pitts, she walked out of Publix for the last time.

Pitts is passionate about never stepping foot back into that Publix, the place she used to describe as her second home: “Publix isn’t the same as it used to be nineteen years ago,” says Pitts with a grimace.