Dear John Stossel: I viewed your article on age discrimination tonight. Gimme a Break - I think NOT. I will turn 56 this November. I came from the receptionist/secretary/typist generation and nearly two years ago lost my job due to shift in duties. I was entitled to receive on-the-job training (i.e. computer training) to make me better qualified for a job. My children are now grown and I would NOT miss time due to sick child. Yet companies would rather hire someone 18 - 30 years old at half the wage who needs NO training. The letters I would receive after interviews would read "we hired someone more qualifed." I feel as though I could still be a productive member of society. After our son got out of Navy and moved back to Denver area, his first job was at a Wal-Mart. I too applied and was accepted as cashier at Wal-Mart. This is one very rough employer to work for (all the rumors are true!) but at least they do NOT practice age discrimination that I had experienced previously. Another "feather in my cap:" is that I will get the "customer service" experience I so badly needed.
When I have chance to talk to young adults, I urge them to go on to college (even if they have to work hard to pay their own way) to be better qualified to today's workforce. Unfortunately, I was one of those people "caught in the cracks" and felt like doors were being shut in my face. Thank you very much for the opportunity to let you know how I feel. I enjoy watching 20/20 very much and enjoy the objective reporting you present. Sincerely, Barbara