Scenes From Park Slope: Paper-or-Plastic Edition

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At the Park Slope Key Food. Photo: Photos: Lily Idov

"Void. Does anyone have a void?" The cashier made a mistake — counted the orange juice twice — and needed a manager's card swipe. People on line would be irritated — that is, if the cashier didn't have visible difficulty lifting the juice carton. The cashier was 8. The kid stood on a milk crate, which, although it got him on the adult eye level, somehow made him look even smaller. The air of supreme confidence, even as he barked "Void!" was downright confounding. This wasn't a take-your-son-to-work day. He looked, well, experienced. He was also, from the looks of it, the only white worker in the store.

"How old are you?" asked a Park Slope mother, watching the kid swipe her organic greens and good cheese. "Do you like this job? I have an 8-year-old too. Would you recommend this job to him?" She couldn't quite choose the right pitch for this conversation, alternating between mock seriousness and baby talk. People looked on, half amused, half queasy. Nervous child-labor jokes flew. "Debit or credit?" he asked. "Do you need cash back? Thanks. Next."

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