Sexual Harassment # 3

This one can be given the avant-garde title, Fluorescent Lights.

It’s hard being sassy. I don’t know why I choose it every time. I’m probably a glutton for punishment. It was mild sexual harassment that somehow morphed me, the victim, into the perpetrator and got me fired from Barnes & Noble. (Note: The last S isn’t there)

This guy shows up to my counter with a playboy and some black & white NY historical photo book and at the time of paying, he decides to make it rain. 

He put his hand up and just sent bill by bill into the air and watched them fall. 

Or maybe I watched them fall.. It was only a few bills but as they scattered on the counter I’m thinking .. 

Dude, I don’t know what you do with your free time or what about dollars makes you go into a rain frenzy, but look around bud, there’s fluorescent lights on in here. You are not where you think you are, also who the fuck buys titty-mags from Barnes and Noble?

You see me – I’m in a company polo AND I’m wearing a name tag! 

WE SELL BOOKS HERE

Did you really think ‘making it rain’ would just go unnoticed? 

Maybe he thought I wouldn’t know what he was doing? I mean I don’t imagine he’s making it rain for Jose when he buys his bacon egg and cheese at the corner store.

I didn’t pick them up. Nothing against strippers.

In the terribly uncomfortable seconds of silence, I smiled. My bad. I was thinking of Jose’s reaction when this guy says, “Let me get that BLT. wink-wink” Or at his local bar when he orders a $2 bud light and he’s got his hands up dropping one bill at a time.

Fuck that. This guy is a prick.

I laugh but this is personal, and I’m no child. Worse if I was. I pick up the bills and ask, 

“Do you always pay for things like that?”

“Like what?”  

Like what? The fuck you mean, like what? Are you not aware of what’s going on. But instead, I say, “Like you’re paying a stripper?” 

He was shocked. Him!  – The audacity I had? Right?

Please..You should have seen his open mouth shocked-white-guy, ‘No-one-talks-to-me-like-that’ face. He walks straight to customer service and finds my manager. 

I can see his arms flailing as they talk. He’s totally irate – the manager comes over.. I’m watching them walk towards me, counting out wrong change and shit. I’m sweating. He succeeded in making me uncomfortable. A little later than he hoped for, but succeeded nevertheless. Finally, my manager comes talking into her walkie-talkie. 

A walkie-talkie. Again, we sell books. This is not a nightclub. People are pretty much reading, as that is what they they came here to do. There’s not a whole fucking lot of noise pollution that any one person needs a walkie talkie. 

So, Barnes and Noble’s finest asks me to come off the register and talk to her in the back. I walk past him as he’s waiting to see that the resolution of this ordeal is to his liking. Steam is coming off of his skin and he’s got death eyes pointed my way. 

Immediately I enter one of the stranger conversations of my life.

Did you tell him that he threw money on the counter like he was paying a stripper? 

No, I asked him if he always throws his money like that?

What is ‘like that?’

Like one would throw money if they were in a strip club.

You can’t say that to a customer? 

I gave her common sense. 

He asked me to say it. No one makes it rain by accident. 

It’s not like he’s new at paying for things, or some foreigner who doesn’t know how we do things in this country. 

This is not a misunderstanding. He’s a total pervert. 

She sat back into her seat. Closed her eyes and sort of melted into her chair a bit and then stood up abruptly to say,

“He can pay you anyway he wants to. What you can’t do is accuse a customer of paying strippers?

 

“I didn’t accuse him of paying strippers.”

 

Without further delay, she used a formality to fire me.

 

“You can’t use the word stripper. I am going to have to ask you leave. 

And out the door I went. #georgethorogood

 

 

Sexual Harassment #2

A couple years later, I was working in produce, Natural Grocers in Colorado. Seems fairly innocuous, right? It snowed like 3 ft before I even got to work. Total bullshit. I couldn’t call out – I really wanted to. The amazing do-ers of Colorado would not find it sensible to stay home. No, they would laugh at you and your “fear” of the snow.. Anyway, It’s a brand new location for me and a new manager to meet. Yay.

 I show up wearing two pairs of leggings, leg warmers, big waterproof boots, AND a face that says go fuck yourself FOR THE WIN when I meet the manager. 

She says, “Hi, are those the only pants you have?”

“Uh.. No?”

“Can you change your pants then?”

“Oh, like right now? Yes, right now they are definitely the only pair of pants I have.
Why do I need to change my pants?”

“Do you have a longer shirt?”

“What? What’s wrong with my pants?”

“You have to have pockets in your pants. I can see your ass.”

“What’d you just say to me?”

“I can see the shape of your butt in those pants,” said slowly for my benefit because I’m the idiot.  

“You would still be able to see the shape of my butt regardless of what pants I was wearing.” I’m thinking if I should thank her… I always wanted to be home. She gave me precisely what I was looking for. 

Side note: have any of your seen this ad for pants that put your butt into position. Pants: the ones that you wear. If you – {all of you women who have lost all sense of what it means to be attractive} took your head out of your ass, you would know YOUR BUTT is attached to your fucking spine and doesn’t have any other option. Zombies. 

She says to me, “We have a company policy that you have to have pants with pockets in case someone’s looking at your ass. We’ve had sexual harassment issues before.”

Before this moment? Well, wait till they get a load of me. I quit, but naturally I didn’t stop shopping there – because if I dared not enter where my ass caused a scene, I mean. Where would I go? Anyway, one day as a patron, I’m shopping, holding some avocados and she comes to see me at check-out. Super smiley, Colorado style. Holding no grudges whatsoever and says,

“Oh hey, did you see the new bamboo-silk underwear we got in?” 

Lady, what in the world does my ass do to you? I mean, have a little self-control? Isn’t this God’s country?

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