Hot wings, chocolate, and the forgivable pervert

October 14, 2010 at 3:23 pm (Uncategorized)

Let’s face it.  Anyone who works in customer service sometimes HATES people. 

Now, I can see the good in almost ANYBODY.  In the grumpy old broad who is really just lonely.  In the drunk hockey fan who spills a pitcher of beer on my boots. In the whiny college kids who can’t afford more than one drink each… I mean ANYBODY. 

But sometimes I just don’t want to look that hard.  I will admit it: as much as I love people (all kinds) and can get along and have a conversation with anyone, sometimes I’m exhausted or my buttons have all been pushed, and I am not very tolerant in these times.

I work every Wednesday night – good ol’ Wing Wednesday – and I love my little spot.  Work is good, money is good, and I meet some great people (new and familiar) every time I go to work, which is one of the reasons why I bartend/serve.  You never know who will walk in the door and say hello.  But, last Wednesday, I didn’t have much patience for the 35ish year-old heavy-set guy with a thick accent and broken English who decided that “Hey, Sexy!” was the best way to greet me.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” No, I didn’t yell.  That’s just the first thing that came out of my mouth. I didn’t make a scene, it’s not a huge deal, yadda, yadda, yadda… but come on.  “Hey, Sexy”? Fuck that!  I was obviously over a decade younger than this guy.  I obviously hadn’t seduced him intentionally in the first 4.3 seconds I looked at him before he opened his mouth.  And no one would put up with this sort of shit at any other job.  So why should I?  I don’t work in a brothel or a strip club.  It may sound “a bit overkill” to some of you… but I don’t go to work every day expecting that it is normal to be objectified, degraded, and belittled with perverted comments/greetings/gropings, no matter the severity/intensity of the issue.  And neither should you.  And little comments and gestures like this are what make it seem entirely ACCEPTABLE for women in the workplace to be treated this way by anybody.  There are no exceptions.  While “Hey, Sexy”, complete with a full-body scan, may seem pretty harmless: I am at work.  Don’t do it.  Say Hello.  End of story. 

Pervy Pete was pretty surprised.  His eyes widened and I turned abruptly and walked away.  My friend served him while I ignored him for the hour he stayed in the bar (silently) until the time came to pay his bill. I took his credit card and ran it through and very calmly told him that he was in a bar, not a strip club, and to treat service industry employees with respect from now on.  He nodded, said nothing and left.

I groaned last night when this guy walked through the door again and sat down at a table.  I wasn’t in the mood to teach someone a second lesson in respect and manners.  He saw I was working and nervously got up and took a seat at the end of the bar.

“Miss? Miss, please?”  I stopped and stared at him.  He held out a blue bag with a shaky hand and pained expression on his face.  I glanced down to catch “Lindt” written on the front of the bag.

“Last week, I am sorry.  I am good man, good person.  I am good and I want to say sorry, very sorry.”

I was shocked… I told him it was okay, that I wasn’t still upset, and that it’s not necessary to give me anything, but he kept insisting “please accept, please, sorry miss”.

I could have ignored him and been rude, but I figured he had been waiting all week to come back to apologize, and it was such a decent thing to do, and to genuinely ask for me to accept his apology… So, I took the bag and smiled and introduced myself.  As I shook Alvin’s hand, I felt a twinge of guilt that I had been so quick to judge someone for a miscommunication, a stupid mistake.  He said he felt terrible.  I talked a bit with him and thanked him for the gift (Lindt milk chocolate bar with hazelnuts – damn good choice, Alvin).  I saw how sincerely he had wanted to apologize, and I sincerely forgave him. 

He looked so relieved. 

On his way out, he waved and said goodnight, and I smiled back, thanking him again.

I hope he stops in next week.


1 Comment

  1. dani said,

    claire you embody so much of what this world needs more of!

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