Unfiltered Story #121726

, , | Unfiltered | September 21, 2018

(I’m at a local festival event in a park. I approach a food stand, which is strangely devoid of customers even though surrounding stands have twenty-minute-long lines. They have no visible price list outside; I finally spot a menu list on a sheet of paper taped to the desk next to a sitting employee. I come close to look at it.)

Employee #1: *very casually* “Hi there.”

(Then he seems to notice my accessories and without giving me even half a second to turn to him from the list I’m looking at, he turns to the left and says much louder and pointedly to a coworker:)

Employee #1: “I don’t think she can hear me! I bet she can’t hear anything!”

(I realize he’s talking about the ear buds I left in my ears, since it’s a pain to take them in and out all the time and they get tangled up. I have no music or anything on, though, and can hear him in precise surround-sound. I’m put-off by being talked to as if I’m not right here, and turn towards him. I’m standing still and clearly staring right at his face now; he’s sitting barely a foot away from me.)

Employee #1: *still loudly and very pointedly* “Yeah, she probably can’t hear me! Uh-huh; I don’t think she can hear anything I say!”

(I stare at him for a few more seconds. He doesn’t quit his commentary. I decide a confrontation over this isn’t worth the risk of being labeled an entitled or problem customer (particularly as I’m white and he’s a person of color), and just walk off. As I’m heading away I hear the female employee (white & blonde) he was talking to go:)

Female Employee: *also loudly* “No: I’m pretty sure she could hear you!”

(I buy my lunch from one of the other stands – waiting in line for twenty minutes is worth not being insulted by the workers. Next afternoon I come back to the festival, and decide to give that place one more chance, so I head in their direction. Once again, there’s not a single other customer in sight despite long lines at surrounding stands. As soon as I get within twenty feet of their stand:)

Female Employee: *super loudly* “HEY! It’s ear buds lady again!”

(I’m really weirded out. It doesn’t appear she was addressing me directly though, so it doesn’t seem to make sense for me to say anything. I come closer and try to look at the menu again.)

Female Employee: *loudly & very pointedly* “Hey; weren’t you here yesterday?!”

Me: *thinking* “What is going on here? Why do you need to loudly make comments about it and ask me about it until I’m essentially forced to make a public acknowledgment that I remember your coworker’s extremely weird behavior towards me yesterday?”

Me: *super-neutral tone* “Yes, thank you. I was here yesterday.”

(I then finally look at the menu list and see there are no prices on it at all.)

Me: “Excuse me, do you have a price list?”

Female Employee: “Oh, pretty much everything on there is just $15.”

(That’s way on the high end for food at this event. I look back at the list to see if I want any of it enough to pay that much for lunch. [Employee #1] is sitting there too at the other end, seemingly silent for once. In a second, another male employee comes in from the back, glances at me and immediately goes:)

Employee #2: *loudly* “HEY! Can I have your umbrella?” *smirking like he’s the first person in the world to say this “joke”*

(Since it’s over 80 degrees and we’re under the open sky, I have an open umbrella for the sun.)

Me: *feeling that I’m really fed-up with the weird statements, I make sure to put extra cheer and friendliness into my tone to him so as not to sound upset or sarcastic* “Oh; you know? Actually lots of people have said that to me before! I’m not quite sure why though! I guess maybe they think it’s funny or something; but you know I personally have just never thought that that’s funny!”

Female Employee: *cuts me off towards the end and in a very loud and faux-concerned tone says* “Hey: are you OKAY?”

Me: *extremely confused now, I turn to her and put even more cheer in my voice and give her a big exaggerated smile* “Yes! I’m great! Thank you!”

(She keeps staring at me. I don’t even know what to think anymore, so just try to look back at the menu. Immediately she turns to her right, apparently to the sitting [Employee #1], whom I wasn’t even aware had said anything at all, and while standing in arms’ reach of me starts going:)

Female Employee: *in a pointed and loud tone* “No; she’s not going to talk to you. Yeah; she’s just not going to talk to you!”

(There is no other “she” besides me and her anywhere around, so there’s no question who she’s talking about. I turn back to stare at her.)

Female Employee: *still loudly* “Yeah, no; it looks like she’s just *not going to talk to you*! No – she *won’t* talk to you!”

(While it’s a bit noisy there what with the festival music, I’d swear the employee she’s saying this to isn’t actually talking at all. I stare some more in disbelief, then when she doesn’t quit it, I once again decide to cut my losses and walk away; it’s just too odd and off-putting for me to try to deal with, especially with all three workers being weird at once. Also, at this point I’m really unsurprised no one seems to be coming up to their stand.

I go wandering around; no other workers at any of the dozens of other stands I approach feel the need to make any strange comments to me or about me. Nobody else had the previous day either. I buy my food at one of these other stands with a polite normal seller.

After considering it for a day, I email the festival organizers about it, who in turn put me in touch with the business owner of that food stand. She seems to be a nice lady; I speak to her on the phone and relay everything I experienced with her crew both days, including mentioning the stand’s perpetual lack of customers (maybe coincidental, but I highly suspect not…). ‘course I don’t know if she’ll really do anything, but I feel it was worth trying.)