Did A Number On You

, , , , , | Right | September 8, 2017

(I’m 18 years old and work in a local grocery store. In order to get deals and sales on items, customers usually give us a card or their phone numbers. One evening as I’m checking, a customer who looks to be in his late 30’s comes through my line.)

Me: “Hi, how are you tonight?”

Customer: “Good!”

Me: “Glad to hear that! Do you have your grocery card or phone number with you by chance? You’ll save some money.”

(The customer decides to give me his phone number.)

Customer: “Okay, now since I gave you my number, you give me yours.”

(I’m a little startled by this comment, but I decide to not say anything and just keep checking him out. I get done and put my hand out to give him his change and receipt.)

Customer: “Oh, you can just write it on the receipt.”

(Since he speaks while I am counting his change back, I don’t understand what he says at first. I almost don’t say anything, until I notice he hasn’t taken his change out of my hand yet. I then realize that he wants me to acknowledge what he said.)

Me: “I’m so sorry; I didn’t catch that. What did you say?”

Customer: “Your number. You can just write it on the receipt.”

Me: *in the friendliest customer service voice I have ever used* “…thank you, have a nice day, sir!”

1 Thumbs
  • Souless night

    Hey I just met you and you’re crazy here’s not my number so don’t call me baby

    • DWShade Murray

      Perfect. Just perfect.

      • CyNical CyNthia


    • TallieFalcon

      “Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but here’s my gun, so shoot me maybe.”

      – My lyrics after listening to the stupid song stupid times while stuck at work.

  • Da Rat Bastid

    Have I indeed read the story correctly, in that both the described people are adults? If so, what exactly did the man do wrong, given that May-December relationships (and this guy is more like late July-early August) have been a thing since the beginning of time?

    • Souless night

      Age difference, inappropriate approach. It’s not really a turn on

      • Da Rat Bastid

        1) *sighs* Once again: THEY ARE BOTH ADULTS. Anything more specific than that, regarding age, is ultimately irrelevant (unless the question of having children in the future is in play, and even then, that doesn’t matter when the older person is a man rather than a woman).

        2) Inappropriate by whose standards? I, for one, would welcome a would-be romantic partner (of either gender) who displayed such forthrightness in his or her approach.

        • Souless night

          1) I honestly feel age especially 20 years or more apart is rather a big difference and kinda weird to get together with, but that’s my opinion
          2) op is just trying to do their job and get paid minimum wage last thing they need to have is someone nearly old enough to be their dad to hit on them as if they had a reason to get together

        • Hanna Cross

          It’s more that he didn’t simply ask for her number or make any attempt to be charming. He basically demanded her number. Multiple times. And for younger women, it’s really scary to us when much older men try to flirt. Often they get aggressive when not getting their way.

          So no. The age difference itself isn’t the issue. It’s the fact that he’s a much older man -demanding- the phone number of a younger woman. I just hope the guy didn’t kick up a fuss and try to get the poor OP fired.

          • Rob Tonka

            “I just hope the guy didn’t kick up a fuss and try to get the poor OP fired”

            Why do you need to hope that? I would think the OP would certainly include that part of the story if it happened.

          • Mimi

            Scary for older women too.

        • Maureen Wick

          Well she didn’t welcome his forthrightness. So that’s all you need to know

        • JJ Winch

          1) I know this is a minor detail, but even when the man is the older party in the relationship, issues like decreased fertility and increased risk of genetic complications do in fact occur. For example, recent research has shown a link between older fathers and the risk of autism/schizophrenia. Unfortunately now that I no longer have my student account with Ebscohost I don’t have the link to that study handy, but I could try to dig it up. More importantly…

          2) Some people do appreciate a forthright approach. I like people being clear about their interest rather than making vague, unhelpful hints. However, demanding a number from someone whose job depends on keeping you happy, and continuing to do so after being blatantly and repeatedly ignored (the clearest rebuff available to a customer service worker) is taking advantage of a severely uneven power dynamic in a troubling and boorish way.

          Sorry; I get kind of pedantic about sexual harassment because it’s such a personal topic for me.

        • Peter

          The simple fact that no one is agreeing with you should tell you that your appreciation for the forthrightness of the customer harassing the barely legal cashier is not a common opinion.

          Someone already said it, but it bears repeating. Don’t hit on people who are paid to serve you. If for some reason you insist on hitting on them, take the very first hint that they’re not interested and stop immediately. This guy wasn’t forthright, he was creepy. It’s not even a fine line.

        • CommanderCorianderSalamander

          It’s inappropriate because of the balance of power, IMO. Forthrightness is great when both people having equal footing to accept or reject the advance. But when one person is literally being paid to serve another, it sets up a dynamic that’s inappropriate.

        • mischiani

          Forget the age gap for a moment. I don’t care how attractive I find a guy, if he wants to ask me out while I’m working and does anything more than quietly pass his number with a quick explanation that we can talk when I’m off the clock if I’d like, it’s an automatic no. That’s not what I’m at work for.

          • Skribs

            Different people have different ways in which they want to be approached. There are plenty of people who would be an automatic no if someone just slipped them their number.

        • Wendi

          She’s 18. He doesn’t know her. She could be 16. You can’t tell by looking. He’s much older, and willing to hit on (aggressively, without taking cues or even trying to be charming or friendly, just demanding) a teenage girl who is stuck at the register in a job that requires her to be friendly. Not okay.

        • Jonathon Side

          Inappropriate by the standards of the person being hit on. That should be all you need to know.

          The fact that it’s not tells me a lot about you.

        • Kitty

          You are at work. No f***ing flirting at work. You aren’t being paid for that. And she obviously had no interest in actually getting to know this guy, she was just doing her job. And he continued to bug her about getting her number.

          • Skribs

            I see he asked her twice, the third time was because she asked him to clarify. I don’t see that as “continued to bug her”. I also don’t see her outright reject his request, so it’s not like he was begging her.

        • Mimi

          The large (12 years) age difference might not matter to you but that doesn’t mean it didn’t matter to her.

          A difference of 12 years at that point in time means that he is ⅔ of her current age older than her and that might just be a deal breaker for her no matter what you think about it.

          • Skribs

            In which case, she could…I don’t know…say so? You don’t know what other people’s dealbreakers are until you ask.

    • Brittany

      Don’t hit on people serving you. Just. Don’t.

    • arcanicEmbers

      Asked a cashier for her number when she was in no position to be able to get away from him? People can still be pretty creepy even if the person they’re hitting on is legal, and I wouldn’t want a guy met because he came into my place of work to try getting my number. Plus, since he had the option of a number or store card, it kind of gives the vibe that he only chose to give her the number to try and have an excuse to get hers. Again, a bit creepy.

      • Rob Tonka

        “Asked a cashier for her number when she was in no position to be able to get away from him? ”

        Get away? He’s not chasing her with a knife. She shot him down and everyone went about their day.

        • CommanderCorianderSalamander

          The thing is, that’s not a given. It would be so great if it were, but a quick browse through this site shows that people can be irrational and scary. People can get mean, or even violent, when they get rejected. Men especially. It wasn’t the case this time, thankfully.
          And even if we’re not talking about physical harm, a cashier’s job depends on making the customer happy. If she rejected him and he pitched a fit, she could get in trouble- it’s not fair, and it’s not right for the employer to punish her for it, but it’s still a concern.

        • mischiani

          She was a captive audience. She can’t walk away from her register but he can take his time leaving. It’s uncomfortable. There’s also the worry that the guy will make up a bogus complaint about the cashier if she doesn’t appease him. Just leave workers to their work, please.

        • MercyMay

          When you’re working a job that requires you to be polite or risk losing your job, yeah, that’s not being able to get away from him. Too many people take advantage of that.

        • arcanicEmbers

          Well for one, there have been women who were tracked down and yes, stabbed by guys they rejected. I’m not saying that’s the case here, but the point remains that she still couldn’t leave her spot. And two, it took a few times before he would get the memo and leave, which usually isn’t a very good sign. Now a question for you. Why are you so intent on saying that this guy did nothing wrong? Because, again, demanding a phone number from someone who cannot get out of the situation is pretty damn creepy to me.

          • Larry Berry

            As a cashier, I’ve gotten in trouble for not laughing at a customers dumb jokes. I had one customer that asked me a question of “do you ever…..” with a simple “No”. Since I didn’t answer yes instead and thus continue the conversation (AND ignore the next customers in line to do so) she tracked down the manager and complained that I wasn’t very nice. Not rude, but just didn’t give an answer that could prolong the conversation to entertain the customer.

            The cashier in this story is NOT able to simply say “sorry, I am not interested”. That would be akin to me not only not prolonging the conversation by lying and making up stories about how I did *, but if I instead said “I find your conversation uninteresting”. She literally could not reject the customer, and could only pretend she didn’t hear him say that, or ignore that he did. And even then he continued.

      • Skribs

        So, because OTHER people have been jerks when they’ve been rejected, he’s automatically a creep?

        • arcanicEmbers

          Well the fact that he can’t take a hint certainly doesn’t help. Also yes demanding someone’s number is pretty damn creepy.

          • Skribs

            I don’t even see a hint in there. I see him getting no answer twice and not asking a third time.

          • arcanicEmbers

            And the demanding? Or is demanding a strangers number fine by you too?

          • Skribs

            I didn’t read it as demanding, but it’s impossible to convey tone via text. I didn’t read “you HAVE to give me yours.” If he had a rude tone, then I agree, but the words as they appear don’t seem rude to me. It seems more like he was trying to be funny or trying to use a line than that he was demanding a number.

          • Skribs

            Tone isn’t conveyed by text, but I didn’t read his words as demanding.

          • Skribs

            On the one hand, I think most girls overestimate guys’ ability to “take a hint” (or their ability to give hints). That applies both ways – hints that you’re interested and hints that you’re not. On the other hand, the guy asked twice for her number and if I read the story right, left after he got no answer the second time. I don’t see how he didn’t get the hint at that point. I just don’t see how he acted unreasonably.

    • Ty

      Don’t hit on people serving you. They don’t actually like you, they are just being paid to be nice to you. Hitting on them makes them uncomfortable and is not okay.

    • MercyMay

      Um, no. Everything is wrong with it from her being 18 to him hitting on her at work to him not taking her obvious disinterest and not pushing the issue further. Dude is a creep.

      • Skribs

        Obvious disinterest? You mean the part where she said “no, I’m not interested” or the part where she didn’t say anything to indicate what her state of mind was?

        • MercyMay

          She ignored him and his advances. That’s obvious disinterest.

          • Skribs

            She ignored him once, asked for clarification a second time, and ignored him upon clarification. After that it doesn’t say he kept pestering her.

          • MercyMay

            Once literally should have been enough. He’s an adult. He should know better than to flirt with someone while they’re working.

          • Skribs

            On the one hand, almost everyone I know (male and female) suggests I ask out waitresses, so just because someone is an adult doesn’t mean they “should know better” than to do something a lot of people suggest to me.

            On the other hand, one “no” is enough. One (no response) is not enough for a guy to make a conclusion.

    • Me

      If they were meeting outside of work, it might have been appropriate. But in this case there was a serious imbalance of power, with the customer having all the power. He knows where she works, if he wants to follow her. He has the power of lodging a false complaint against her and getting her in trouble or even fired as retribution for turning him down. She *must* be nice to him, no matter how inappropriate his behavior, because he does hold power over her. Whenever there is a serious imbalance in power, it is inappropriate.

    • “May-December relationships (and this guy is more like late July-early August) have been a thing since the beginning of time”
      So was arranged marriage.

      • Da Rat Bastid

        You imply that a romantic relationship between two consenting adults is equivalent in ANY way to a relationship between two people that was initiated without the consent of either person…yet I’M the weird one here in this discussion.

        (smh) Oooohhhhkay, then.

        • Ruth Mayfly

          No, your logic was that something has been around forever therefore it’s OK. Cerasifera is giving you a counterexample of something that has been around forever and is not OK (though I’d have said forced marriages, as there are arranged marriages where both parties genuinely consent)
          Therefore, ‘something that has been around since forever’ is not automaticlly something that is completely fine and OK. Some of those May-December relationships were fine, others were really not fine at all but just them having been around forever does not mean either that they’re automatically OK regardless of details or that everyone wants to be in one.

          • I agree ‘forced marriage’ is broader and more in line with what I was thinking

        • What Ruth said. More specifically, you imply that May-December relationships ‘since the beginning of time’ (let’s say in the past two millennia) were okay. But the historic relationships with great age differences we know (most) of were marriages, especially among the rich and powerful, and those marriages were often arranged without consent of one or even both parties, and/or they were out of sheer necessity (society made women rely on a husband).
          So while such relationships (you didn’t differentiate between romantic and non-consentual relationships originally) may have been a thing in the past, for all you know that may only have been true because the woman was forced by her parents or other circumstances.

        • Mimi

          “Consenting” is the issue. She wasn’t consenting and he kept pushing the issue while she was a captive audience who couldn’t escape him because she was being paid to be nice to him. He was taking advantage of the power imbalance. This is in no way “consenting.”

          • Skribs

            He asked for her number. She said nothing. He asked again. She didn’t hear properly and asked to clarify, so he did. The story ends with “have a nice day” and the assumption to the reader that he then left. So he asked her twice (the third time was clarifying the second) and got no real answer. That’s the extent of the interaction as its posted here.

    • robindaybird

      18 is *Barely* an adult, and a guy in his 30s is almost twice her age, would you be happy if someone old enough to be your mother demanded your number?

      • Da Rat Bastid

        “18 is BARELY an adult…”

        Would you feel the same way if someone tried to argue “well, she’s only BARELY under 18, so what’s the big deal?” I somehow doubt you would. “Barely” is irrelevant. One either isn’t an adult, or is an adult, period.

        “would you be happy if someone old enough to be your mother demanded your number?”

        Hmm, that’s a toughie. Let me think. *half-second pause* YES.

      • Skribs

        I’ve had it happen, I was flattered but I declined.

  • Ken

    The creepy part wasn’t that he hit on her, it was that he continued even after she was clearly not interested.

    • CommanderCorianderSalamander

      I mean, it’s also a bit creepy to hit on her, point blank. Hitting on folks in customer service positions isn’t cool. Their jobs literally depend on making customers happy, so there’s an imbalance of power from the get-go that can make it really, REALLY uncomfortable for the employee.
      But continuing even after she was clearly uninterested is extra gross.

    • Aaron King

      you can always count on a man to not know when she is interested or when she isn’t

    • Mimi

      It was both.

    • Skribs

      He asked for her number and didn’t get a response. He asked again and she said “what?” so he asked a third time. I see no bad reaction to her ignoring him and no continuing to pester her or hold her up after she said “have a nice day”. At least in the story as presented.

  • Michelle

    Ewww. One of my top pet peeves about customer service, creepers hitting on anything that moves while people are trying to work. No. Just no.

  • Phil Adler

    “Sure, it’s ‘867-5309′”

    • Jackie Fauxe

      But then he’d know her name too.

      • Phil Adler

        And that she can show him a good time!

    • Souless night

      773 202 lunaaaaas

      • Vi Puhstushin


  • mischiani

    I used to give out the Rick Roll hotline number in situations like this, but it doesn’t work anymore. 🙁

  • Jikoniau

    I mean, to be fair, she was checking him out first… XD in all serious though he really should have stopped after she showed no interest.

    • Allegra O

      Or not started to begin with.

      • Jikoniau

        While that is true I don’t really think there was anything specifically wrong with his initial comment depending on a couple of things – the first of which being if his guesstimated age is accurate or not. I’ve known guys that look to be in their 30’s but really are in their 20’s. Also we don’t know if OP possibly looked older than she is so we can’t really use the ages to determine anything since she just guessed his age. It also depends on his tone of how he made his comment, but in how I read it and just looking at the words on their own there’s nothing really wrong with his first comment.

        • Liawen

          it doesn’t matter how old someone looks or what tone you use, you do not, i repeat do not, hit on somebody/ask for their number when they can’t walk away from you. that is never okay. it doubles when they can’t walk away because they are _working_. they are trying to do their job and get paid, not find a date.

          • Skribs

            I don’t hit on people while they’re working, but at the same time I wouldn’t mind if someone asked me for my number while I was at work.

  • Jackie Fauxe

    I think I’ve shared this story before, but I was at a pet shop once and while the girl was ringing up my items I asked if she wanted my number. She glanced at me, and I immediately realized that she thought that I was hitting on her. I quickly added “because I don’t have my (rewards) card” and all was well again.

    The really weird thing is, earlier that same week a teller at my bank (located just up the street from the pet shop, oddly enough) also gave me the impression that she thought that I was hitting on her, and that she was more than okay with it. Now, I’m a friendly person and I enjoy making people smile, so I have had some guys misconstrue my friendliness as flirtation, but to my knowledge those two women–during the same week, and on the same street–are the only women to ever make that mistake with me.

    I do understand why the girl at the pet shop thought what she did, but, while I can’t remember the details of the conversation at the bank, I recall being very surprised that my polite small talk had produced the result that it had. Maybe I just happened to encounter a teller whose type was women who make bad puns and have sad bank accounts? I guess I’ll never know for sure, especially since I now go to a branch closer to where I’ve since moved.

    • 4302

      Bad puns and sad bank accounts sounds just fine to me. If I were that teller I’d appreciate it!

      I don’t know though, I think some people just read friendly humour as automatically flirtatious?
      Or maybe I’m just horrible at tone because when I try to flirt I just get laughed at and when I try to joke people think I’m flirting with them.

      • Jackie Fauxe

        I think you’re completely right about some people misreading friendly humor or even just friendliness as flirtation. Which is fine, as long as they don’t get pushy about it.

    • Medusa Jordan

      I think the teller saw what she wanted to see.

  • Snugglesgodofdeath

    I’m genuinely curious: setting aside age differences (because not everyone finds that to be a big deal) is there an okay way to flirt with someone you meet that works in customer service if you are the customer?

    • arcanicEmbers

      If it’s the first time you’ve met them, or you don’t know them very well? Probably not. If you’re a regular and you’re on good terms and tend to joke around a lot with the person? Yeah, then I don’t see it being too bad, as long as you know when to back off if the person seems uninterested.

    • Zetal47

      As suggested above, something like “Hey, I know you’re working now, but here’s my number if you might want to talk when you’re off the clock.” That shows respect, if they’re not interested they can just lose the number, and if they don’t call or bring it up the next time they see you, you don’t either.

      Or if they start it, of course! My first boyfriend and I met when he was checking me out at the grocery store near my dorm. Even then, keep an eye on their responses.

    • Marianne

      I think if youve actually managed to have a nice conversation (and not about work-related things) then it should be ok to ask them if they’d like to get a drink after their shift or whatever.

    • Mimi

      I think not. There is a power imbalance that is inherently unfair to the worker whose job depends on them being nice. If a customer gets all pouty and complains enough the worker could lose her job. And all the gods in all the universes in existence know that there is no shortage of men who will make a point of trying to destroy the life of any woman that makes their feels hurt.

  • He has a point − if you want to stalk your customers and expose them to hacking, you should realise what it feels like yourself.

    • Mike Carr

      It doesn’t sound like this customer was trying to make a point about privacy. (Since he was in the system he’d provided the information already, so objections due to privacy were moot anyway.) There are better ways to make the privacy argument, that don’t involve acting like you’re hitting on the cashier:

      Complaints about having to provide personal information to get discounts should be addressed to store management, or their managers. Better yet complain to state agencies or legislators.

      Just ask for the discount without providing the info. Often due to state regulation (or fear of such regulation being implemented) the stores will do so.

      Don’t shop at stores that use these cards – the great deals need to be paid for somehow, and in my experience everything else in these stores costs 10-20% more.

    • Larry Berry

      As Mike pointed out, those phone numbers only work if you provide your phone number as an alternative to your card. We sign people up to get deals with their card, and they can choose to provide any information or not. They CHOOSE to provide a phone number that can be used if they forget or lose their card, and CHOOSE to use their phone number to bring up their account.

      And NO harassing an employee, and possibly making them feel unsafe is NOT making a point about policies that they have no control over.

    • Lord Circe


    • Mimi

      Yeah because the minimum wage cashier is so in control of corporate policies.

  • Matt Westwood

    “So you’re such a loser that you can’t find a girlfriend so you spend all day desperately begging the women with the lowest-status jobs in society in the vain hope that their own standards are low enough to accept you as a possible s3xual partner? Sorry, I’m holding out for a life-partner with a doctorate in environmental science so we can set about changing the world. What’s your ambition?”

  • LittleMissCloud

    I bet customer is a “nice” guy who always wonders why girls go for the jerks and not nice guys like him. I bet he is also one to not realize how unnice he really is and wouldn’t see anything wrong with demanding a B respect him.

    • denim

      Women don’t go for jerks, or I’d have been married and divorced 17 times by now, rather than none.

      • LittleMissCloud

        Oh I know it and you know it but self proclaimed nice guys insist it is the reason they can’t get women.

    • Mimi

      That’s NiceGuy™

    • Skribs

      How does him asking someone for his number, and showing no signs of anger issues in the transaction, give you this vitriolic a picture of him?

  • Lord Circe

    I’m sorry, but the EFFort U have put in will not C any results, K? OH, I know that you might have thought your approach would be EFFective, but it isn’t, I’m AFraid.

    So, kindly leave and have a blessed day.

  • Kitty

    Here’s my number: 555-F***-Off. And remember to hit the # beforehand, so you’ll get uppercase numbers.

    • Samantha Phastine

      No — 382-5633 (or 382-5968) See what that might spell on your phone key-pad.

    • Skribs

      What’s wrong with “sorry, not interested” or “no thanks”. I don’t see her rejecting him in the OP. (I get that a lot of guys don’t accept that, and then it’s an issue, but she hasn’t even said no yet).

  • AussieEevee

    I’m sorry but… why the heck do so many people seem to try to score a date at the checkout?!

    • Lord Circe

      “Captive audience”.

      • canaduck

        Yup, captive and under obligation from their employer to be as pleasant as possible.

      • 8000 cats

        “Captive audience”, “Only audience”….. both apply.

    • Aro

      Cashiers are the only people who will talk to them?

      • QueenCheetah

        Well, it’s not like they have a choice…

  • Medusa Jordan

    Men who are double your age or older are the worst – they feel so entitled to the attention of young women and deliberately misinterpret every word or gesture. I used to have to be SO careful to use unambiguous words and gestures – of course it doesn’t keep all the creeps away – only getting older does that.

    • Mimi

      “Deliberately” is the operative word because they totally understand you, they just choose to ignore your actual intentions.

  • I would have given him a number. Any old number will do, although I happen to have my town’s non-emergency police number memorized. 😀 That’s if I wasn’t so surprised that I would actually think of it. My reactions are often about 5 minutes too slow. In a case like this, I believe making up a totally random number would be appropriate.

    • Lord Circe

      Then you’ve possibly passed off his harassment to someone else. I’d say ignoring it like OP did was the correct call.

    • Skribs

      I’ve had plenty of of calls from guys who’ve gotten a fake number (my number) from girls. PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS.

  • GuyYouMetOnline

    I would have written the store’s number.

  • denim

    In the USA, give him “212-555-1212” and let him call it later. Or maybe (any area code) 867-5309.

  • Sofiya

    Stop flirting with people while they’re at work! You know they have to be super nice! It’s manipulative!

  • Azalea

    “Store number is already on the receipt. Have a nice day!”

    • Siren

      I like that response!

  • Mimi

    Ugh! Men stop doing this! Women do not like it! Just stop!

    • Skribs

      Virtually everyone I know (including male and female friends and family members) suggest I do this. I don’t, but I keep getting told I should.

  • You should have told him your name was Jenny & that your number was 867-5309

  • Juliana A. De Melendez

    So someone flirted with you… Wow…

    • Skribs

      That’s what I see here. He didn’t say anything NSFW, didn’t appear to be demanding (although we didn’t hear his tone), and didn’t respond poorly to a rejection as he didn’t even get rejected.

  • QueenCheetah

    Seriously, I don’t know if OP looks her age or not, but for someone pushing 40 to be hitting on a possibly under-aged teenage employee… somebody call Chris Hansen.

  • Skribs

    As a guy, I’ve had a lot of people (family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, etc) tell me I should hit on girls that are serving me. Wait staff, checkers, etc. that I find attractive, people constantly tell me that I should ask her out. My opinion has been that I don’t hit on someone while they’re working, and based on this thread that seems to be the case. So why are a lot of people I know (many of them girls themselves) suggesting I do this?