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Getting Through This Is Not As Easy As Pie

, , , , | Right | July 23, 2019

(I am in a coffee shop with my housemate and her dog. We are working on cover letters for applications. A man comes in carrying a peacoat. It’s eighty degrees outside here now, and only going to get hotter. He approaches us.)

Man: *with peacoat* “Hey, y’all wanna buy this peacoat? Ten bucks. I don’t need it no more; it’s summer. Ten bucks.”

Us: “No, thanks.” *returns to our work*

Man: “How about for a piece of pie?”

Me: “Well, it would have to fit one of us. I don’t know if it would fit either of us. It’s too big for her—“ *gesturing to roommate* “—and I have pretty big boobs.”

Man: “Naw, naw, it’ll fit, it’ll fit. You’ll see.”

Me: “Well, okay. Let’s see.” *tries on the peacoat, it fits*

Man & Roommate: “It fits perfectly!”

Me: “Let me look at it in the restroom.” *looks in the mirror, then returns to the table* “Let me look it up online and find out about it.” *checks the label, does a Google search*

Man: “It’s real wool. One hundred percent. That’s a nice coat.”

Me: *not wanting to rip off the man, or overpay* “Hmm, well, I am finding anywhere from sixty to seventy dollars to over one hundred dollars, which means it might be… ten or fifteen at [Thrift Store]?”

Man: “At least twenty at [Thrift Store]. At least. And think about it this way. You don’t have to go to [Thrift Store].”

Me: “That is true. Yeah, I’ll take it. What kind of pie?”

Man: “Coconut cream. And, uh, and, uh, a frappe.”

Me: *joking* “You said pie!”

(The man goes to order his coconut cream and frappe.)

Shop Girl: “Okay. Got it.”

Man: *gesturing with his arm sweep over the whole restaurant* “Uh, girl! Girl! Uh, girl! She was gonna pay…”

Me: *have silently slunk up behind the man* “I’m here.”

(I insert the card into the chip reader and decide to leave a tip.)

Me: *still teasing* “Are you sure you didn’t get that from [Thrift Store]? Or maybe a clothing bank? You didn’t steal it, did you?”

Man: “No, it was my father’s. It was my father’s. I just don’t want it no more.”

Me: “Okay. Thanks for the coat.”

(I sit down to begin working again. A woman wearing a bicycle helmet crouches down and gets right in my face.)

Woman: “You should not have taken that coat from that man. I’ll give you your money back for the pie and coffee if you give that man his coat back. That was a rip-off. You are just b****y.”

Man: *overhearing at the counter while claiming his pie* “What about the coat? It fits her perfectly!”

Me: “You might want to mind your own business in the future, and you also want to refrain from calling other women b****es.”

(The woman goes to another part of the coffee shop, and the shop girl comes over.)

Shop Girl: “Was she bothering you? I’m so sorry.”

Me: “No, she wasn’t bothering me. He offered to sell me his peacoat for pie and coffee, and I took him up on it. This woman told me he was ripping me off and called me b****y.”

Shop Girl: “What woman?”

(The woman raises her hand, as if in class. The shop girl crosses the cafe to talk to her.)

Woman: “I would never do that. I would never rip off the homeless or the poor or destitute. You ripped that man off. I’m not a bad person like that.”

Me: “He offered to give me that peacoat for pie and coffee, which was ten dollars. I looked up that coat online and it would probably cost around that at Goodwill. Pie and coffee was the deal he offered; it was what he wanted.”

Woman: *sarcastically* “Ooooh, so generous!”

Me: “Well, why don’t you run after him, then? He just left; you could probably catch him. Go give him a hundred dollars.”

Shop Girl: “He’s not homeless. He comes in here every week, trying to sell people things or give people things for pie and coffee. He gets angry and bothers the customers when they say no. He’s been a nuisance, honestly. The manager has talked about banning him. Anyway, he’s not homeless.”

Woman: “Well, I would just never do that. I don’t go around ripping people off.”

Me: “And I don’t go around getting in people’s faces, but I’ll make an exception this one time. You get out of here with your sanctimonious self. Go on. Just go!” *gestures to door*

(The woman leaves in silence.)

Shop Girl: “Please don’t let that keep you from coming in here again.”

Me: “No, next time I’ll come and tell you right away when a strange customer calls me a b****. I believe that’s a kick-out-able offense.”

Shop Girl: “Oh, definitely. Nobody should be calling anybody that around here.”

(Point of the story: I got a peacoat for a piece of pie on pie day — 3/14!)

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