Girl Power Versus Flower Power

, , , | Right | September 3, 2019

(I work as a produce clerk at a grocery store. The floral department is located within the produce department, but the florist and her male assistant do not work with the produce, and we produce clerks are not trained to work with the floral arrangements. The male assistant is the one who mans the department most of the time. One day, he is watering all of the plants and checking them for quality. I am standing nearby with my produce cart, sorting through the potatoes. An older male customer approaches me. It is important to note that I am female.)

Customer: “Excuse me?”

Me: “Yes?”

Customer: “I was wondering whether you could put together a bouquet for me?”

(I look back at the floral department, thinking that the assistant has walked off to the back and out of sight. Nope. The floral assistant is standing not ten feet away from me with a watering can in one hand and a pot of flowers in the other. I have done nothing but root through potatoes in the last 15 minutes and have not been any closer to the plants.)

Me: “Oh, you will want to talk to [Floral Assistant]. He’s right there.”

(The customer pauses and looks from the floral assistant to me.)

Customer: *incredulously*He’s the florist?”

Me: “Yep.”

Customer: “Then what are you?”

Me: “The produce clerk.”

(The customer looks back and forth once more. I know he is comparing me — a nineteen-year-old girl with long hair, painted nails, and makeup — with the balding, unshaven, middle-aged floral assistant in a very wrinkled uniform.)

Customer: “Shouldn’t it be the other way around?”

Me: *cheerily* “Oh, I can’t handle floral arrangements. [Floral Assistant] does them beautifully, and he’s not even gay!”

(I took the opportunity to roll my cart away to the back room without another word. Sadly, this was not the first time I had customers approach me about floral arrangements when the floral assistant was standing right in the middle of his own department.)

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