Sometimes The Trash Takes Itself Out

, , , , , | Romantic | May 23, 2020

I have a crush on a former coworker and just found out it was mutual. While we aren’t specifically told not to date in the workplace, you do have to disclose your relationship to management so they can be sure there’s no conflict of interest. We are only seeing each other during work breaks, so we haven’t said anything to anyone.

During one of our unpaid lunch breaks, we are walking toward the exit when one of our regular customers approached me. He has a mental handicap, usually has someone with him to shop, and often calls the female associates “sweetie” or “darling.” He’s one of my favorite customers because he’s always happy and has nice things to say about the people he meets.

Customer: “Hey, sweetie, going to lunch?”

Me: “Yup, just heading out now. Gonna go to [Sandwich Shop].”

Customer: “All righty, you have a good day!”

As soon as he’s out of earshot, my coworker speaks.

Coworker: “What a f****** r*****d.”

Me: *Shocked* “What?”

Coworker: “That guy!”

Me: “You mean [Customer]?”

Coworker: “How is that pervert not in jail?”

Me: “Because he’s done nothing wrong.”

Coworker: “He called you ‘sweetie.’”

Me: “Yeah. He calls lots of people ‘sweetie.’ It’s just his greeting.”

Coworker: “He should be banned. F****** disgusting.”

Me: “Um… are you jealous? Because that’s—”

Coworker: “Of a r****d? Are you kidding?”

Me: “Why does it matter how he addresses me? He’s not—”

Coworker: “He obviously wants to f*** you.”

Me: “He does not.”

I stop just outside the exit doors. 

Me: “What is wrong with you?”

He puts his arm around my shoulder.

Coworker: “I’m just looking out for you. You can’t talk to guys like that. They’re pigs.”

I push him off me.

Me: “And I suppose you don’t want anything from me?”

Coworker: *Laughs* “Well, I mean, I’m not—”

He hits his chest twice, makes the childish hand gesture for calling someone the R-word.

Coworker: “—like him.”

Me: “You know, I don’t think we’ll have to tell management about anything between us.”

Coworker: “What?”

Me: “I don’t want to go out with you.”

Coworker: “Because of him?!”

Me: “Because of you.”

I walked back into the store and sat in the break room for my entire lunch, not eating. One of the managers noticed and asked what was wrong. I told her about the conversation, and she thanked me and left. Since he was off the clock, there was no real repercussion, but I think it did save me a lot of trouble down the road.

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