Stare Down Until Closing

, , , | Right | February 1, 2019

(I’m working in a small, locally-owned bakery. We close fairly early every weeknight, at six pm. We have closed and locked the store, and my coworker and I are going about our closing duties. I’m in the front cleaning the glass cases, and my coworker is in the back taking care of some other duties. While I’m cleaning, with my back to the entrance, I hear a gentle tapping behind me. It doesn’t sound like a knock, just a tap. I think it’s probably one of our rotating display cases making noises and ignore it. I go in the back for something and come back out into the storefront, where I see a man standing at the front door, knocking ever so gently. I shake my head at him, mouth, “We’re closed,” and go back to cleaning. The man stays there, knocking, and I alternate between ignoring him and indicating, again, that we’re closed. I start to wonder if maybe there is something wrong, like he’s having car trouble, and wants to use our phone, but not long after this occurs to me, I see him on his cell phone, so I know that’s not it. I go back to ignoring him, and finally, he leaves. Not two minutes later, a car pulls into the parking lot, so quickly and so haphazardly that I think for a moment it’s going to plow through the front window. It doesn’t, thankfully, but the same man from before gets out of the car and gets his phone out again. This time, our store phone rings. I’m suspicious, but I answer it, anyway.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Bakery]. This is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Caller: “You are not letting me in.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but we’ve closed for the night.”

Caller: “I want to order a cake.”

Me: “Sir, you’re more than welcome to come back or call tomorrow, but we’ve closed for the night. And all orders require a deposit, and as I’ve already taken down the registers, I can’t process that for you, anyway.”

Caller: “Why can’t you just let me in? I just want to order a cake.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I cannot let anyone in after closing hours.”

(I can’t remember if he hung up on me or I on him, but the call ended and I went back to cleaning. By this point, my coworker was aware of what was happening and she and I discussed our mutual disbelief at this man’s persistence. The store phone rang again, and it was the same number on the caller ID as before. We both ignored it. He continued to call repeatedly, and when that failed, he literally found the only, tiny, two-inch gap in the blinds in our front window and STARED at us through the glass. Now, my coworker and I, two girls in our early 20s, were nearly done closing, and we were beginning to worry about leaving the store since all exits out of the place would eventually lead right past this guy who was staring at us and refusing to leave our parking lot. We had no idea what this man was capable of, and he had shown himself to be irrational and intimidating; what were we supposed to think? I even went so far as to look up the number for the local police department and have it at the ready, but luckily, by the time we had gathered our things, the parking lot was empty and he had left. He showed up again about a week or so later, with his family, who proceeded to show themselves behind the counter to look at a case full of cakes — cakes that were not on display yet, in an area only open to employees — and then insisted upon a very specific custom order for two days away, even though we had reached our order capacity for that day earlier in the week. I think the owner ended up making them something very basic to appease them, but the guy was rude and insistent and generally self-important the entire time. I never saw him again and couldn’t have been more relieved.)

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