Not Genderalizing The Issue

, , , , | Working | October 12, 2017

(I’m at the checkout of a supermarket.)

Cashier: “Will that be cash or card today, sir— Oh, umm… miss?”

Me: “I— uh, what?”

Cashier: *huffs* “I’m sorry. We’re supporting our manager who’s come out as agender, so we’re not assuming the gender of anyone we serve today to bring attention to the issues of non-binary individuals.”

Me: “That actually sounds quite interesting, but isn’t using female pronouns automatically assuming that my gender is female?”

Cashier: “No, because you’re a guy, so I referred to you as a woman.”

Me: “Aren’t you assuming my gender then, anyway?”

Cashier: *deer in the headlights moment* “OH, MY GOD!”

Me: “Don’t get me wrong; I think what you’re trying to do is a good thing, but it’s more for highlighting transgender issues than issues affecting the wider non-binary community.”

Cashier: *tears forming in her eyes* “I… I don’t know what to say. I’ve messed up. I don’t really understand any of it.”

Me: “I don’t think many out there will hold it against you. Admitting you don’t understand is a big step forward. Maybe ask what pronouns people would like to be referred to as, or just use the neutral ‘they’ and ‘them,’ etc.”

Cashier: “Oh, I will. Thank you. So, umm, what pronouns would you like me to use?”

Me: “Male is fine. I’m agender, too, actually, but I don’t care enough to really bother. I just go with whatever people use for me.”

(Her face lit up and we finished my purchase. It was nice thing to see people trying to bring attention to such issues. It made my week.)

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Sir Dude

, , , , , | Right | October 11, 2017

(I am 58 years old and in the checkout line. As the twenty-something cashier is scanning my groceries she asks:)

Cashier: “Would you like paper or plastic bags, sir?”

Me: “Plastic.”

Cashier: “Did you find everything today, sir?

Me: “Yes.”

Cashier: “Do you have any coupons, sir?”

Me: “No.”

Cashier: “Do you need any stamps, sir?”

Me: “No.”

Cashier: “Do you have any bottle returns, sir?”

Me: “No.”

Cashier: “That comes to $48.53, sir”

Me: *as I am handing her the cash, I say jokingly* “You know, you keep calling me ‘sir.’ That may make me feel like an old guy.”

Cashier: *handing me my change* “Here’s your change, dude.”

(I cracked up laughing, thanked her, and chuckled the rest of the day when I recalled the event. Thanks for the laugh!)

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How To Make Them Bear-able

, , , , , | Right | October 8, 2017

(I work in a resort known for its ski location. Because of this, we get a lot of people from different provinces and countries. There is quite a difference in altitude where I work, so a lot of younger guests, who go out for drinks at our pub, end up getting a lot more drunk than they probably meant to. Until you’re accustomed to it, altitude combined with drinking the same amount you could 5000 meters below where we are can be a deadly mix. There have been a few times where we’ve had to remove people from the hotel due to disturbing other guests, refusing to quiet down, and insulting and swearing at our front desk agents or security. We do have an RCMP station not far from us, but if we can get the party to cooperate with us, we prefer not to call them, since it is still a bit of a drive for them. One night, I’m working the night audit shift. I know there have been a few noise complaints on one room, and that they have been giving our overnight security a hard time. So, unsurprisingly, they end up in our front lobby, and security asks me to call the RCMP. We’ve worked together a while, and the security officer knows I have a pretty good method of turning off the situation without actually having to get the cops involved, which is why he didn’t call them himself. I pick up the phone and pretend to dial a number. Because of the desk design, guests can’t see that I’m not actually dialing anything.)

Guest: *angry* “You’re actually calling the cops? I’m not doing anything wrong! This is a resort! I’m allowed to have fun here!

(And so begins the rant of how he’s on vacation, and it’s against his rights to kick him out just for having a few drinks, plus some name calling.)

Me: *as straight faced as I can* “Actually, I’m not calling the cops; we’re not in a jurisdiction, so we have to deal with our own problems.”

Guest: *a little concerned* “Who are you calling?”

Me: “Our bear people.”

(We have about 300 grizzly bears that live in the surrounding area, something we are proud about and advertise. “Bear people” is our nickname for the rangers who specialize in conditioning the bears to avoid hikers, campers, etc.)

Guest: “Why? What do they do?”

Me: “They keep track of all our bears. I just want to make sure none of the regulars who frequent this particular area are around. We had to remove guests from the hotel in the past, you see, and well…”

(The guest clearly understands what I’m getting at, goes white as a sheet, and turns to security.)

Guest: “I’d like to go back to my room, please. I won’t make any more noise.”

Security: “All right, but if we get one more noise complaint, you’ll have to trust your luck with the bears.”

(The guest nodded and followed security back up. I’m still waiting on the day that my luck will run out and a guest will actually remember our interaction, or, if they do, complain about it.)

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It’s All Saigon Crazy

, , , , | Working | October 5, 2017

(I’ve stopped by the store two blocks from work to pick up some groceries. On my way out, I notice the twenty-something door greeter has his arm in a sling. No stranger to incapacitated arms myself, after surgery a few years ago, I ask what happened.)

Greeter: “I got in a car accident.”

Me: “Oh, no!”

Cashier: *closest to us* “YOU TOLD ME YOU GOT HURT IN VIETNAM!”

Greeter: *nods solemnly*

Me: *bursts out laughing and plays along* “Oh, gosh! That’s terrible! What happened?”

Greeter: “Well, me and Forrest Gump, we got trapped in the bunker when they started bombing us…”


Greeter: “That, too!”

(I laughed so hard I almost dropped my groceries. They made my day! Best of luck for the greeter’s recovery after such noble service!)

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Watered Down Break

, , , , | Working | September 30, 2017

(I work in the jewelry section of a department store. It is completely enclosed by walls of glass cases, and at least one person has to be inside at all times. We have had several people quit and have been very low on staff, and I’ve been working serious overtime while we try to find new employees. Other than jewelry staff, only managers have the security clearance to come inside to cover my breaks. I’ve just called for coverage, as I’ve been the only person there for hours and it’s been a while since my lunch break.)

Manager: *walking past* “Hey, give me a few minutes, and then I can cover your bathroom break.”

Me: “I was actually just going to take a fifteen.”

Manager: *hesitates* “We really can’t allow any fifteens right now. We’re low on staff all around, and I’m the only manager here tonight.”

Me: “Oh, okay. Don’t worry about it.”

Manager: “I can cover you for the bathroom, if you need it.”

Me: “No, that’s fine. I was just going to sit and drink some water. We close in less than two hours, anyway.”

(I headed to the other end of the section to check on a customer. A few minutes later, I heard a clattering noise, and looked up to see my manager lifting a chair from the shoe section OVER the counter and dumping it into my section. He reached over to drop a bottle of water from the vending machine on top of it, gave me a thumbs up, and walked off.)

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