A Charitable Response To Harassment

, , , , , | Working | July 31, 2020

I’m doing a little shopping in the city with my mom since we have a little time to kill before an appointment. We’re chatting a little and not really paying attention to our surroundings until someone all but jumps in front of us.

Guy: “Hi! My name is [Guy] and I’m from [Charity Organisation]! Do you have a few minutes?”

Mom is a bit startled and wary but still willing to listen.

Mom: “Well, we’ve got a little time to spare, I guess…”

Guy: “Great! Could I have your name, please?”

Mom: “It’s [Mom].”

He writes that down. During the whole discussion, he uses the informal variant of “you,”which in German is mainly used for friends and family but not strangers.

Guy: “So, [Mom], as I said, I’m from [Charity] and we—”

Mom: *Cutting him off* “Before you start, maybe you can save your breath. I know what [Charity] does, but I’m not interested in giving money to some stranger that stopped me in the streets.”

The guy smiles, but it starts to seem a little forced and condescending.

Guy: “[Mom], why don’t you just listen and let me talk?”

He then launches into an extensive spiel about his charity and what they do. During his last sentences, he almost pushes an empty form into my hands.

Guy: “So, now, if you just enter your information and sign here—”

Mom: “Wait a minute. I just told you I won’t give away any cash and that includes not signing any membership application. If you have some flyers or pamphlets, I’d happily take them with me so I could make a donation via money transfer, but I’m not comfortable giving my bank account information to someone I don’t even know.”

Guy: “No, I don’t have any pamphlets. I told you I’m [Guy], so we’re not strangers anymore, right? Now, just fill in your information and sign here, please. Why wouldn’t you want to?”

Mom: “For one, it’s my decision how I spend my money. And besides that, I’ve had bad experiences with a scammer that pressured me into signing a contract when I was younger.”

Guy: “Well, we’re no scammers; we are [Charity]!” *Points to his name badge* “[Mom], it’s really not difficult. You could be really making a difference with your donations!”

Mom: *Getting really fed up* “Look, I’ve repeatedly told you I won’t be signing this. You say you are with [Charity], but anyone could print a badge like yours and claim that.”

The guy tries to speak up again but she raises her hand to stop him.

Mom: “Besides, we’ve got an appointment and need to go now so we’ll be there on time.”

He tried to keep us for a little longer but we left. On our way back, we made sure to take a different route just to avoid running into him again. It’s not like my mom or I don’t want to donate money for a good cause, but if an organisation doesn’t offer pamphlets or accept one-time donations via money transfer, they can’t really expect people to sign a membership form just because someone on the street pushes it at them.

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That’s A Wrap On This Burrito Place

, , , , , , , | Working | July 31, 2020

On my campus, we have a few places to eat. One of these places is a burrito place. It’s pretty good, but I’ve started becoming uncomfortable going because of a few incidents. 

The first incident: I walk up to the guy who’s making my burrito. 

Employee #1: “What would you like today?”

Me: “A burrito, please.”

Employee #1: “Do you want rice and beans on that?”

Me: “Yes, please.”

Employee #1: “Protein?”

Me: “Oh, uh, no protein, please.”

Employee #1: *In a snotty tone* “You know, you don’t have to say please so much.”

I am very self-conscious, so I promptly shut up and barely say anything else for the rest of the order except what I want. 

The second incident: I walk up to a different employee at a different time of day. 

Employee #2: “Hi, what can I get for you?”

Me: “A burrito, please.”

Everything goes perfectly fine while I order; the employee puts my order behind the glass divider within her reach but not within mine. I go to pay for my food with a different employee… and neither of them gives me my food.

Me: “Um… excuse me? Excuse me?”

For a solid minute, I try to get both of their attention so I can get my food, which has been paid for, while they socialize with a different customer. I finally get one’s attention.

Me: “Hi, sorry. Could I, um, actually have my food, please?”

I give a nervous laugh to show I’m joking.

The employee gives me a snotty look and slaps the box into my hand. Nothing spills, but the look she gives me makes me feel completely embarrassed for asking for food that I’ve actually purchased. 

The third incident: my roommate goes to go get a burrito. The — third and different — employee puts rice and beans, no meat, cheese, and lettuce, and begins to close the burrito. Only BEGINNING to close it; that is, she’s folded the wrap over the tiniest amount.

Roommate: “Oh, sorry, could I get sour cream and cilantro on that, please?”

The employee huffed loudly, slapped the burrito back open, flung cilantro on it, squirted too much sour cream on, and wrapped it up as aggressively as she could. I get that you’re tired and want to end the semester, too, but still…

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Overstuffed With Staff

, , , , , , | Working | July 31, 2020

This happened a few years ago when I was still in college. I was working at a fast food joint that was… an interesting place to work, to say the least. I had also been dating this guy for a few months when both of his parents died. The funeral was scheduled for Saturday of that week when I was scheduled to work. It was an all-day event two hours away. However, I wanted to pay my respects, so I asked my manager what my options were. 

My manager told me I could just switch with someone else. I talked with another coworker who was scheduled for Sunday but not Saturday and we agreed to switch. My manager cleared it, and I thought all was well and good.

Cut to Saturday. As soon as I turned my phone back on after the service, I saw a few missed calls from work. Yes, they had tried calling during the service itself. I called back and it was my shift lead asking where I was. Initially, I thought my coworker had no-showed, but no, she was there. 

Puzzled, I asked what the problem was since she was covering my shift. Apparently , they had wanted us both to come in, but hadn’t mentioned it until now, but could I come in today? I told them no, it wasn’t possible, and that I’d see them tomorrow.

The next day, I came in for the Sunday morning shift to see that my coworker I’d switched with was in, as well. Apparently, they told her she was still expected to work it. Not even an hour later, she was sent home because it wasn’t busy enough to warrant having that much staff. I left that job a few months later and can’t say I was too disappointed about that.

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Hey, Boss, How The [Dolphin Sound] Are You?!

, , , , , | Working | July 31, 2020

I’m the office millennial, and I often use phrases from TV shows and movies from my childhood, such as, “No, this is Patrick,” “Hakuna Matata,” and, “She doesn’t even go here!” I’m also not known for swearing.

One of my managers and I are pretty close and hang out a lot outside work. She also has a daughter around my age and likes to use the lingo she learns with me, so I try to sprinkle some of these phrases into everyday conversation.

One day, I’m discussing tasks I have to do with my manager.

Manager: “So, do you think you can do that this afternoon?”

Me: “Yep.”

Manager: “Are you sure? You can ask [Coworker] to help you with the filing, since I need these numbers today, and those can wait.”

Me: *Smiling* “Abso-f******-lutely!”

Manager: “Uh…”

Me: *Realizing what I just said* “Oh, my goodness! I did not mean to say that! I was trying to say, ‘Absotively posilutely,’ which is still childish, so not much better, but I did not mean to swear!”

Manager: *Laughing* “It’s okay! Girl, I swear ten times a day in here; I was wondering when you’d crack!”

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Race Relations Are As Broken As The Water Line Around Here

, , , , | Working | July 30, 2020

The water in our neighborhood suddenly shuts off without notice. After checking the city website to make sure there are no planned outages for maintenance, I decide to go buy some bottled water in case it is a while before the utility department figures out what is wrong.

On my way back home, I spot a small construction crew doing some work a couple of blocks down. I stop and roll down my window to talk to one of the workers. For reference, I am a white woman in my early thirties and the employee I speak to happens to be a middle-aged black man. I don’t realize how this will come into play until later.

Me: “Good morning. Are you guys doing any water line work today? The water in my neighborhood went out about half an hour ago.”

Worker #1: “Yes, ma’am. Unfortunately, a water line cap was cracked and we had to shut the supply off. Our supervisor is on the way with a replacement right now. We’re really sorry about that.”

Me: “Okay, thank you for telling me. I know these things happen. I just wanted to make sure.”

I prepare to drive away when a sixty-ish-year-old white man who’s been standing nearby — with a hunk of chaw in his mouth so large it looks like he is chewing on a baseball — cuts in front of [Worker #1] and sticks his head IN my car window.

Worker #2: *Around his mouthful of tobacco* “Fraternizing with the help, huh?”

Me: *Stunned* “Excuse me?”

[Worker #1] gets a look on his face that says this happens often.

Worker #1: “She wanted to know about the water outage.”

Worker #2: “Oh, yeah! The supervisor is on his way now. No need to call the city!” *Grins* “What street you on, honey?”

Me: *Ignoring the question* “This whole area is out. He’s already explained what happened.”

Seeing that I was holding up traffic, I thanked [Worker #1] again and drove away. It wasn’t until I pulled back into my driveway that I really processed what that second worker had done. Not only had he made me feel uncomfortable, but he’d stepped all over the first man I spoke to and repeated the same thing he’d clearly already heard him tell me. Plus, there was that comment about “the help”. Anyone who has grown up in the southeastern US knows the racist connotations that phrase can have.

I also remembered his comment about “no need to call the city” and had a feeling he might have been some kind of foreman or supervisor himself not wanting to get in trouble. I knew a few of my neighbors had called the city already, and I decided to make my own report, too.

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