Unfiltered Story #121726

, , , | Unfiltered | September 21, 2018

(I’m at a local festival event in a park. I approach a food stand, which is strangely devoid of customers even though surrounding stands have twenty-minute-long lines. They have no visible price list outside; I finally spot a menu list on a sheet of paper taped to the desk next to a sitting employee. I come close to look at it.)

Employee #1: *very casually* “Hi there.”

(Then he seems to notice my accessories and without giving me even half a second to turn to him from the list I’m looking at, he turns to the left and says much louder and pointedly to a coworker:)

Employee #1: “I don’t think she can hear me! I bet she can’t hear anything!”

(I realize he’s talking about the ear buds I left in my ears, since it’s a pain to take them in and out all the time and they get tangled up. I have no music or anything on, though, and can hear him in precise surround-sound. I’m put-off by being talked to as if I’m not right here, and turn towards him. I’m standing still and clearly staring right at his face now; he’s sitting barely a foot away from me.)

Employee #1: *still loudly and very pointedly* “Yeah, she probably can’t hear me! Uh-huh; I don’t think she can hear anything I say!”

(I stare at him for a few more seconds. He doesn’t quit his commentary. I decide a confrontation over this isn’t worth the risk of being labeled an entitled or problem customer (particularly as I’m white and he’s a person of color), and just walk off. As I’m heading away I hear the female employee (white & blonde) he was talking to go:)

Female Employee: *also loudly* “No: I’m pretty sure she could hear you!”

(I buy my lunch from one of the other stands – waiting in line for twenty minutes is worth not being insulted by the workers. Next afternoon I come back to the festival, and decide to give that place one more chance, so I head in their direction. Once again, there’s not a single other customer in sight despite long lines at surrounding stands. As soon as I get within twenty feet of their stand:)

Female Employee: *super loudly* “HEY! It’s ear buds lady again!”

(I’m really weirded out. It doesn’t appear she was addressing me directly though, so it doesn’t seem to make sense for me to say anything. I come closer and try to look at the menu again.)

Female Employee: *loudly & very pointedly* “Hey; weren’t you here yesterday?!”

Me: *thinking* “What is going on here? Why do you need to loudly make comments about it and ask me about it until I’m essentially forced to make a public acknowledgment that I remember your coworker’s extremely weird behavior towards me yesterday?”

Me: *super-neutral tone* “Yes, thank you. I was here yesterday.”

(I then finally look at the menu list and see there are no prices on it at all.)

Me: “Excuse me, do you have a price list?”

Female Employee: “Oh, pretty much everything on there is just $15.”

(That’s way on the high end for food at this event. I look back at the list to see if I want any of it enough to pay that much for lunch. [Employee #1] is sitting there too at the other end, seemingly silent for once. In a second, another male employee comes in from the back, glances at me and immediately goes:)

Employee #2: *loudly* “HEY! Can I have your umbrella?” *smirking like he’s the first person in the world to say this “joke”*

(Since it’s over 80 degrees and we’re under the open sky, I have an open umbrella for the sun.)

Me: *feeling that I’m really fed-up with the weird statements, I make sure to put extra cheer and friendliness into my tone to him so as not to sound upset or sarcastic* “Oh; you know? Actually lots of people have said that to me before! I’m not quite sure why though! I guess maybe they think it’s funny or something; but you know I personally have just never thought that that’s funny!”

Female Employee: *cuts me off towards the end and in a very loud and faux-concerned tone says* “Hey: are you OKAY?”

Me: *extremely confused now, I turn to her and put even more cheer in my voice and give her a big exaggerated smile* “Yes! I’m great! Thank you!”

(She keeps staring at me. I don’t even know what to think anymore, so just try to look back at the menu. Immediately she turns to her right, apparently to the sitting [Employee #1], whom I wasn’t even aware had said anything at all, and while standing in arms’ reach of me starts going:)

Female Employee: *in a pointed and loud tone* “No; she’s not going to talk to you. Yeah; she’s just not going to talk to you!”

(There is no other “she” besides me and her anywhere around, so there’s no question who she’s talking about. I turn back to stare at her.)

Female Employee: *still loudly* “Yeah, no; it looks like she’s just *not going to talk to you*! No – she *won’t* talk to you!”

(While it’s a bit noisy there what with the festival music, I’d swear the employee she’s saying this to isn’t actually talking at all. I stare some more in disbelief, then when she doesn’t quit it, I once again decide to cut my losses and walk away; it’s just too odd and off-putting for me to try to deal with, especially with all three workers being weird at once. Also, at this point I’m really unsurprised no one seems to be coming up to their stand.

I go wandering around; no other workers at any of the dozens of other stands I approach feel the need to make any strange comments to me or about me. Nobody else had the previous day either. I buy my food at one of these other stands with a polite normal seller.

After considering it for a day, I email the festival organizers about it, who in turn put me in touch with the business owner of that food stand. She seems to be a nice lady; I speak to her on the phone and relay everything I experienced with her crew both days, including mentioning the stand’s perpetual lack of customers (maybe coincidental, but I highly suspect not…). ‘course I don’t know if she’ll really do anything, but I feel it was worth trying.)

The Walking Dead Social Constructs

, , , , , | Friendly | August 26, 2018

(I have a table at a local festival where I am selling copies of the books I wrote. A male customer, probably between 45 and 50 years old, comes to my table. He asks how it’s going — the usual — and then picks up my newest book about a zombie world. I tell him a bit of what it’s about. I’m a girl.)

Customer: “Hmm… I’m just trying to think if a boy would like this.”

Me: *happily* “Of course a boy would like it!”

Customer: “Yeah, but the protagonist is a girl.”

Me: *not quite as nicely as my last answer to him* “So? Boys can read about girls.”

Customer: *shaking his head* “Nah. No they can’t.”

Me: “Why not?”

Customer: “They can’t relate.”

Me: *clearly annoyed at this point* “Of course they can! Girls read books about boys.”

Customer: “Yeah, but that’s different.”

Me: “How? How is that different?”

Customer: *long pause* “Girls are different.”

Me: “No, they’re not. A girl reading a book about a boy is the same as a boy reading a book about a girl.”

Customer: *still shaking his head* “No, I don’t think so.”

Me: “Why can a girl read a book about a boy, but a boy can’t read a book about a girl?”

Customer: “Well, my son is 17… and he likes to read… I don’t have any cash on me, though.”

Me: *smiling* “That’s okay; I take credit cards, too.”

Customer: “Oh…”

(He buys it, I think only because he realizes he is being a moron and feels bad for clearly offending me.)

Me: “Do you want a receipt emailed or texted to you?”

Customer: *rudely* “No, then I’ll have to give you my information.”

Me: “Okay, you don’t have to get one; I was just giving you the option.”

(It was so hard for me not to sign the book, “I hope you like it even though it’s about a GIRL!” But I was also giving away chapter samplers for my next book, and was able to finish the transaction off with, “Oh, and here’s a free chapter sampler for my book that’s coming out next year. Your son will definitely like it because it has girl AND boy protagonists.”)

They’re A Crafty Bunch

, , , , | Friendly | August 16, 2018

Friend #1: “I didn’t know there were this many white people in Durban!”

Me: “We’re at a craft beer festival.”

Friend #2: “It’s, like, their habitat.”

He’s Going Down

, , , , | Friendly | July 6, 2018

(I’m at a local festival with a coworker, but I barely know anyone and I am not that good at making contacts. My coworker spots a guy she knows and introduces me to him.)

Coworker: “[My Name], this is [Guy].”

Me: “Hi. We’re coworkers.”

Guy: “Oh, really?”

Me: “For now at least. I have a degree, but it’s tough to find a decent job nowadays.”

Guy: “What kind of degree?”

Me: “History.”

Guy: “Then you should have known.”

Me: *surprised by this sudden harshness* “Oh?”

Guy: “Yeah, the statistics, you know…”

(Not a good start. After that it doesn’t get better. The guy tells me he is a software developer, and from that goes to politics. According to him, the government is stealing money through taxes. He also thinks local governments should be abolished since they “never did anything for him.” But the last straw is when the discussion moves to the subject of useful science.)

Me: “Well, it depends on what you call ‘useful.’ I mean, take Darwin for instance. He is always praised for the evolution theory. And no matter how interesting or even right it is, what’s the use in daily life?”

Guy: “It teaches us that one person has better genes than the other.”

Me: “Uh… What?”

Guy: “Yeah. I mean, think of an entire society full of Down Syndrome people; we wouldn’t want that, right?”

(Lucky, my coworker noticed me getting uncomfortable and saved me from the conversation. Turned out she didn’t really like him, either.)

Poke The Dog And Wake Up The Pitbull

, , , , , , | Friendly | March 20, 2018

(I am attending an annual street festival. It is dog-friendly, so I have brought my dog along. My dog is a Boston Terrier, a type of dog that has bulbous eyes. I’m sitting on the curb finishing a hot dog when I notice that a child near me has started to try to poke my dog in the face with a stick.)

Me: “Hey, sweetie, don’t do that. You could really hurt my dog.”

(The kid says nothing and gives me a funny look, but puts the stick down and turns away from me and my dog, so I think it’s over. About a minute later, the little jerk picks the stick back up and jabs my dog right in the forehead.)

Me: “Hey, kid! Stop doing that to my dog!”

(The kid looks me right in the eyes and then positions the stick to jab my dog again. I grab the stick and wrestle it away from the kid. The kid’s inattentive mother runs over from the other side of the street.)

Mother: *yelling* “What are you doing!?”

(For a few seconds, I think she is yelling at her kid. She, however, stomps right in front of me and continues yelling.)

Mother: “Don’t you dare tell my child what to do! You have no right to tell my child anything! You stay away from my kid!”

Me: *trying to stay calm* “Your child could have seriously hurt my dog. I was just—”

Mother: *cuts me off and keeps screaming* “Then you come get me!”

(I am seriously at the end of my rope now, and we have already gained an audience, so I decide that going to this woman’s level is the only way to solve this.)

Me: *yelling as loud as I can* “SHUT UP!”

(The woman surprisingly does, and recoils slightly.)

Me: *still yelling* “How the f*** am I supposed to go get you when you are all the way on the other side of the street, doing God knows what, when your stinking brat is trying to hurt my dog?! How the f*** am I supposed to know who his mother is? You think I’m going to just sit here and wait for you to show up and learn how to be a parent? Also, if you can’t even pay attention enough to make sure your kid isn’t poking animals in the eye with sticks, are you going to even notice if someone tries to kidnap him? Why don’t you watch your f****** kid, and do the world a favour and don’t procreate again?!”

Inattentive Mother: *spluttering* “Don’t you swear in front of my child. I’ll go get one of the police officers and—”

Me: “You think they haven’t heard us yet, lady? Look! They’re already watching! I’m done for the day, so I don’t care if they kick me out. How do you think they’re going to react to the fact that your kid is trying to injure animals? I have witnesses!”

(The mother’s face had gone bright red by then. She grabbed her kid and started to drag him away. The kid then started screaming that he “wanted to play with the doggy.” I just got up, threw away my hot dog wrapper, and walked my dog home.)

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