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Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood: After Dark

, , , , , , , , | Romantic Working | April 25, 2022

My manager’s manager is a fairly nice guy. He is bald, always wears argyle cardigans, and has a friendly attitude that earned him the nickname Mr. Rogers. He self-identifies as gay, though you wouldn’t know it if you didn’t see him attending a company meeting with his husband and didn’t notice the pictures of him and his husband that his office was bedecked with.

My coworker in my department self-identifies as a lesbian. She also self-identifies as a “riot grrrr” and dyes her hair bright colors. She’s very loud and proud about her identity as a lesbian, and her cubicle is equally bedecked with pictures of her wife, political cartoons about lesbianism and feminism, and office plants. I get along with her pretty well, though sometimes I have to tune her out when she gets upset and starts ranting while she works. I think it mostly she just rants to calm herself down.

Because I’m one of the few people who doesn’t get into arguments with [Coworker], my cubicle is near hers.

One day, I come into work, and [Coworker]’s cubicle is completely empty. I was expecting to work with her on a client together today, so I find this surprising — and upsetting as I need her portion of the work as well as mine.

I manage to reschedule the client so I can actually have time to either find or remake her work, and I go to management to ask what the heck happened.

“Mr. Rogers’” office is also completely sterile and empty. My manager’s title has been changed; he’s been promoted.

I ask him what happened.

It turns out that a janitor walked in on “’Mr. Rogers” performing a sex act on [Coworker] in the office after hours.

Normally, cheating on your spouse — even with a coworker — is not grounds for dismissal, but the fact that the sexual acts occurred on the premise was determined to be cause for immediate removal, as per the “morals” clause of our contracts.

According to my manager, both “Mr. Rogers” and [Coworker] maintained their innocence, insisting that it wasn’t cheating because they were doing it with someone of a different sex than their spouses.

Last I heard, they were both divorced and had found work again in different accounting firms. “Mr. Rogers” sent the whole office a letter when he was hired by his new place, and my coworker emailed me, though no one else. I guess I made an impression on her?

Nobody Has Time To Deal With Your Bigotry

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: smc642 | April 18, 2022

Many years ago, whilst I was at university, I worked in a call centre for a large Australian telco. The call centre I worked at was in an affluent suburb of Sydney. We had another office in Melbourne.

The company I worked for had the reputation of being very forward-thinking. They were happy to hire bright and happy people. They were amazing at recognising “alternative” lifestyles.

A substantial amount of my workmates identified as LGBTQ+. Our Christmas party was the third-biggest event on the Sydney gay calendar, behind Mardi Gras and the Filth Ball.

One graveyard shift, I had the misfortune of taking a call from an extremely irate man. He had already spoken to a couple of other representatives and had terminated both calls.

As soon as I answered his call:

Customer: “I don’t wish to speak to a woman or a [homophobic slur] bloke.”

Me: *In a very perky voice* “Well, sir, that’s all we have here. “

He called me a c*** and terminated the call.

Some Customers Are Great, In A Fashion

, , , , , | Right | April 11, 2022

I work in the women’s clothing section of a department store. It’s a slow midweek afternoon and my department is empty when I get a call.

Customer: “Hello. I was wondering if you could give me some advice about an outfit?”

While the customer is speaking softly with a feminine pitch, the voice sounds masculine to me. I have just been warned by security that morning about men calling the lingerie department to sexually harass the female employees under the guise of “asking advice,” so I’m polite but on my guard.

Me: “Sure. What can I help you with?”

Customer: “Well, I’m going to be performing in a nightclub downtown soon. It’s my first time. I’m so excited! I have a black dress, but I’m not sure what jewelry to wear with it.”

To my delight, what follows is a very pleasant conversation about accessorizing, matching earrings and necklaces, matching jewelry with shoes, how much is too much, etc. As one of those people who kept her Barbies well into her teen years, being asked for fashion advice is my favorite thing ever. The customer thanks me for my time, and after hanging up, I immediately go to my coworkers to brag about my good fortune. As they were also raised on the “Barbie Fashion Designer” game, they are all suitably jealous and share their own stories about customers who were willing to become dress-up dolls.

A manager comes by and listens to our conversation, and her eyes go misty in fond remembrance.

Manager: “I had a customer who had just started her transition. She needed a whole new wardrobe and had no idea what she wanted. Complete blank slate. I got to spend hours putting outfits together for her. She let me pick everything.”

There’s a lot I don’t miss about working in retail, but the rare customers who would make me their fashion guru were the best part of that job.

So Much For Inclusivity

, , , , , , | Friendly | April 8, 2022

I’m in the park and I overhear a heated conversation between two people about people being transgender.

Woman #1: “There’s no official test for it! It doesn’t exist!”

Woman #2: “There were no official tests for oxygen until 1774. By your logic, that would mean there was no such thing as oxygen prior to then!”

Woman #1: “That’s not what I meant!”

Woman #2: “Fine! The test for determining someone’s sexuality is, ‘Who do you find sexually attractive? Men, women, everyone, nobody?’ Right?”

Woman #1: “Well, yes.”

Woman #2: “And that’s perfectly valid, right?”

Woman #1: “Yes.”

Woman #2: “So then the test for being transgender — ‘Are you more comfortable presenting as the gender you were assigned at birth or a different gender to the one you were assigned as?’ — is valid as a test.”

Woman #1: “No!”

Woman #2: “Then it’s not fine for the other one to be decided by one’s own opinion, either!”

Woman #1: “That’s not—”

Woman #2: “You are part of the LGBTQ+ community; you should respect all letters that are included.”

Dirty Kitchen, Dirtier Mouth

, , , , , , | Working | April 1, 2022

We share a kitchen with another company. Many employees on both sides are just terrible, not much more than messy teenagers. Some refuse to wash up after themselves and others “borrow” things without asking. It annoys me so much that I don’t use the kitchen at all. I bring food in that doesn’t need refrigeration and take home the dirty containers.

One morning, the owner brings everyone together. The message is that he’s spoken to the other businesses and they agree: keep it tidy or lose the kitchen.

Nothing changes over the next two weeks, so he gets everyone together again for the same warning. He seems pretty mad, and I get it.

A couple of people seem to take notice. [Coworker #1], who I know is one of the worst, starts mouthing off as soon as the owner leaves.

Coworker #1: “He’s lying; they have to give us a kitchen.”

Coworker #2: “You sure?”

Coworker #1: “It’s the law. I think I would know.”

[Coworker #1] took an online course in law — it was £5 and “only took thirty minutes” — so she believes she is an expert.

Coworker #2: “So, what should we do?”

Coworker #1: “Just ignore him. What does he know? He’s a [gay slur], anyway.”

[Coworker #1] has always been a pretty horrible person, but calling the owner names in front of everyone is a new one.

The next morning, the kitchen is spotless.

Owner: “You may have noticed that the kitchen is clean, and the very astute of you may notice something else. I won’t say any more, but there are repercussions for your actions.”

It took someone to point out that [Coworker #1] wasn’t there anymore for me to realise, undoubtedly for the slur, but it was enough for people to actually start acting like decent people.