The Holidays Are Creeping Up On You

, , , , , , | Working | December 22, 2020

I am leaving my job at the local mall at sunset and my male friend is walking me to my car. When he walks ahead to get something from his car, I notice someone standing under the nearby street light. It is a rather scruffy-looking guy and, being a 108-pound female, I don’t want to stay near him very long. I go up to my friend.

Me: “Could you please walk me back to the car? I’m a little scared.”

Friend: “Why?”

I point the guy out. My friend shouts at him to get lost and I get into my car to drive away. The next morning when I come back, I see him STILL THERE UNDER THE SAME STREET LIGHT. He doesn’t look any less threatening in the daylight, either.

Because he is only about forty yards away and staring in my direction, I don’t get out of the car until several more cars have arrived, and even then I take the long way around. My boss is very irritated because Christmas is coming up and we are short-staffed.

Boss: “You’re late. I’ll have to write you up.”

Me: *Explains the story* “Ask [Friend].”

Boss: *Fed up* “I really don’t care right now. Just get to work. Consider this a warning: if you can’t get out of your car and walk an eighty-second walk to the front doors, maybe you should consider employment somewhere else.”

While the creepy guy isn’t there when I leave that night, he is there four days later, staring from across the parking lot. I am not sure if his anger was directed at me this time because there are quite a number of shoppers present, but I don’t dare leave the store on my break.

When that happens, my boss comes up to me and tells me that I need to go and have lunch because I’ll be breaking the rules if I don’t.

Me: “The creepy guy was out there this morning; I’m too scared.”

Boss: *Flippantly* “For goodness’ sake, we have cameras here! It’s a mall! Nothing bad is going to happen. You’re on thin ice right now, [My Name]. Stop making a mountain out of a molehill.”

I had my lunch and came back. When my friend walked me back to my car, the creepy guy was back at the same spot, only a lot closer to my car. When I drove out, he turned his head to look at me as I left. I didn’t see him after that, although I was too paranoid to leave the house that Christmas.

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We Are So Here For Women Supporting Women

, , , , , , , | Friendly | December 16, 2020

I go out to the city to see a live performance of one of my favorite podcasts. I take the train as it is a short walk from the station to the venue and easier than trying to find parking or deal with traffic. It is April, and it gets downright cold by the time the show lets out around 9:00 pm, so I decide to cut through a mall as it will be the same distance but warmer.

I notice a man entering the mall right behind me and I realize after a few minutes that he is staying the same distance behind me and following my roundabout window-shopping route. I am a fairly short woman; most men would have passed me already.

I start to get nervous, so when I walk past the hotel that is attached to the mall, I go up to the hostess in the hotel restaurant.

Me: “I’m being followed. Could I please sit an empty table here for a bit?”

The hostess immediately sat me at a table within her line of sight, brought me soda, and had a waitress come sit with me. The waitress made a big deal about seeing me, greeting me like an old friend, and giving me a big hug.

The man stopped right outside of the hotel lobby and hung around for about twenty minutes before moving on. The hostess called mall security, but he was gone by the time they arrived. 

So I wouldn’t miss my train, now the last train of the night, someone from the hotel desk staff walked me to the station. He was going to wait with me, but when we got there, I ran into friends who just happened by in the city and would be taking the same train. Satisfied I was safe, the hotel staff member left me with them and headed home. 

I am so grateful to the hostess and her coworkers who were willing to do that for me. If it hadn’t been for them, it would have been a much scarier situation than it already was, but thanks to them, I made it home safe and sound.


This story is part of our Best Of December 2020 roundup!

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Give To The Children Or You’ll Have The Devil To Pay

, , , , , | Right | December 16, 2020

I am working at a cookie store in a mall when we are accepting donations for a local charity and giving customers the option to donate $1.00 at checkout. Many people say no, which is fine; it’s none of my business. But it is the people that are exceptionally rude about it that bother me. This is my favorite instance.

Me: “Would you like to donate $1.00 to help children in need?”

Customer: *Visibly annoyed* “No. I wish people would give me a dollar every time my children needed something.”

Me: *Pause* “All right, well, your total comes to $6.66.”

Customer: “You can’t be serious.”

She donated $1.00 after that.

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Milking Those Sales For All They’re Worth

, , , , , | Working | November 6, 2020

I’m shopping at the mall when I’m stopped by a salesperson.

Salesperson: “Hi, would you like to try our health product? There are a lot of amazing benefits…”

He starts his spiel.

Me: “Oh, I’ve seen this product before. I’m allergic to some of the ingredients.”

It’s a powder that can be stirred into your beverage.

The salesperson replies rudely, as though I’m insulting his product.

Salesperson: “Our product is very safe; there’s nothing that can cause an allergy!”

He tries to continue his pushy sales spiel.

Me: “There’s milk. I’m allergic to milk.”

Salesperson: *Rolling his eyes* “Oh, there’s no milk in our product! It’s very safe!”

Me: “Did you check the ingredients?”

He has an advertisement board that is meant to grab the attention of passers-by, but it doesn’t have any details about the product. There are brochures behind him, which he definitely didn’t read if he doesn’t know the ingredients.

Salesperson: “Of course! And there’s no milk in it at all!” *Patronisingly* “Since you’re allergic to milk, you shouldn’t mix it into milk. You can just mix it into any other drink, like plain water.”

Me: “Do you think I’m stupid enough to consume this powder with milk, even though I’m allergic to milk?”

I took one of the brochures and showed him the ingredients, which clearly stated that it contained milk.

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Revisiting Past Glory

, , , , | Right | October 28, 2020

I conduct market research surveys. Basically, we ask mall customers to watch movie commercials and give their opinions. To avoid conflicts of interest, we cannot interview anyone who works for the film industry.

Me: “Do you or anyone in your family work for the movies?”

Guy: “I don’t work for the movies. I star in them.”

Me: “Really? What were you in?”

Guy: “I was in Glory.”

Me: “What a great movie. Who did you play?”

Guy: “There’s a scene at the end where there’s a bunch of soldiers standing at the top of a fort. The camera zooms in on a fat soldier. I’m standing next to him.”

In other words, he was an extra.

Me: “Okay, well, [Coworker] is going to show you a commercial now.”

I go and find my boss.

Me: “I’ll give you ten bucks if you go up to that guy in the sunglasses and say, ‘Didn’t I see you in Glory?’”

She wouldn’t do it.

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