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Why We Wish We Could Say How We Really Feel

, , , | Right | July 20, 2021

I volunteer at a charity shop on weekends. I have autism, so ordinarily, I’m not put on the checkout because I don’t do well with social interactions. The manager, however, has had to take a call so I’m required to fill in.

Customer: “I want a discount on this book because it’s second-hand.”

Me: “We are a second-hand bookstore.”

Customer: “Yes?”

Me: “You will have to wait as only the manager can authorise discounts.”

She decides to berate me, the store, and the charity as a whole for a minute or so. She eventually realises that I haven’t said anything the entire time.

Customer: “Hey! Are you even listening?”

Me: “Yes, I am.”

Customer: “Then why haven’t you said anything?”

Me: “You haven’t said anything worth replying to.”

I realised immediately from her face that this was very much the wrong thing to say. My anxiety kicked in and I switched to autopilot. I turned around and headed straight into the back room. I was now in panic mode which meant I went semi-catatonic. The manager knows about this and to just leave me alone, so after his call ended, he gave me a pat on the shoulder and went back to the checkout.

After my panic was over, I headed back to the checkout to deal with the repercussions. The manager was laughing with another volunteer who happened to arrive while the customer was shouting at me. She had already explained what had happened and that after the customer stood there with their jaw dropped, she blushed quite strongly and ran out of the store.

I then learned that the customer used to volunteer at the store but had to be let go, along with others, after the register was repeatedly missing between £50-100 on days they volunteered.

This was apparently her way of getting revenge for being let go: complaining and demanding discounts from anyone who was working the register.

Despite the manager finding my behaviour funny, which I now agree with, he agreed to not put me on the checkout from now on and ensures there is always another volunteer in with us so it doesn’t happen again.

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