I just received a hair-raising tale from Melpomene about a coworker who was called faggot by a custy.
I can't tell you how many times at how many jobs in my life I've been called faggot. I didn't have the retail balls to key the car that said that to me when I worked at the Drive-In or do something bad to the food for some asshole in the Long John Silvers Drive-thru - (little known fact: I worked there for several months in high school and hated every minute!) I went on to movie theaters next and they were a lot of fun but the angry-custy-fag calling came with it. And even when I got to all the department stores I was called fag so many times I don't have enough fingers or toes to count them all. It wasn't unusual to be called that within seconds at The Big Fancy if I happen to be refusing a known Nasty Ass Thief! I'm sure Queer Geek can relate! And any other gay man that has worked in a department store. Or served food at a restaurant. Or cashiered in grocery store. Or took calls at a Call Center. The list goes on.
In my new book Return To The Big Fancy - the sequel to Retail Hell - there is a chapter called Night of a Thousand N.A.T.s and it takes place days before Halloween. Unfortunately for me, Halloween comes early one Friday night at The Big Fancy as my coworker Jeremy (a Ryan Seacrest/Mario Lopez metrosexual type everyone thinks is gay) and I are swarmed by one NAT after another. Towards the end of the nasty infestation comes an extremely ugly homophobic scene with quite a mouthy NAT. While written in my snarky satirical way, there is nothing funny about about the entitlement, verbal abuse and bullying from any of those custys. They treated me like a subhuman and I, nor anyone else that works in service, should have to be subjected to that by ANYONE. I had a friend who was attacked while working in a high end department store in the middle of the afternoon. She was groped and fondled and pinned against racks by a drunk. Thank God for cameras or the douchebag would have gotten away with it and the store acted horribly when it happened.
And the sad part of all this abuse that SO MANY OF YOU have experienced yourselves and written about it here on RHU, is that it's happening more and more frequently. While I will be talking about this a lot in the coming months in relation to Return to The Big Fancy, a solution I will always be an advocate of is speaking up. If you don't want to approach Crazy Custy Bitch with a cannibalistic look in her eyes, talk to management after it's over. Don't ever assume while you are walking out the door that the person you just saw get shit all over by some horrible custy will not get fired or reprimanded when they didn't deserve it. Go to the Store Manager, Corporation, or Owner and let them know what really happened.
As in the story you are about to read, I had many good custys come to my aid when I was being abused by a customer. So here is the story about the Fitting Room attendant named Favorite. When I read it, it hit me where I lived. And the part about having to be apologetic for tone and actually continue helping someone who was verbally abusive to me was all too real.
"Can you stay in here for a minute?"
As soon as my favorite fitting room worker murmured that when I went to check on them, I knew something must have happened and he was expecting worse.
So of course, I agreed to stay.
The next I hear is him saying "There is a queue, I'm going to have to ask you to wait", so I decided to move closer to the desk to support him, but before I can get rid of the armful of folded jeans I'm holding, I hear him again:
"Will you WAIT? I told you there's a queue!"
Now Favorite doesn't lose his temper often, he's a very polite and soft spoken guy, and he's always professional. For him to snap that at a customer means something.
So I instantly drop the jeans (everywhere) and go out to tell him to get off the floor and calm down. Too late. He's upset Bitch, and she kicks off. Shouting and swearing 'how dare you speak to me like that', screaming she'll have him fired, and telling everyone within a 30mile radius that if he was one of her kids she'd have thumped him.
Obviously past the point of no return, Favorite calmly said "Go on then" before I managed to push him out of the fitting rooms, through the throng of people waiting to get in, and call to another staff member to get onto the desk while I also tried to help a couple of customers.
Bitch stormed off screaming about how she was going to get a manager and have Favorite fired (apparently I'm not a good enough choice to bitch at). I started to go after Favorite, but a couple of other customers grabbed me first.
They went on to tell me that on the way in to the fitting rooms Bitch and her daughter were pushing and shoving everyone, trying to barge past Favorite, and yelling that they "shouldn't have to fucking wait in fucking line" (I'm sorry, at what point did Primevil become a hot celebrity spot? It's cheap high street, and everyone shopping there is equal to everyone else there). In addition to generally being entitled, arrogant and aggressive bitches, I was informed that these two skanks, having twatted around and refused to take the fitting room tag (upon which point Favorite, somewhat exasperated, apparently told them to "just take the tag, and go in"), both shoved past him making bitchy comments. I am not sure if Favorite heard what the other customers heard, but I think it unlikely that he'd miss it as they barged past him.
When I was told what was said I was so angry I was shaking with rage, and nearly sick.
"How dare he tell us what to do? Fucking faggot."
Unfortunately, by the time I found Bitch and the manager she was complaining to, Favorite was apologizing to her for having snapped at her. He chose his words very carefully, apologizing for the fact that she was offended by the way he snapped at her (he's a much stronger person than I am).
I did let the manager know exactly what I'd been told, and she's not taking it any further. We both let Favorite know we felt he was in the right, and I have told him if Bitch ever comes in the store again, he should leave the floor and call myself and security. I will make sure she is removed from the store.
So, all in all an eventful five minutes. A homophobic bitch threatened and verbally abused one of my staff (having jumped to the misconception that he's gay), and he ended up apologizing to her.
There is so much wrong with that.