I’m 16 years old and a cashier at a hardware store so we have lots of older men come in. This one man comes in and is chatting with me, he then proceeds to ask if I have a boyfriend. I tell him I just broke things off with my ex and he says “it doesn’t make sense that you’re single cause I was checking you out earlier and wow”. The same day another old man comes in and I help him find some items around the store and he then proceeds to thank me and rub my back. I’ve had so many incidents like this happen and it’s very irritating cause if I say something back they get offended cause they were just “trying to be nice”
I’m an assistant manager in a bank, assisting customers with transactions & account servicing and supervising a team of 10. I can’t count how many times I’ve had a customer, usually male, tells me to smile. I have never, not even once, seen or heard any customer say the same thing to any of my male associates. I’ve also had both male & female customers refuse to speak with me about loans, instead deferring to one of my male associates. Then they are suddenly surprised when an associate calls me over to answer a question or clarify a policy or procedure.
I work in a cafe and there’s a man that comes in known jokingly to me and other staff members as ‘the creepy guy’. He always stares and asks questions, asks us what time we’re finishing work etc. and generally making us feel uncomfortable (I’m 26 but he behaves the same way to my younger 16 year old colleagues – he’s about 50). We sometimes try to get our male colleagues to serve him because he doesn’t act like that around them, but it’s difficult when your main job is to serve all customers. Despite him making us girls/women feel uncomfortable, my manager has told me he’s ‘harmless’ and to just put up with it. It’s left me second-guessing myself, am I the one who’s making a big deal out of nothing? Should I just humour him? It’s also made me very aware as a sales assistant that it is my job to be polite to everyone, but what should I have to put up with in return (including being shouted and sworn at by customers)? I know of a friend who had to leave her job because a customer kept making very sexually aggressive comments towards her, even after she complained to her manager about it. My case is only minor, it’s nothing compared to others, but it makes me feel vulnerable to think that myself and other women working in customer service have little power to speak out against someone’s behaviour.
I was on the bus to work a few months back when an argument erupted between the (female) bus driver and a (female) passenger due to the driver asking the passenger to move her mini-suitcase which was blocking the aisle. The passenger refused and started shouting abuse at the driver, using disgusting language. It got to the point where the driver stopped the bus and asked her to get off but she refused and continued to give a torrent of abuse so the driver called the police. We were waiting for the police to arrive and several passengers started talking to the passenger, asking her to apologise to the driver and saying that they were “just as bad as each other”. Eventually another bus pulled up behind us and as we got onto it the (male) bus driver said “oh she should have just ignored her and got on with her job”. Now I was annoyed as everybody else about the interruption to my journey but I completely supported the actions that the driver took. At the end of the day the driver shouldn’t have to put up with that level of abuse from a passenger while she is simply doing her job. Her colleague should have supported her, not told her to “get on with it”, likewise the other passengers should have been more sympathetic instead of getting annoyed that their journey was delayed. It shocks me how this abuse of a woman simply doing her job was normalised, the other passengers and the male bus driver seemed to think that she should just put up with the abuse and get on with it. I have worked in customer service before, and I would not have put up with that level of abuse. I’m now a criminal prosecutor and know that she had every right to call the police. It makes me wonder what would have happened had the passenger and driver been of different genders? If the abusive passenger had been a man would the same approach have been taken? Similarly if the driver had been a man I reckon the second driver would probably have backed him up, not said he should just “get on with it”.
Trying to sort out a contract issue in store at Vodafone, the agent looks up from the records on his computer and starts talking to my partner. “Dr Simpkin, I can see that you’re having a problem…..” My boyfriend stops him and says, “No, she’s Dr Simpkin”. Eyebrows raised, the attendant continues talking to my partner, “Oh really?! Are you a Doctor too?” “No” says, my partner slinging a sideways apologetic glance my way sensing that my hackles were raised and just about to launch into a public tirade…..Then comes this from our Vodafone friend …”Oh, I bet she doesn’t let you forget that, hey buddy?!!! hahahahaha”. Contract canceled.