harassment

Checking You Out At The Checkout

| Birmingham, England, UK | Harassment

(There are several small, family-owned corner stores around where I live. The nearest is just five minutes away and the staff are very friendly and welcoming when I go in, but it closes around nine pm and I frequently work until nearly midnight. There’s another store that’s open 24 hours just two minutes around the corner but I stopped going there after several uncomfortable experiences with one of the workers. I never reported it because all the workers are the owner’s family.  One late night about a month ago, I needed to pick up something. Peering into the 24 hour store, I didn’t see the worker and decided I had to chance it. I didn’t see him any time I checked for about a month after and thought that maybe something had happened like he’d quit or been fired or was working a different shift. Two nights ago I didn’t check for him before I went in and he was there when I got to the till. For context I am mid-20s but I look younger. He looks between 35 and early 40s.)

Me: *places items on the counter, clearly avoiding looking at him*

Worker: “Oh, hello. I haven’t seen you in a while. I was beginning to think you’d moved away.”

Me: *refusing to engage him*

Worker: “I still think you’re very pretty, you know. And you’re still not married? No boyfriend?”

Me: *still not answering*

Worker: *scanning my items and bagging them* “I still don’t understand why you won’t give me your number. I’m kind of heartbroken. Why won’t you give me your number? I could make you very happy.”

Me: *realising that he isn’t going to take my silence as an answer* “Like I told you last time, I don’t want you to have my number.”

Worker: “But I would be a nice person for you. We would be happy. I was very worried about you. I know you have a phone.”

Me: *give him my card to pay* “I don’t care. I don’t want to give you my number.”

Worker: *as he is processing my payment* I think you are being very silly. We could be very happy together. You should give me your number.

(I see the receipt print and snatch my card off him because I’ve had enough.)

Me: “I don’t want to give you my number. I am not interested in you. I have never been interested in you. I have said no multiple times as politely as I can and if you don’t take ‘no’ as an answer now, why the h*** would you take it as an answer at any other part of our non-existent lives together? You always ask very invasive questions and I always ask you not to. You once tried to hold my items hostage in an attempt to get me to give you my number and you constantly tell me how pretty I look despite me telling you how uncomfortable that makes me feel. You don’t even know my name yet you constantly pass judgement on me for ‘not being married’ and then you promise to ‘save me from the shame if only I’d give you my number.’ You want to know why I haven’t been here in a while? It’s because of you. It’s because I don’t want to deal with you and frankly I’ve had enough. Thank you. I will not be coming back.”

(He looked like a kicked puppy as I took my items and left but I refuse to feel sorry. I don’t even walk past that store any more.)

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