Picture it: NYC, 2011. It’s the beginning of rush hour, and I’m just finishing up a display. A man approaches me and asks me for some Clearasil.
I think this is a normal, run of the mill customer with a normal, run of the mill question.
Y’all, I can’t even begin to explain how not normal this interaction was about to get.
So, I take him to the Clearasil, and he asks me a few more questions about skin care, and I answer them. He tells me that I’m pretty, and smiles at me.
Aww, I think. How nice of him! I say thank you, and ask if there’s anything else I can assist him with.
Y’all, I should have learned my lesson the LAST time I asked that question, but customer service. *side eye emoji*
Anyway. He says no, so I’m assuming we’re done here, and I head back to my center and I start looking for something in my desk. While I’m rummaging through the drawers, I feel…a hand.
It ain’t MY hand.
But it’s a hand.
And…it’s around my waist…
And my back is to the person trying to feel me up on the sales floor…
And I turn around…
And y’all? It was that damned customer I’d just been helping.
Y’all…before I’d realized it, I’d said “What the actual fuck?! Don’t put your hands on me, I don’t know you!”
I don’t normally snap, y’all. I tend to be calm, cool, and collected even in the most ridiculous of moments, but when I tell y’all he almost caught my left and my box cutter? Woo, lawd, have mercy. And I was so loud. Loud enough that one of the assistant managers came running over to see what was going on.
The manager comes around the corner to me standing with my fists balled up looking like I’m about to drag dude all through the store (oh, and please believe I was. Cameras be damned.) and puts two and two together.
“Sir, I spoke to you downstairs about harassing the women in the store. You will NOT come up here and harass my staff!”
I’m still ready to pounce. I hear the manager, but I’m still ready.
“He comes any closer to me, I’m flipping him over the banister,” I say. I really was, too. The manager steps in front of me. Not to shield me, but to protect dude.
Dude: “Well, I just wanted to let the young lady know I was interested…”
Manager: “Out. Now. Before I move out the way.”
I have my box cutter in my hand now. Please move, boss. PLEASE.
The guy finally gets the hint and walks out of the store.
Manager looks at me. I look back.
“You know, if you would have swung at him, you could have been fired.”
I hear everyone’s jaw dropping. Mine did too. And yes, you read that right. Retailers are so worried about being sued, had I swung at him I could have been fired. Honestly, subconsciously, that’s probably why I yelled as opposed to throwing hands. Sigh.
I never saw him again. But that day is when I decided it would be best to keep a box cutter on me at all times.
Safety first. 🙂