Elizabeth’s Story: Bystander shouts down “Smile more”
Last night I did a little bit of grocery shopping. I’m a chubby middle aged lady now, so I’m not as often the target of harassment as I used to be. When I was checking out, there was a young male employee bagging groceries and an attractive young woman cashiering. As I was putting my groceries on the conveyor belt, I couldn’t help but overhear the bagger repeatedly exhorting the cashier that she should, “Smile more,” because she’s “So much prettier when she smiles.” Because, of course, the whole purpose of this young woman being employed by the grocery store is for his personal benefit. Well, that annoyed me a little bit, but it didn’t seem like an appropriate thing for me to interject myself into, so I kept quiet.
But then, the bagger felt the need to comment on some of my groceries in a suggestive way! When he said, “So juicy and delicious” when he was bagging my grapefruit, I initially thought it was an innocent comment because the grapefruit did in fact look particularly juicy and delicious. But then I saw that he was leering at the cashier when he said it. Then he got to my turbinado sugar – the store had only the brand called, “Sugar in the Raw.” So Mr. Poobrain BaggerBoy saw fit to say, “Sugar in the Raaaaaaaw,” in the most suggestive way possible. That was it for me. I pulled myself to my full 5’3″, squared my shoulders, set my jaw, and said something to the effect of, “Hey. You are being a jerk, and the fact that you think your comments are acceptable does not make you less of a jerk. This young lady has not been placed here by divine providence for your amusement, and I am not purchasing these groceries for the benefit of your comments. You had better wise up right here and right now. Now, I will finish bagging my own groceries. Go and reflect on your behavior!”
Ha! He did NOT expect to be called out, let alone scolded and basically given a time out by a customer! Well, I don’t think I changed his behavior permanently – but maybe I had some tiny impact on his future behavior.