Sit back, hold onto your hats and/or wigs. I’m going on another rant.
Let’s start with a story from this morning!
There I was, working at the new cafe (yay!). When in walks a customer.
Cool. I like customers. They are necessary for me to do my job. They usually mean I get to make coffee. I like making coffee.
This customer, however, had visited us the day before, and had been less than pleasant. Nothing I or my coworker could say was good enough for him. He was argumentative, spiteful, and combative from the very beginning.
Today, though, was a new day. I was ready to let go of yesterday and try again. The customer was not.
Instead he made rude comments about the coffee (saying there was “nothing wrong with it, I just didn’t like it”), attempted to insult me, and then dropped this great line: “I like trying new places. I like finding new baristas to verbally abuse.”
To which I responded, “Actually, I’m not okay with that.”
And I’m not.
Here’s the thing about working in customer service: nowhere in the job description do we waive our human rights. Nowhere in our contract do we agree to submit to verbal abuse and harassment.
I have been verbally abused most of my life. In romantic relationships, “friendships”, and by random strangers on the street. This is not a joke to me. I don’t find it funny at all. Especially at my place of work. A place I have to be in order to survive.
Here’s another thing about working in the service industry as a woman. We get harassed ALL THE TIME. It’s not funny. It’s not unexpected. It’s nothing new. Either we smile and are therefore “flirting” and “asking for it” or we are not smiling in which case we get written up for not having a “positive enough attitude”.
I have swallowed so much bullshit over the past three years. I can’t stomach anymore. It is not okay to verbally harass anyone. It is not okay to verbally abuse people in the service industry. My job title does not determine my worth as a human being.
Just because you have more money than me doesn’t mean I’m not worthy of respect.
The fact that I am kind and sweet does not mean I am asking to be harassed. In fact, it is a defense mechanism I developed as a child to avoid being verbally abused. If I was polite and quiet there was the possibility that I would avoid angry outbursts. It didn’t always work, but it worked enough that it became a habit.
I’m sick of it. I’m so sick of it.
DO NOT VERBALLY HARASS PEOPLE. DO NOT VERBALLY HARASS PEOPLE IN THE SERVICE INDUSTRY.
Okay. Thank you.