Monday, March 24, 2008

Taking a Stand

Now that Easter has passed, and as we await Ascension Sunday, there is much to be done. Mac and I spent the day in the yard planting flowers and preparing other beds for vegetables. It was exhausting but so elating to watch Mac enjoying his time knee deep in dirt, fertilizer and plants. He seems to feel so much better, and I doubt he can fool me. I believe it is just that we arise so early (never up later than 6:30, we go full tilt till noon). Mac doesn't rest, he just keeps on keeping on. Today though, I had to stop to go to the grocers for things I had neglected to restock for the week ahead. After parking the truck near the front door of the store, I walked in the front door and purposely grabbed one of the smaller grocery buggies, knowing that if I took the large one I would most likely fill it to the brim. I kept the list in my head "butter, chicken stock, eggs, teabags...and sugarfree popsicles." I don't think I got one thing that I didn't have on the list. It must have been a first for me. I pushed the buggy over to the young cashier who had only one other person in line. Someone got in line behind me and began talking to the cashier, who appeared to be around the age of sixteen or seventeen. He kept making advances verbally to her, over my shoulder, in my ear...what are you fixing me for dinner, you fix dinner I'll do dessert lets watch a movie blah blah blah and on and on till I thought "if she doesn't scream, I may." This went on for awhile and she was trying to ring me up and acting more and more uncomfortable with this man's odd banter. It wasn't exactly the words he used, it was the way he used them, not willing to have her do anything but enter into his game. She clearly didn't want to, and I glanced behind me and noticed that he wore the uniform of the store. So, he was a customer (about to purchase a soda) but first of all he was a co-worker who should have known better. All I could think about was my daughters (in-law), my granddaughter, my nieces and great nieces, all these young women (my granddaughter and a few of my nieces are not even in their teens) and what they may have to put up with in the workplace now or in the future. So I said to the young Cashier "I don't know if he's bothering you but he's annoying the hell out of me." She smiled rather nervously at me and finished ringing up my order. I told her I had forgotten something and would park the buggy at the end of her register and be back. I went back and picked up something, I don't even remember what, and when I returned to her register the offensive little man was now gone and as I paid for my item I asked her if the co-worker was her boyfriend. She said no. I asked her if she was familiar with Sexual Harassment laws and told her she didn't have to put up with such nonsense. She told me that while it was embarrassing, it was just "his way" he didn't mean anything by it, really. Uh huh. So I made up my mind that if she couldn't stand up for herself (and at her young age it would have been intimidating I'm sure to make "a thing" of it. But you have to stand up sometimes, you can't let these things get a foothold or they only get worse. I told her I'd like to see the manager, that I wanted to make a complaint about his actions and how he had made ME feel on her behalf. The bagger who was standing there told me he was not in at the time, and I nodded and said okay, and left the store. I was so revolted by what I had witnessed in the store that I found myself trembling as I headed for home. I told Mac about what had occurred and he, being the man I always knew him to be, told me I needed to report it. I have never been so proud of him. I told him I fully intended to and thanked him for his support of my decision. I called the store and left a message for the manager to call me on a matter of importance. Then I called the District Headquarters and filed a formal complaint with them, in detail. A little later on I received a call from someone who said they were the assistant manager. I told him that I was waiting to hear from the manager, that he was the only one with whom I cared to discuss the matter . I may have been wrong, but I believed the voice to be the one that had drifted over my shoulder, into my ear on it's puerile way to the young girl at the cash register. I hope she knows that I am not trying to make trouble for her. I wanted to protect her the only way I knew how...with my actions. No person trying to make a living, or earn their college money should have to put up with that type of behavior in the work place, be it a woman or a man...it can happen to men too, don't kid yourself. It can happen on any job site, but usually there are no witnesses because the harassers learn early to ply their trade in secret. I once heard it said that if you didn't stand for something, you'd fall for anything. So today I climbed on my soapbox. I feel amazingly clean.

40 comments:

Cowgirl said...

Hi Sandi,

And can I say - Yay You! As I read your post I was getting so riled up for the poor girl - years ago when I was quite young my boss's father was guilty of the same type of harrassment but to a much more vulgar level. I was miserable for years with it. Tried talking to the boss but I got the same comment - it's just his way, he doesn't mean anything by it. Got so as I would see him pull up outside so would pick the phone up and have an pretend conversation with an imaginery customer! Would have given anything for someone like you to have intervened! Did you eventually managed to talk the Manager?

LivingTheLife said...

YOU GO!!! Sandi...I love you for this!!...and many other things...but THIS is monumental to me...cos, you see...one day many, many years ago...I was THAT girl...I worked through high school and part of college at a grocery store chain...I often felt the same way this poor girl surely felt, especially when I was in high school...you would be surprised at how many grown men who were customers acted just as incorrigibly!! It was something I felt I couldn't really do much about b/c you know the whole "the customer is always right" b.s. But, I did have a wonderful boss who was much like a father to me...in fact he was great friends with my mom and dad...and if he had EVER heard anyone speak to me or others that way...he would have shown them the door...AND he would have listened to his customers complaint. He would have wanted you to speak up for that girl...so thank you, Sandi...thank you for all the young ladies out there that haven't found their voice, yet!

Now...when I DID find my voice...I didn't stand for any of that...I decided I deserved so much more than that...I learned early how to handle those situations with humor...I tend to handle lots of things w/humor...but it works for me)...but if that didn't work...well, suffice it to say...I let em' know how I felt!

Blessings...sweet lady...Blessings...
Teresa

Sandi McBride said...

You know my dear Cowgirl and Teresa, we've all been that girl, sad to say. Lucky us, who found our voices and now just won't shut up!
Sandi

Jeff B said...

You did the right thing. She probably felt paralized, not knowing what to do. After this she may be willing to stand up for herself next time.

As a father of two young boys I do my best to teach them to respect girls now, women later. Open doors for them, say polite thing...etc.

I was raised this way and hope they learn the lessons as well.

Jeni said...

You RULE, girl! Great post of a really great deed you did there. Hope you speak to the manager -and that the manager comprehends too exactly what you are saying. All too often, management can be just as much of a problem as those who offend on the lower tiers at work.

CatHerder said...

Good for you!!!! My hubby has been a grocery store manager for almost 30 years. You wouldnt believe the stories he tells me. He doesnt put up with anything, and its people like you that make his job easier, because he cant be the ears and eyes over 250 employees at the same time. Kudos to you!

Lee said...

Good for you, Sandi! That poor girl probably didn't know how to deal with that kind of thing and if the nuisance man really was the assistant manager he was clearly abusing his position. I'd like to hear a follow up report if and when you talk to the real manager of that store.

Thanks for nominating me for POTD at David's. You're a true friend!

Hugs bunches!
Lee

Sandi McBride said...

Wow, just got off the phone with the store Manager who says he sent a storewide message out to HR and the whole store is going to have to go back to "Store Policy" training...I am so glad to hear that, but managers need to be more aware of how their employees are treated by simply opening their ears and listening! I was told to come in and make my introductions to the Manager as soon as possible...you can bet I'll be doing that...
Sandi

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Sandi, I'm so proud of you I could bust. And, not only that, you make me feel as if I could do the very same thing in similar circumstances. Women everywhere put up with way TOO much in the workplace and it really is time for it to STOP. I plan to share your post with the young women in my family. We'll have a lively conversation about it and I'll share what they said with you, too.

Let us know what happens when that manager finally gets through...if s/he doesn't, you'll have to climb back up on that soapbox.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Okay, sometimes I can read; sometimes I can't. Yay for the manager!

You know what else? I'm having a little chat with a certain someone today who thinks it's "cute and friendly" to torment waitresses. We've had the chat before and we'll have it again and things had just better change or else!

Jamie Dawn said...

That lowlife scumbag!
I hope you carried your plan out and talked with the manager. Hopefully, the manager kicks that guy's bohunkus to the curb!
Happy gardening to you and Mac!

Jamie Dawn said...

Oh, I just read your comment update.
Hooray!

smilnsigh said...

Good for you!!!!!!!!!!!!

PAT said...

Good job, Sandi! It always makes me feel good when someone does the right thing. I hope the manager follows through.

Happy gardening! J's surgery is scheduled for late April. He wants to do yard work and other things now, since he will be recuperating at least part of the summer. It's still too chilly here to do much, though.

Pat

Seamus said...

This is such an insidious problem in the workplace. You are so right to stand up and say something - no one should be subjected to such treatment. I would certainly press on with the manager, or district if that gets nowhere. It is such a shame that in todays society that such stupidity remains.
2 thumbs up for you! :)

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

You go girl! And thanks for the update. Thanks for coming by today. I hope to get a new post up later today. So much to see and do. :) Lynn

Bax said...

I am just so happy you took this step, where so many just would walk away! As you said, so many of us have been that girl and this is just so unacceptable. What never ceases to amaze me is that there are men out there who still think this is not only acceptable...but cute and welcome as well! Good for you!

Jan

Dave said...

Good for you... No... Fantastic for you! All too often sexual harrassment goes on in the workplace. People like that girl need people like you.

Thanks for your comment on my blog. One question... What was this nomination for Post of the Day you were speaking about? Just wondering.

Take care! :-)

oldmanlincoln said...

I think this is an excellent post.

Abraham Lincoln in Brookville, Ohio

Pam said...

good for you Sandi!! I use to be like that yound girl behind the counter when I was that age but the older I got, I realize I didn't have to put up with that nonsense. We need more people like you out there.

imac said...

You have a nice and interesting blog.
Thanks for visiting my blog and kind comments.

Mary Isabella said...

AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You did so good!!!!!

Smiles
Mary

For Love of Home said...

Sandi,
I am so proud of you for taking action for this terrible situation. I too was sexually harassed at work, afer reporting it and nothing being done, I complained to a higher person in the company. A year later I was fired for a fabricated reason although I knew it was because I complained that nothing had been done. The Co. was so afraid I was going to sue them, they fired me. We need more people like you out there to stand behind these men and women who are being harassed. For this I thank you!

Katney said...

Way to go! I am prouc of you!

JanaBanana said...

YIPEEEEE GOOD FOR YOU!
When I was only 14 years old I worked at a pizza parlor.. the assitant manager himself rubbed himself up against me as I was bending over putting something away.
Sad to say the only action that was taken when I myself reported it was he was transferred to another pizza parlor location.
And get this.. this man was in his 30's!

JanaBanana said...

Also,
Happy to hear your hubs felt well enough to garden :)

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Yes Sandi! I was harassed as a young employee and didn't know what to do about it. It was in the early 70's and I was about 21. To this day, it still bothers me. I am glad you did what you did!
Penny

CrazyCath said...

Sandi - that is a fantastic stand you made. And kudos to Mac for his response too. I hope the cashier realises what you have done for her.
You ROCK!!

I came over from David's because this was recommended to read - and rightly so! Well done!

Jodie Adams said...

I am proud of you for helping that girl out. There's no telling how long she's dealt with it. I myself have been in that situation several times, but never said anything. Shame on me. Glad to hear Uncle Wally is feeling better. I also wanted to say that's awesome you stuck to your list, that never happens for me!! I posted a few new things and plan on doing a few more this week. Hopefully!! I just love you to death! Talk to you soon. Love, Jodie

Mima said...

Oh Sandi, I am just so brimming with pride for you. Well done for having the courage to stand up to him, horrid man, what a pity they are not going to fire him, but great news that they are all getting training. I wish it had been me - I would love to know that I would have the courage and determination to do exactly what you did! You go girl! I could keep singing your praises for hours, I have just told my carer all about it, and she was really proud of you too!!

Brenda said...

You go girl...i am so proud of you. That is what I have meant many times by lets all take a stand.
Nothing makes me madder than to be in line checking out and some one else in the store playing with the cashier. This is my time! Plus if they make a mistake and charge me double. there is no way to pay attention when someone is carrying on this way.

notperfectdotcom said...

Way to go! Aunt Sandie.
I got all riled up just reading that. You know sometimes, these things start with sexual intimidation and then rape, because she doesn’t stand up for herself to let him know his advances are unwanted. I’m glad someone is looking out for her even though she doesn’t appreciate it. AND if that man happened to BE her Manager…I hope you are able to get his district Supervisor involved.

Susie Q said...

I am so proud of you Sandi. Most all of us have been there...and I will always remember how it felt. I still feel awful that I did nothing but I was a kid. Like most if us, I did not find my *voice* until I was older. Thank you for speaking up FOR this girl. You did an amazing thing. Far too many people stand by and do nothing. Bless you. I hope this girl learned something from this and I hope the staff learns something from
their training renewal.
I am afraid so many more need this...and need it badly! We need more Sandi's out there!

I an so glad to hear Mac is feeling better. I know that helps you to feel better too!
Hugs to you both.

Love,
Sue

The Diva's Thoughts said...

Wow! That was so amazing of you!!! Kudos!!!! I am really glad you decided to stand up for that young girl because you are right, NO ONE should have to put up with that behavior.

Did you ever speak to the manager? What did he/she say?

San said...

Good for you, Sandi. This kind of thing does need to be taken seriously. Here in SF, a young woman was actually raped behind a grocery store. She was an employee who had been verbally harassed like this by another worker, and he was the perpetrator!

Kari & Kijsa said...

Good for you! great post on a very good deed! Have a fabulous day! you go girl!!

blessings,
kari & kijsa

Jeanne said...

Wow girl good for you! it has to be difficult especially for a young girl like that to take a stand against a co-worker. You worry will he lose his job, will you get in trouble yourself for making waves. Having a customer do something takes the matter out of your hands.

Anna said...

Sandi, excellent story, and you go girl, I say, sometimes we have to stand up for others, and you did it. Thanks for sharing, Anna :)

Lib said...

Hi Sandi,
Just wanted to drop by and say Thank You for your prayers durning my down time. I really appreciate it.
I'm proud of you for speaking up for this girl . Hope the problem gets corrected!
Blessins',Lib

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