An Unwanted Encounter

On Saturday, I went grocery shopping with my sister. Sounds uneventful, right?

We decided to go to the local grocery store first, since we needed dairy-free butter (since my sister is Vegan and I have issues with dairy). I went in alone, hoping that no one was putting away stock in the refrigerated aisle. Unfortunately, there was someone restocking the shelves in the butter section, right where I needed to be. The person stocking the shelves also happened to be a person I do everything in my power to avoid when I am in the store. For the full story, please follow the cut.

Before I get into the HIGHLY uncomfortable situation that occurred, I need to provide a bit of history. When I first moved to the area I live in, I spent a lot of time at this grocery store. I went there to escape the extreme amount of depression that my sister was having, and because we constantly were in need of food of some kind. In those days, I used the actual checkouts, rather than self-checkout. One of those first shopping days involved meeting this employee, who just struck me as creepy. He speaks with a creepy Southern accent (I wish there was a better way to describe it, but it escapes me), and the way he talks is in such a way that it makes one (me at least) feel dirty. For the most part, I avoid him, but when I am shopping with my mom or my sister, they sometimes get in his line.

Now, let’s go back to Saturday. I make my way to the butter I need to look at, and do my best to stay out of his way, since he is working. He says something to me, but I didn’t hear him (he speaks in a hushed voice that borders on inappropriate). As I am comparing the volumes of stick butter to that of the tub, he says, “I know you heard me, don’t ignore me.” I look down at him, suddenly aware that this is a bad situation. He asks me how I am/how it’s going, and I politely reply back. After this, he says, “Okay, you can now go back to what you were doing.” I quickly make my decision, and get the hell away.

The whole walk from the butter to self-checkout takes less than a minute, but I felt like he touched me inappropriately.

Maybe I should have said something to someone. This guy seems to be a well-liked person in the store, and it appears that no one else is weirded out by his mannerisms but me. I have had a terrible history with older men making passes at me, I am incredibly shy, and I don’t like receiving attention when it isn’t from people I want to be receiving it from.

When I was eighteen, my mom’s assistant manager (who was engaged) constantly tried to pick me up when I come to have lunch with her or walk home with her from work. It had become so bad that she would tell me whether or not I would be able to walk around the store to wait for her to finish her shift, or wait outside. I also was hit on by a doctor at my first job.

Sorry about this being an essay. And thanks to those of you who actually read this entire post. Was this sexual harassment? Or is this just a misjudgment?


6 thoughts on “An Unwanted Encounter

  1. Vinny Lanni says:

    It’s hard to judge someone without knowing their ins-and-out but at the same time it’s a weird, scary world out there, and it’s hard to trust anyone. I would stop going to that same market all together to avoid the situation

    • Colleen S. says:

      It’s the one where I live, so I can’t avoid it altogether. I also don’t go there as much as I used to, but should I move next year, I would definitely avoid it.

      • Vinny Lanni says:

        Well that would be the sure-fire option to get rid of the problem. But, if you have to deal with it, sometimes, then just ignore him, act like he doesn’t even exist. He doesn’t deserve a response in any form or fashion

      • Colleen S. says:

        That’s what was so weird, usually I can pass by him without getting his attention.

      • Vinny Lanni says:

        I understand. No one should act like that toward someone else. If it gets too much for you then you would have to alert the manager about it. You try to be nice to people, but they just take advantage. I do commend you for not going yelling or going crazy at him

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