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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Local Woman Tells Off Teen, Has Nervous Walk Back to Office

Despite the cocksure-ed-ness of my writing style, I, in true Midwestern fashion, do not care for confrontation.

This is not to say that I don’t have ideas about things or situations that would, say, in larger cities, cause multiple people to jump into a verbal fray, it’s just that we Minnesotans, in particular, are loathe to cause a scene.

We will, of course, purse our lips in disagreement with you, but that really only seems to work on other Minnesotans.

So it is with a mixture of pride and confusion that I tell you that I recently had a confrontation.

Having recently lost my appetite and then told “go find something you used to like and eat it whether you want to or not”, I found my way over to a food court where they sell braised meat on sticks. I got into a long line. Eventually, of course, I was next – only to have a rather large and thuggishly dressed teenager push her way ahead of me.

“I was next,” I said.

She ignored me.

I looked at the cashier, who shrugged.

“Excuse me,” I said, tapping the girl on the shoulder. “I said I was next.”

She turned around. “Uh-uh,” she sneered. “I was over there looking at the menu and I’m next.”

“So you say,” I said. “But the line’s not over there, it’s over here. I’m next.”

She put her hands on her hips. She was almost a full foot taller than me and easily out-weighed me, although it did appear that the clothes she had stuffed herself into were my size.

“I SAID,” she shouted, staring down at me, her neck weaving from side to side, “that I was over there, looking at the menu and I’M NEXT!”

I stared back, and for just a moment, is it possible that I actually saw red? “I see,” I said in a quiet voice. “Well that just makes it so much more interesting, doesn’t it?”

I broke eye contact, stepped off to one side and told the cashier, “I’ll have a beef kabob.”

I then turned around to the person that had been behind me in line for the last 10 minutes. “I wouldn’t let her in if I were you. She’s uncivilized.”

And I refused to look back at her. She’ll get nothing from me but the back of my head.

And I walked, shaking, to where I picked up my kabob, and walked, shaking, back to the office. I never turned around but awaited the blow that was surely coming.

It did not come, and I am no longer shaking.

Like the bus drivers who no longer tell people to “sit down”, “shut up”, or “stop that” for fear of reprisal, it seems that cashiers are powerless over the public as well.

Who are the champions of civility? Where have our manners gone? And can anyone tell me if I’m being followed by a large teenage girl?

30 comments:

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

I'd be shaking. Actually I probably would said whatever and let her in (all the while seething because I didn't stand up and say something.)

I just don't do confrontation. Well, unless it's my kids. Then I have no problem telling them to get in line!

Charlotte Ann said...

I can see the headlines now "woman stabbed in heart by teen with a meat on a stick; arguing over who's next"
Please Pearl, we don't want to lose you over meat on a stick; find a drive thru.

Golden To Silver Val said...

Good for you!! I am so proud of you. I do the same thing and have done it several times so I know how you felt....but my anger over it all made me brave. These animals are so used to getting their own way through intimidation that its a way of life for them. It works for them so they continue to do it. If more people would stand up FOR THEIR OWN RIGHTS, then these animals would have to learn how to get along instead of stepping all over others to fulfill their own selfish wants. You deserve a big ATTA GIRL!

Chantel said...

I am totally with Golden To Silver Val on this one! Now, I generally have a bit of an edge as I'm six feet tall--but I absolutely REFUSE to give in to crap like that. Someone has to put their foot down--and you did it in the most refined and yet determined way. I would have applauded if I'd been there! Pearl, you totally rock.

Ruthibelle said...

*cheers* Whoo-hoo, well you showed her!! Sounds to me like you were in the clear, and she was being rude. Rude is unacceptable. So kudos to you for teaching her that.

Nuke Girl said...

This is the way civility and manners win the day... one confrontation at a time. Good for you, Pearl! I'm as proud as if I'd been standing in line behind you! :P

Ms Sparrow said...

Wow, I'm so proud of you! I'm really glad that worked out for you. I've had this problem all my life as I'm a non-descript, over-weight older woman. Anytime I'm in a "concession-stand" setting. someone will invariably crowd in front of me. It's usually a teen or a guy. Once at Home Depot, while waiting to ask a question at a service desk, they waited on every male in sight before they helped me. I fixed them, however, I don't go to Home Depot anymore. (Minnesota revenge!)

Linda said...

I am proud of you. My Swedish genes disapprove of public demonstrations of any type of emotion, but sometimes, it just has to be done! I would have been shaking too.

cyclopseven said...

Dunno where the world is heading to. It happens everywhere, all around the world. If you can't bite, or choose not to bite, you can at least hiss!. You handled the situation well. Values are secondary nowadays..good things are thinning away.

powdergirl said...

I might occasionally be what you'd call 'the confrontational type', I have moods in which absolutely no one is safe from getting a good tune-up. I've left a few of those shaking too : )

I'm kind of appalled at how people won't speak out against that kind of crap. I see people shrink from telling off a rude teenager all the time, I'm glad you stood up for your self, and I'm disgusted by the shrugging clerk.

Way too much looking the other way going on for my taste.

I'd hope that if one of my Son's was acting like a jerk, someone would take a little piece of their hides for me.

Lip pursing is also very effective in my home province, must be a prairie thing.

Ms Sparrow,
I once completely lost my freaking mind on a Home Depot employee, it was an epic loss of cool on my part, but hey, I'd bet that guy is more careful about how he serves his customers these days : )

Kevin Musgrove said...

Good on you, girl!

ellen abbott said...

that's exactly what we need more of. so good for you. People are rude and pushy because everyone lets them get away with it.

Sweet Cheeks said...

Pearl...look out!

She's standing right behind you....Psyche!

I don't usually purse my lips, but I am rather fond of giving a rude individual the 'pig eye'.
We Idahoans love it.

=]

Fragrant Liar said...

We Texans don't take that shit from our young'ns. Heh. I'm actually from Arizona. But no one in my family tolerates it either. You cut in front of us? We will let you know about it. As petite as I am, I haven't let that stop me, though I should probably not risk life and limb, but in the heat or injustice of the moment, I'm all into it. Still, it will always leave me shaking afterwards. I think it's all the pent-up emotion and fear of reprisals. You just never know when some crazy person will pop a cap in your butt because you looked at her wrong.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I just finished watching this fabulous 'mind play' about you being physically confronted and the camera pans over your brain with all the electricity firing and BOOM...we are back out of your brain and we see you siting on the floor eating from the Kaboob stick part that isn't sticking out of her head.

Anything Fits a Naked Man said...

NICELY done! You are my hero! Seriously, can I have your autograph?!!

Marla said...

Pearl....You are AWESOME!!!!!

Jeanie said...

Whew, I know that feeling of acting from impulse and then being shaky afterward....you did good.
I loved this-“Well that just makes it so much more interesting, doesn’t it?”

SparkleFarkle said...

I avoid eating anything on a stick for a good reason, because wasn't it Forrest Gump's mom who said, "Life is like a box of shish kabobs. You never know what you're gonna get." *scratches head and gets just-hit-in-the-face-with-a-2 x 4 look on face* Cripes, do I ever make sense?

P.S. Good for you for surviving a Food Court.

WrathofDawn said...

You go, girl! As a fellow non-confronter, I hear ya. But sometimes, it's worth the adrenaline overload to stick up for your rights. Especially if you can do it with the class you summoned up.

The Retired One said...

You can TAKE her, Pearl...or, at least....
outRUN her.....

Gadjo Dilo said...

You did well, Pearly. Actually I was that large teenage girl, dressed up for my role in the new motion picture Tranny Teen Trash Take the Twins Cities (director: John Waters).

Roses said...

Good for you.

I think it's important to reinforce good manners. And people like that will continue to think that they can get away with it, until someone stands up to them.

I'm proud of you. Well done.

Jimmy Bastard said...

Good for you doll. I've spent a lifetime taking care of bully-boys, and arrogant, rude, and downright ignorant sacks of shite such as your woman there.

It'll make her think twice next time hopefully.

ladyfi said...

Good for you! People do that over here too, but not quite as aggressively. I usually make a sarcastic comment as they push their way in...

Secretia said...

That's cool, Pearl, but watch yourself, it's not smart to have an aggressor behind you. Next time, do it better.

Secretia

Shieldmaiden96 said...

I was once verbally abused by a GROUP of teenage boys at a mall. I don't mean they said something as I walked by, I mean they were all standing there in front of me and I had to walk around them to get by. I didn't do anything because I suspected that once I started swinging 1) someone would have gone down the escalator stupid end first and 2) it would have taken mall security and possibly half a can of pepper spray to make me stop punching. And since I'm a grownup and they are 'kids' there'd be ramifications. I don't trust teenagers.

Flea said...

WAY. TO. GO. People get away with this crap anymore because we let them. A whole generation learning to be uncivilized. Good for you!

WA said...

I was sort of hoping that this story ended in a swashbuckling kabob fight atop the food court tables. But I enjoyed it nontheless.

Wendi Aarons
www.wendiaarons.com

Tail-Kinker said...

I really hope the lady behind you didn't let her in either, to reinforce the lesson. Hopefully the lady behind you was inspired by what you did and the rude teen looked around, saw that she was outnumbered by civilized, line-waiting people, and did the wise thing and took off.