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Friday, April 12, 2013

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

Despite the cocksure-ed-ness of my writing style, I, in true Minnesota 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 have had a confrontation.

Having recently lost my appetite and then told to “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?


Almost Precious said...

I can't help but wonder just what happened to civility and common courtesy - guess it went down the toilet as each successive generation felt they were more and more entitled. Bravo to you for standing your ground.

Shelly said...

Clap clap clapclapclapclapclap!!!!!!

The Savage said...

Pearl... You're my hero.

Nessa Locke said...

You are truly civilized. I probably would have told her something like, "You're next to get punched in the throat!" But I'm Texan, you know. We don't mind a little ruckus.

Pearl said...

Almost Precious, we do ourselves and our country a disservice when we continue to reward bad behavior. It gets on my nerves!

Shelly, *bows deeply* :-)

The Savage, all I wanted was a kebab!

Cheryl said...

Pearl, I got noivous just reading this post. You were brave but you should watch your back. I would have been tempted to duck in to the bra department of Macy's before heading back to the office.

Pearl said...

Nessa, I've never been in a fight, but I do have a wicked tongue at times. :-)

Pearl said...

Cheryl, oh, believe me. I was worried. I kept wondering, 'what does it feel like to get punched in the back of the head?'

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Oh Pearl, I'm with ya girl. Standing one's ground can seem so...... precarious. Stretching those boundaries is a gut-wrenching thing.

This, sadly and in relation to an earlier post, is an example of where 'correctness' has resulted in tumult. Kids thinking they have more rights than the adults around them and that in turn growing like topsy. You spoke in favour of the innocence of childhood at that time - I agree, we are all born so. But, boy, is the growing up done fast. NB this does NOT equate to maturity. Worst thing is of course many adults behave this way too... So your point about the adults being the cause of the loss of innocence is of course very accurate.

Your post was written with it's usual light touch, but the matter deserved a serious response.

I'm mature, I can deal with a bolshy Minnesotan telling me "Too heavy YAM!" (...and no. she's not there). &~>

Symdaddy said...

Damn it Pearl! I would have put you in a head-lock and marched your ass to the nearest garbage receptacle where, no doubt, you would still be wonderin' what the hell just happened.

That said, I am proud of you and, if you are that way inclined, you can put me in a head-lock any time you please.

Nothing like a dominant woman ... even a nervous one.

mapstew said...


You get extra beer AND a song at the Pon Party! :¬)


Anonymous said...

I wish I had the balls.

savannah said...

well done, sugar! i understand your fear, but the reality is that your exchange with that rude and arrogant "child" was witnessed by everyone in line and also, probably on CCTV! people are stupid, but they also watch the news on tv and KNOW just how many people get busted these days via security cams. BUT, even with my saying that, the little cow was probably so astounded that you didn't cave, she didn't know what to do! xoxoxox

joeh said...

I am with Shelly...standing ovation!!

Perpetua said...

Very well done, Pearl! I too hate confrontation and know how hard it can be to stand up for oneself like this, but we have to do it sometimes or watch our society go to pieces.

I can remember trying to clear some very bolshy lads out of the entrance of the library where I worked and being taunted that I couldn't so much as touch them or they would make a complaint of assault. That was at least 20 years ago and things have become a lot worse since then. Sigh....

Geo. said...

As one whose martial arts training consists of watching a lot of Popeye cartoons as a kid, I too try to avoid confrontations. Doesn't always work, but you handled yourself cautiously and well.

Meeling said...

A woman after my own heart!! Good for you! I will not stand for boorish teens - they make my blood boil!!

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

I am not confrontational either - i totally freeze up and get the shakes you're talking about.
But I'll tell ya what I think with my writing and on my blog. Oh yes. I will.

jenny_o said...

I bow to your quick tongue and steely manner!! My problem is always that it takes at least a day to think of the right thing to say. By then it's waaaaay too late to matter. Also, I blush easily. Not very intimidating, blushing.

Way to go! Joining Shelly and joeh in the standing ovation!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Pearl--You should get the key to your city...be made an honorary mayor...become the queen of the universe.

Bravo! (Please email your address. The eagle has landed---AKA the scarf is done. Do you like fringe or no fringe?)

Kana said...

Oooh, that's scary - I would've let her cutsies. I'd have hated it, hated her, hated myself, but...yeah, too scary! You're so brave, Miss P.

It's weird; I have formed an opinion over time (One of my first over-time ones! Eee! Almost a grownup)that people in America confuse wishing people were better/kinder/cleaner/sensible/more civically-minded, etc, with wishing there was legislation already in place to prevent/punish the unwanted act - the "There Oughtta Be A Law" brigaide.

I too wish people were smarter, or at least more circumspect in their stupidity - but no amount of laws will stop it all entirely, it just makes more people guilty of criminal acts. I'm pretty solid on this opinion so far; but the "Oughtta Be A Law" brigaide seems to have brought up a generation that figures, if there ISN'T a law, that means I can totally do it!

It's a surprising permutation of the original issue, and I'm sad to see you fall victim to a person who has replaced courtesy, patience and empathy with a would-I-be-jailed-for-this line of reasoning.

Some younger humans still know the difference, I promise!

The Geezers said...

I do believe I know that food court. And I think I was further back in line that day. Just so you know, the teenager then followed you and jotted down some personal information about you. Took some pictures, too. Then some even bigger male cohorts came along, and she showed them all her evidence.

It was nice to read you while I had the chance. Because I am a complete coward, on the other hand, I shall be writing for a long, long time to come.

Anonymous said...


Connie said...

Ha! You're much braver than I am. Score one for the good guys! :D

Craver Vii said...

Well, I HAVE been punched in the head, and it's not really that bad, pain-wise. And the few times that I have been forced to fight, the anticipatory fear was much worse than the actual brawl.

It's not that I encourage fighting. I don't. I only hope this information can have enough of a calming effect that you don't spill your coffee. I hate spilled coffee.

Anyoo, I know exactly what that feels like to walk away from someone, wondering when or how their attack will come. I confronted a man who stole from my car, and I jogged up to him saying, "Hey, that's my stuff." He handed it back,and I nervously walked back. It took all my effort to keep looking forward and walking with a confident steadiness.

Good for you! I hope the big gal wearing your size learned that she ought to be more civilized.

Susan Kane said...

You go, girl! And if she manages to find you, offer her a cookie and a glass of g/t. Perhaps that will mellow her.

Anonymous said...

Praise and applause from over here Pearlie Girl.....we should stand up for ourselves more often.

David Macaulay said...

funny Pearl - it is true indeed that cashiers are not the champions of civility..

Molly said...

Well done you, Pearl, that's what I say. She isn't behind you, because the shock to her system is just too much and she's probably licking her wounds in a corner feeling very sorry for herself. PS thank you for visiting my blog.

klahanie said...

Human Pearl,

This would never happen in ever so polite, Britain. No way, folks here form an orderly queue. Yes, a strange word for line-up.

So, the time the old dear barged in front of my human and proceeded to buy twenty scratch cards and scratch them right then and there, was cause for my human to make some sarcastic comment. Can you believe that, Pearl?

You are welcome for this highly collectable comment from Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar! :)

Golden To Silver Val said...

I bow before you and am humbled in your presence for it is an honor to read you. If more of us would stand up to these obnoxious, rude, disgusting excuses for humanity they would cease their offending actions. They are so used to getting their own way by intimidation, it has become their way of life. We have all been victims of these boorish morons at one time or another. Big hugs Pearl....I am so proud of you.

Gigi said...

Wait, I've got to write this down so I'll know what to say next time.

I actually was standing in line last weekend in front of an old(er) lady and when the cashier called "Next!" I headed toward her only to be pushed out of the way by the old(er) lady who told me, angrily that SHE was next! I was so shocked I didn't know what to do. At least her daughter (my age) had the grace to look ashamed.

Al Penwasser said...

For that, and resisting the temptation to say to her, "Hey, that's a nice outfit. Does it come in your size?"

Notes From ABroad said...

I am cheering for you.
I would like to smack that untrained, undomesticated creature and have her mother take her to classes where they train these creatures to live among the rest of us .
The idea that a fat teenager with a big mouth would ever get away with that just a few years ago, shows us how far into the pit we have all fallen. What sort of world are we living in ??
You know, this doesn't happen all over the world .. why should it happen in the US ..
Bless your heart, I am so glad you are ok.

Unknown said...

I see this in Kindergarten. This inflated sense of entitlement, this inferno of higher than thou self esteem. And please and thank you? Pfft...
I once asked a student why she did not respond when I greeted her by name as she walked into the classroom, her response was, "I don't talk to strangers."
Now I'm not speaking for everyone but...
What the hell are we raising?

Lorna said...

Pearl, I understand your wrath and fear, all wrapped up in transparent Saran Wrap. You struck a blow for all of us who have had to deal or not deal with repugnant, thuggish, poorly raised, churlish, carelessly bred teenagers who either believe themselves to be at the top of the food chain or realize that they are not.

I am glad that the girl decided not to come to blows, but I know that if she had, you would have had an interesting post about it! Lorna

Linda said...

About 25 years ago, I was in a movie theater with a very timid friend. Teens were making noise, jumping over the seats, and generally being disruptive. I turned and spoke up, telling them to shut up. They all started being louder and belligerent. About six adults spoke up and said they agreed with me. We heard not one more word from the teens for the rest of the movie.

Yep, I figured I would be knifed leaving, or have someone follow me to the car and kill me. Nothing at all happened, but my friend watched my back.

As long as everyone lives fearful of teens telling Mama, Daddy, or the Law, teens will continue to bully the rest of us.

Good job. However, I can stare down anyone! And, I have a mean stink eye.

Rose L said...

Whoo hooo! (loud whistling) Go girl! YEA!!! Kinda like that movie where the news guy said: I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!
Let those ruffians continue to push and they will start walking over ya!
What happened to the respectful young people. I know there still are good ones out there who open doors for you and give respect.

Elephant's Child said...

Loud and heartfelt applause from me too. And I hope that you DID have an appetite for your lunch.

jeanie said...

Good woman!! You did well.

My mother, a 5'2" blue-eyed blonde who looks like she could be knocked over in a breeze (don't be fooled) has this look she can shoot down her nose at anyone and make them get back into line.

Been practicing it all my life - doesn't ALWAYS work but it sure works with the imaginary kickass conversations in my head!!

Al Penwasser said...

I hear they're pretty bad ass in Minnesota.
Isn't Prince from there?
Well, despite that, I hear they're pretty bad ass in Minnesota.

Unknown said...

You go, girl! I knew you had it in you! It's all that bus riding that has given you the "balls" to stand up for yourself!

Three Hundred Sixty Five said...

Holy crap. I am in awe! I'm proud that you stood up to that bully - because that is exactly what she was doing.