Sometimes when I’m getting ready for work, I delay going to the bathroom until I get there so I can do it on the clock and waste a couple of minutes before I go to the office.
The other morning, I headed to the bathroom, whistling and thinking about ways to avoid my boss and do as little work as possible.
A quick picture of the restroom: when you open the door, to your left is a little area with two sofas facing each other, and a second left leads to the stalls. The sinks are straight ahead from the door.
So I open the door. The first thing that catches my peripheral vision is some merchandise lying on the sofas. I was about to open my mouth to say something sharp about that and then my eyes moved over to the individual standing between the sofas.
I was confronted by the sight of an elderly woman naked from the waist up, trying on bathing suits.
I said, both instantly appalled and furious, “Excuse me, this is not a fitting room, you can NOT bring merchandise in here and try it on. This is highly inappropriate. You—”
“There wasn’t any fitting room open,” the woman replied, not even hiding her annoyance. She didn’t even look at me, just went about her business like everything was normal.
“Yes, there are fitting rooms open, you need to ask a sales associate where one is! You can’t do this here—”
But she just reiterates that there was no fitting room open and she wasn’t going to walk around looking for one.
The bathroom is probably twenty times further away from the swimsuits than the register where associates were standing around ten feet across the aisle.
I told her if she got dressed, I’d walk her to one. Nope. Wasn’t having it.
I stepped away from her for a minute to do what I came for and thought about what I was going to say to the old woman next. Something about decency and scandalizing children and my human rights.
It probably would have been not much more than a funny incident except that my boss, the store manager, walked in while I was washing my hands. I angrily bugged out my eyes and kept jerking my head in the direction of the old woman until the idiot got the hint and looked over.
She started in on her too until the woman repeated her fitting room line.
Then my boss’s natural fear of bad press kicked in and she started cravenly apologizing and offering a 10% discount for the inconvenience. Yes, friends, that’s all it takes. Strip down and complain and you get a whole 10% off your purchase. (Does not combine with other offers. Would you like to open a store credit card?)
When we left the bathroom, my boss laid into me because she said the old woman saw my dirty look and I was very rude to her and we need to have fitting rooms open and blah blah blah. I didn’t get a chance to say that I had been getting ready for round two with the woman when I was finished going to the bathroom.
Then the manager of the receiving dock walked by heading to the men’s restroom.
Immediately she begins to yell at him, “Why aren’t there fitting rooms open? Customers need to be able to try things on. We just had a woman who couldn’t find a fitting room! Why aren’t they open? What’s wrong with them?”
In my head I’m saying, it’s by your orders that they’re closed because of the covid rules, you moron, the same rooms that have been closed for the last nine months.
The man is completely confused by this drive-by attack and my trying to cut off the store manager to explain that a naked old lady was trying on swimsuits in the bathroom. This guy has no clue which fitting rooms are open or closed because he stays in the underworld all day long to avoid HER. If he were smart, he’d install a commode down there. He’s already got a microwave and a fridge. While she was screaming at him about why they were closed, I took the opportunity to slip away from her.
The moral of the story is that I’m the bad guy because I didn’t want to see some old lady’s saggy tits and give her a discount for showing them to me.
However, I do feel a little horrible now because the woman most likely had dementia and would be mortified if she had been in her right mind. Of course, this wasn’t the line of thinking of my boss, she was more concerned about a customer survey making her look bad. I can’t help but think, though, what if that had been my grandmother and an employee had been so rude to her? I should have been more compassionate.
But then maybe she shouldn’t have copped an attitude with me.