So, first time posting and all that jazz, so sorry if I can't fully explain the creep factor on this. It just happened Tuesday and I’m still trying to process it.
WARNING: It’s pretty long, sorry.
I'm a cashier at a very small Food Lion, I've been there for 5 years so I've had my experiences with creepy customers and I usually know how to avoid situations with them.
Not this time though, apparently.
So I recently found out back in August I have precancerous cells and so I told a few close coworkers and customers that I trust. This is where I made my mistake.
After customers found out, they'd want to give me hugs and words of encouragement with promises of updates. Around this time two men would start to come in a few times a day for beer. Just beer.
In their work uniforms, but whatever I try not to judge people's personal choices. And the taller one, unknown to me, would apparently stand and stare at me working.
My coworker would tell me this detail later on after the incident. When I would notice him he'd go to the register, talk to me, buy his things and leave.
This would happen for a few weeks, I guess he was warming up to me? I don't know.
Then he came up when one of the customers was asking for an update because I'd been out for nearly a week for vacation.
He asked me what was going on and so I told him a version with very little detail.
He asked to hug me because "that's a lot to deal with for such a young lil' thing" which I was used to people doing this now and truthfully it really made me feel like people actually cared.
So I did without thinking much of it.
So from that point on he'd come in, ask how I am even though he just saw me the day before, insist on a hug and then leave.
It started to give me those creepy vibes, then when he started asking for my phone number so he can get updates more often I was pretty on edge about him.
I would smile and laugh it off saying my boyfriend and I share phones and I don’t think he would like me giving out our number.
It was a straight up lie but usually it was my first response when people would ask for my number.
After that he’d start making the hugs go from like a one armed side hug to making me leave from behind the register for a full hug.
If I refused he’d hold up my line and cause a scene like a grumpy toddler, his loud voice would kick start a migraine which I like to avoid starting as much as possible.
I know, that was stupid of me.
After this incident my older coworker, bless her heart, would insist he come to her register and make me go clean or stock or some busy work.
The only downside is she’s always at the register behind me. So this man would sometimes rub my upper back, and say “bye baby” which freaked me the fluff out.
So I started refusing his hugs no matter how loud or whiny he got, which lead to a lot of migraines and my work started to suffer for it.
My older coworker talked to a manager about what was happening and he talked to the customer.
Situation solved, right? You would think so. I don’t see him for a week or so until this past Tuesday and that’s when he didn’t just cross the line, he took an Olympian leap over the line.
This man, who could be my dad’s or even grandad’s age, forced me into a hug and tried to kiss my face while kind of pulling me from my register.
When I say I freaked out, I freaked the fluff out.
Customers and employees alike heard me scream “GET OFF ME” because I was the only one at the registers and I was terrified that no one would hear me to help me.
As a majority of the store stormed up to the front, this man booked it out the door. We, of course, called the police and all that, and now I’m terrified to hug even my most favorite customers.
Moral of the story: if you’re in customer service, do NOT downplay uncomfortable situations. It can and will get worse. If you are uncomfortable, tell your higher ups.