I work at a glorified dollar store in a relatively rural area, so you see a lot of familiar faces coming in regularly.
Usually they're older folks coming in for big bags of candy or cheap toys to entertain the grandkids for the night, but it's big enough that people can buy groceries and cigarettes.
My first encounter with this guy was when my last managers were still working at this location before transferring.
I was going through the shelves, making sure everything was straightened up when this big guy walks up to me and says, "I can't find my mommy, can you help me find her?"
And he says this with enough seriousness that my dense self actually believed him. I figured maybe this guy had some mental disorder and his mom was taking care of him.
I was standing there confused for a bit, not knowing what to do. My manager, Kelly, turns up and gives him a stern look.
Dude straightens up and just says, "Ah, I was just playing around, you know I respect you ladies."
I just thought it was a weird thing that happened. He came in often enough that I kinda started playing along whenever he played some stunt like that. I thought that was just being friendly.
Well, being inexperienced with guys, I have no clue what flirting actually looks like.
Like I said, I'm dense as hell sometimes to the point I need to be hit over the head that someone's joking.
I don't know if he thought I was flirting or something or what, but in the last couple of weeks, he's escalated to creeper status.
A few days ago, I was stocking the lower shelves hidden behind this 5 Hour Energy drink display. The regular stops by the display and says, "Hey, are you hiding from me?"
I come up with the dumbest joke response I could think of, a very weak, "Um.... sure?"
A melodramatic sigh. "Oh that hurt me, yknow. I thought you were nice but now you're over here being mean."
I start to feel a little bad. "Er, no, I was just kinda... playing around."
"You just a mean little thing when you look so pretty." He walks away and does his shopping.
My now new manager, Anita comes to me when he's out of earshot and whispers, "Don't let him get you into a corner where you can't escape. He's weird."
Now I'm starting to get freaked out. He was coming off as creepy, but the icing on the cake was when he checked out.
He's still going on about how I hurt him, and he goes on, "Here I was going to buy you a Valentine's card and everything."
Whoa. Back the hell up, bro. I don't know his damn name, but I've seen his wife in with him before. What the hell is he thinking?!
He goes on and on, how pretty I am, how he likes my complexion, even turning to the lady in line behind him saying, "Oh she's mean to me and she's so pretty...
" He turns back to me and asks the same way a guy proposes to his girlfriend. "Can I come back in and harass you every day?"
Internally I'm freaking the hell out, but you know the retail world. *The customer's always right.* So I can't tell him to fuck off and shove those Malboros he bought up his ass or anything.
I just kind of give the most neutral reaction and just speak to tell him his total and change.
I was hoping the other customer might step in and tell him to cut it out, but I'm sure she thought it was a joke, too.
He comes in every other day now, keeping up the Casanova crap, but there's nothing any of us can do.
He makes passes at every woman in the store, including my managers, but we can't ban him from the store.
Technically, in the eyes of the law, he isn't actually doing anything other than just making us all uncomfortable.
He's been trying to get me pulled aside these days. Asking me where certain things are and not settling for just directions, he wants me to lead him around the store.
I have a feeling he wants to get me in a narrow aisle and keep laying it on me. I don't know what to do anymore. I'm just scared.
The most I can do is just keep a box cutter on me in case he does try to trap me somewhere. I started having nightmares.
What bothers me is just that I can't do anything about it. Not until it escalates even more. And that's the worst thing. Thanks for listening, I just need that right now.