Thursday, March 8, 2012

Office Talk: What's the meanest thing anyone's ever said to you at work?

When I was 17, I worked weekends (the only days my parents would let me) as a Starbucks barista. This was before there was a Starbucks on every street corner, and the one I worked at would get really busy because it was across the street from the mall and stayed open until midnight (now its open 24 hours!) One of the best parts was that I got to work with my cousin Nathalie who was also a barista. We invented secret code names to use for when cute boys would walk in, and we'd experiment with making our own fancy drinks behind the bar.

Of course, it wasn't all fun, and I remember once waking up at 3:30 in the morning for the 4:15 opening shift. It was during one of these painfully early mornings that I had a run in with a disagreeable customer. We were short-staffed, the line was out the door, and it felt like I couldn't ring people up fast enough. I was already feeling frazzled from all the death stares everyone in line was giving me, when this man left his spot in line, walked up to my register, and looked me square in the eyes. In a thick, angry accent he said, "You are the definition of slow." He genuinely sounded disgusted with me, and at 17, I felt shocked and wildly offended. Now, ten working years later, I look back on that and I laugh because:

1) talk about a brash thing to say to someone! can you imagine going around whenever you felt upset and calling people the definition of non-flattering things?
2) I wonder if I'm ever that crazy before my morning cup?

All these years later, and it still takes the cake for the meanest thing anyone's ever said to me while I've been at work. Do you have any memorable quotes of things you can't believe people have said to you?

(Images by Jill Greenberg)


~Rachael~ said...

I came to work one time and found that somebody had written "FAT" on my time card above my name. I knew it was a female coworker who was notorious for spreading rumors and causing drama at work, but I never spoke up because 1) I knew I wouldn't be able to prove it was her, 2) I didn't want to create a dialogue among my coworkers about my weight, and 3) why give her the satisfaction of knowing it bothered me? I scribbled over it and went on with my day. It stung, but eventually I realized that her opinion of me mattered about as much as her opinion of what brand of shampoo she prefers (i.e. it doesn't).

Single Dating Mommy said...

I worked for an airline and one day we had a huge 24 delay and had to put passengers in hotels. These passengers, rightfully so, we very angry with the situation, but one took it to the next level. While standing in the line for a taxi, he started video taping me on his little video camera...the narration was, "and this is the stupidest person in the WORLD." Everyone around him laughed. I got back to my office, and bawled for a few minutes until I remembered 'stupidest' isn't even a I guess the joke is on his uneducated, mean spirited self!!

Lyndsay said...

When I was 16 I spent the summer working at a bakery. I was just 5 months post-chemo and had very, very short hair. An older couple came into the bakery, I served them, and as they were walking out the husband said - "you're a very nice young man". And so the wife said "that's not a young man, that's a GIRL". And then the husband said "what? no! really?!" and the two of them went back and forth while I stood there bewildered and humiliated.

Sobrina Tung said...

Oh my! What is wrong with some people?! I always tell myself that people who would say and do such things aren't worth the trouble of getting worked up over (though, admittedly, a lot of the time that's easier said than done!)

Thank you for sharing your stories with me <3

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