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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Friendly fire

Posted By on Tue, Jan 23, 2018 at 9:31 AM

I know that I obviously had no control over the situation, and I have no business feeling upset over this, but it irked me in a way and I freeze when confronted as I am in no way a confrontational person. I would sooner eat a meal I didn't order then speak up and say "this is wrong, take it back" and that is a fault of mine for me to work on myself.

I had an individual approach me today at my place of employment, and based on the body language and several facial cues they were clearly agitated. Not really sure what to expect, I attempted to mentally prepare, as I have had it happen in the past that someone upset with an experience at the counter service has used me as an outlet to express dissatisfaction.

This time was a bit different, I guess I should preface this with the fact that this establishment has three bathrooms. These three washrooms have three different signs, one above each. These signs are very obviously bought separately and are extremely dated as they are not uniform in the slightest and have changed in hue over the years.

One of the signs includes what can be assumed is a male, female, and baby that is over the largest of the bathrooms with the changing table. The other one with the urinal has what can be assumed is a male stick figure, and the final bathroom simply has a sign that says “staff.” With that context you can probably assume what comes next, as realistically these signs are of archaic design clearly dated and mounted long before any real social awareness.

This individual has decided today that I am going to be subjected to a very aggressive, condescending and confrontational lesson in social standards regarding sexuality and gender equality. This individual proceeded to spend the next few minutes telling me all the things wrong with the setup and how offensive and insensitive it was all while maintaining a tone that indicated I in fact was responsible. This human spoke to me as if this "job" that I work only to pay bills and live was a direct indicator of my values as a human. Needless to say I was hurt (although that is on me as ultimately I control the way I feel and react) but not only did I find the tone and approach to be disrespectful, it lacked the tack and was frankly tastelessly delivered to me. So to that individual I would like to say something.

This place is my job, the level of control I have as a minimum wage employee is nonexistent, the ideals and presentation of this workplace is not a direct indicator of my beliefs or values. For you to treat me so poorly in the name of "I wanted to make you aware " I want you to know you are not spreading awareness, you are perpetuating a stereotype about social justice movement being aggressive and overly-sensitive, you are continuing a pattern of counter productive confrontation.

Next time you feel the need to "draw awareness" I suggest you be careful of the tone and delivery you use, because while I made sure to make the appropriate changes to the situation you so unpleasantly made me aware of, not all humans have the emotional maturity to handle that kind of agitated lesson, and you may find yourself doing more harm then good in the future.

I appreciate you and your dedication to spreading awareness, you are clearly a very progressive and understanding and open human with a passion for change, but I implore you to check your emotions at the door for the sake of our cause in the future. Anger only brings more anger, and the movement as a whole is built on a foundation of love, understanding and awareness. I personally fully support and endorse your cause as a whole, I appreciate what you are doing and am glad more people are willing to speak out and are brave enough call attention to the things that need so desperately to be addressed and understood. As subtle as some of these things may seem, the fact is they impact and create difficulty in lives and we as a humans have a responsibility to both empathize and help improve the world around us and not just ignore or be careless because "it's not a big deal.” —Rattled

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