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July 22, 2024

just another political shift

By Paul Tanner

just another political shift

he wants to take her out.
he wants to show her a good time.
he thinks she's bleedin gorgeous
and that she needs an older man to show her her worth.

I know all this because he says so.
he says it all at great volume,
while my colleague scans his ale
and microwave meals for one.

sir, she finally says. I'm just here to serve you.
please stop.

he calls her stuck-up.
he doesn't know what she's got to be so stuck-up about,
you know, since she's just a shop worker,
and probably a slag anyway ...
but you know what? he's not spending his money here.
not now.
not after that insult.
not from her.
not from a shop worker slag.
the stuck-up bitch.

when he gets to the doors
I stop him:
if even a "slag" who "just" works in a shop turns you down,
I whisper, leaning in close,
then what's that make you?

and he storms out even redder ...

the manager hears of this.
whether it's a customer or a fellow staff member
who dobs me in, I don't know
but suddenly I'm in her office:
you were heard talking to the customer
about a member of staff in a derogatory fashion, she said.
you were heard agreeing with him.

it was sarcasm, I told her. and I was insulting him.
I had to do something, since no one else was.
why am I getting done, but the customer's not?
you're a woman. how's his behaviour make you feel?

she wrote me up for
and "sexually inappropriate comments in the workplace"
then made me sign it.

as she escorted me back onto the shop floor
she muttered something about
"mansplaining" and "being patronising" and
how she doesn't "have time to be putting out your fires."

are these off the record? I ask. these new criticisms?

so she turned,
opened her office door
and we went
back in there.

Article © Paul Tanner. All rights reserved.
Published on 2022-06-27
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