Dealing with Creeps

11 August 2015

This is not a how to. This is a cautionary tale, a retelling of a situation that I found myself in, of which I was not prepared for. 

One of my jobs involves me working in a mens and womens clothing store. I work with other staff a lot but I often have hours at the beginning and end of the day, to open and close the store by myself. 
I can honestly say I had never felt unsafe working by myself, my store is inside of a bustling shopping mall, where there are always plenty of people around. 

Today in the late afternoon, things were quieting down in the store. The store was empty and there was less people in the shopping mall overall. Which was common for a weekday nearing the evening. The store I work in, is an odd shape, kind of L. So if you're at each end, you can't see the other end. It's annoying when it comes to watching for theft, it's an annoying store shape in general. 

I started wandering the store, tidying up the racks, as you do. Right around one corner of the store. I came back around to the other corner, where the counter is, to find a man standing in front of the mens jeans shelves. Let's just call him MC, short for "Major Creep". MC Didn't actually look creepy at all, he just looked regular. Black hair, dark tanned skin and a tradies uniform. He was holding a pair of jeans, and he asked me if he could try them on. 

Of course I say, letting MC into the first change room. I went back to pottering around the store, tidying, fixing racks. Generally forgetting that this guy was even in the change room really. I made my way around the store. Before coming back to an area of racks that are kind of in front of the change rooms. The rooms are visible from where the racks were, and I was facing them. Absentmindedly tidying. 

Going over this, there were so many times that I felt unsure, and cautious. But let it go, explaining it away easily, as well as just not judging in general. We get a lot of weird and different customers. But there's a fine line between a bit kooky to downright creepy. 

I was tidying up the rack of accessories in the store, fixing up the beanies. The rack has a mesh that hooks are attached to, so even though I was bobbed down behind it, tidying I could still see through it. I noticed that through the rack I could see the door to the first changeroom open a crack, and that MC was standing right in the crack peering out. You could see his feet as well as his eyes through the small opening. I was immediately creeped out. 

I stepped out from behind the beanie rack, and MC opened the change room door and stuck his head out, waving me and asking if I could get the jeans in another size. I felt a bit uneasy, but also thought the weird watching could be explained by him just wanting another size, and waiting until I was easily flagged. 

He kept talking, I can't remember what about, it was probably just about the jeans. Half his body was behind the door, he stepped further into view and I realised he was not wearing any pants. His shirt was long, and covering any trace of underwear, which I immediately assumed he was still wearing. 
Explaining away the crazy again, It was not completely uncommon, for customers to not be fully clothed when requesting a different size. But never before in an inappropriate manner. 

I went to get the jeans in the size that he requested, I came back and gave them to him. Still waiting, half dressed in the change room with the door cracked open. He started talking to me again, calmly, normally asked me if I could also get him some blue jeans for him to try on as well.

For this conversation I was maintaining 100% eye contact, because well he had no pants on and I was already feeling uncomfortable. But your vision doesn't just block out what you're not looking directly at, you can still see it, you're just less focused on it. 

MC, not breaking eye contact or a sweat, whilst casually asking me to get some blue jeans for him, slowly and nonchalantly raised his fucking shirt and revealed his erect penis to me. I immediately felt my hair stand on end, and chills go down my spine.

I'm pretty sure I mumbled that I would go get the jeans and quickly hurried away. Anyone who thinks that a man, revealing his genitals to a woman without her permission is funny, needs to be punched in the face. As a girl in her early twenties, working alone in a store, having someone suddenly do this is terrifying. I am not to know what his next thoughts and plans are, is he an exhibitionist? Does he just want to flash his penis in my face? Does he plan to grab and sexually assault me next? 

I stood in front of the jeans, looking for blue jeans in his size, at the same time thinking, is that really what I saw? I didn't take a second look, obviously. I wanted to explain it away simply, while I was nervously sweating. They didn't have his size. I walk back around the corner, he's still standing there unmoving, without pants, and I tell him, whilst averting my eyes, rapidly glancing around the place, still unsure what I should do. He says to get him any pair, he doesn't mind. (vomit, vomit everywhere)

I grab some random pair of pants and throw haphazardly throw them in his direction. In the gap of the door open. Even though I was unsure, in regular situations, male or female, they would no longer still have the door open, they would be trying on the pants I had got for them, not waiting and watching. 

I sidled back around in front of the desk, out of view, grabbing my phone and letting myself out the back of the store. Locking the door behind me. I called a male coworker who had finished a bit earlier, in case he was still hanging around the mall, he wasn't, but encouraged me to call security. I unfortunately had to leave the back room to get securities number. I peeked really carefully from the counter to the change room, only glimpsing the fact that the door was still open to the change room. 

I grabbed the number and locked myself out the back again, calling security and voicing my concerns. Security said they were on the way. 

When I opened the door to go back out, MC was standing back in front of the shelves of jeans. Holding the two pairs. I told him that he could put them down, I would fold them later. He said "sorry I didn't have any luck, it's hard to find pants." and then he left. 

I'm sorry this post got so long. Today was quite frightening for me, and I will probably have a nightmare related to it. I had to submit a report with security, and describe MC. Whilst talking to the security guard I spotted MC in the food court and pointed him out. 

The guard walked past him a few times, "making his presence known" quote the guard. MC supposedly hurriedly left the centre soon after. 

And that is the end of the story. The security guard walked me to my car at the end of my shift, as it was dark outside. My first experience in retail dealing with a Major Creep, and hopefully my last. 
Even after going over it I don't know what I would have done differently. Called security earlier maybe. I still don't think I would have said anything to MC. What would he have done if I had called him out on it?? I don't want to know. 

Cya  xx

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  1. yikes. sorry you had to go through this. these people, smh

    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

  2. How scary for you I hope you are doing ok. If you would like to talk about it and how you are feeling now let me know and I will send you my email address. These things are very unpleasant and I know what your going through.

  3. Gah I am glad you are safe. What a scary situation. What I'm wondering is why didn't security arrest him? I think it's a criminal offense (just looked it up for where you are) with a penalty of six months. I wish they could've gotten him so he doesn't do the same thing again. :\

  4. I am so sorry you had to experience this! So scary! Yes, always call security right away if you feel uncomfortable or threatened. He probably felt you had called and that's when he hurried up and got out of there. What a creep! I'm glad nothing else happened! At least they have a description and can watch for him in that mall.

  5. Wow, I am glad that nothing bad happened to you. I agree with the comment above me, that dude should have been arrested by security. That was considered sexual harassment. I am so sorry that you had to go through that horrible experience.

  6. Oh my god. Just... oh my god. What is wrong with people like... ugh. I think you handled it brilliantly, though. You thought about keeping yourself safe first and did what you could in the moment. You should feel proud of how you handled it :)

  7. This seriously gave me the chills. I am so glad you're alright, Tegan. I read a post on a fellow blogger's blog a few days ago and it involved catcalling, violating a female psychologically, basically. This one seems to be in the same veins, but an actual encounter with a creep; that is terrifying. I can't explain my thoughts coherently right now, but gah, just so relieved you're alright, really. Also, L shaped stores can go to hell lol

    May | THE MAYDEN

  8. God that's terrifying, sorry to hear you had to put up with that. You dealt with it really well.

  9. I am so sorry that you had to deal with such a disgusting man, and alone too! But well done on how you dealt with the situation.

    So glad to hear you are okay. That's the one thing I loathe about working with the public in any shape or form - the absolute creeps that come with it.

    Meg | A Little Twist Of…

  10. Wow. I'm sorry you experienced that. It's unnerving to hear that even in a casual shop or working environment that people are made to feel unsafe. I'm glad you shared this story as it makes people more aware and I think that calling for security or anyone is a great tip as well as getting someone to walk you to your car.

    Kathryn |

  11. That's horrible, and so inappropriate in every way! Especially targeting a girl working alone, he put you in a potentially horrible position. That's actually a sexual offence btw, exposing himself could land him in jail, so he might want to rethink his behaviour. Hope you're ok!

    Lucy x- Yellowicing

  12. Oh my god, this is such an awful experience and I'm so sorry to hear that you were in that situation, it must have been so scary. It's truly disgusting how many (lbr, most) men treat women like objects purely for their sexual gratification.

    Tessa at Bramble & Thorn

  13. This is absolutely terrifying and I am so sorry that you had to experience this. I think there should be some policy that there always has to be at least two employees in a store to prevent this kind of situation where you are left there having to deal with the situation alone. To say you were lucky is wrong because what you experiences IS traumatic and PLAIN WRONG, but it could have been so much worse. Please make sure you tell your boss!

    Rae | Love from Berlin

  14. OMG,this gave me chills,this is terrible.It must've been terrifying experince!!

  15. Ugh that sounds horrible and I'm sorry you had to experience that! x

  16. That was an awful experience!
    drop by this outfit post:

  17. That is so awful that you had to experience that. Some people just have no logical thoughts as to what is approporiate. Drop me a Facebook message if you need to chat xx

  18. I'm so sorry you had this experience, it honestly makes me so fucking angry that men think that they're entitled to treat women this way and that in his head he clearly considers that to be an okay thing to do? It's completely wrong and violating and I wish security had done something once they saw who he was. I'm not sure what they could have done but it's so, so wrong for you to be made to feel scared and unsafe in general at any time, and especially when you're at work, just because you're a woman.

    It's scary being in those sorts of situations, hell it's intimidating enough when a man catcalls you from a car or says something inappropriate to you when you're walking past each other in the street, let alone when you're at work and he actually takes his clothes off in front of you. It's such a threatening, disgusting thing to do and as much as I hope he never does that to anyone else ever again, I'm sure he probably will but I hope he gets caught for it and faces the consequences.

    1. Preach. You said it perfectly. I hope he gets caught also. xx


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