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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Counter service

Today I was working in an Allston cafe when a man approached the counter. I was listening to music under headphones, but after several minutes, I realized he hadn't left the counter, even though he had his coffee. He was at least middle aged, and as I took off my headphones, I heard him asking one of the young baristas weird questions about school and her neighborhood. "Better be careful alone in the big city," he said, while continuing to lean in. She smiled patiently, and I couldn't yet tell if the guy was just awkward or super slimy.

Didn't take long to figure it out. About another minute in, he was asking if she'd heard of a certain club, would she like to go there with him, and could he take her to his hotel room while they were at it? I was done, and I could see there was no easy way for her out of the situation. I got up, approached the counter, made a face behind his back, and looked at the girl until she told him, "Let me help her." We then proceeded to talk about tea selection and shop hours for long enough that after she was done talking to me, the girl had an excuse to walk to the back of the store without further addressing the dude. He stood around for a while longer but finally had to sit down again.

On my way out, I stopped to see if she was alright, mouthing to the back of the kitchen area where only she could see me, "Are you okay?" She came up and thanked me, and her coworker came over too, saying, "I'm a chicken." I told them that I wasn't about to disempower them, but it obvious to us all that the douchebaggery guy wasn't about to take a reasonable "no" for an answer. Their manager had left a while ago - I'd seen him go - and I told them I had their back. It's my cafe too, damnit, and if we all aren't safe and happy, no one really is. If we don't watch out for each other, who will?

- Brittany

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