Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Gotta take it in stride...


Had a (rare) occasion to visit a big box store during our visit to the kids' place in TN before Christmas, in my everyday attire – stirrup pants, turtleneck tunic, flats with trouser socks, and of course, long hair and nails, purse, a mask, and a women’s heavy hoodie due to the cold. Didn’t notice any questioning glances from passers-by.  But when I stopped to ask a nearby twentysomething female stock clerk where to find the product I needed, it prompted a strange reaction.


“Pardon me, Miss, where will I find  ________?”  She looked up at me from her duties, stared like she’d seen a ghost, and stuttered out something like “Oh sorry Miss - ummm Ma’am - ummm Sir, I don’t know, but I’ll get someone who does.”  She called a different clerk on her communicator to help me there in aisle 24, and then said “Excuse me now.”  And she skedaddled for parts unknown.  


She didn’t have her name tag on, so without a "lineup," identification would be difficult, and I desperately wanted to make my purchase so I could get out of there as soon as possible.  With the virus running rampant these days, and being in the heart of the bible belt, the issue simply wasn’t worth pursuing, for my own physical well-being.  There's a rotten apple in every barrel, and at the end of the day, that rotten apple eventually gets discarded.  (Like that pharmacy clerk who was fired for his actions against me a while back.)  Thankfully the male clerk who showed up was able to help, without any gender references (a professional response) and he took it in stride.


I wonder if perhaps the girl was a seasonal hire without sufficient diversity training, very religious and thus not wanting to associate in any way with, or even speak to, “one of those tranny sinners,” or just plain out-and-out bigoted.  I’ll never know, but for the time we’ve spent in the south, it’s likely the first bad reaction I’ve noted.


And at the gas station where I picked up a snack right afterward, I was addressed as female, by a 20something female.


As it should be…




  1. Not your best encounter, sadly. Personally, I don't know why staff feel any need to refer to customers with Sir or Ma'am. Leaving the greeting out would save confusion, embarrassment or annoyance all round. Sue x

    1. I'm perfectly comfortable with "no gender-specific greeting." And if there is confusion on the part of the clerk, common sense says to omit it. Sadly, a number of folks who interface with customers or the public come up more than a bit short on that.