“You heard me,” said the asshole. “First you ignore me while I am here waiting, then you pretend not to see me as I am standing right in front of you. What does that spell to you?”
Normally I could take any insults from customers with a smile or a barb that went over their heads but made me feel infinitely better. Or if they got too loud, I could just report them. But something about this guy made me believe that not a lot would go over his head. I wanted to slap his face. His stupid, smirky face. I could not believe that for a split second I thought that he was fine enough that I stopped to breathe. That coffee complexion deceived me. I shook my head.
“There was no one by this window and yet you stood here. What does that make you?” I asked. In my head I said ‘Olodo’.
He chuckled again. “Call me olodo for wanting to be served by the most beautiful girl here.”
Don’t mind if I do, olodo.
The man frowned slightly.
“One’s beauty or its lack thereof is not directly proportional to how well they do their job,” I said, glad to have an area to challenge him on. “And furthermore…”
He rolled his eyes. “Learn how to take a compliment, why don’t you? God. I just want to deposit some money.”
And with that he moved to the next window, cutting off the customer who had been on her way there. I saw her brow furrow as if in slow motion, her mouth opened. She had been tapping her foot impatiently while she waited, jabbing the keys on her Blackberry with so much force that the tak-tak sound filled the entire floor. He smiled at her. The furrows on her face melted.
“Sorry,” she said, as if she was at fault.
“It’s all right,” he replied.
Anger heated my blood.. I gripped my worktop, shaking, shaking. Oh the things I wanted to tell him! I could see the floor manager watching me, always watching me. I took a shaky breath and said “Next please!”
The woman that the asshole had cut off came to my window with a dreamy look on her face. I waited for her to tell me what she needed but she just stood there.
“Yes?” I asked.
“Erm…yes…I came to…came to…” she glanced back at him again. The asshole was busy chatting to my colleague Nnaemeka, joking about. Of course they would get along, I thought. Nnaemeka was a pain in my neck; always making sexist comments that none of the other women challenged.
“What do you want?” I finally snapped at the woman when she wouldn’t say anything that made sense. That seemed to bring her back to earth.
“Excuse me?” she yelled. “Is it me you’re talking to like that? Don’t you have any manners?”
“She clearly doesn’t,” chipped in Asshole. “Nigerian customer service at its finest.”
“Imagine!” said the woman, glad to have his attention.
“Could you please tell me what I can do for you?” I attempted in a lower voice. “There is no need to shout.”
My heart beat very loudly. I thought ‘This is it’. I was surely getting fired now. The floor manager had a niece that she had been wanting to bring in for months. Some chick who studied accountancy. She made no bones about the fact that with my English degree, she did not think I belonged and was always trying to get rid of me.
I had just given her a reason.