May 26, 2020

Have you ever stood up for yourself in front of others that you didn't know very well

Yes.

Years back, I was in a music shop, taking my time along the aisles to browse the latest music. I like taking my time in the shop and it is my regular go-to, a form of relaxation at the end of the day. This tall young burly man, whom I assumed was working in the shop came up to me and demanded with a loud booming voice to check all my bags for stolen merchandise. "Stolen merchandise" echoed through the entire store, even while music was playing in the background. (It wasn't a mega store, just your typical town store) This made everyone in the store freeze, staring at the entire situation unfolding on itself.

Not used to being approached in such a sudden and aggressive manner (especially since he did not introduce himself as being a staff member of the store), I was naturally taken aback and did not respond immediately. In my time, such open accusations would bring absolute shame to the family, had anyone caught wind of it (women were not encouraged to speak up or engage in open confrontations.)

I asked back nicely if he had any CCTV evidence to support his claims and if the search would be done privately at his manager's office. His "No, it will be done right now in the open" echoed throughout the store that had stopped playing music. He started tapping his foot impatiently and stuck out one burly hand to grab my belongings. He proceeded to pour out all contents in my bag, which bounced around in those metal push carts, some of my items dropped onto the floor. Vaguely, I was thinking to myself that this was a very thug-like behavior. Thankfully, he did not do a body search on me because by this time, people were coming closer at him to demand what on earth was he doing to me. He gave a frown, threw my bag back at me and did not help to pick up the things he had tossed on the floor. A few people were actually asking the burly sales staff what was all that for.

The manager finally came out just as I had finished picking up all my items and put them neatly into my bag. The little devil imp in me was roaring to lodge a furious complaint to the manager on the humiliation of what had happened and the burly man, realizing what had just transpired, was starting to panic, which made the devilish me feel more self-righteous: ah-hah! I've got you now!

But here's what really happened after. During the course of time I was picking up my items that had strewn all over the place, I decided that I needed to move with the times and start standing up for myself. And I wanted to do it in the right way. So I told the manager that his staff shouldn't be accusing me in the open without checking the CCTV footage, much less throw all my personal artifacts on the floor in full view of everyone and walked off without so much as an apology.

The manager paled slightly but did not give a satisfactory reply.

That's all right. I stood up for myself and held my head out high as I strolled out. For a while after the incident, I switched to listening to the radio until I discovered I could buy digital albums off the Internet.

Written by Seraphim

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