Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Marital Disagreement

For those of you that don't know, I work in a little town known as Bumfuck Eygpt. Now I know it may seem strange that BFE would have a $4 latte-selling coffee shop, and it is. But for the most part, the small-town folk who inhabit this place have grown accustomed to us. They come in, mispronounce drink names, bitch about the price of coffee, and ultimately come back again the next day to repeat the process.

However, this acceptance came with a price. When the shop opened nearly five years, residents were outraged.

“You mean to tell me that these pinko, commie, tree-hugging, atheist sons-a-bitches, are gonna come into my town and gay up all our kids with their fancy-pants drinks. Well, fuck you.”

That was basically the headline of the local paper the day our store opened.

Most of these people didn't want anything to do with a company (that shall not be named) known for yuppie servitude and leftish leanings, but over time people forgot and considered us to be one of their own.

That was until last Saturday.

A young man stood at the entrance of our store with a sign that read “This Company Supports Gay Marriage. Do You?”

The answer, was a resounding NO.

Luckily I was not there, because I would probably really not be a barista if I had been.

But the next day I was met with this.

This man forfeited his rewards card that had $20 on it. He explained not so subtly that he did not agree with the company's stance on gay marriage and for that reason he would no longer be a patron. He felt that this was something worth standing up for.

Now, normally, this wouldn't be an issue. But I knew this man. He came in every day. He met me with a smile and kindness. I cared how his day was. I asked about his family. I watched his baby turn into a toddler. I watched that toddler turn into a rambunctious boy. I handed him his coffee and his child a luke-warm hot chocolate that I pinky-promised was coffee just like his daddy's.

I liked him. I liked him as more than just a customer. I liked him as a person.

And I felt like I had been tricked into thinking that this person believed the same things as me. That because he came into our store every day and shared conversation with me, he wasn't like so many others.

“Fuck him,” I said to my manager.

She frowned and said that we didn't know the situation.

“It doesn't matter,” I said. “No situation would make his behavior acceptable.”

“It's just how some people are around here,” she countered.

And she was right. I had overlooked this town's initial distaste for us. I had assumed that their presence in our store meant that they were on our side.

My manager made sure I knew that I was not allowed to say anything on the matter to customers if this situation were to happen again.

I'm not sure if the young man with the controversial sign will come back, but if he does I will not say anything.

 I will stand next to him with a sign that says, “YES”.

Because our dissatisfied customer was right, some things are worth standing up for.


L-Kat said...

Wow. Of all the things to take up as a cause in this world, and some people choose to fight against gay marriage. I am surprised at the absurdity. Props to you for not throwing coffee and the sign holder.

Ach du lieber said...

Stupid people suck.

Pink Gingham Girl said...

Wow, this really amazes me. How disappointing for you, finding out someone you cared about could be a douche. Great post, lady.

Amy @Coffee Tuesdays said...

It does raise the interesting question of, can you still like someone if they disagree with you?

Allie said...

L-Kat- I know, I'm always surprised when people protest a basic human right so adamantly.

Ach- True story!

Pink- Yes, I think more than anger I felt disappointment. I was just so surprised by his reaction/

Amy- This situation definitely has me thinking about that. Personally, I think I can disagree with people I like about almost anything and it not affect the relationship. But when it comes to something like racism, sexism or homophobia, I think the difference in opinion becomes to much for the relationship to bear.

camerabanger said...

This is why so much of our interaction with people is guarded and tentative. Why we can't get things done in government. Why we end up in wars and courthouses and bloody on bar room floors.

Your feelings-not to mention your expression of those feelings in this blog-are bang on.

Nicky said...

Great post hun!

Vanessa said...

You can add one more person to your blog audience based on this post alone. And BTW, my stance on gay marriage? None of my business. I haven't passed judgement on either one of my upcoming relative's weddings - why would I think I have the right to pass judgement on a strangers nuptials?

MonsteRawr said...

Jesus Christ, that's some fucked up shit. It never fails to amaze me the lengths people will go to hate.

Pauline said...

I know this is late, but I love you for this post. And all the others. Keep fighting the good fight.

blissflower1969 said...

Just discovered your blog and this post is amazing. There are some things that people say and do that just can't be overcome in terms of friendship or likability.

I think I shall be following you from now on.