I knew being a manager would be difficult, however, I never expected it to be this hard. I was now a babysitter, referee, time clock, protector and relationship advisor. The latter happened due mainly to me starting to be extra friendly to the ladies at work. I was on the lookout for a “wife” so it made sense for me to be nice to them. There were times I wished I was still on the night shift as a regular employee. There was less drama. I went from being someone who anyone barely noticed to being one that everyone needed to do something for them.
Ileana was the first to come to me about a relationship issue. She was a single mother with 2 children by 2 different fathers. She had a new boyfriend who was extremely jealous. She was about 23 and He was twice her age. She called him “Sugar Daddy” behind his back. She would brag to any of the women who would listen about the things he bought her. He would drop in the store from time to time to check on her and even bring her lunch.
He bought a place and they moved in together. The problem was he was barley there. He told her he had business all over the country and had to travel. The gossiping amongst the other women started. Everyone was sure he had other young women, this is why he was barley there. Well the real story played out in the store.
I was in the back of the store when I heard a commotion. I ran to the front. There was a lady who looked like she was in her mid thirties screaming at Ileana.
“Bit*h you think you are going to replace me? Leave my ****** husband alone”, screamed the lady.
Ileana was crying and kept saying.
“I did not know he was married”.
“You know that no man wants you with your two bastard children that is why you are preying on my husband”, the lady screamed at her.
The lady was getting dangerously close to Ileana. I feared she was going to jump over the counter and physically attack her.
Ma’am can I assist you. I asked politely trying to defuse the situation.
She looked me up and down and stared at my badge
Ooh you are the manager. Yes you can help me. Fire this Bit*h as she is a home wrecker.”
I asked again politely ignoring her request.
Ma’am can I assist you with anything in the store.
You know what you are a di*k. Then she walked out the store. It was a relief as I did not want to deal with the police. My fear is always them finding out I was an illegal alien.
Customers were in line waiting to check out and the incident seems to startle a few of them. I quickly removed Ileana and told her to go to the lunch room in the back. I moved 2 people up front to quickly check out the customers.
I walked back to the lunch room to check on Ileana. She was still crying.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
She looked up at me like a child that was just disciplined.
“I did not know he was married”, she was trying to defend herself to me.
I did not know what to say.
She then opened up to me and talked about her broken relationships with men. Then she asked for my advice.
“What should I do?”
“Stay away from married men and follow your heart if something does not seem right?” I replied. I felt good about that advice.
I let her stay in the lunch room as her shift was almost over.
I later learned that through the gossip vine that Ileana continued the affair because she had nowhere else to live. The story got more complicated. She started see someone else on the side as a backup plan. There were also rumors that she got pregnant and was not sure who the father was. So much for my advice!!!
Sasha was a college student and one of the best part-time cashiers we had at the store. She was always on time for her shift and was willing to work late if the other cashier was late. She was very attractive but tried hard to cover it up. She was very articulate and friendly. Our customers loved her.
She was from North Carolina and was paying her way through school. She had come to me asking for more hours a few months ago. We tried our best to give her extra hours when we could.
One day an older Hispanic man walked in the store while she was working. I remember him because he stayed towards the front and kept staring at Sasha.
He bought some cigarettes from Sasha and left with a big smile on his face.
I was going to ask her if she knew him but left it alone.
A week later the same guy comes back in the store. I watched him. He bought cigarettes again from Sasha. This time he handed her a note as he was leaving.
She continued working. It was typical for men to pass their phone number to the cashiers so I thought nothing of it.
At the end of her shift Sasha came back to the office.
“I need to speak to you. Do you have some time to talk?” she asked.
“Sure”, I looked up from some of the inventory paperwork I was doing.
“Please read this note”, she handed me the paper the older Hispanic man gave her.
The writing was barely legible and the English was bad.
The note read, “I know you from stripper club. You call me and we go out. You no call I tell your bossman you stripper….Guillermo “
His phone number was at the end it the note. It was the most legible item on the note.
I looked up to see her reaction once I was finished reading the note.
These guys try just about everything to harass our cashiers I thought. He probably scared her and it was a case of mistaken identity.
“Don’t worry I will chase this guy out next time he comes in to harass you,” I replied.
“There is something you should know”, she said with her head bowed looking at the ground.
“What is it? You are a stripper”, I said jokingly trying to lighten the moment with a joke.
“Yes I am”, she replied.
It was an “insert foot in mouth moment for me”.
I was surprised and shocked.
“Oooh”, I said out loud. I caught myself too late.
“You don’t have to feel uncomfortable. It is one of my jobs”, she stated.
I did not know what to say. I was speechless.
Her face seemed to lighten up; almost like a sense of relief came from her confession.
I was trying to picture her naked at a strip club. I had been to strip clubs before and it did not seem like she would fit the profile I had of a stripper. I wanted to see if more hours would help get her out of stripping. But then she said something about why she was doing it.
“I know you are probably surprised,“ she paused, I started stripping 4 months ago for the money. I thought I would stop after the first few weeks but I have to say I love doing it.
I know I was crossing a line but I had to ask.
Why do you love doing it? I asked.
“It is hard to explain. I feel more empowered as a woman doing this. I am in full control of the situation apart from when an idiot may try to cross the line and security steps in.”
Sasha had a sparkle in her eye as she continued with a list of reasons why she loved stripping.
“I always enjoyed dance and was not a fan of clothing. At first I was scared but the other women who strip made it easier. I became good friends with a few of them. I was also scared of the men but I have come to realize that many of them are really nice. Some of the conversations I have with these men are really meaningful and deep. I have an understanding of men that I would never get in a lifetime if I was not a stripper. Men love all kinds of women. I don’t have to be the best looking all the time. Men like me at the end of a shift when I am all sweaty and my hair is a mess. I also get great exercise while stripping. I lost 20 pounds stripping and have maintained it. The best of all is the money. I never imagined making so much money in one night. It is not a long term job but it will help me become a lawyer.”
I could not believe what I was hearing. I was tempted to ask why she was still working with us.
Then she looked at me and answered my question like she was reading my mind.
“I am still working here because of the employee discount. Stripping makes you very sweaty. I buy deodorant and feminine hygiene products for all the girls at the club”, she said with a smile as she walked away.
Her workday was over but maybe she was going to her other job.