Monday, February 27, 2006

Macho Macho Harassment

I have noticed a strong need among my coworkers to cast a tough image. It's kind of funny because most of it is talk. When it comes time to lug a 200 pound sofa across the floor, most of them take it halfway to the appropriate spot and call that good enough.

I already told you about "motherf**cker" replacing the word "dude" or "man." The main exception to being called in that way is to be christened with a nickname. Names like Shrek, Bubblehead or Dumbass. Dumbass isn't very creative but I am glad that it has already been assigned to someone. There are also a handful of guys who look more like Shrek than the guy who has been distinguished as Shrek.

There is a hispanic guy from Los Angeles named Marco. Marco used to be a gangbanger but has settled down in Utah. He does like to pick on a scrawny white boy with nerdily parted hair and glasses. EVERY time he goes past the blond kid he yells something like, "You big pussy, cracker faggot!" or flips him the bird or something. There was also some enormous belching activity resonating through the warehouse (comparative to Debbie at my last job) that I was finally able to trace back to Marco. The burping was a mystery that bothered me for some time. Anyway, that blond boy may or may not be annoying but nobody really deserves to be talked to that way. He may just be really annoying because I also heard Bubblehead yell, "Hey Chicken Little!" at him. A close enough likeness to make me laugh.

But who cares? Probably not the managers, as I went to check how many couches I was delivering per hour and they were huddled around the stats sheet (printed on that old green and white striped printer paper with the perforated holes on the sides). They were saying, "These numbers look pretty good. Do we get a bonus?"

Another answered, "No, you don't get to bone us. Maybe you can bone Gus. Heh Heh."

Then some customers walked past to the corner where we sell scratched and dented furniture and one of the managers said, "I would tap that though" referring to a customer who was less than ten feet away.

Another manager, "Yeah, I'd tap that."

Even the middle-aged middle-management dorks seem to feel the macho pressure.

A few jobs ago I almost got in the middle of a sexual harassment issue. There was a guy who was always shooting his mouth off, saying things like "Let's all go out back... this girl (who was present in the group) said she would show us her tits." Or he would openly ask the same girl when they were going to hook up and do the nasty. The guy was married, by the way. He would constantly talk about how he would never be able to make it through a day of work if he didn't resort to thinking about sex for the majority of his shift. When you would tell him to cool down he would get mad. Anyway, that girl finally got sick of it and told the bosses and it caused a huge fuss. It just so happened that I called in sick the day of the big crux. I wasn't out to get the guy, I just said I would tell the bosses what I had heard. I thought everyone would. I figured the guy wouldn't openly talk like that if he was worried about getting talked to about it. But I guess I was the star witness and NOBODY else would admit to ever hearing the guy say anything questionable.

Anyway, they solved the entire problem by showing a video in the break room. And we all lived happily ever after.


PsychoIntern said...

I am always shocked at how much sexual harassment occurs in the workplace, especially with supposed laws that make it so it shouldn't happen. I wish people would stand up more to it, so that decent people doing the right thing wouldn't have to be the "star witness." My wife works in law enforcement and it kills me what types of things her coworkers will say to her. She will stand up for herself to her coworkers, but she would never report it to a superior (unless it got way out of hand) for fear of being labeled as a troublemaker and ruining her career and chances for promotion. It is actually really pathetic...

Native Minnow said...

Sounds a lot like the environment at my last job. It must be more prevalent at jobs with manual labor than at a university. Probably because it doesn't take as much to get a manual labor job. I'd never heard so many people use racial slurs in daily conversation before I came to Vegas.

The same holds for talking about sex. There was one guy who used to bring in the little cards they hand out on the strip (for you to get strippers sent to your room) and he'd hang them up all around his work area. Some of them were very graphic. Rather than get mad at him for doing so, most of the managers came over to take a look. He ended up getting fired a total of 21 times before the union quit fighting for him to get his job back. But as far as I know, none of those times were related to that, just when he'd threaten other employees, or for being insubordinate.

Maybe I'm too sensitive to other people, but I tend to err on the side of caution so as not to offend people. It's obviously not so with everyone. Back to the managers at my last job: One day a box of homoerotic dvds broke open and fell all over the floor. One of the managers asked for a tote so that he could pick it all up and send it down for repacking. Nobody heard him until the third time when he shouted "Somebody get be a damn tote box. I'm getting tired of looking at all this f**king gay porn." Nevermind that he was standing right next to a gay guy.

PsychoIntern said...

Did someone get him a tote so he didn't get a broke back?