For the past 20 years, Doreen frequented a grocery store by her home. Over the past two decades, she had gotten to know the managers and had seen a lot of cashiers and baggers come and go. Doreen is sweet natured, extremely friendly and gives compliments easily. She is a positive person, who notices everything and has a kind word for everyone. Memorial Day weekend she went into the store to pick up some items for a BBQ and hasn’t been back since. Why? Because of bullying. This woman is 52 years old and a victim of bullying. By some teenage employees!

Doreen was going through a check out lane when a young cashier, who was usually friendly, was suddenly abrupt with her and would not look her in the eye. She paid for her groceries and left and wondered if she had done anything wrong to upset this young woman. The next day Doreen went back to pick up some charcoal and as she checked out, another young female cashier acted the same way. She then heard snickering and turned to see two cashiers in the next lane changing out a till. One glanced up at Doreen and said to her co-worker, “See, I told you that old woman is gay! She wants you!” They both laughed and Doreen picked up her bags and walked out the door. She was stunned! She had never done anything inappropriate to anyone that worked there, other than just be her friendly self. She was crushed and decided not to go back to the store. She finished her story to me with “it felt like junior high all over again.”

I could see she was very upset by this and I responded,”Maybe you should say something to one of the mangers.” Doreen just shook her head and said “no, I am not going back there.” What a shame that a group of young people could drive this woman off and a year from now, will not even be working there. I started thinking about this and thought this is really a form of bullying. We usually think of bullying as peer to peer harrassment, but it can be any age. Bullying is any time that someone forms another person or group of people against a target with lies, exaggerations etc. , that cause alienation. It is meant to cause division and havoc, at the victim’s expense. It really does have nothing to do with you personally and you could be the strangest duck in the group or the prom queen. I don’t know why one person is picked over another, except for that you are available. And when you remove yourself from the situation it takes the bully less than two weeks to find it’s next target. It’s an obsessive compulsive behavior and the bully feels compelled to dish it out.

To tell you the truth, I would like to go in there and kick some junior high A$$! Or speak with one of the managers. It may stop the behavior in the store but unfortunately young bully instigators often turn into an adult bully in the workplace.

I was one of several targets of a woman like that for many years. She liked to cause division and was mostly covert in her attempts to discredit a person. She would whisper negative and unfounded charges about anyone that disagreed or stood up to her. She would train in all of the new employees and would fill them in on her negative opinions of everyone who worked there. Including the owners and how they mismanaged the company. Eventually one began to believe her lies and started to look for and expect that behavior out of that person. Or were grateful she left them alone and became one of her flying monkeys. It also turned the focus off of the Bully’s screwed-up family members who she had hired.

Stop bullying. Doesn’t matter why or where.