Smiling Faces Sometimes

I did loss prevention for a luxury retail store in Century City, California in 2007. I was employed by a security company. My scheduler advised me not to converse with any of the customers or sales personnel. I planned on following his advice. I met another loss prevention associate, the store’s manager, and most of the sales people on my first day. Agnes, a member of the sales team, seemed to take a liking to me. She asked me all sorts of personal questions and even offered me food (which I didn’t take). This transpired when there were no customers in the store and we were just standing around. I did not want to hurt her feelings by telling her that we weren’t supposed to be socializing. Her friendliness was overwhelming. She continued to initiate conversations with me as the days went by. Agnes kept a smile on her face the entire time. I found out that she lived with her boyfriend across from a Metro Red Line stop. I relied on the Red Line to go to and from work. One day, a customer transaction prevented the store from closing at the usual time. I missed my bus as a result. I was going to have to spend the night at Union Station because there was no way for me to get home. The only way around this was to get a ride. I explained this to Agnes and asked for a ride to the Red Line stop near her apartment. I saw evil in her eyes. The smile was gone. Then it returned. She agreed to give me a ride. We had a nice conversation on our way to the Red Line stop. She dropped me off and I thanked her. When I came to work the next day, I was surprised to find out that Agnes and a female coworker had reported me to the store manager for always asking them for rides. I was fired by phone after that shift. Agnes’s friendliness had compensated for the fact that she could not stand me. She was scared to death of me from the moment we met. This ordeal was a learning experience. It taught me to reduce my socializing with coworkers to “hi” and “bye.” It taught me to say “hi” and “bye” to coworkers in the exact same stone-faced manner. It taught me that smiling faces sometimes tell superb lies. The Undisputed Truth’s Smiling Faces Sometimes (1971) is a song that you should take to heart. Friendliness must not be confused with friendship.

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