Let’s take a stroll down horrible memory lane.
As a college student, I worked my ass off to maintain a certain lifestyle for the horses filled with new blankets and plenty of hay and grain. This included working multiple jobs on top of going to the barn multiple times a day to turn out, feed, clean, ride, etc… One of my jobs included working at a local tack store which seems like the ideal, if not perfect job for a horse poor college student.
This is where I gained an education in neighsaying. It was like a horse edition of “Mean Girls” except I don’t wear pink on any day. I found the real root of the problem was a bad case of jealously aimed towards me. When I started working at this place, I already had a few strikes against me:
- I was willing to work hard and worked extra shifts (not tooting my own horn, just stating facts)
- I didn’t attend the local equestrian college but instead the local teacher college (sorry, $40K/year wasn’t in the budget)
- I didn’t ride dressage or compete in eventing
- My horses didn’t cost $15K or more
Stupid, stupid reasons to not like a person but all true. Friends of the neighsayers would come into the tack shop and I was forced to pick up the slack and deal with the obvious negativity directed at me. I’m tough and let that shit roll (for the most part) off of my back because I was comfortable in my own right. I focused on the bigger picture and the amazing discounts that I was able to rack up – saddles, bridles, pads, blankets, and let me not forget the free riding and paddock boots. But that was about to come crashing down.
The lead neighsayer and store manager asked for a meeting with me. She went into this meeting super positive with all of the great things that she noticed I did around the shop – coming in or staying late when someone called off, helping customers for hours on end to complete a sale, coming in early to help with stock. She just kept going on that I naively thought, “I’m going to get a raise!”. Nope, nope, nope. In the next breath she said, “But we’re going to have to let you go because of personality issues”.
Whoa. Fired for my PERSONALITY?!?! A few weeks of introspection and many, many conversations with people (including random strangers) about whether or not my personality was offensive in any way, I had a duh-huh moment. I wasn’t put here to make everyone happy but damn if I can’t get along with almost anyone. I didn’t realize until that moment just how much the neighsayers had impacted my employment at the store. Misery loves company and so do the neighsayers.
In a move that will forever cause me to kick my own ass, I continued to shop at my former place of employment because I liked the tack they carried and they were the closest place for my brand of horse feed. Again, in my own naive world, I thought that the neighsayers would be fine with me at least shopping at the store. Wrong. I had just tried on a pair of shoes and some breeches when I ran into the manager of the store – the same chick who fired me. Pushing back the hurt, I asked her if she could order a specialty item for one of the horses – I pulled out a catalog from my large handbag and showed her exactly what I wanted. She said that she would look into it and I checked out with my few items in hand and headed home.
Hours later, I received phone call from the manager asking that I return the shoes that I had stolen. Not kidding you, I was being accused of sneaking a pair of shoes out of the store in my bag. The same bag that I had opened to grab the catalog to show the manager – the same bag I had opened directly in front of her before leaving the store. I was livid and told her that if she wanted to press charges and produce film footage of me stealing the shoes, then I welcomed it. Of course, she didn’t have anything on me and the subject was dropped. I have never gone back.
Let me clarify for those that may not have gotten the gist: I did not steal a damn thing from that store but it was obvious that the neighsayers were out to steal something from me – my good name and reputation.
That same year during the Horse Expo, I found the same pair of shoes that I was accused of stealing. I bought them and kept the receipt in my wallet for years in the off-chance that I would run into the manager. Good old memories.
Karma is funny because I now have a Master’s degree from the $40K college that I didn’t pay a dime for (didn’t steal it either), 4 awesome happy horses, and a farm to call my own.
Moral of the story? Neighsayers goin’ neigh.