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Man tells stranger at bookstore to 'stop oversharing' and 'get a therapist,' wife calls him AH.

Man tells stranger at bookstore to 'stop oversharing' and 'get a therapist,' wife calls him AH.


Anyone who has worked in customer service knows the trope of the chatty customer all too well. The person who brings their heaviest problems to the checkout line in hopes of receiving some magic comfort from an underpaid employee just trying to do their job.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he was wrong for telling a stranger to get a therapist and stop oversharing. He wrote:

"AITA for telling a stranger that I am not her therapist and to stop interrupting my checkout at the store?"

I was at a bookstore last night after work. When I got to the register, it was empty. A moment later, an employee came back around with another customer. The other customer got in line behind me, while still chatting with the employee. I could tell the employee was a little uncomfortable as she called me forward.

The other customer stood literally right behind me as the employee kept doing the brush off of “yeah” “oh really?” “Wow.”

The other customer was talking about how she had recently been diagnosed with cancer, going into details about the treatments she’d need, etc.

Finally, she was quiet when it was clear the employee was focused on my transaction and trying to ask me the whole “do you have a rewards card, do you want one, etc.” spiel. That’s when the other customer turned to me and started giving the same story. I said I was sorry to hear about her diagnosis and went back to speaking to the employee.

The customer still kept talking, right in my ear, saying “yeah, I’m so pissed, why’d this have to happen to me?” Finally, I told her “you need to back up and give me some space. Stop interrupting our conversation.” She started saying “I have cancer, I need to vent”. I said “again, sorry to hear that but we are not your therapists, back up”. She backed up and went silent. Employee looked relieved.

I told my wife what happened and she told me I was rude. The woman was clearly going through something. I said as a former retail worker, I despised people who unloaded their days on me and she was clearly making the employee uncomfortable while also standing right next to me. Wife said I was still wrong. AITA?

Redditors kept it real in the comment section.

COLGkenny wrote:


Would love to see how your wife deals with something like this.

And OP responded:

My wife is the chatty type, so she likely would’ve indulged the woman and been at the store for an hour.

YouthNAsia63 wrote:

This is why bartenders deserve big tips. And why therapists have jobs-so people can vent to them. OP, you were a customer, you didn’t have to stay and listen. It’s literally not your job to listen to the random lady, and, unlike the cashier, you could leave. I feel bad for the store worker. But this whole thing was not your problem. NTA.

the_RSM wrote:

NTA yes it's sad the woman had cancer but that doesn't give her the right to go spluttering about it to everyone else. the phrase TMI exists for a reason and to do this to perfect strangers? how did she know you hadn't recently lost someone to cancer and she was opening old wounds?

ReallyCantThinkof-1 wrote:

As a cancer survivor I don’t want to say this, but NTA. But I’m thinking you could have been nicer.

Maximoose-777 wrote:

NTA. The stranger was totally inappropriate. Not only was she interrupting your conversation with the cashier, she had no idea if either of you had any recent similar trauma. For all she knew this could have been your first day out or the cashier's first day back at work after losing a loved one to cancer. Not everyone wants or needs to hear this from a total stranger.

OP is NTA in any way, this stranger needs a better outlet for her feelings.

Sources: Reddit
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