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    Arabian Plights

    | Sunrise, FL, USA | Bad Behavior, Language & Words

    (I am of Middle Eastern heritage, and I speak fluent Arabic, but because of my Western name and lighter complexion, I often get mistaken for a Caucasian man. I am working on the store’s stock team, running trolleys to the store’s grocery department. A customer in a hijab stops to ask me a question.)

    Customer: “Excuse me. I am looking for some [spice I've never heard of].”

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. I’ve never heard of that before. I can tell you what aisle it might be on, but not if we have it. Why don’t you ask my associate over there? He’s far more familiar with this department than I am.”

    (I point to my coworker, who is about 15 feet away.)

    Customer: “Okay. I will, then.”

    (The customer proceeds to mutter various insults and curse words in Arabic as she looks around the aisle. About a minute of this in, I decide to respond.)

    Me: *in Arabic* “You know, it’s really shameful and cowardly when a grown woman, especially one in a hijab, is insulting a worker half her age in a language she thinks he doesn’t understand. Some representative of our culture you are!”

    Customer: *in Arabic, sputtering* “You speak Arabic?”

    Me: *in English* “No, I just said that specific statement to throw you off.”

    (The customer turned bright red with embarrassment, left her cart behind, and exited the store.)