Category: Bigotry

This category is dedicated to the bottom rung of humanity at its worst — racists, homophobes, and other bigots — and, occasionally, employees at their finest.

He’s Never Finn-ished

| Helsinki, Finland | Bad Behavior, Bigotry

(A customer is buying a few items. Due to a misunderstanding that isn’t in any way my fault he almost ends up buying the wrong model of a popular phone. I apologize nonetheless and the matter is resolved. Since the misunderstanding he’s had a chip on his shoulder. He is watching me very closely and trying to catch me making a mistake. To his disgruntlement everything goes smoothly.)

Me: “…and there you go. Have a pleasant day.”

Customer: “Hmph… Boy, let me ask you a question. Where are you from?”

Me: “Helsinki.”

Customer: “No, no, no… I mean originally?”

Me: “Helsinki.”

Customer: “Stop being a smart a**! What country are you or your parents originally from?!”

(I’m a bit baffled by this question since I’m blond, have blue eyes, and a light skin. I look pretty much your stereotypical Finn.)

Me: “Finland… Um, what are you trying to ask exactly.”

Customer: “Look here, brat, stop playing this game with me! I know you immigrants like to think of yourselves as Finns, but you are not and never will be. Stop dodging my question and answer me! Where is your family from?!”

Me: “Sir, please calm yourself. I am not playing games. As far as I know my family has always lived in Finland. What makes you doubt—”

Customer: “Impossible! That just can’t be true.”

Me: “Well, sure if you are talking about the dawn of humanity; then everyone is from Africa, I guess. But my grandfather was actually a genealogy enthusiast, and he found out that our family has been living in Finland at least since the 17th century. That is pretty much as early as is possible to find any written records from Finland.”

Customer: “No, you are lying!”

Me: “Okay, look at me then. Where do you think I am from?”

Customer: “That is not for me to know but for you to tell me! I am a customer!”

(A coworker is standing at another counter with his back to us. He is of Chinese descent but was born in Finland. Only the back of his head is visible to us and he has dyed his hair blonde. He hasn´t heard my conversation with the customer.)

Customer: *shouting to my coworker* “Hey! You! Clerk over there!”

(My coworker turns to us a little surprised because of the shouting. The customer frowns as he sees my coworkers face.)

Customer: *mumbling to himself* “… Oh, god, another one.”

Coworker: “Yes, sir, can I help you?”

Customer: *pointing at me* “What country is this boy from?”

Coworker: “Umm… Finland.”

Customer: “NO! You lying son of a… Where are YOU from?!”

Coworker: “Born and raised in Helsinki.”

(The customer screams incoherently and slams his hand on the counter.)

Customer: “You are all liars, thieves, and tax dodging lazy immigrants who should never have been let into this country! I am reporting you to the consumer authority and immigration officials! This will not stand, mark my words!”

(He storms off.)

Coworker: “What was that about?”

Me: “I have absolutely no idea. A hidden camera show or an episode of The Twilight Zone are the only explanations I can think of.”

(Luckily we never heard from him again.)

Worse Than An Animal

| Dublin, Ireland | Bad Behavior, Bigotry

(I used work at a restaurant in a small town. It is the evening shift and a woman eating alone keeps giving me trouble.)

Woman: “This order is not right.”

Me: “All right, I’ll just take this and bring you out the correct one.”

Woman: “No, I demand I get this meal and the correct one for free!”

Me: “I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

(She begins complaining to me every chance she got for the rest of the night. She then starts complaining about the black family eating at the table next to her.)

Woman: “I refuse to eat next to those… animals. Their smell is appalling. They probably came to the restaurant to rob it!”

(The racist remarks go on for a few minutes until two boys about 12 years old stand up from their table.)

Boy#1: “Why don’t you stop being a racist cow!”

Boy#2: “Yeah, at least those ‘animals’ know how to behave in a restaurant!”

(The woman threw her plate on the ground stormed out of the restaurant. Everyone started applauding. The black family paid for the boys’ meal and I brought them out free ice cream.)

God Loves Little Boys Who Stand Up For Others

| Bath, England, UK | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Family & Kids, Top

(I and my seven-year-old son are shopping for a birthday present for a girl in his class. She’s asked for dressing up clothes or accessories so we get a wand, tiara, and jewellery. I also have our regular shopping in the trolley. We get to the tills and there’s at least a three person queue at each till. We join a queue and have waited a couple of minutes when my son puts the tiara on and waves the wand.)

Son: *in a “posh” voice* “I’m the Queen and I say this line should move faster!”

(I and a few others smile at his playfulness when a man in line at the next till yells at me.)

Man: “You can’t let your son do that. If he turns into a f****t it’ll be your fault.”

(Everyone stops and stares at him in horror whilst the cashiers call for a manager.)

Son: “What’s a f****t?”

Me: “It’s a nasty word that only nasty people use so you mustn’t say it.”

Man: “It means gay, kid.”

Son: “What’s gay?”

Man: “It means you’re bad and going to Hell for being evil.”

Me: “It’s when a man loves a man and a lady loves a lady.”

Son: “Oh, like Uncle James and Uncle Ian?”

Me: “Yep, just like Uncle James and Uncle Ian. They’re not bad, are they?”

(My brother is a paediatric oncologist and his partner is a paediatric nurse. We’ve tried to explain what cancer is and how my brother and his partner make children feel better when they’re poorly.)

Son: “My uncles make children better when they have poorly blood and poorly bones. If you make them go to Hell that means you want the children to be poorly.”

(The manager and a security guard turn up but my son looks this man in the eye and holds his stare.)

Son: “Do you want the children to be poorly? Do you want them to be sick and have to go to Heaven?”

(Everyone is now staring at my son. The man has gone red and is looking around.)

Manager: “Sir, I believe you’ve just been outwitted by a child. You should leave now and keep your disgusting views to yourself and out of my shop.”

(The manager offered to pay for our shopping but I declined. He did, however, offer my son a toy. He chose a dress for his friend’s present.)

Related:
God Loves Little Girls Who Stand Up For Others

Has An Asian Dissuasion

| San Francisco, CA, USA | Bigotry, Language & Words

(I work as an intern pharmacist at a pharmacy. Even though I’m still in school, I’m comfortable enough to consult patients on common prescriptions. A woman comes up to pick up some antibiotics and my supervising pharmacist asks me to consult with her on the medication. I am Asian, raised speaking Chinese, but born in Canada and moved to California when I was young, so I speak English and Chinese fluently.)

Woman: “Hi, I’m picking up for [Woman].”

(I find the prescription, and bring it to the counter.)

Me: “All right, I have it here. Have you ever taken this medication before?”

Woman: *screaming behind me at the pharmacist, who is white* “CAN I HAVE YOU HELP ME?”

Me: “Ma’am, I can help you.”

Woman: *still waving at the pharmacist*

(Giving up, I walk behind the counter, and tell my pharmacist what happened. She moves up to take care of the woman. I stay behind the counter, but I can still hear their conversation.)

Pharmacist: “How can I help you?”

Woman: “I’m just picking up my medication.”

(My pharmacist finishes the consultation as usual. When she finishes…)

Woman: *speaking at normal volume* “I don’t know why you have him back there. How do you know if he can even speak English?”

Pharmacist: “Ma’am, he speaks English fluently. He is a current pharmacy student.”

Woman: “But he’s Chinese. No one could understand his English.”

Pharmacist: “Ma’am, his English is fine. Just a good as mine.”

Woman: “I don’t think you should have him here…”

(She walks out like nothing happened. My pharmacist walks back behind the counter.)

Me: “What was she talking about?”

Pharmacist: “I don’t know. I guess she’s either new to the city or she never noticed how many Chinese people are in San Francisco.”

About To Get Charged With Battery, Part 5

| State College, PA, USA | Bigotry, Transportation

(I am the only female in the auto shop so I am used to people questioning my knowledge and judgment.)

Me: “Excuse me, sir. I need you to pull your car over to the parking spaces right over there. You can then come in and we will happy to wait on you.”

Customer: “No! I am not moving my car until you give me a free battery! You sold me a bad battery!”

Me: *thinking this could be quick* “I am so sorry to hear that, sir. I would be happy to test the battery. They are warranted for two to four years depending on the battery. If it is under warranty, a new one will be free. May I see your receipt, please?”

Customer: “I don’t have the d*** receipt! It was too long ago! I want a battery now!”

Me: “Well, I cannot do anything without a receipt. But I bet you do have it. There is a plastic pocket on the side of every battery we sell. We always put a duplicate receipt in that pocket. Let’s just take a look.”

(I look at the battery.)

Me: “Sir. This is not our battery. [Retail Store] has never sold this battery in any of its thousand chains across the United States. This is an economy battery that is sold at [Different Store]. We can do nothing for you except sell you a new battery.”

(The customer lets out a litany of swear words. I warn him about it so he agrees to look at batteries but refuses to move his car until I install it. We look at batteries and the cheapest one is $45. He goes nuts on this how we sell crap batteries that never last. I remind him we never sold him that battery. He also lets slip it is six years old.)

Me: “What I can do is charge up your battery for free. Now, that will only last a day to a week, depending. But that will give you time to gather money to get a new battery.”

Customer: “That would be so great! Thank you! Thank you! You are so nice!”

(It is policy that when we charge a battery, we check to see if it is good. The battery is good. It needs to be charged but it will hold a charge. So, I test the alternator. Sure enough, the alternator is bad.)

Me: “Sir. Good news is your battery is fine. Bad news is your alternator is bad.”

Customer: “What are you talking about? I just bought a new alternator! You guys sell crap junk! I don’t believe this! I want a new alternator. You do this just to rip people off.”

Me: “Well, sir. We don’t touch alternators except to test them, so we are not ripping anyone off. Go to any mechanic and they would charge for these tests I just did for free. My suggestion is, I will charge the battery but you need to get a new alternator.”

Customer: “No, I need to talk to a man who knows his business. You think because you have t**s you can rip people off. Get me a real mechanic. Alternators have nothing to do with batteries.”

Me: “Well, my t**s know more about alternators than you do. See the battery starts the car up but then it runs on the alternator. The battery is 12 volts and every time you start the car it drains it a little. A good alternator puts out 14 volts or more but you need at least 12 to keep the battery up. Yours is putting out 9 volts.”

Customer: “I just bought that alternator two years ago! I am getting ripped off!”

Me: “Sir, this car is possibly older than I am. So, you bought a reconditioned alternator. They usually only last two years if it was a cheap one.”

Customer: “This is ridiculous! I can’t afford… Wait a minute! I know! Let’s put some of those batteries from up in front of the store in it!”

Me: “What batteries?”

Customer: “You’re the expert, right? Well, you said if the battery was good and charged it would last for a little while. So I want to put those cheap batteries I saw up front when I came in.”

Me: “We don’t have any car batteries up front. They are too heavy to be constantly dragging back here. Can you show me what you mean?”

Me: *after following the customer up front* “Sir, which batteries? I don’t see any.”

Customer: “Right there!” *pointing*

Me: “Sir. These are 9-volt batteries meant for electronics.”

Customer: “Well, miss car expert, YOU said a car battery is 12 volts. So I want you to put two of those in my car and then it will be 18 volts and then maybe with the extra, it will charge my alternator up!”

Me: “I… I don’t even know how to respond to that.”

Related:
About To Get Charged With Battery, Part 4
About To Get Charged With Battery, Part 3
About To Get Charged With Battery, Part 2

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