July Theme Of The Month: Great Timing!

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.

An Accent Waiting To Happen

| Kingston, NY, USA | Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Crazy Requests

Me: “Hello and thank you for calling [Company]. My name is [My Name] and I’ll be your—”

Caller: “I need your name and your state.”

Me: “My name is [My Name]. And I’m sorry, but what was the other thing?”

Caller: “I need you to spell your name and tell me what state you’re in.”

Me: “[I spell my name] and I’m currently in New York State.”

Caller: “You have an accent. Transfer me. I live in Houston, Texas.”

(I have never been told I have an accent before, in fact I’ve been noted to have remarkable little accent given that I grew up in New Jersey. The woman on the phone speaks like me and has no distinguishable accent.)

Me: “Um, where do you want me to transfer you to?”

Caller: “You have an accent. Transfer me. I live in Houston, Texas.”

Me: “Okay, but where do you want me to transfer you? What department?”

Caller: “You have an accent. I can’t understand you. Transfer me. I live in Houston, Texas.”

Me: “Okay, but I can’t—”

Caller: “You have an accent. I can’t understand you. Transfer me. I live in Houston, Texas.”

Me: “I can’t promise—”

Caller: “I can’t understand you. Transfer me.”

Me: “I can’t promise you’ll get—”

Caller: “Transfer me.”

Me: “—a representative from Texas—”

Caller: “Transfer me.”

Me: “I’m putting you—”

Caller: “Transfer me—”

Me: “—back in the queue—”

Caller: “Transfer me.”

(I put the call right back in the queue and wrote a warning in my team’s chat to anyone who gets her next. About 10 seconds later in the chat my coworker on the other side of a divider from me wrote, “I have a woman who says I have an accent and wants to be transferred, but won’t say where to. What do I do?” That’s when I noticed another coworker, also in New York State, but in a different city, had gotten this woman before me and put her back in the queue. The woman eventually hung up on my other coworker.)

Not Getting The Focal Point

| Rochester, NY, USA | Bigotry, Crazy Requests

(I am working as a manager in an optical chain, helping to fit a middle aged man with glasses. It is VERY common for patients to try and avoid going to bifocals, and this particular patient is misogynistic on top of it, making inappropriate comments to our receptionist and refusing to believe I am the manager.)

Me: “So, sir, I see you haven’t had a bifocal lens before. Let me talk you through it…”

Patient: “You will NOT give me a bifocal!”

Me: “Okay. Did you just mean you don’t want bifocals with lines and would rather have a progressive lens, or do you want to have your glasses be specifically for reading or distance instead?”

Patient: “Don’t be stupid. I need to see far and to read! But NO BIFOCALS.”

Me: “Sir, you have something called presbyopia, which means that you can’t see both distance and reading in the same pair of glasses without some kind of multifocal. I can certainly make the type without visible lines for you.”

Patient: “NO! What are you, r******d? NO BIFOCALS. I don’t care if they have lines or not! I need to see near and far and no bifocals!”

Me: *trying to be professional* “Sir, perhaps you’d like to talk to the doctor again so he can go over your options…”

(The patient turns to my nearest optician, who happens to be male:)

Patient: “You! This b**** is just a woman, so she’s too stupid to get my glasses right! Can YOU order me a pair of damned glasses that will let me see everything without bifocals?”

Optician: “Not without a time machine, gramps.”

(Officially, I had to give my optician a verbal reprimand for insulting the customer, but I took him out to lunch the next day!)

One Little Vial Of Bigotry

| PA, USA | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Religion

(I’m a Pagan/Wiccan so I have on a pentacle necklace. Normally no one even notices it, but this day was very different. I’m working as the greeter on this particular day, so I stand just inside the door and hand out the weekly ad flyer to everyone that comes in. A lady walks in but is staring at her phone when I greet her.)

Me: “Good morning, ma’am!” *hands her the ad flyer* “Is there anything I can help you find today?”

Customer: *without looking up takes the flyer* “Oh, no thank you, honey.”

Me: “Okay, well, if you need any help just let me know!”

Customer: “Thank you.” *finally looks up at me and starts to smile, but then her eyes meet my pentacle necklace with a black crystal hanging from it, and her face freezes* “OH, LORD JESUS SAVE ME! THIS STORE EMPLOYS HEATHEN DEVIL WORSHIPPERS! I CAN’T SHOP HERE!”

(She proceeds to throw the ad flyer back at me and run from the store. A manager ,who has been at the other end of the store, hears the commotion and comes up to check on me.)

Manager: “Hey, [My Name], what’s going on up here?”

Me: “Oh, I had some customer, throw the ad flyer at me and call me a devil worshipper because she saw my necklace.” *points to it*

Manager: “Well, maybe you shouldn’t wear that here if it causes us to lose customers. Just keep it in your locker or something if you insist on wearing that thing.”

(I look at him in shock, hoping that he would realize that he just violated my freedom of religion, but apparently it never dawns on him. About a week later, I’m working in the same position and the same lady walks in, but I am not wearing my necklace this time, as I’ve stored it in my locker.)

Me: “Good morning, ma’am.” *hands her ad flyer*

Customer: *looks me up and down noticing the lack of pentacle necklace, and visibly relaxes* “Ah, that’s a relief! You’ve finally accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior and have renounced your heathen ways! I’ve been praying for you, child.”

(Having had enough of her religious bigotry, I calmly turn off my radio and look her straight in the eye.)

Me: “No, that’s not it at all. Do you remember the black crystal that was hanging off the bottom of my pendant?”

Customer: “…Off of the devil worship pendant? Yes, what about it?”

Me: “Well, it wasn’t actually a crystal; it was a vial of infants’ blood, and the other day I was really hungry so I ate it.”

(The customer drops the ad flyer from her hand in horrified shock, and runs out the door as fast as she could. Again the manager comes running from the other side of the store.)

Manager: “What the heck is going on up here?! What did you do this time, [My Name]?”

Me: *with completely straight face* “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

(The whole time my co-worker in the printing area was trying to stifle his laughter. He is an Asatru, and has a Thor’s hammer necklace on, but no one ever says anything to him about it…)

Can’t Em-Bra-ce Her Tomboyishness

| Salt Lake City, UT, USA | Bigotry, Family & Kids

(I am working the rentals department of a costume shop when I was forwarded a call.)

Me: “Hi, what can I help you find today?”

Customer: “I was wondering if you have any mini skirts, low cut blouses, push up bras, high heels, that sort of thing.”

Me: “Yes, we might have something like that. What type of event do you need it for?”

Customer: “It’s not for me; it’s for my daughter. She just got her degree and is interviewing for a job.”

Me: “…What job is she interviewing for?”

Customer: “It’s for [Major Video Game Developer]. She’s a video game programmer.”

Me: “I’m sorry. She’s going in for an interview and she needs what, now?”

Customer: “Don’t you think she needs to wear something sexy? You know, since there are so many men in that field?”

Me: “What does your daughter think she should wear?”

Customer: “Oh, she’s a tomboy. She’d wear a T-shirt if I let her. But don’t you agree with me? Shouldn’t she wear something sexy?”

Me: *afraid to outright disagree with a customer* “I think you should consult someone in the industry about what’s appropriate.”

Customer: “She needs to show a little cleavage, you know? With a mini skirt?”

Me: *completely flabbergasted* “…I’m sorry, I don’t think we have anything to help you.”

Gives New Meaning To The Pink Dollar

| ACT, Australia | Bigotry, Family & Kids, Money

(At the store I work at, we sell gift cards for a certain popular online music store, with pre-set values of $20, $30, and $50. To help tell the difference between the cards, they are colour-coded, with $20 being pink, $30 being blue, and $50 being green. One day, an old lady comes up to my register with a $20 card.)

Customer: “Excuse me, but do you have these $20 cards in blue?”

Me: “Sorry, ma’am, the $20 [Music Store] gift cards only come in pink.”

Customer: “Are you sure? I really would like a blue $20 [Music Store] card.”

Me: “All the $20 cards are pink, I’m afraid. Why were you after a blue card in particular?”

Customer: “Well, I want to buy this card for my grandson’s birthday, but I can’t get him a PINK card. That’s a girl’s colour! He’s a boy; he needs a BLUE card!”

(The customer is a bit grumpy at this point, and I am a bit put off by her gender stereotyping, but I try to remain polite and helpful.)

Me: “Oh. Well, as I said, we unfortunately do not have blue $20 [Music Store] cards.”

Customer: *disappointed* “I see.” *pause* “Are you sure you don’t have any blue ones out the back?”

Me: “Positive, ma’am. The $30 [Music Store] cards are blue. You could spend and extra $10 and get one of those.”

Customer: *outraged* “$30?! I love my grandson, but not that much!”

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