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  • Had It Up To Their Neck With Bad Customers
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    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.

    Not Low Key About The Hokey

    | San Jose, CA, USA | Bigotry, Bizarre, Religion

    (I’m a Muslim female barista. Two young women in headscarves come in. They get in line. Most people are surprised to learn of my faith, as I am mixed race and look white, and don’t wear a headscarf by personal choice.. A man whispers to his wife, and then comes up to me while I’m handing out drinks to customers.)

    Man: “Excuse me, could you please remove those two from the shop?”

    Me: “Who?”

    Man: “Those two in the scarves.”

    Me: “Uh, why?”

    Man: “They’re offending me.”

    Me: “How?”

    Man: *raising voice* “How dare they throw their satanic religion in our good Christian faces?!”

    (He is wearing a rather large cross around his neck.)

    Man: *raises his voice to a yell* “Be gone from his earth, devil spawn!”

    Me: “Dude, look, quit harassing them.”

    Man: “Harassing them?! They’re harassing me!”

    (Fed up, I come out from behind the counter to speak to the man.)

    Me: “Look, dude, be quiet or leave now.”

    Man: “Why should I, son of the great lord, be forced to tolerate their hokey religion?!”

    Me: “That’s my ‘hokey religion’ you’re messing with, and I’m not going to take your crap. Out. Now.

    Man: “You’re devil spawn too?!” *crosses himself* “SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD, THROW DOWN YOUR COFFEE! A SINNER HAS TOUCHED IT!”

    (The shop is literally silent, and everyone is staring at him. My manager walks up behind him. He is Sikh, and is wearing a turban. He taps the man on the shoulder and speaks in a deadpan voice.)

    Manager: *deadpans, taps man on the shoulder* “Now what seems to be the problem here?”

    (As soon as he sees my manager, the customer literally screams and runs out. His wife runs after him, stopping at the door to cross herself. I go back behind the counter. The two Muslim women approach me.)

    Muslim Woman #1: “Thanks for that.”

    Me: “Absolutely no problem. I’ve had that done to me too, when I’m wearing the scarf.”

    Muslim Woman #2: “Do you get lunatics in here like that often?”

    Me: “You have no idea.”

    On The Straight And Narrow (Minded), Part 3

    | TN, USA | Awesome Workers, Bigotry, Love/Romance, Top

    (My uncle is gay, but isn’t flamboyant. He works as a service advisor at a car dealership. He is scheduling an appointment for an elderly customer.)

    Uncle: “Alright, so if you come in next week, we can fix your car. However, I am going to be on vacation next week, so you’ll need to see [other service advisor].

    Customer: “Ah, that’s alright. Where are you heading to?”

    Uncle: “I’m going to Cape Cod.”

    Customer: “Well, be careful up there.”

    Uncle: “Why?”

    Customer: “Cause up there’s Queersville.”

    Uncle: “Uh… excuse me?!”

    Customer: “Queersville; it’s full of f**s!”

    Uncle: *calmly* “Thank you for warning me. I’ll be sure to tell my boyfriend, cause he sure hates f**s!”

    Customer: *turns pales and leaves*

    Related:
    On The Straight And Narrow (Minded), Part

    Saw Through His Sexism

    | Montreal, QC, Canada | Bigotry, Top

    (I am a female woodworking student, shopping for a specific kind of saw in a hardware store. There’s only one on the shelf, so I grab it and start to move towards the register.)

    Customer: “You can’t have this saw.”

    Me: “And why not?”

    Customer: “Because I need it!”

    Me: “Well, I’m sorry about that, but I picked it up first when you weren’t even near it. They’ll probably order some soon.”

    Customer: “Give it to me, I really need it.”

    Me: “As much as I do. I’m sorry, sir, but it’s mine.”

    Customer: “I clearly need it more than you; you’re a woman! You can’t have any use for a saw!”

    Me: “I’m sorry sir, but I’m doing woodworking and I need this saw for an order a client placed with me. I am not going to give it to you and delay my client’s order.”

    Customer: *sheepishly* “Oh, I’m sorry, I couldn’t know… If I knew you were a woodworker, I wouldn’t have said that.”

    Me: “You shouldn’t make sexist comments like that, regardless of what field I work. Every woman is allowed to buy a saw… not only woodworkers.”

    No Vocation For Location, Part 5

    | London, England, UK | Bigotry, Geography, Language & Words

    (I work at a call center for charities where we call people to confirm their details and thank them for their donations. I have recently moved from South Africa and am still getting used to some of the pronunciations around the UK.)

    Me: “Hello, this is Sarah calling on behalf of [charity]. I believe you spoke to John in Inverness on Saturday. Is that correct?”

    (I’ve pronounced it ‘In-ver-niss’ as opposed to ‘In-ver-ness’.)

    Man: “What?! How can you work in a f***ing call center and not even know how to pronounce the names?”

    Me: “I’m so sorry, sir. I’m not from England so I’m still getting used to all the names.”

    Man: “How f***ing dare you! I am not from England! I am from Scotland, you dumb b****! They’re different places! How don’t you know that? Didn’t you go to school?!”

    Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, sir. I meant to say I’m new to the UK. Some of the names of places are still a bit tricky for me.”

    Man: *calmer* “Well, okay then. Where are you from?”

    Me: “Johannesburg in South Africa.”

    Man: “Oh, you mean Zimbabwe!”

    Me: “No, sir, they’re different countries.”

    Man: “They’re the same thing!”

    Related:
    No Vocation For Location, Part 4

    Suited To The Role

    | San Francisco, CA, USA | Awesome Workers, Bigotry, Top

    (I work the floor at an independently-owned menswear store. The owner, my boss, spends a lot of time at the shop, and tries to keep prices as low as possible to help our city’s large homeless population get good job interview clothes. A clearly homeless man is wandering around the store. The other patrons are giving him looks.)

    Customer: “Excuse me, sir?”

    Me: “Yes, ma’am?”

    Customer: “I think you may want to call security. That… bum over there, he keeps feeling the suits and muttering to himself. I’m just sure he’s planning to steal one.”

    Me: “Well, ma’am, I think that’s quite unlikely.”

    Customer: “Oh, come on, you know how they are! I mean, I’d keep an eye on him even if he wasn’t homeless!”

    (The homeless man in question happens to be Hispanic.)

    Me: “We don’t discriminate here, ma’am.”

    Customer: “Well, I’m sure the owner would want to hear about this!”

    (I give in and call him over. The customer explains her concerns. As a black man, my boss isn’t happy with her racism, but agrees to talk to the homeless man.)

    Owner: “Excuse me, sir, are you finding what you need?”

    Homeless Man: “Well, not really. I’m hoping for something versatile in a dark or navy wool, but most of the options in my size are cut American style instead of European, which fits me a little better. Not to mention they’re all pinstriped, which I really don’t have the build for, you know?”

    Owner: “I… yes, I understand. I think we may have some options over here, if you’ll follow me. How did you know all that?”

    Homeless Man: “Back before I lost my job, I used to be really into this stuff. I’m not looking for anything fancy, just something I can use to look good for a job interview later today.”

    (My boss helps him find something he likes, and comes to the counter with him. The suit is priced at $87.)

    Homeless Man: *digging in his pockets* “Hang on, I think I’ve got enough.”

    Owner: *to me* “Take my card. I’m buying it for him.” *to the homeless man* “Here. The suit’s yours, on one condition. After your interview today, you come back and apply for a job here too. Got it?”

    Homeless Man: “I… oh my God, thank you. Thank you so much.”

    (Two years later, that formerly-homeless man is my manager, and has a little girl with his new wife—the owner’s sister.)


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