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.

Racing To Prevent Theft

| CT, USA | Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Criminal/Illegal

(I work at a well-known ‘tween’ girl’s clothing store. I am half black, though I am very light-skinned, so most people just assume I’m white or Hispanic. During training, we’re taught about some of the common ways people shoplift, such as lining empty shopping bags with tinfoil. On this particular day, two black women come into my store carrying a number of shopping bags, at least two of which are empty and I can see tinfoil poking out of one. We are trained to be extra friendly and helpful to people we suspect of trying to shoplift. Since I am up front, I greet them.)

Me: “Good afternoon. Thanks for shopping at [Store]. May I help you find anything today?”

Customer: *brusquely* “I’m all set! Leave me alone!”

Me: “Okay, ma’am, but please let me know if I can help you with anything.”

(I go back to folding jeans, but keep a close eye on the customers. I notice them getting abnormally close to the jeans display, as though they might try to knock them into the empty bag.)

Me: “Just so you know, we’re having a special on these jeans right now. If you buy two pairs, you get $10 to spend on a future purchase.”

Customer: “I told you I didn’t need any help! Why are you following me?!” *I haven’t moved at all throughout this interaction*

Me: “I was just trying to tell you about the sale we’re having.”

Customer: “You’re racist! I don’t see you following anyone else in the store. You think I’m shoplifting! Racist!”

Me: “Ma’am, I can assure you I’m not racist.”

(At this point a coworker of mine, who is also black, but noticeably so, has come over, as has one of my managers.)

Manager: “Is there something I can help you with today?”

Customer: *storms out of the store in a huff*

Won’t Find Modern Software In Modern Society

| London, England, UK | Bad Behavior, Bigotry

Customer: “Hi, yeah, I’m interested in buying some of your software but I got to know one thing.”

Me: “Sure, we’ll try and help in any way we can.”

Customer: “F***, I’m glad to hear that. Now listen; you got any of them f*gs or tree-huggers working for you? I can’t buy from you if you have.”

Me: “Okay, sir, the religion or preferences of our staff is not up for discussion as it isn’t relevant to our software.”

Customer: “I f**king KNEW it! You’re the eighth firm I’ve called today!”

A Colorful Outburst

| Newport, KY, USA | Bigotry, Movies & TV

(At the box office, cashiers are required to repeat the name of the movie to the customer. This policy is now defunct because of the following exchange:)

Customer: “I want two for For Colored Girls.”

Me: *ringing it in* “All right, that’s two for For Colored Girls.”

(The customer then exploded into a twenty-minute tirade about how I, a white man, used the word ‘colored’ in front of her.)

Trying To Explain In Black And White

| Fairfax, VA, USA | Bigotry, Crazy Requests, Food & Drink

(I’m the hostess at an upscale restaurant where all the tables are pre-set with silverware rolled up in black linen napkins. If a customer with white pants come in, we trade out their silverware with one rolled in white linen. This prevents any black lint or string that might’ve been on the napkin from being highly visible. I’m currently working a busy Saturday and the restaurant is about 3/4 full. I’ve just sat a group of four ladies at a booth. Three of them are black and are wearing black pants or jeans. The fourth lady is white and wearing white pants. I switch out her silverware.)

Black Lady #1: “I CANNOT BELIEVE WHAT I AM SEEING!”

Me: “Pardon?”

Black Lady #1: “YOU JUST GAVE HER WHITE SILVERWARE BECAUSE SHE’S WHITE!”

Me: “Oh, no, ma’am. We do this for everyone who—”

Black Lady #1: “—IS WHITE?! GET ME YOUR MANAGER NOW!! I CAN’T BELIEVE ANYONE CAN STILL BE RACIST WHEN OUR PRESIDENT IS BLACK!!”

(I was too shocked about being yelled at in front of the full restaurant that I just sulked away quickly and got my manager. I could feel everyone staring. After spending 10 minutes at the table explaining to them the real reason I exchanged the silverware and also pointing out that practically every other white person in the restaurant had black linen silverware, the manager agreed to run out a couple free appetizers on the house. We stopped giving out the white linen after that night.)

The Umpire Strikes Back

| St. Louis, MO, USA | Bigotry, Family & Kids, School

(I am umpiring a fourth grade boys baseball game. Before the game starts, I walk down to the field with the other umpire with our gear. I am going to be behind the plate. The fact that I am a girl with a ponytail immediately catches the eyes of the boys on one of the teams.)

Boys: “Are you the umpire?”

Me: “Yes”

Boys: “You’re a girl! A girl umpire!”

Me: “Have you guys had a girl umpire before?”

Boys: “No”

One Boy: “My dad said girls can’t be umpires because they are ignorant when it comes to sports.”

Me: *laughs*

(The coach quickly came by and made all the boys go warm up all while apologizing to me. A few minutes later, the coach called me over. I went over and he made the boy’s dad apologize for the comment before the boy was allowed to play.)

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