November Theme Of The Month: Black Friday!

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.

Say Adios To Racism

| Orlando, FL, USA | Bigotry, Family & Kids, Top, Tourists/Travel

(I work in the guest services department of a major theme park. A Hispanic twenty-something mother and her young son approach the desk.)

Me: “Yes, ma’am, how can I help you?”

Mother: “Hello, I… no find… boy… hat.”

Me: “Pardon?”

Mother: “I no… look…”

(I switch to Spanish, which I can speak fairly well after four years studying it in high school.)

Me: *in Spanish* “Do you speak Spanish?”

Mother: “Oh, yes! Thank you so much! While my son and I were riding the roller coaster, he lost his hat and we came to see if you could send anyone to find it.”

Me: “I’m afraid we can’t send anyone to look under the roller coaster until after the park closes, but we can give you a gift certificate to buy a new hat for him at the shop.”

Mother: “That would be excellent! Thank you!”

(A burly-looking man, who is waiting for a park representative in the seating area, stands up and shouts at me.)

Man: “Hey! What the h*** do you think you’re doin’, boy?!”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Man: “You talkin’ that [racial slur] language? The h***’s wrong with you? You just encouragin’ them—” *points at the mother and son* “—to come over here like they own this country!”

Me: “Well, sir, I speak English and Spanish. This lady seemed to be having trouble with her English, so I thought I’d try Spanish.”

(He walks over to the counter, and puts his face right in mine.)

Man: “That’s a bunch of bull-s***! They came to our country, so they gotta learn to talk our language! You just gonna let them win by speakin’ their language?!”

Me: “Uh… win what?”

Man: “Man, it’s because of f****** like you that they think they can just come in here and tell us what to do!”

(He gives the woman a dirty look, and she becomes very frightened. I push the silent security alert button under the counter. Suddenly the little boy moves, and stands in front of his mother.)

Son: “Quit bein’ mean to my mama, poop head!”

Man: “You gonna make me, you little [racial slur]?”

Son:They will!”

(He points out the glass door, as two security officers approach.)

Security Guard #1: “I’m going to have to ask you to come with us, sir.”

Man: “For what?! Defending America?!”

Security Guard #2: “For threatening our other guests. If you don’t come peacefully, we will restrain you.”

(The man grits his teeth, and seems to be considering fighting the guards, but after a moment he gives up and goes with them.)

Me: “Adios!”

Man: “F*** you, f**!”

(I turn to the mother and son, and start speaking to them in Spanish again.)

Me: “I’m sorry about that man, ma’am. He won’t bother you again.”

Mother: “Thank you! I thought he was going to hit me.”

Son: “I won’t let him hurt you, mama!”

Me: “Young man, since you were so brave, I’m going to give you an extra gift certificate, so you can get a cartoon character doll, too.”

Son: “Wow! You’re so nice, mister!”

His Attitude Needs A Converter

| Watertown, MA, USA | Bigotry, Technology

(I am the only female in the electronics department of a large retail store. A young male customer comes in.)

Me: “Hello, sir. Can I help you find something?”

Customer: “Er, um, actually if you don’t mind, could I perhaps speak to someone a bit more… male?”

Me: “Why of course, sir. Give me one moment.”

(I find my direct supervisor. I let him know that the customer wants to speak to someone more ‘male’.)

Supervisor: “Hello, sir. I understand you have a question for me?”

Customer: “Yes. I was wondering if you sold any televisions that didn’t need a converter box.”

(My supervisor looks at me.)

Me: “If you purchase a television that was manufactured after 2004, a digital tuner is more likely to have been included in the design specifications. We can check for an Advanced Television Systems Committee input if you’d like.”

Customer: “Uh… so?”

Me: “An ATSC is often referred to as a ‘digital input’, which negates the need for an external antennae to capture an analog signal. When the conversion happens, it will be essential that the TV you wish to continue using have the ability to receive and translate digital signals.”

Customer: “Um…”

Me: “Furthermore, should you decide to utilize a Video Cassette Recorder, you would most likely find it beneficial to connect a converter box to translate the digital signal to an analog recording outlet.”

Customer: *blank look*

Me: “Any TV we sell has a built in digital tuner, so you don’t need a converter box. If you want to use a VCR with a new TV, you will need a converter box.”

Customer: *speaking quickly* “Um, thanks. Have a nice day. Sorry.”

(The customer proceeds to bow his head, tuck his hands in his pockets, and walk rapidly towards the front door.)

Supervisor: “Nice.”

The Booger-inning Of A Beautiful Friendship

| Hurst, TX, USA | Bigotry, Food & Drink, Top

(I’m a customer in line at a pizza place. Most of the employees are Spanish speakers, but for the most part are bilingual. The cashier speaks in heavily accented, broken English, but is very sweet.)

Me: “I’d like a slice of chee—”

(A customer storms up to the counter, and begins screaming.)

Customer: “I ordered my pizza five minutes ago! Why isn’t it ready?!”

Cashier: “It is cooking.”

Customer: “It doesn’t take five minutes to heat up a pizza! I want my money back, and I want my pizza right now!”

Cashier: “It is in the oven; it will be soon.”

Customer: “I can’t understand a word you’re saying! Get me your manager!”

Cashier: “I am the manager.”

Customer: “I can’t understand you! Are you even legal? I can’t believe this place hires w******s like you!”

(I have had enough, and decide to intervene.)

Me: “Ma’am, your pizza is still cooking. They prepare them totally from scratch when you order. Her race has nothing to do with how long it takes to cook pizza, and you owe her an apology!”

Customer: “I don’t have to listen to you, you… you… booger face!”

(She storms off without her pizza, and I got mine for free. The cashier calls me ‘booger-face’ every time I eat there now!)

This Round He Lost (In Translation), Part 2

| USA | Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Food & Drink, Holidays, Top

(There is a sizable line in the drive-thru. A rental car pulls up to order.)

Me: “Hi, welcome to [restaurant]; how can I serve you today?”

(The customer and his wife proceed to order. They order a lot of food. The customer has a thick French accent, and I have to ask him to repeat a few things.)

Customer: “How long is this going to take?”

Me: “Well, we’re kind of busy; it will take about 15 minutes.”

(I begin repeating the order back to the customer to verify that it’s right, but he pulls ahead while I’m still speaking. About 15 minutes later, he pulls up to the window. My coworker brings them their food when it is ready.)

Coworker: “All right, so I have [order] for you.”

Customer: “No, that’s wrong. We wanted [order].”

(My coworker is fairly new, so I decide to take over. I send the revised order to the kitchen and ask them to remake it. Five minutes later, the order is done.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. Here is your order.”

Customer: “That’s not all; we want milkshakes, too.”

(I am very frustrated with this customer, but I keep it under control and ring up the milkshakes. I took five years of French class in high school, so I can understand it fairly well.)

Customer: *to wife, in French* “This place is terrible.”

Customer’s Wife: “It’s so slow!”

Customer: “And that skinny white boy is very rude.

Customer’s Wife: “Don’t be mean; he’s probably not that smart.”

(They laugh, and continue making fun of me. I finish making the milkshakes, and walk over to the window with a beaming, ear-to-ear smile.)

Me: *in French* “Thank you for your business today.”

(The man makes eye contact with me. His eyes are nearly bulging out of his head, as he realizes I have understood every word he and his wife said. I keep my eyes locked on his, and maintain my ghoulish grin.)

Me: *in French* “It was a pleasure to serve you today.”

Customer: *drops milkshakes in wife’s lap and accelerates away*

This Round He Lost (In Translation)


| USA | Bigotry, Technology

(I’m the customer service administrator. I’m the very last in line when customers ask to speak to a manager. Our tech support call center is located in India, but our headquarters, where I work, are in the States.)

Me: “Good afternoon, [company name]; this is [name].”

Customer: “Yes, I asked for a shipping label a couple days ago to send in my unit, and I haven’t gotten it yet. What’s the hold up?”

Me: “It looks like a shipping label was generated to be sent to your e-mail, but someone made a typo in your e-mail address. We sent it out via mail; sorry about that! It should reach you in a couple of days.”

Customer: “What?! D*** foreigners! How hard is it to type in an e-mail address? Your company is doing a disservice, shipping jobs that honest, hard-working Americans could have, over to India!”

Me: “The mistake was a simple typo, sir. Anyone could have made that mistake, American or otherwise.”

Customer: “That’s just a bull-s*** excuse! If you don’t want to take my word for it, fine. But you’re doing a disservice to this country!”

Me: “Sir, please stop cursing.”

Customer: “What? No, f*** you! Okay, what happens when I get the label?”

(I explain to him how to attach the label to the box and send the unit in.)

Customer: “No! That’s bull-s***! I have to do all this work, just to get a d*** piece of s*** unit that works! Your company is terrible and—”

Me: “Sir, if you do not calm down, I will hang up the phone.”

Customer: “What? Hang up? Fine! Hang up on me!” *hangs up*