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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.

    Bigotry Comes In All Shapes And Sizes

    | USA | Bigotry, Health & Body

    (I work in a store that sells only plus-sized clothing. There are signs about it throughout the store, and the sizing system is clearly different from other stores. A pair of very skinny girls walk in.)

    Girl #1: “Whoa, look at all the fat people in here.”

    Girl #2: “Dude, shut up.”

    Girl #1: “What? I can outrun them if I have to.”

    (I approach them before Girl #1 causes any trouble.)

    Me: “Hello, ladies. Is there anything in particular I can help you find? Looking for a gift for someone?”

    Girl #1: “Yah, where are your leggings?”

    Me: “They’re right over here on this rack.”

    Girl #1: “What’s this? 1X? 2X?”

    Me: “That’s the plus size sizing system.”

    Girl #1: “Do I LOOK like I’m OBESE?!”

    Me: “I assumed you were in here buying for someone else.”

    Girl #2: “[Girl #1], I told you this is a plus-size store.”

    Girl #1: “So you don’t have a size two?”

    Me: “No. Like your friend said, we only sell plus-sized clothing.”

    Girl #1: “This is discrimination against people who actually CARE about their bodies! You should carry NORMAL clothes too!”

    (Another customer overhears her little outburst.)

    Customer: “You really don’t have to shop here, kid.”

    Girl #1: “Well, maybe I wante—”

    Customer: “I’m sick of hearing that sort of attitude. I go to any other clothing store, and I can’t find anything that’s my size because I’m too big. There are dozens of stores at this mall that sell your size, but only one the sells mine. Guess what, kiddo? I didn’t CHOOSE to be fat! I have a genetic disorder that causes me to gain weight no matter how much I work out.”

    Girl #2: “Come on, let’s just go elsewhere. I’m so sorry for my idiot friend’s behavior.”

    Girl #1: “Why are you standing up for them?”

    Girl #2: “You know I used to weigh twice what I do now. I worked my a** off to lose over 100 pounds. I don’t see why the f*** we even came in here! I told you we wouldn’t find anything! So cut it with the fat discrimination and let’s go elsewhere, you idiot!”

    (Girl #2 came back later to apologize again.)

    Making A Mute Point

    | IL, USA | Bigotry, Extra Stupid, Technology

    (I am at visiting a game store that I go to quite often, to the point that most of the employees consider me a “regular”. Due to a throat injury I received when I was younger, I am mute. I’m there to see if they have a copy of a game that had, at the time, just come out. There are only two employees working at the time; both are behind the counter as I walk in. Any ‘dialog’ of mine for this story is actually just me scribbling into a notepad and showing it to whoever I am speaking to, as it’s my main method of communicating.)

    Employee #2: “Hey, [My Name], are you looking for something?”

    Me: “Yeah. I was hoping you had a copy of [Game], since I wasn’t able to reserve a copy.”

    Employee #1: “Yeah, we have a few. I’ll show you where they are.”

    (He shows me to where they are, and leaves me to do some extra browsing. He returns to the register, where his coworker is, when another customer approaches them. He appears to be in his late-teens/early 20s.)

    Customer: “Hey, you really shouldn’t encourage her like that.”

    (The customer gestures to me, and isn’t even being subtle about it.)

    Employee #2: “I’m sorry, sir, but I have no clue what you mean.”

    Customer: “That girl over there! If you treat her like a normal person, she might get the wrong idea!”

    Employee #1: “With all due respect, what are you even talking about?”

    Customer: “Don’t play dumb! She’s clearly retarded! Won’t it look bad for business if you let a [slur] wander around? And besides, she’s a girl! She probably doesn’t even play video games!”

    (Unfortunately, people assuming I am either deaf or mentally handicapped because of my inability to speak is a common occurrence. I’ve gotten used to it, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying. Still, I do my best to ignore it. The assumption that I don’t play video games because I’m a girl isn’t as common, but it does come up once in a while.)

    Employee #2: “Please forgive me, sir, but I’m going to have to ask that you not speak about her that way. Not only is she a regular customer, but she’s definitely NOT mentally handicapped. She just can’t speak because of—”

    Customer: “Right! Because she’s retarded! I don’t think it’s safe to let her wander around the store. What if she ends up making someone else retarded?!”

    (All three of us are completely dumbfounded. As mentioned before, I’m used to these sorts of assumptions, but this was a new one.)

    Customer: “So are you going to kick her out or not? People like her don’t deserve to be in here!”

    Employee #1: *visibly angry, and doing his best to keep his cool* “No, we’re not. However, if you don’t stop insulting out customers, we are going to have to ask YOU to leave!”

    Customer: “What the h***, man?! I’m just looking out for your best interest! If you wanna treat that [slur] like she’s a person, that’s your business, but don’t come running to me if it hurts your business!”

    Employee #1: “Okay, that’s it. We tried being civil. Please leave and don’t come back.”

    (The customer is clearly pissed off, but before he can say or do anything, I walk over and slip a note into his hands. He instinctively reads the note.)

    Me: “By the way, you can call me retarded all you want, but at least I’m not the one with their fly unzipped.”

    (He looked down and confirmed that his fly was, indeed, unzipped. His face turned a shade of red, and he then stormed off in what I could only assume was a combination of rage and embarrassment. We still laugh about it to this day!)

    Caught With Her Pants Down

    | OR, USA | Bigotry, Crazy Requests, School

    (I manage a set of female residence halls at a small, private university.)

    Me: “Hello, Ms. Smith? This is the residential coordinator for your daughter’s hall. I’m calling on behalf of my student staffer to find out what’s going on that you’re concerned about.”

    Mom: “What?! Why the h*** you callin’ me? That’s stupid!”

    Me: “Well, you contacted my student staff saying that you needed to talk to them immediately about your daughter. I told them I would call you back because there are a lot of legal issues surrounding parent communication that they are not necessarily up to date on. So, what’s the problem?”

    Mom: “I hate this university. That is so stupid. Well, anyway, some stupid [Asian slur] stole my daughter’s pants from the laundry!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, what? Tell me exactly what you know.”

    Mom: “Well, she went down to move her laundry into the dryer, and someone already had done it! She was only an hour late! And there was some [Asian slur] girl doing her own laundry! She told my daughter that she didn’t move the laundry, that it was already moved when she got there, but she could hardly speak English, so she’s lying.”

    (Note: We have five washers for 200 girls. You have to be on top of your laundry or someone will move it so they can do their own. 10 minutes is the grace period we encourage people to give others.)

    Me: “Okay, well, I will talk to your daughter and get some more information, including who the other student was.”

    Mom: “It was a [Asian slur]! I’m so disgusted with this University. We pay so much for it and it’s terrible.”

    Me: “I’m going to have to ask you to stop saying that word. We have several students of Asian descent who live in the building, and I honestly cannot imagine any of them stealing laundry. I will talk to your daughter to get more information and hopefully find the pants. I hope one student’s potential actions don’t cloud your judgment of the university as a whole.”

    Mom: “Well, I am going to go say very bad things about this University to everyone I know! You all should teach students how to handle laundry and how to be nice people! It’s your job!”

    Me: “I will be sending a reminder email about laundry etiquette to the building, but all I can do is encourage good behavior. We also will document the situation with the pants, and try to find out what happened. I hope we find them. Is that all I can help you with?”

    Mom: “Well, I’m very angry, and it’s stupid that you called, and that d*** [Asian slur] needs to be sent back to her own country!”

    Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way, ma’am. Goodbye.”

    (Five minutes later, the resident found her pants, in her room, in her laundry basket. She hadn’t looked for them before talking to her mother. I hate my job.)

    I Don’t Work Here Is Lost In Translation

    | Midlands, England, UK | Bad Behavior, Bigotry

    (I work in a department store, but am not employed by that company so I can’t handle their furniture or answer questions about it either. To help customers realise there is a difference, I tend to wear coloured clothes as the host store staff can only wear black. I’m currently cleaning a selection of finishes and the customer beckons me over.)

    Customer: “Thank god we found someone. Now, we want something that is full wood. Nothing veneered and nothing of this chipboard rubbish. Do you have any?”

    Me: “My company doesn’t do full wood pieces, only veneers. If you find any of the ladies or gents in black who are in charge of [Host Store]‘s stock, they’ll be able to help you. I’m a rep from a different company so I don’t know their stock.”

    Customer: “No.” *starts to slow her speech down* “Do you have any full wood pieces?”

    Me: “Like I said, I don’t, but if you find one of the ladies or gents in black they may have some.”

    Customer: *slowing down to the pace you’d use to teach babies new words now* “Dooo yoooou haaaave aaaanny fuuuuull woooooood piiiiieeeces?”

    Me: “No. As I’ve said, my company doesn’t but [Host Store] may do.”

    Customer: “You really don’t understand what I’m saying and you sound foreign!”

    Me: “Eigentlich bin ich aus Deutschland, aber ich war in England angehoben. Ich versichere Ihnen, ich verstehe dich, aber ich kann nicht sagen, das Gefühl.” *actually I am from Germany, but I was raised in England. I assure you I understand you, but I can’t say the feeling is mutual*

    (With that the customer storms off and I see her repeating the whole thing again to one of the Host Store people.)

    The Land Of The Free From Thought

    | USA | Bigotry, Geography

    (I am the manager at a discount department store, and one of our regular customers is a little bit flaky. She often talks to herself, repeating herself over and over.)

    Customer: “Where are you from? What country do you come from?”

    Me: “I was born in Colorado.”

    Customer: “You need to go back to your country at once. America is for Americans.”

    Me: “Colorado IS in America.

    Customer: “You must go back! You must go back! You must go back!”

    (She continues this ad nauseam until she finally leaves. A few weeks later she returns and purchases some items. Her total is $7.60 or so, and one of the coins she hands me is a Canadian quarter. I calmly inspect said quarter, and hand it back.)

    Me: “I can’t accept this coin. Here in America, we only accept AMERICAN currency. If you want to spend the Canadian currency, perhaps you should, you know, go back to Canada to do so.”

    (I haven’t had a problem with her since.)

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