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    Christmas Housing Crisis

    | Vancouver Island, BC, Canada | Bigotry, Holidays, Theme Of The Month, Wild & Unruly

    (For Christmas, the bakery I work at makes elaborate gingerbread houses, complete with some reindeer, Santa, and a few trees. Understandably, the whole thing is rather fragile, and pricey, and we wrap them carefully and display them on top of the pastry case with signs requesting that customers seek help before handling them. A customer walks in and wanders up to the display case and starts to examine the gingerbread houses. As Christmas is busy, my coworkers and I are not paying attention, she ends up breaking the reindeer and some trees in one of the gingerbread houses when she handled it.)

    Customer: “Excuse me!”

    (There’s a line of ten people in front of her, so we politely but quickly ask her to step in line. She shakes the very fragile gingerbread house at us.)

    Customer: “Excuse me! I want to buy a gingerbread house! This one is broken!”

    (As the most senior front end employee, I end up walking to the front and helping her.)

    Me: “I’m terribly sorry. We have others.”

    (I start to reach for an intact one, but she shakes the one she’s holding, breaking it further.)

    Customer: “No! Those ones are probably just as stale as this one. That’s why it broke! You shouldn’t be selling your customers such cheap product.”

    Me: “No, ma’am, it broke because you’ve been shaking it. I can assure you that they were all put together yesterday.”

    Customer: “Real gingerbread doesn’t break like that! I want to speak to your manager!”

    Me: “I’m the worker in charge tonight, ma’am, and I can assure you that, when shaken, gingerbread breaks like most other pastries.”

    (She fumes and reached for another one. I quickly intercept and, after a few bitter words, she allows me to take down the gingerbread house she wants. Before letting her touch it, though, I turned it carefully so she could see that it was all intact. I then ring her in, charging double, which she was quick to jump on.)

    Customer: “What? They’re $45 dollars! I will not pay $100 for a gingerbread house!”

    Me: “No, ma’am, the broken ones are $45. Some people prefer them in bite size pieces. The intact ones take much longer to prepare, so we have to charge extra.”

    Customer: “This f***ing store is a godd*** disgrace! Owned by an Arab!” she’s referring to the head pastry chef who is Filipino* “-and a f***ing c****!” *referring to me, as I’m half-Chinese*

    (She throws a $100 bill on the counter and storms off, almost knocking an elderly man to the ground when she opens the door to leave. I ended up using the extra $50 to buy the other customers hot drinks, and passed out the broken gingerbread to accompany the beverages. Needless to say, we got some pretty amazing tips that night. The customer came back to complain later when the owners were around, but the head chef’s husband gave her a proper telling off when he heard her refer to his wife as an Arab.)