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    Small Minded People

    | Scotland, UK | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Family & Kids

    (I am a dwarf, and need a stool to be seen clearly. From the till, I can pass as an average-height person. A customer and her small child approach.)

    Customer: “Do you have any woollen gloves?”

    Me: “Sure, we keep more stuff in the back. I’ll go and check for you.”

    (I step down from my stool, and come out from behind the counter. The customer is surprised, and takes a step back, taking her child’s hand. Despite being hurt by her reaction, I make myself smile. I head to the back room, where I can hear her son.)

    Child: “What was that, mum?”

    Customer: “Shush! Don’t stare. He’s just a midget; he won’t hurt you. He didn’t eat his greens, that’s all.”

    (I come back through with a box of gloves.)

    Me: “Sorry, I couldn’t help overhearing. Midget isn’t the most ‘PC’ term to use. Personally, I prefer dwarf; it’s different for everyone. Midget is definitely offensive for most though.”

    (The customer looks at me wide-eyed, saying nothing. I gesture to the box for her to look through.)

    Me: “You’ll probably find something in there. We have quite a lot of—”

    Customer: “Is it okay if you go back behind the counter? You know, for my son?”

    (Quite speechless, I go back behind the counter, and on to the stool. My manager decides to intervene.)

    Manager: “Is there a problem here? Do you think [my name] here is going to taint your kid’s innocence or something?”

    Customer: “I just don’t want him scaring my son. Is that too much to ask?”

    Manager: “Well, I’m not going to have you insult my staff. Either treat him like a human being, or leave this shop.”

    Customer: “Well, I don’t know why you hired someone like him to work on the till!”

    Manager: “Okay, that’s it. Get out.”

    (The customer and her child leave.)

    Me: “Thank you!”

    Manager: “Shush, just stay there. I’m going to the bakery to get you an apple turnover. You deserve something after dealing with her!”