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A Continuing Rise In Cases… Of Racism, Part 2

, , , , , , | Right | August 14, 2020

We have just opened after lockdown and it is our second day back at work. Due to government restrictions, we can only let a certain number of people in and can only allow for limited service — mostly sales. We have therefore put a barrier on the door with a staff member constantly manning the barrier. This time it is, unfortunately, my turn when a horrible old woman stops at the barrier.

Customer: “Well, are you open or not?”

Me: “Hi! Of course we are, but it’s only for limited service due to maintaining social distance. How can we help you?”

Customer: “Well, obviously, I want help with a phone. This is a phone shop, isn’t it?”

Me: “Yes, so tell me how can I help you with your phone. What seems to be the issue?”

Customer: “It’s obviously not working. I wouldn’t be here if it was working, would I? My phone isn’t working and I want to see what phones you have. Are you going to let me in or not?”

Me: “At this moment, due to how small our shop is, we are not allowing browsing because we cannot do that and maintain the two-meter social distance. I can, however, pass you to an advisor and they can discuss your options. Is that okay?”

Customer: “So, you’re saying I can’t look at phones? How am I supposed to know what to buy if I can’t look at different phones?”

I am slightly frustrated because I have literally just answered that.

Me: “As I explained, our advisors will go through certain phones with you on the computer; however, you cannot physically hold phones or even browse through the ones we have in store. If that is okay, please let me know.”

If she says yes, I will let her in.

Customer: “This is ridiculous! If you can’t serve me, why are you open?! You shouldn’t be open! And what are you, a security guard? People like you are usually…”

She trails off, rolling her eyes. I am a brown female, and because of what I wear, I am very obviously of a certain religion people associate with violence. I wish I could say I’m surprised.

Me: “Excuse me? People like me are what, exactly?”

Customer: “All you salespeople.”

It’s very obvious that’s not what she meant.

Me: “Look. I have already given you all the options. If you don’t want to speak to an advisor, you are free to browse our options online.”

Customer: “Open the door so I can speak to someone!”

Me: “Okay, there are guided markers on your right; please follow them.”

I open the door and the woman turns left.

Me: “Excuse me! Excuse me! Please go to the right!”

The woman pretends not to hear me and stops at one of the phone displays and begins looking at a phone. I am so mad at this point I have to regulate my breathing to not scream at her.

Me: “Miss, if you are going to ignore me and browse despite the fact that I told you not to, I am going to ask you to leave.”

The woman still pretends she can’t hear me and strolls on. I speed to one side and stand in front of her to block her. 

Me: “Please move HERE.” *Points* “You are breaking the government-mandated social distancing rule.”

She turns her head the other way and stays put. At this point, my white colleague comes over to my side.

Colleague: “My colleague has been very patient and very clear. Please move or leave this store. If you can’t do either, I am going to call the police.”

The woman rolled her eyes and moved to the right. My colleague motioned that she would take over so I could go back and destress.

When I went through the back, my managers asked me what happened and when I relayed the whole scenario, they said I should have asked her to leave when she began her racist rant. I know they would have supported me, but I am always afraid of being confrontational because of my ethnicity and religion. 

I later found out that my colleague kicked her out five minutes into their conversation because she kept making racist remarks about me.

Related:
A Continuing Rise In Cases… Of Racism