A Model Racist

, , , , | Right | June 19, 2017

(My mother, my sister, and I are at a store to upgrade my phone. A lady in her 30s and what I assume is her mother walk in and ask to see a model for the new IPhone 6. Worker #1, who is a black man in is 20s, is told by Worker #2 that since they already have a model out, he can’t bring out a second one. Worker #1 tells the woman that he cannot show her the model at this time, and she and her mother go and browse the store. Five minutes later, a black man in his 60s comes up and asks also to see a model of the IPhone 6. Since the other model has been put back, Worker #1 shows it to him. After the man leaves, the lady and her mother storm back up to the counter.)

Customer: “I knew you were a racist!”

Worker #1: “Excuse me, ma’am?”

Customer: “I saw you give that BLACK man the model and not me! Does your manager know its staff is comprised of racists?! I DEMAND to see the manager and have you fired!”

(Worker #1 seems quite shaken up about this, and turns towards the manager, who is helping me and my family upgrade my phone.)

Worker #1: “[Manager] can you come here for a moment?”

Manager: “Excuse me, ladies.”

(The manager walks over and we can hear her trying to explain the situation to the customer, but the customer continues to argue and starts to raise her voice. My sister and I are trying our best to ignore her, but my mother decides to butt in when the lady starts to verbally attack the young man.)

Mother: “Oh, for the love of god! Would you just calm down?! This is obviously not his fault and you are disturbing the peace!”

Customer: “Stay out of this; this isn’t any of your business!”

Mother: “I think you made it EVERYONE’S business when you started screaming like a lunatic!”

(The woman and her mother leave in a huff, grumbling to each other. My mother turns to Worker #1.)

My Mother: “Don’t worry, dear, you did nothing wrong. You seem like an excellent young man, and she was a crazy b****.”

(Worker #1 chuckles and says thank you, and the manager comes back to help us. A tiny, old woman that was standing at the back of the store comes up to the counters and speaks to my mother.)

Old Woman: “Thank you for doing that; she was driving me insane!”

1 Thumbs
  • Bonnie Seaberg

    The harridan’s behavior and accusations were inexcusable, but some of her anger was justified. If they were still in the store, why on earth wasn’t the phone brought to them when the first customer finished? Offering it to someone who came in after them was poor customer service.

    • Stacy

      All major carriers have rules for their stores about only one model being allowed out on the floor at any given time (this is in relation to you being able to hold it and play with it without it being the tethered display that’s connected to an anti-theft device). They keep all sellable models in a locked, employees-only area to minimize theft.

      Customer #1 wandered off. While browsing, phone #1 was put back in the employees only area. Customer #2 (older man) comes in after therefore they are able to immediately bring one out.

      Worker#1 could have called over customer #1 since she wanted to look at it first but that’s kind of dependent on how large the store is, maybe they didn’t want to interrupt a conversation customer#1 and her mother were having, etc.

      But none of that is worthy of causing a scene.

      • Bonnie Seaberg

        She was clearly close enough to see it was the exact phone she wished to see, so it still seems like effort could have been put forth to let her see it first. Her response was still insane and way out of proportion.

        • Stacy

          Eh it could have been that she happened to be walking back to the employees when she spotted it. Who knows.

          But yeah, the reaction was that of an ***hole. Given her ott reaction, I’m surprised the older man’s interaction with the employee wasn’t interrupted by her.

        • Leah

          She could have been watching through shelves without the sales associate realising how close she was.

        • UrbanDweller64

          This all sounds like a store issue. Perhaps a customer numbering system for those who want to see a phone model would have saved this problem. Also, the fact the customer #1 went straight to the racist card is so very wrong in so many ways. Being upset with a bit of poor customer service and directly relating it to racism is what escalated this out of control. Had Customer #1 simply stated her displeasure with not being shown the phone first, then an apology could have been provided and they could have worked on from there, but she never gave the employee that opportunity.

      • Serabeth

        I agree that it’s not worth causing a scene, but I wouldn’t have blamed that customer if she took her business elsewhere and they lost the sale. It would be understandable if the employees had changed shifts, but it was the same employee. Once he realized the display model had been put back, he should’ve offered it to the woman and her mother to look at. This is just good customer service. I’m not sure if they are paid on commission, but he would deserve to lose that sale if he is.

        That doesn’t excuse the accusations of racism or the hysterical screaming, of course, but I would be a little pissed if I were waiting to look at a display model and it was given to someone who had come in after me. I might’ve even thought that it could be racism in this situation, but I would not have said so out loud.

        • Stacy

          “Worker#1 could have called over customer #1 since she wanted to look at it first but that’s kind of dependent on how large the store is, maybe they didn’t want to interrupt a conversation customer#1 and her mother were having, etc.”

          • Barry

            It says it’s a cell phone store, I’ve never seen a cell phone store much bigger than a convenience store.

          • Stacy

            I’ve been in ones much larger than that.

            Just because you’ve never personally seen or experienced something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

          • Barry

            I’m not saying that they don’t exist altogether, just that it’s fairly rare to see one… As it is, it probably wasn’t that big of a store if the OP writing about it was able to see and mention the “tiny, old woman that was standing at the back of the store”
            If the OP and the old woman could see one another, then worker 1 should have been able to see the customer of the story waiting around.

        • AR

          I agree with this. If this was me, I would absolutely be angry he showed it to another customer knowing I had already been waiting. I would even probably ask to speak to a manager and let them know that I would not be purchasing from their store, and why. But I would NOT be throwing a tantrum, playing the race card, etc. There’s a difference between reporting poor service and being ridiculous.

      • They didn’t “wander off”. They were still in the store and could have expected to be still in the queue. What do you think they should have done while waiting?

        • Stacy

          Not how that usually works but okay lol

    • Kerrie Mills

      I was wondering this myself. Proper customer service would seem to indicate making sure that the first customer gets first shot at the model, but having spent some time in these kinds of stores myself am willing to concede there might have been a good reason Worker #1 felt unable to do so. At any rate, yes, the correct response was emphatically NOT ‘play the race card until you have to be chased out of the store’.

    • Riviellan

      If you read the story, model 1 was in the case ready to be looked at, model 2 was being shown to someone else, and therefore, could not be shown to ding-bat by employee A. After ding-bat left the counter, model 2 was returned to the case by employee B and was subsequently shown to a new customer, before ding-bat returned to scream at employee B. It’s not laid out in this level of detail, but all the information is there. 😉

      Having too many floor models out is a great way to have one of them stolen and then taken to a professional who can hack and ‘unlock’ the phone for the crook, thereby enabling the crook to use a $400+ device they stole.

      • ittybittyphoenix

        Nobody failed to understand the story. What we failed to understand is why when you go into this store you need to wait to see the phone models BUT they dont’ have a line or a first-call-first-serve policy. Having it be “whoever is physically closest to the phone gets it next” is a pretty dumb policy unless they are told to wait AT the counter.

        • Leah

          the story says the woman and her mother went to browse the store. It sounds to me like they were not physically in the vicinity of the sales counter when the phone was handed to the second customer. Perhaps they were on their way back to the counter when she saw the phone get handed to the other customer, or perhaps she was just in the next aisle and watching through the shelves without the sales associate realising she was there.

    • Leah

      It said the woman and her mother went off to browse the store – it could be a large department store and the sales associate might not have been able to see them.

  • Eh. Pay attention, lady.

  • Abigail Hermione Irwin

    Some good points on both sides here. Customer #1 should’ve been shown the phone first, BUT if the store is a large one, and she’d wandered off into the depths of the store, well away from the phone counter, it’s not the employee’s responsibility to hunt up and down every aisle to find her.

    Her outburst was just bloody ridiculous. The store lost her business? I wouldn’t cry over it. I wouldn’t want to court the business of some idiot who tends to flip out with no warning and without being willing to listen to an explanation (assuming there is one).

    Having said that, I think the manager here needs to change the protocols a bit. Saying “We can’t show you the model at this time” sounds like you don’t have one in the store or something. MAYBE if the woman had been told “We’ve brought out one model to show somebody else and we’re only allowed to bring out one model at a time. Would you be willing to wait a bit?” … MAYBE she would have known to stay near the counter, or at least not to have a screaming fit when she saw the employee showing the phone to somebody else.

    I wonder what pathetic complaint she’d have come up with if the second customer had been white.

    • UrbanDweller64

      My manager has said that as well. When a customer is so rude like that without significant cause, she says that we seriously don’t want them as a customer. Some people are divas and that will never change.

  • Sounds like Mother made the right call.

  • Kitty

    Stop playing the Race card; it makes you look stupid.

  • Erica Hulstrom

    Maybe the employee should have told her that someone else was looking at it, but she could see it as soon as that customer was done.

    • Or maybe the Customer should have said “Could you please let me know as soon as it’s available again?” That’s what I would have done. Coulda shoulda woulda doesn’t change what happened but definitely something to remember for next time.

  • Anónima

    I’m sorry,. but I’m on the side of the Customer. Worker 1 totally disregarded the customers, by choosing another person. It is a huge lack of customer service and regards towarding selling equipment.
    I would have been extremely upset aswell. Probably not making a scene (once did in a bar, because the bartender decided to server a “popping-boobs” before me, but I was drunk), but I would definitely never shop in there again.
    The fact that you are defending worker, makes me believe is because he is black, and politically correctness nowadays looks more over that, than proper logic/education.

    • Elle Wayne

      “I’m sorry…” you could have just stopped there as it pretty much summarizes the rest of your pathetic comment. Yes, blame political correctness for a grown woman throwing a massive tantrum.

    • Alexis Morris

      I think it most likely had to do with proximity than race. The lady and her daughter most likely walked away while the phone was unavailable and sometime after the phone was available and a man asked to see it. I don’t think he was ‘holding’ it to show to a black man.

  • Datapath

    Some people just LOVE to be the insulted party. Between that and the main stream media teaching them that everything is racist, this is what you get.

  • sunshine20011

    The store was not racist of course but it was extremely rude of them to put the model back (and then take it out to show a newer customer) when they knew there was a customer right there waiting to see it. Essentially they let the man cut in line in front of her.