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.

Sexism Won’t Clean Your Windows

| Jerusalem, Israel | Bigotry

(A few years ago I worked in a supermarket putting together orders for people who do their shopping online. An older man stops me in the middle of the cleaning supply aisle. I’m female.)

Customer: “Where is the window cleaner?”

(I point him in the right direction and continue working. About a minute later, in a different aisle, the man approaches me, holding two different bottles of window cleaner.)

Customer: “Which is better?”

Me: “Honestly, I don’t know. I live with my parents and have never actually cleaned windows.”

Customer: “How can you not know? You’re a girl, aren’t you? You should know about cleaning supplies!”

Me: “…”

Inconveniently Indiscriminate

| USA | Bad Behavior, Bigotry

(I’m ushering one busy day. A woman storms up to me, fuming, practically dragging her son behind her. She shoves her tickets into my face.)

Customer: “This is ridiculous.”

Me: “I’m sorry, what seems to be the matter.”

Customer: “There’s no seat here! I ordered these seats and there’s nothing there!”

(I check her ticket… It’s a print-out from an online purchase. She’s booked the wheelchair accessibility spaces that we have reserved for individuals in wheelchairs. They are essentially extra empty spaces that are kept in the theater for people who cannot transfer comfortably into our normal seats from their wheelchairs. They’re popular because they save a lot of people with varying disabilities a lot of discomfort.)

Me: “Oh, jeez. When you reserved these, you must have picked the wheelchair accessibility spaces. Hmm. If you go to the box office or the manager’s desk, they should be able to change those out for you or get you a refund at the very least.”

Customer: “It didn’t say it was like this online!”

(This is a blatant lie. Every major online ticket retailer, including our own website and Fandango, has our wheelchair accessibility spaces clearly marked and include pop-ups that tell potential guests there is no seat there, and only to click “Ok” if they are using them for their intended purpose.)

Me: “I’m really sorry, ma’am. If you’ll just go to the box office or a manager’s desk, they should be able to help you out.”

Customer: “I just don’t understand it.”

Me: “Well, we offer wheelchair accessibility spaces for any handicapped guests we have. It’s easier for some people that way.”

Customer: “Well, it’s not right, you know!”

Me: *taken aback* “I’m sorry?”

Customer: “It’s not right! Why would you offer these seats online?”

Me: *completely confused and sort-of angry* “So people who need the spaces can buy them?”

Customer: “Well, it’s not right! You shouldn’t offer handicapped seats!”

Me: “Well, ma’am… we’re not going to discriminate against handicapped individuals.”

Customer: “It’s not right that you offer those! You shouldn’t have seats for handicapped people! It’s an inconvenience to ME!”

(She stormed off and I heard her reaming out our managers at the manager’s desk. She evidently continued her tirade about how we shouldn’t offer wheelchair accessibility and tried to demand we take away the option for individuals in wheelchairs to order tickets online. Don’tcha just love people?)

Dora Explores Racism

| TX, USA | Bigotry

(I am a seasonal employee at a well-known toy store. An old lady, we’re talking, like, eighty or so years old, comes up to me while I am organizing the shelves.)

Customer: “Excuse me, where are your Doras?”

Me: *smiling* “Oh, right this way, ma’am!” *I lead her to the large section of Dora toys and plushies* “All our Doras are right here.”

Customer: *looks troubled* “Oh, no, sweetie. I can’t give my grandbaby these Doras. I need a white Dora.”

Me: “I’m sorry but—”

Customer: “I can’t give my baby a brown Dora! You understand, don’t you?”

Me: “Sure, ma’am. But I’m afraid there’s no Doras that aren’t… brown. I can show you some of our… white baby dolls.”

Customer: “No, dear, that’s all right. Thank you for your help.”

(She left, and I was trying not to laugh at the whole exchange. I found out from my sister, who worked at the same store, but in the mall, that the same lady came in and asked her the same thing! She said about the same thing I did, except the woman finally bought a baby doll. A black one.)

Not Only Calling About The Color Of Money

| USA | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Crazy Requests

(I’m speaking with a customer whose card was temporarily blocked for suspicious activity. I’m trying to verify her identity.)

Women: “Why should I have to know my old address? No one ever asked me for that before! Why does it matter?”

Me: “Identity thieves will often change the address on a card before using it, so we watch for address changes. Asking for the old address helps us because an identity thief may not have known the old address before he changed it. It’s an effective means of protecting your identity.”

Women: “I’m not an identity thief. Why would you think I was?”

Me: “I did not say you were, ma’am. I’m only explaining that asking for an old address is a great way of verifying you while protecting your identity.”

Women: “Why would you think I stole something? You think any [race] women with a credit card had to steal it? Or you just think I can’t afford a computer?”

Me: “We are not worried about your being able to afford anything. We simply wanted to verify a charge that was unusual for this card to make sure it is one you authorized. Once we have verified the charge…”

Women: *cutting me off* “You wouldn’t be harassing me if I wasn’t [race]!”

Me: “Our policies are the same for all races, ma’am. I didn’t even know your race until you told me.”

Women: “Don’t give me that s***! You can tell. You wouldn’t be harassing me for buying a computer if I was white. You’re just racist!”

Me: “Our system flagged your account because of the address change and large purchase before I ever spoke to you. The system doesn’t know your race either. It’s illegal for us to store that information and our applications don’t ask you to disclose it. There is literally no way that your race could play any role in the system’s decision to flag this account. I certainly hope I’m not racist either. I would hate to find out I had an issue with my little brother.”

Women: “Don’t you lie to me. You’re not [race] and neither is your bother, unless your mother’s…”

Me: *cutting in as politely as I can* “Not my biological brother. My little brother from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. I visit him in school every Monday for lunch and recess. It’s my favorite time of the week.”

(She didn’t seem to know how to respond to that. She made a few attempts to catch me in a ‘lie,’ made me explain I that had Sundays and Mondays off so I could visit him and why it was only in-school, etc. but generally wasn’t yelling at me as much. Next time I mentioned her address she gave it to me. Yes, she did end up verifying the charges and having the card unblocked.)

No Wonder Why He Left Her…

| USA | Bigotry

(Working at a home for the elderly, it’s pretty usual that religion is a an everyday topic. On this particular day I am serving one of our more conservative residents. I am a bisexual woman.)

Resident #1: *in regard to the recent upheld ban on gay marriage* “It’s a d*** good thing they aren’t letting those f*** get married. They’ll damn us all to Hell! It’s not Godly!” *to me* “Don’t you think, dear?”

Me: “I think God loves all his children no matter what.”

Resident #1: *shocked look* “You’re one of them aren’t you?!”

(Resident #1 proceeds to throw a pamphlet about finding Jesus at me while quoting bible verses. I don’t really comment as I’m not supposed to with the more senile residents. Another resident sees this and voices her own opinion.)

Resident #2: “Oh, good lord, [Resident #1], won’t you take your cranky bigoted be-hind elsewhere and stop bothering this lovely young lady.”

Resident #1: *wheeling away in terror* “You’ll burn in Hell for supporting her!”

Resident #2: “I’ll be sure to save you a seat on the ride down!” *to me* “Don’t mind her, dear. She’s just mad because her husband left her for a man years ago.”

Me: “I, uh… thank you.”

(Now I always make sure to give Resident #2 extra of her favorite dessert!)

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