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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.

A Pen-chant For Homophobia

| UK | Bigotry

(A dapper looking gentleman enters the shop. He’s wearing a tweed jacket and has a posh, English accent.)

Me: “Hello, sir, can I help at all today?”

Customer: “Ah, yes, hello. I’m looking for a [Brand] pen. You know, the refillable sort.”

Me: “Certainly, sir, we only have one pen in that brand but—”

Customer: *pulling a pen out of his pocket, it’s gold and slim* “You see, my wife bought me this one, but I don’t like it much. It’s too thin, you see? And I don’t care for it in gold. It must be for gays or something.”

(I’m taken aback but compose myself quickly.)

Me: “Ah, I see… Well, we have this one. Maybe that will suit you better?”

(I show him the pen we stock. It’s dark grey and has a chunky barrel.)

Customer: “Ah! Much better! Thank you ever so. I’ll take it! I suppose I’ll give the other one to the wife.”

(I sold him the pen and he left, safe in the knowledge that he was now in possession of a pen which was not intended for gays. Or women.)

The Color Of Stupid

| LA, USA | Bigotry, Extra Stupid

(I work at a popular shoe store chain. It’s a busy Friday afternoon and I’m in the middle of the floor prepping shoes to go out when a customer and her daughter come in. Both are on the phone. We’re all black.)

Me: “Hi! Welcome to [Store].”

(The customers don’t acknowledge me and I don’t think much of it and just continue to greet other people.)

Customer: *walks up to me a few minutes later* “I just want to give you some advice as a young woman.”

Me: “Okay?”

Customer: “I’ve been in this store for five minutes and you haven’t said a word to me but I’ve watched you say hello to all the white customers.”

Me: “Actually, I did greet you when you walked in but I guess you didn’t hear me.”

Customer: “No. No, you didn’t. My daughter was right there and she didn’t hear you say a thing. That’s very sad that young black people feel that the white customers are more important than the black ones. My money is just as green as theirs and it spends the same.”

Customer’s Daughter: “Self hate is what they call it.”

Me: “Again, I did greet you and your daughter when you walked in. However, you were both on the phone, so that’s probably why you missed it. Sorry about that.”

Customer: “Don’t try to lie about it now. We both know the truth. But don’t worry. I’m not offended, but the next person might be. And now that I know how I’ll be treated I won’t be shopping here again.”

(The customer throws the items she had on the floor and storms out.)

Other Customer: “I’m so sorry you have to deal with stupid people, hun.”

Not Very Manly Behavior

| ON, Canada | Bigotry, Crazy Requests

(I am in my 20s. I am a moderately tall and sturdily-built woman. An older man, perhaps in his 70s, buys a 50 pound bag of dog food. My coworker on cash asks if he would like someone to carry the heavy bag out to his car, and he says yes. Since I’m working the front, I go to do that.)

Old Man: “No, I want your boss to do it.”

(My boss is a small man, shorter and slimmer than me, and is helping another customer.)

Me: “He’s busy at the moment. I’m perfectly—”

Old Man: “No, you can’t. I want him to do it.”

Me: “Really, I’m quite strong…”

Old Man: “No, no, you can’t do it. Just put it down!”

Boss: *having overheard, comes over and gestures to me to give him the bag* “It’s okay.”

Me: “But I’m bigger than you…”

Boss: *taking the bag* “Yeah, don’t worry about it.”

(When my boss came back, he told me that the older customer just didn’t want a woman doing something he could not.)