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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.

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Give A Dog A Bad Name

Portland, ME, USA | Bad Behavior, Bigotry

(I work in a small department store that also sells cigarettes. A regular customer comes in with his dog. We’re generally pet-friendly and just assume any dog brought in is a service dog. The man comes to the register with a couple of items and asks for a pack of cigarettes. While he is standing at my register, a black woman comes in. The dog goes crazy, barking at her, and she dashes behind my register and hides behind me.)

Me: “Sir, we’re a pet friendly establishment, but if your dog is going to bark at customers, I’m going to have to ask you not to bring him in anymore.”

(The man is beet-red in the face and looks livid, but he doesn’t say a word as he takes his stuff and leaves. Less than twenty minutes later he comes back.)

Customer: “I want the items you stole!”

Me: “Sir, I didn’t take anything.”

Customer: *brandishing his receipt* “I bought candles, and they weren’t in my bag; I want them now. And another thing, my dog is a service dog. I’m a d*** vet and I fought overseas so that [racial slur] can f***ing live here and go [makes rude sounds mimicking ululating] all over the place.”

Me: “Sir, please calm down.”

Customer: “You f***ing n*****-lover! That was a service dog; I can bring him anywhere I f***ing want!”

Me: “Sir, service dogs are allowed in any public place, but if they cause a disturbance, we are well within our legal right to refuse them entrance.”

(At this point he’s come around the counter at me and is leering over me. My coworker, a young black man, has to come step in between the man and me.)

Coworker: “I’m going to have to ask you to leave or I’m going to call the police.”

Customer: *string of profanities and racial slurs*

(Finally we get him to leave with further threats of calling the police. Not twenty minutes later however he comes back in demanding the candles I supposedly stole.)

Me: “Wait right here by the door. I’ll get them.”

(While I go to grab the candles, he proceeds to yell at all the patrons in the store to watch their bags and check their receipts because we are “dishonest n*****-lovers who steal.” I hand him his candles.)

Customer: “F*** you, b****; enjoy your African store!”

Coworker: “We will; thank you.”

(He left. However, my manager refused to allow us to ban him from the store, and I had to deal with him twice more before I resigned.)

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He’s From A Different Time(piece)

| Charlotte, NC, USA | Bigotry, Popular

(I work in a fairly high-end jewelry store. My specialty department is usually luxury timepieces, but on this day the manager asks me to fill in for one of the diamond sales associates who is running late. Part of store policy is that all employees take turns greeting customers, unless a customer is here to see a specific person, then we “hand them over.” I’m next to greet someone and a middle-aged man in business-casual attire walks in. I am a female in my mid-20s and have had training in all of the store’s departments.)

Me: “Good morning! Welcome to [Jewelry Store].” *starts to give the store welcome spiel*

Man: *without even looking at me, walks on into the store, leaving me standing at the door*

Me: “Oh…” *thinking, maybe he’s hard of hearing? I catch up with him and smile* “I’m sorry, sir, we must have passed right by each other. Welcome to [Store].”

Man: *gives me the barest nods of recognition*

Me: *still smiling like a loon* “May I help you with anything special today?”

Man: “No.” *walks away to a different section*

(I decide to let him go, thinking maybe he was here to see a certain associate, and let my manager know. Note: my manager is a man in his early 40s.)

Manager: *takes me aside after talking to the man* “Hey, [My Name], I’ve sent [Male Coworker] over to help that customer, and I just wanted to let you know you don’t need to worry about greeting him if he comes back.”

Me: “Really? But we’re supposed to greet everyone.”

Manager: “Yes, well…” *he glances at the man across the store, who is now talking freely with my coworker* “This particular gentleman apparently thinks he can only buy jewelry from a man.”

Me: “So, you’re saying he thinks a woman can’t help him pick out jewelry for his wife, or whoever?”

Manager: “Unfortunately. We get a few people like that over the years.”

Me: “I honestly don’t know what to say to that.”

Manager: “Don’t worry about it; it’s his own prejudice. [Male Coworker] just clocked in, so you can go back to timepieces whenever you’re ready.”

Me: “Okay, thank you, [Manager].”

(About 15 minutes later, my coworker who was helping the man came up to my counter.)

Coworker: “Um… [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes?”

Coworker: “That customer wants to look at a [REALLY Expensive Brand] timepiece.”

Me: “Okay, and?”

Coworker: “You’re the only sales associate who’s had the training on them.”

Me: “Oh, boy.”

(I ended up standing at the opposite end of the counter, and my coworker walking over to me with every question the guy had, all because he didn’t want a woman to sell him any jewelry!)

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Going To Racism At Break-Neck(lace) Speed

| Atlanta, GA, USA | Bigotry, Crazy Requests, Criminal & Illegal, Popular

(I work as an usher, and one of my duties is to clean up the theater once it lets out. I am also black.)

Manager: *answering the phone* “Hello? This is [Manager]. How can I help you?”

Customer: ‘Yes, I was at the theater the other day and I lost my necklace. I think that black usher took it.”

Manager: “Okay, ma’am. I’m sorry you lost your necklace, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t take it.”

Customer: “But he’s always cleaning out the theaters once the movie is over. He had to have come across it.”

Manager: “Yes, that’s his job, and anything he finds, he turns in up front.”

Customer: “Just confront him about it. I’m pretty sure that he has it.”

(A few days later, she calls back.)

Manager: “Hello, this is [Manager]. How can I help you?”

Customer: “Yes, I would like to apologize. I called the other day about losing a necklace, and I thought that your usher took it. Turns out it was in the bottom of my purse the whole time.”

Manager: “Ah, I see…’

Customer: ‘Um… he didn’t get into any trouble over this, did he?”

Manager: “No, because I trust him.”

(He didn’t even tell me about any of this until some time later.)

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Has An Asian Dissuasion, Part 2

| Seattle, WA, USA | Bigotry

(I’m speaking to an older Southern woman and we’re just getting to the end of the call. I’m in Seattle and I don’t have an accent of any kind.)

Customer: “Well, thank you for helping me! Where are you from?”

Me: “I’m from—”

Customer: “—Oh, you’re probably from China or something. But at least you talk normal!”

Related:
Has An Asian Dissuasion

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London, Paris, Berlin, All Have Seoul

| MI, USA | Bigotry, Musical Mayhem, Popular

(I recently began working customer service at a large music store. A lot of our clientele are affluent, Asian men and women whose children take lessons at the store. Mind you, I am half-Asian but I have lighter hair and eyes. On slow days, sometimes I play my ukulele to pass the time, and this day is no exception. A customer and her son, who looks to be about my age, enters.)

Me: “Hi! Welcome to [Store]. Anything I can help you find today?”

(The customer looks at me briefly and appears annoyed but says nothing. After a few minutes I pick up my ukulele and continue playing. Eventually the woman slams several pieces of piano repertoire on the counter.)

Me: “Is this all?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “This is rather difficult music. Is it for you or your son?”

Customer: “No questions. I don’t like you.”

Me: “Uh, excuse me?”

Customer: “See? So offended, just like every other white girl. No shame. They shouldn’t hire white people here; this is not a white people store.”

Me: “Ma’am, everyone is free to come into our store, regardless of what they look like.”

Customer: “Stupid white girl. I want an Asian worker.”

Me: “Actually, I’m half Korean.”

Customer: “Shut up. You white people never know when to shut up. Always wasting time. Like with this.”

(She picks my ukulele up from where I had set it on the counter and holds it in front of my face. I try to pull it from her but she holds on.)

Me: “If you don’t put that down right now, I will call security. You are being racist and now you are handling my personal property without my permission.”

Customer: “Don’t talk to me. I want an Asian worker.”

Me: “Ma’am, I actually AM Asian, though—”

Customer: “I want an Asian worker! You’re too white! You are bad!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but—”

Customer: “UGH! INCOMPETENT WHITE PEOPLE! COME ON, [Son], WE’RE LEAVING! I WILL CALL YOUR MANAGER!”

(Later on I’m relaying the events to the manager, who is laughing his a** off.)

Manager: “So where in Europe is Korea located, again?”

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