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.

Greek Shriek

| USA | Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Food & Drink, Language & Words

(I am 15. Like many Greek Orthodox churches, my church holds an annual Greek Festival where we sell Greek food and display Greek culture. It’s my first year working there, and my older sister has promised to help me. We are the only people working at the the dessert stand. Note: Greek is the language we speak at home, so it’s the language my sister and I communicate in.)

Sister: *in Greek* “Why don’t you take this one?” *points to approaching customer*

Me: *in English* “Hi, I’m [My Name]! How may I help you today?

Customer: “DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?”

Me: “Yes, I do. What can I get for you today?”

Customer: “Good, I heard that other girl talking in that foreign muck and I was afraid you’d be too stupid to speak English too. Give me a dozen baklava.”

Me: *shocked* “Yes, ma’am. That’ll be [Price]. Just pay [Sister] after I load your box.”

(I start to load a styrofoam take-away box with baklava.)

Customer: “NO! I don’t want those. They’re too small. Give me the big pieces!”

(She points to galaktoboureko, a completely different dessert cut into bigger pieces than the baklava.)

Me: “I’m sorry, that’s galaktoboureko, a custard-based dessert, not baklava. If you’d like to try some I’d be happy to give you a sample—”

Customer: “Don’t you dare try to cheat me! I want the big pieces, you little foreign brat!”

Sister: *in Greek* “Just give her the galaktoboureko.”

Customer: “I know you’re insulting me in your language! Speak English like a normal person!”

(I nod and smile as I fill a new box up with galaktoboureko. She pays and walks away with a smug smile on her face.)

Me: *in Greek* “Do you think she’ll notice?”

(One hour later, the customer returns dragging the Festival Director behind her. She looks angry.)

Customer: “There! That’s the girl that cheated me! She gave me this squishy stuff instead of baklava! I demand my baklava and I want a refund!”

Festival Director: “[My Name], is this true? Did you give [Customer] the wrong dessert?”

Me: “Yes, but she asked for it. She said she wanted the big pieces, and I told her it was galaktoboureko and not baklava, but she accused me of cheating her, so I gave her what she wanted. Also, she called me a ‘little foreign brat.’”

Customer: “No! That’s a lie! She purposely tricked me, and the other girl insulted me in your language! You should really hire employees that are smart enough to speak English.”

Festival Director: “[Sister], did you insult her?” *in Greek* “I don’t blame you if you did.”

Customer: “YOU’RE DOING IT AGAIN! STOP INSULTING ME, YOU B*****S! I WANT MY FREE BAKLAVA!”

(She throws her galaktoboureko box to the ground and starts stomping on it, then moves aggressively towards my sister.)

Festival Director: “Ma’am, I’m going to ask you to leave.”

Customer: “FINE! I’LL JUST MAKE MY OWN BAKLAVA AND IT WILL BE BETTER THAN YOUR S***!”

(She storms out and security confirms that she’s left the premises.)

Sister: *in Greek* “I swear to you nothing like that has ever happened before.”

(The next year I worked in the kitchen and I liked it much better. People still talk about “crazy baklava lady.”)

Racists Are Popping Up By The Dozen

| PA, USA | Bigotry, Extra Stupid, Math & Science

Customer: *to my coworker* “I would like a half-dozen plain glazed donuts.”

(My coworker packs them up in a box sized just for the half dozen, and then turns to start ringing the customer up.)

Customer: “Uh, EXCUSE me, I asked for a HALF DOZEN donuts.”

Coworker: “This is a half-dozen, ma’am.”

(He opens the box to show her.)

Customer: “Oh, my god. A haaaaaaaalf dooooooozen. Why can’t they hire people who speak English. You there!”

(She is snapping her fingers at me, and I come over.)

Customer: “I ordered a half-dozen donuts and this [racist slur] gave me six!”

Me: “A half-dozen is six.”

Customer: “Oh, my god, are you an idiot!? There’s ten in a half-dozen!”

(She pulls out her phone, muttering comments about how dumb I am and racial comments about my coworker. She flashes a screen with the search “how many are in a half dozen,” and then hits enter. It comes back with six, and she turns a bright shade of red.)

Customer: “Oh, my god. Oh, my god, this is bull-s***.” *she turns to leave the store, and then stops at the door and turns to my coworker* “Go back to where you came from! I hope you are deported!”

Coworker: “I’m from New Jersey.”

Getting White Privileged Information

| San Jose, CA, USA | Bigotry

(One of my cashiers, a Jewish man, is helping me ring up a customer and get her on the road with her car. She’s a regular and known to have a difficult personality, to put it mildly, but she likes me. She’s white, and I’m an Asian woman. We’re in the California Bay Area – a fairly diverse and extremely liberal pocket. My cashier notices her address is in a town that’s over an hour from our dealership.)

Cashier: “That’s a great place to live! I used to live in [Town nearby].”

Customer: “Oh, nice! So you know your way around.”

Cashier: “I do. You come pretty far, don’t you? Isn’t there another dealership in [City adjacent to her town]?”

Customer: “Yeah, but they don’t have [My Name]. I love her! She’s why I keep coming here. I’ve tried three other dealerships but they don’t have anyone like her. I just wish you were closer to me.”

Cashier: “[My Name], have you ever been to [Town]? I think you’d like it.”

Customer: “Oh, yeah! It’s great; you would love it! It’s so nice. It’s all white people; there’s really no—”

(She suddenly realizes who she’s talking to and clams up, going a little green. My cashier, much more gracious than me, continues the conversation as though she hadn’t just wedged her foot in her mouth while ushering her out the door. The moment she’s out of earshot.)

Me: “WOW.”

Cashier: “DID THAT REALLY JUST HAPPEN?!”

Black Books Matter

| ON, Canada | Bigotry, Books & Reading

Supervisor: “[Bookstore], this is [Supervisor]. How may I help you?”

Customer: “Hi, I’m hoping you can put a book on hold for me.”

Supervisor: “Sure! What’s the title?”

Customer:To Kill A Mockingbird. With all this Black Lives Matter crap going on, I need to teach my daughter how to be more tolerant of it and I figure this book will help.”

Supervisor: “Oh… kay. Sure. I’ll put that aside for you. Have a good day.”

(As she puts the books aside for the woman, she turns to me with her eyes wide, and relays the conversation to me.)

Supervisor: “How… is that book going to help her? I… feel like her daughter isn’t the one that needs a bit of a lesson on tolerance.”

Me: *noticing ‘Charlotte’s Web’ is also a part of this woman’s pile* “Maybe this one will teach her daughter how to be more tolerant of pigs such as her?”

A Racist Plot Twist

, | FL, USA | Bigotry, Movies & TV

(It’s a slow day at work. My coworker and I are standing behind the counter making idle chat.)

Me: “Know what I’ve been thinking about?”

Coworker: “What?”

Me: “Kids’ sports movies.”

Coworker: “Kids’ sports movies?”

Me: “Yuh huh. Specifically, the fact that they’re all exactly the same.”

Coworker: “What do you mean?”

Me: “I mean how they all have the exact same plot, the exact same characters, the exact same tone, everything.”

Coworker: *sounding unconvinced* “Hmmm…”

Me: “Think about it. You always have the exact same set of stereotypical characters: the nerd, the fat kid, the black kid who only talks in pseudo-racist jive, the girl playing on the boys’ team just to prove she can, and the guy who could be a superstar if he could just get past his piddling first-world emotional problems.”

Coworker: “You know, I think I see what you mean. Don’t forget the alcoholic coach trying to relive his glory days.”

Me: “Exactly. And our ragtag band of misfits always has to play the team of rich snobs in the championship game who taunted and defeated them at the beginning of the movie.”

Coworker: “And the coach of the rich snobs’ team was the one who humiliated our heroes’ coach way back when.”

Me: “Right. And our heroes lose their first couple of games until a pep talk from the coach inspires them, and then they destroy every successive opponent they face until the championship game, when the rich snobs are kicking their butts at halftime. Then the would-be superstar finally gets his head out of his butt and helps them turn things around in the second half and they win.”

Coworker: “And as the second half of the championship game begins, it shows a montage of our heroes evening the score set to CCR’s ‘Up Around the Bend.'”

Me: “Hah! Totally! That’s like the ultimate ‘sports-getting-your-act-in-gear’ song.”

Coworker: “You know, you’re right.”

Me: “Like I told you, dude. They’re all the same.”

Customer: “How DARE you!”

Both Of Us: “Huh?”

(A customer has just walked up to the counter and overheard the last thing I said.)

Customer: “How DARE you say that all African-Americans are the same?! You RACIST!”

Me: “What? African-Americans? No, we were talking about kids’ sports movies.”

Customer: “You said ‘They’re all the same’!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. I was saying that all of those movies are the same.”

Customer: “Don’t you lie to me, you racist scum! Anyone who says ‘They’re all the same’ is talking about African-Americans!”

Coworker: “Ma’am, I promise you that’s not what we were talking about.”

Customer: “Shut up, you racist! This whole store is racist! I don’t have to put up with this racist store! This is the MOST offensive thing I’ve ever heard in my ENTIRE life and I demand compensation for this insulting racism!”

Me: “Uh… I’m sorry?”

Customer: “You’ll be sorry when your racist a** is out on the street!”

(She stomped off to the customer service counter to complain. Apparently she didn’t get the reaction she wanted from the store manager because she stomped out of the store all together a minute later. Also, she was white.)

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