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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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Not Because It’s A Black Diamond

| NC, USA | Bigotry, Crazy Requests, Popular

(The company is implementing a new “extended training” program that required all employees to observe a sales transaction they weren’t a part of and critique the coworker who handled it. This particular incident happens on a really slow day, and I am the only one who has gotten my required number of observations for the day. So I [a woman] say I’ll take the next customer and my four coworkers [all men] can observe and get their reports done. An older, black gentleman in a nice suit comes into the store:)

Me: “Good evening, welcome to [Jewelry Store]! How may I help you?

Customer: *doesn’t speak right away, as he is already looking at the display cases, mumbles hello*

Me: “Are you looking for anything special today? A gift maybe?”

Customer: *finally looking at me* “Yes, I need a present for my wife’s birthday tomorrow.”

Me: “Wonderful! We have a great selection—”

Customer: *interrupts, looking past me at my four coworkers standing at the back of the store* “What are they looking at?!”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Customer: “What, are they all staring because I’m a black man?!”

(Out of my for coworkers, two were white, one was Hispanic, and the fourth was half-Greek.)

Me: “Oh, no, sir! We’re required by our company to observe each other and offer critiques on our ability to work with customers. They’re looking at me, not you.”

Customer: *ignores what I said* “They’re just staring because I’m a black man and I’m being waited on by some white girl. A black man can’t go anywhere without…”

(This leads to a fifteen minute lecture on racism, that apparently I am also participating in just by standing there. He’s not shouting or calling me names, so I just try to smile and nod, and wait for an opening to talk.)

Me: “I’m very sorry you feel that way, sir. They really are watching me to critique my sales methods. You said you wanted something for your wife’s birthday?”

Customer: “Eh… yeah, yeah. You got any square onyx?”

Me: “Unfortunately, no, we don’t have much onyx in stock right now. We can definitely order a piece from our catalogue but it will take about a week to come in.”

Customer: “No, no! I need a square onyx and I need it in a gold ring like this one!”

(He holds up a VERY uniquely shaped ring. It’s obviously pretty old and worn. The gold is paper thin at the bottom of the ring shank.)

Me: “I’m afraid a ring that unique would require an individual casting by our custom jeweler. This kind of process can take up to 30 days, since they want to make sure everything is just right.”

Customer: “Ridiculous! You just won’t make the ring by tomorrow because I’m a black man!”

(He takes his ring and walks out of the store, saying a few other things about our staff being racist.)

Me: “Have a good night, sir!”

Coworker #1: “Hey, [My Name], you handled that really well.”

Coworker #2: “Yeah, we were going to step in if he got out of line with you but you did great.”

Me: “Thanks? I’m still not sure what just happened though.”

Coworker #3: “He’s probably just cranky because he’s buying his wife a birthday present at the last minute.”

(We let the manager know about the customer, just in case he called to complain. But to my knowledge he never did. All of my coworkers gave me 5 stars on my employee critique.)

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Bigot Exists Between Chair And Keyboard

| Salt Lake City, UT, USA | Bigotry, Popular, Technology

(I work in a tech support call center where most of my day is spent helping our clients reset various aspects of their computer.)

Me: “Okay, I think I know the problem here, but I just need some information from you to be certain. This might not be the issue, but it’s best that we check it just in case.”

Client: *very polite and understanding* “Whatever gets us back up so we can help our customers works for me. What do you need from me?”

Me: “The computers that are having the network errors, did you update them recently? I know a patch came out for [Operating System] yesterday, and I’ve heard that there may be some compatibility issues with it.”

Client: “I’m not sure; I’ll ask. So you can fix it?”

Me: “Not exactly. I don’t have the permissions needed to do this from my end. Let me check something server side here, right quick. Do you mind if I put you on hold for a minute?”

Client: “No, go right ahead.”

(I put the client on hold and grab one of our higher techs (basically a manager). I tell him what’s up, and he agrees to handle the rest of the call.)

Level Two Tech: *after connecting to my call* “Sir, I’ve spoken with [My Name] in regards to your problem, and I’ll be handling the call from this point forward.”

Client: “It’s about time! That f***er doesn’t know a thing about computers! Where the did you find a [racial slur] like that?”

Me: “Uh… sir… I’m still on the line.”

Client: “You’re still on the line?”

Me: “Yep.”

Client: “I… uh… sorry! Uh… you… you can fix this right?”

Level Two Tech: “Sir, due to your use of profanity and racial slurs, we’re going to have to terminate the call. If you need further assistance, then you are welcome to call back once more. However such language will not be tolerated.” *ends call*

(About half an hour later, Client’s manager called back wanting to know why the tech [me] hung up on him and refused to assist as per our contract. While I didn’t take the call, I overheard when he was transferred to the Level Two tech from before. The last thing I remember hearing was the manager screaming through the phone “He said WHAT!?” followed by yelling at someone on the other end of the line. Ended up only taking about fifteen minutes to walk the manager through the problem.)

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Transcending A**-Holes, Part 2

| Boulder, CO, USA | Bigotry, Popular

(I am a sales associate in a major department store. I am folding clothes and keeping an eye on the three customers that are in my section. One is a trans woman, who is holding some lacy underwear in her hand while shopping for more items, and the other two are a mother and daughter shopping together. I can hear the mother and daughter snickering.)

Daughter: “Oh, my god, mom, do you see that transvestite?”

Mother: “Where?”

Daughter: “Over there. It’s carrying a bunch of underwear.”

Mother: “Oh! NOW I see it! What a freak! Has it deluded itself into thinking that putting on lacy underwear will make it attractive?”

(At this point it is obvious that the trans customer has overheard and is visibly uncomfortable, but she keeps shopping.)

Daughter: “What I don’t understand is why he thinks any of that will fit him. He’s a MAN. It’s not made for him. Where’s does his d**k go? He should probably just stick to men’s clothing because he’s a MAN.”

Mother: “I just hope he doesn’t plan on using that fitting room. I’ll complain. I don’t trust freaks like that.”

(At this point, I am quite angered by their conversation. I call my manager and ask for permission for what I am about to do. She gives me approval, and I approach them.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ladies, but I am afraid that I have to ask you to pay for your merchandise and leave.”

Mother: “What?! Why?!”

Me: “Here at [Department Store], we want all of our guests to feel comfortable and safe while shopping in our stores. The way you are referring to another guest has clearly hurt her, and, to be honest, it has deeply offended me and made me uncomfortable as well. I have to ask you to pay for your items and leave.”

Mother: “How DARE you. We are paying customers and that tranny is the one who should be kicked out for being a FREAK.”

Me: “Ma’am, please refrain from using offensive or derogatory language in the store. That woman over there is doing absolutely nothing to you. She is shopping. You, on the other hand, are bullying another customer in an attempt to make her feel bad and leave. Out of respect for that customer and our store policy, I have to ask you to leave.”

Mother: “Well, fine! If you don’t want us to buy all of this clothing from you! You’ll lose a really big sale AND a loyal customer!”

Me: “With all due respect, ma’am, we have no interest in having bigots as ‘loyal’ customers.”

(The mother fumes and leaves. The trans woman finishes her shopping, and comes up to me to pay.)

Me: “Hello! Did you find everything you were looking for?”

Customer: “That and more. Thank you for standing up for me. You have no idea how rare that is.”

Me: “It’s no problem. I have many friends who are trans and I could tell she was bothering you. I’m sorry you have to put up with that.”

Customer: “Oh, it’s okay. When there are people out there like you to help, it can make a big difference. Thank you for making my day better.”

Me: “You’re welcome! Please, have a good rest of your day, and don’t let the haters get you down! Keep doing your thing!”

Customer: “Oh, don’t worry, I will!”

(That customer came back a few times after that and always asked me for fashion advice and bought her items from me. I was happy to give her a safe place to shop.)

Related:
Transcending A**-Holes