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.

They’ve All Gone Native

| Detroit, MI, USA | Bad Behavior, Bigotry

(At my store I have a lot of very well educated but not native to North America people. Their accents are strong and if you talk too fast they have trouble understanding.)

Customer: *who is being very rude to one of my Russian coworkers* “Can someone else check me out? Someone with American blood?”

Me: “Unfortunately we don’t have any Native American on our staff.”

Customer: *looks me up and down, seeing I’m a white girl, clearly how she defines American* “What? Aren’t you American?”

Me: “Yes, and so is [Coworker], but we’re all immigrants really. Doesn’t matter if it was 100 years ago. Native Americans are really the only ones with American blood and we don’t have one on staff to check you out.”

Customer: “F*** this store.”

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Listening To The Voices Of Reason

| CT, USA | Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Technology

(I am transgender, male to female. I have an amazing voice range due to being a singer in a high school band. I am working at a call center in tech support for an ISP that caters to CT, NY, and NJ. A large number of our clients are immigrants from a country that traditionally looks down on women. I get this call shortly before the end of my shift.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [ISP]. This is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Yes, I’m having trouble with my Internet. Can you transfer me to a man who would be able to help me?”

Me: “I’m a fully trained technical support representative; I’m sure I’ll be able to help you. What kind of issues are you having?”

Customer: “No, I don’t think you can. Could you transfer me to a man, please? I’m having trouble with my Internet.”

Me: “Sir, as I just said, I am a fully trained tech support employee. I’ve been working in the IT sector for a number of years. If you could describe your problem, I’m sure I could help you.”

Customer: “No, you women don’t understand technology. You just don’t have the brains for it. Now, get me a MAN who can help me!”

Me: “One moment, please.”

(I place the customer on hold for 30 seconds. When I come back, I voice drop so I sound male.)

Me: “Hello, thank you for calling [ISP]. My name is [Fake Name]; how can I help you?”

(The customer describes his problem — router is offline. I walk him through the troubleshooting steps. A basic reset fixes his issue.)

Me: *still voice dropping* “All right, looks like that takes care of your issue. Anything else I can help you with today?”

Customer: “Nope, thank you very much!”

Me: *switching back to my female voice* “I just want you to know, you’ve been helped by a woman this entire time. Have a nice day!”

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Taking The Long Route(r)

| Israel | Bigotry, Bizarre, Technology

(I work at the IT office in the city I live in. I’m female. I get a call from a city-funded kindergarten:)

Me: “IT office.”

Kindergarten Teacher: “Hi, we have a problem with the computer here. The Internet isn’t working.”

Me: “I see. Let’s see if there’s a way we can get this fixed over the phone, so you don’t have to wait for me to get to you.”

Kindergarten Teacher: “Look, is there no way you can just send someone over?”

Me: “I’m the person who usually goes out into the field. The reason I’m taking calls right now is that it’s still early in the morning, and no one else has arrived yet. These problems are very often easy to fix, and it would be a shame for you to wait until I got to you, only for me to restart your router, which you could easily do yourself and have Internet within minutes.”

Kindergarten Teacher: “But you don’t understand. We’re all women here, so we don’t know anything about computers. Just send one of the guys out. They’ll be able to fix it.”

(Having no words, I ended the call. The kicker is that I didn’t end up getting to that Kindergarten until hours later. Needless to say that all I did was restart the router, and they had Internet minutes later.)

Sexist In More Than Spirit

| Chicago, IL, USA | Bigotry, Food & Drink

(I’m the only girl under 40 who works at my location of a chain liquor store. I happen to be well-educated in many types of liquor including most varieties of whiskey. This is a typical interaction I have every day.)

Me: *to customer in the scotch aisle* “Can I help you find anything today, sir?”

Customer: “I’m fine, little lady.”

Me: “All right. Let me know if you have any questions!”

Customer: “Sure thing.”

(Two minutes later:)

Customer: *to male coworker* “Can you suggest a good single malt scotch?”

(Good to see sexism is still alive and well in the liquor industry.)

N-Titled

| Atlanta, GA, USA | Bad Behavior, Bigotry

(As with most call centers, we are required to use phonics when spelling names. Especially if we have difficulty in understanding the caller. This is one such time:)

Operator: “I’m sorry, ma’am, I’m having difficulty understanding the letter you are using. Is that ‘M,’ as in ‘Mike’ or ‘N,’ as in ‘November?'”

Caller: “Excuse me?”

Operator: “Are you saying ‘M,’ as in ‘Mother’ or ‘N,’ as in ‘Newspaper?'”

Caller: “Do not make me say it. Do NOT make me say it.”

Operator: “I apologize for this inconvenience, but I need to make sure the spelling is proper. ‘M,’ as in ‘Microwave’ or ‘N,’ as in ‘Necktie?'”

Caller: “FINE! It’s ‘N’ as in ‘[common racial slur beginning with the letter ‘N’]’! I hope you are happy with yourself. What kind of bigoted company do you work for? We are ALL brothers and sisters and shouldn’t be divided by such hatred.”

(The caller continued for an additional few minutes, raging about how the operator forced her to use a racial slur.)

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