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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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Transcending A**-Holes

| Worcester County, MA, USA | Bigotry, Food & Drink, Popular

(I have a night job cooking and driving deliveries at a pizza place. I’m a transgender woman; work knows this and they refer to me by my preferred name and pronouns and have no problem doing so, but for safety reasons (especially while taking deliveries) I dress and act more masculine than I normally would and do not pitch my voice up. One evening, a woman who is visibly transgender (i.e. most individuals would recognize that she is trans*) comes into the store and orders. I’m happy to see another trans woman, but out of respect for her (and not wanting to out myself) I don’t say anything and treat her like any other female customer. Two minutes later, a group of inebriated college aged men walk in the store likely on their way to one of the bars in town. I ring up their order, and then this exchange happens loud enough that I hear it at the pizza prep station behind the counter:)

Drunk Customer #1: *to his buddy* “Yo, is that a guy or a girl waiting over there?”

Drunk Customer #2: *staring obviously for a few seconds* “I think that’s a dude.”

Drunk Customer #1: “So he’s a drag queen?”

Drunk Customer #2: “Or a f***ing tr***y.”

(They both laugh, and the woman is beginning to look uncomfortable. I bring the gentlemen their food.)

Drunk Customer #1: *to me* “Hey, so, my buddy wants to know, why do you allow freaks like him—” *pointing to the woman* “—in the store?”

Drunk Customer #2: “Sorry, man. I know you probably can’t say anything because you work here, but I think between you, me, and the wall, you could admit that he is really f***ing creepy, right?”

Me: *putting a slight emphasis on the pronoun* “Did she say or do anything to either of you?”

Customers: “…”

Me: “I didn’t think so.”

(At this point I decide I can’t let this go any further…)

Me: “First of all, she’s a customer just like everybody else. More importantly, she’s simply being herself. That’s hard, especially when you go through part of your life living as somebody you’re not, and coming across individuals like certain people in this very store harassing you into going back to be that person you’re not because they’re transphobic.”

Drunk Customer #2: “Yo, dude, chill the f*** out.”

Me: *going into my female voice* “Or have to be somebody they’re not in order to stay safe at work.”

Customers: “…”

(I remove my knit hat and show my shoulder length, femininely styled hair.)

Me: *beaming from ear to ear* “Just so you know, I’m also transgender, or a tr***y as you like to refer to us as.”

(The two drunk gentlemen gathered up their food and bee-lined out the door. I apologized to the original lady, told her she has a trans sister in town, and we’ve been friends ever since. I figured my boss was going to be upset about the situation, but when I told him what happened he laughed and said those two drunk customers had always caused problems and he was glad I scared them away.)

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Time To Put The Brakes On Misogyny

| TX, USA | Bigotry, Popular, Transportation

(I’m a girl and I run a brake shop. People call, I diagnose the issue, give them a quote, set appointments, and order parts. You could say I know a lot about brakes but something like this happens at least once a month.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Brake Shop]; this is [My Name].”

Male Caller: “Hi, honey. I need a quote on a brake job. Do you need to transfer me to somebody else?”

Me: “No, I can handle your quote.”

Male Caller: “Great! I just love a woman who knows her brakes.”

Me: “And I just love a man that can be condescending and sexist in one sentence.” *click*

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Disconnected From Humanity

| Australia | Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Popular

(I work as a universal consumer specialist in a telco call center in Australia. I get to talk to a lot of people everyday who love to try to endear themselves to us by being racist a**-holes.)

Me: “Hi, welcome to [Telco]. My name is [My Name]. How can I assist with your enquiry today?”

Old Lady: “Are you Australian? It’s nice to talk to an Australian. I hate talking to all those Asians; they never listen.”

(Already this puts me offside as we’re a very multicultural company and our onshore call centers have people of many backgrounds.)

Me: “I see. Well, I can assure you that I am Australian. How can I help you today?”

Old Lady: “I want to cancel my phone.”

Me: “Okay, I can assist with that. To be able to help, I’ll need to ask you some questions and also need to access your account. Can I have your phone number and [ID questions].”

Old Lady: “My number is [number] and [ID question answers].”

Me: “Thanks for that. I’m pulling up your account now. While that is coming up, can I ask why you want to disconnect your mobile today?”

Old Lady: “My phone isn’t working.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that; have you spoken to our faults team?”

Old Lady: “Yes, they said I need a new phone.”

Me: “I see. Sometimes that is the case with an older handset. Unfortunately, technology doesn’t last forever. If you like, I can assist you with options for getting a new handset so you can use your mobile phone service again?”

Old Lady: “No, I just want to cancel it. I tried going into a store to get a new phone. It was full of Chinese. I took a number and waited three hours. They were only interested in serving young Chinese people in there.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that, ma’am. Could I confirm that location so I can send some feedback to the regional manager for you? If you would like, I can also assist with new handsets over the phone.”

Old Lady: “It was [Location #1, the same suburb that she lives in, an area that I know is a lower socio-economic area, mostly full of student accommodations] and no, I don’t do these things over the phone.”

Me: “Perhaps I could assist you with finding an alternative store, so you can get a new handset and keep enjoying the service?”

Old Lady: “All right.”

Me: “I have a store at [Location #2]?”

Old Lady: “No, that is full of Asians, too.”

Me: “Okaaaaaay, what about [Location #3]?”

Old Lady: “No, I don’t go there; it is low class.”

Me: “Okay, let’s get you disconnected then.”

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Playing The Racist Card Is Shady

| Cincinnati, OH, USA | Bigotry, Health & Body, Popular

(I work in a cosmetics store and I see an African-American woman looking in the foundation section for a good five minutes, which is a long time to spend deciding between shades. I walk over to her.)

Me: “Hi, do you need any help today?”

Customer: “Yes. Which of these shades do you think is better for my skin tone?”

(Both shades are considerably lighter than her skin tone. I see that the skin tone of her face is noticeably lighter than the rest of her body, meaning that she has used lighter foundation before.)

Me: “Actually, I would recommend one of these instead.”

(Our foundation is displayed from lightest to darkest tones. I walk to the darker side of the display and pick up the two shades at the end, and hold them out for the woman.)

Customer: “Well, that’s a little racist.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Customer: “It’s because I’m black isn’t it?”

Me: “I’m sorry; I still don’t understand what you’re implying.”

Customer: I’m implying that you picked out those shades because I’m black. What if I want to be white?”

Me: “Yes, I picked out these shades because you’re black. You have beautiful dark skin, so beautiful in fact, that I don’t even think you need foundation, but I know people have different reasons for wanting to wear certain products and I have no room to assume why you’re buying something. Just like you have no room to assume I’m racist for suggesting a skin color that actually matches because that’s what you asked me to do.”

(The woman was completely shocked by what I said, put the bottles that she was holding back, and rushed out of the store. She came in a few days later, and this time the skin tone of her face was the same as the rest of her body!)

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Has No Reservations About His Comments

| Phoenix, AZ, USA | Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Popular

(In college, I am a bartender at one of those hole-in-the-wall places where men go to get drunk as quickly as possible. One night, our bouncer, who is Navajo, gets off while I still have hour on my shift, but he sits and drinks a Coke while he waits for me because my car is in the shop. The white guy sitting next to him strikes up a conversation. I missed the beginning, but it got louder.)

Customer: “You [expletive] Mexicans need to go home and find your own jobs. Stop taking our jobs. You took my job!”

Bouncer: “I already told you, buddy. I’m Navajo.”

Customer: “Oh. But they’re taking our jobs! I got fired and they gave my job to some Mexican!”

Bouncer: “I’m sorry to hear that.”

(The customer keeps ranting about immigrants stealing jobs and asking the bartender what he’s doing to stop them, and how he’s voting on a certain bill, as the bouncer gets more and more annoyed and finally snaps.)

Bouncer: “You know what, buddy? How about you shut up and just drink your beer there.”

Customer: “I bet you’re a liberal. I bet you’re a traitor. You’re probably glad they’re taking all the jobs so you can be a lazy [expletive] down on the rez, huh?”

Bouncer: “I have a job, sir, but I’m glad they’re taking yours. Seems to me your people stole this land, so I don’t feel at all sorry you’re getting it stolen from you, no.”

(It took the customer a minute to work that out, then he got up and tried to swing at the bouncer. He missed completely and nearly fell, and was escorted out of the bar.)

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