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Constructing A Racist Narrative

, , , , | Right | August 19, 2021

During a busy shift, at which time we only have one person working per shift due to the health crisis, I have a long and steady line of customers. One woman comes in, orders two coffees for her boyfriend and herself, pays, and leaves. All good. I continue to wait on more customers.

Ten minutes later, her boyfriend comes rushing in (without a mask) and interrupts me while I’m helping another customer to tell me that his girlfriend may have left her wallet here.

I tell him I haven’t seen it and the only possible place it could have been is on the counter, since customers are not allowed further into the store. I take his phone number just in case it turns up later.

Thirty minutes later, the girlfriend comes barging in, insisting that she left her wallet here. Again, I tell her I haven’t seen it, but we have her phone number just in case we find it. She then accuses another customer of taking it.

Customer: “Well, what’s the name of that construction worker who comes in here?”

I’m confused and not quite sure to whom she’s referring.

Me: “I’m sorry? Construction worker?”

Customer: “Yeah, the guy that was in here right after me. I had my wallet. I placed it on the table and now it’s gone! Do you know that guy’s name?”

It then clicks. The guy who came in after her was indeed dressed in work clothes and probably in the crew working on the road nearby. He also happened to be the only black customer all morning. Unfortunately, this neighborhood is often unfriendly and suspicious towards people who are A, not white, B, foreign, and/or C, not rich.

Me: “Um… no. Maybe you should try retracing your steps? There’s not much else we can do other than taking your phone number and calling you if it turns up.”

She probably just misplaced it. But seriously, it is not the business’s responsibility to keep track of your personal belongings, especially when there’s only one employee working and there’s a line of customers wrapped around the building.

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