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Middle East Meets Far East

| Working | March 20, 2015

(I pop into a liquor store on my way home. I’m a white female. The cashier behind the register is from Iran, second-generation. He has always been very polite and friendly towards me, and he speaks with a heavy accent. I grab my purchases and get in line behind an older Korean customer.)

Customer: “Only this, please.”

Cashier: “What?”

Customer: *very clearly and slowly* “Only this, please.”

Cashier: “I don’t understand you. Do you speak English?”

Customer: “Yes, I speak very well. Please, may I pay?”

Cashier: *to me* “Do you speak Asian?”

Me: *completely baffled* “Uh, I think he said he’s ready to pay. He doesn’t need anything else.”

Cashier: “Okay. Fine.”

(He rings up the gentleman who leaves without making eye contact with anyone, clearly upset or embarrassed.)

Cashier: *ringing me up* “Those people need to learn our language, right? He’s lucky you know Chinese!”

(I was so shocked I haven’t been back to that particular store.)

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