Picture Perfect Racism

| Thunder Bay, ON, Canada | Right | July 8, 2014

(To generate more sales, we offer the customers a deal where, if they purchase $50 worth of extra sheets, they can purchase a full session CD for $89.99, which is regularly $250. The customer I am working with is First Nations, as I live in a community with a large Native population.)

Me: “So with this coupon, if you spend over $50 in extra merchandise, you can upgrade your CD for $89.99 if you’d like!”

Customer: “Not interested.”

Me: “Okay, not a problem. We’ll continue looking through your photos.”

(This goes on for some time while the customer’s two children, aged four and six, run around the studio lobby screaming and knocking things over. The customer finally puts the four-year-old girl in the uncomfortable looking mall stroller, where she promptly begins to scream in my ear. I continue with the sale.)

Me: “In this shot I felt like the kids were very posed, it has nice smiles from both of them though.”

Customer: “It’s ugh… Ugh! They’re all ugly! Why didn’t you take pictures of my kids like that! *gestures to stock photos on the wall of a little girl dancing around*

Me: “Generally the sessions that these types of pictures come from are sessions that start in the morning and last all day with corporate level photographers.”

Customer: “Whatever…”

(The little girl next to me is still screaming as her brother is banging away on the other computer’s keyboard. I pause so that the mother could intervene with the noise and turn slightly towards the girl to indicate why I’ve stopped. As I turn I see that the girl has raised her skirt, showing clearly soiled underwear that are the cause of her distress.)

Customer: “Hey! Don’t you f****** look at her! You f****** pervert!”

Me: “Sorry. I thought you might want to calm her down.”

Customer: “She’s my f****** daughter; I’ll do what I want! Don’t tell me how to raise my f****** kids, you white devil b****!”

Me: “I wasn’t trying to say—”

Customer: “I’M the customer. You pay attention to ME! GOT IT?!”

(Gritting my teeth, I continue with the sale. When she starts to order sheets, I realize she’s going to be buying almost $50 worth.)

Me: “If you buy one more sheet you’re over the $50 mark and you qualify for our CD deal! $89.99 for the full session, a savings of $170!”

Customer: “I’m. Not. Interested.”

Me: “Okay, I just wanted to make sure you didn’t want to take advantage of this awesome deal.”

Customer: “Seriously! Give it up! You just want more of my f****** money! You think I’m stupid, b****? ‘Cause I’m not!” *mumbles under her breath* “Stupid f****** white girl.”

(Finally the sale is coming to a close, and as I go to get up and go to the till, the customer stands up, and turns around.)

Customer: “So, I get all those images on the CD for free, right? Because I bought more than $50 with that coupon?”

Me: “No. I said you could get them for $89.99, which you refused three three times.”

Customer: “LIAR! You f****** lying white racist b****! You just don’t want to give me the free stuff because I’m Native! RACIST! RACIST!” *pointing at me as she yells*

(All the commotion has attracted the attention of the photographer in the back room, who comes out to see what the matter is.)

Photographer: “What’s going—”

Customer: “This f****** white girl is trying to rip me off because she’s racist!”

Photographer: *looks at me and then back at the customer* “I somehow doubt that, but let me see if I can find you a better deal.” *gets out paper, pencil and a calculator*

(After a few minutes the photographer concedes defeat.)

Photographer: “The deal you’re being offered is the best deal we can offer you, so unless you want to take that deal, you won’t be getting the full CD.”

Customer: “You’re a f****** racist, too! You’re all f****** RACISTS!”

Photographer: “You do realize that by assuming she’s racist because she’s white, and calling her various names pertaining to the colour of her skin, YOU are in fact being the racist?”

Customer: “Nice try! Only white people can be racist! Like the two of you!”

Photographer: “… I’m just going to let you know that my father is African Canadian, so by all accounts, I’m not ‘white.’ That’s just the colour my skin leads more towards.”

Customer: “Oh, um… I didn’t…”

(Wordlessly I walk up to the till so that the customer can pay for her photos before she leaves.)

Me: “Okay, have a nice day!”

Customer: “F*** you, you racist s***! Just because she’s black doesn’t mean you can treat me like s***!”

(The customer finally leaves. When she returned to pick up her photos she acted like nothing happened. Three years later, we still tell the story about her and her crazy attitude when we all need a laugh.)

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Being Careful With Words Is Now A Mute Point

, | Tarpon Springs, FL, USA | Right | July 8, 2014

(I front the calls for an insurance call center. I’m on the phone with a customer, chit-chatting a little about the weather difference, since he is from California. I put my mic on mute while I try to see which agents are free to transfer the call to. In the meantime, I hear the customer talking to his friend in the background.)

Friend: “What’s that about?”

Customer: “Something about life insurance. But you should hear her. She sounds hot! I wish I had it on speaker. She sounded really hot! Like seriously, you should hear her! Too bad we’re on opposite ends of the country. She’s in Florida. I guess she just moved from Minnesota.”

(The entire time I can feel myself turning red, and debate on letting him know I can hear him, but I decide it’s time.)

Me: “Actually, from Michigan! But close!”

Customer: “Oh, from Michigan!”

(At this point you can hear the realization in his voice.)

Customer: “Oh, crap! You can hear everything? Oh, jeez! You should warn people! Like ‘I’m going to put you on hold but I can still hear you’!”

Me: “Yeah, but that would take out all the fun!”

Customer: “Oh man, this is so embarrassing! Well, at least you know somebody thinks you sound hot!”

(I could hear both him and his friend crack up. It made my day!)

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Don’t (Mi)Stress Over It

| Canberra, ACT, Australia | Right | July 8, 2014

(Most of the clients are 18-year-old girls getting their navels done or university students wanting unusual cartilage piercings. It is a really friendly place with a good reputation. I get a call:)

Caller: “Hello? I was wondering if your studio has specific facilities?”

Me: “I’d be happy to help, sir. What kind of facilities—”

Caller: *cuts me off* “DON’T CALL ME SIR.” *in deadly serious whisper* “Call me mistress.”

Me: “Ah… yes, mistress?”

Caller: “That’s better. Is the studio sound-proof?”

Me: “No, mistress. I can’t say that it is.”

Caller: “I see. Does it have restraints?”

(The man in question goes on to ask an increasingly creepy list of demands. It turns out he’s a professional dominatrix and apparently people pay money to live with him and be his ‘slaves.’ Needless to say we weren’t what he was looking for, so I suggested he contact a few establishments located in the ‘sex industry’ areas of the city, who might be able to help.)

Me: “… anyway, mistress, to sum up for you, we just don’t do that sort of thing here. I hope [Other Business Names] will be able to assist you.”

Caller: *absolutely delighted* “Oh, you have been so helpful! Please, call me by my Christian name: Mistress Alexi!”

Boss: *after telling her all about it* “I’m pretty open-minded, but no way in h*** is there anything Christian about that!”

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I Can Do That

| Right | July 7, 2014

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Brain Unplugged

| Canada | Right | July 7, 2014

(The caller is having a problem with his Internet connection that can be fixed by restarting the modem. He says he already did, and needs a tech to come out, but I can see the modem hasn’t been turned off in a very long time.)

Me: “I’ll just have you unplug the modem for me right now, okay?”

Caller: “Okay, it’s unplugged.”

Me: “Okay, I can see the modem and it’s still online with us, so something else has been unplugged. It’s the skinny black wire coming out of the back of the modem. You can pull it right out of the back there; can you do that now for me please?”

Caller: “Okay, it’s unplugged.”

Me: “Are you sure? I can see it’s still online with us. Are there any lights lit up on the modem?”

Caller: “Yeah, there’s a bunch and two of them are flashing.”

Me: “Okay, well, the modem doesn’t have any batteries in there so it’s still getting power from somewhere. Can you please pull that skinny black cord right out of the back of the modem? It’ll pull right out.”

Caller: “Yeah, it’s unplugged.”

Me: “You pulled that skinny black cord out?”

Caller: “Yeah, yeah, it’s unplugged.”

Me: “And what are the lights doing?”

Caller: “They’re the same. Still two flashing.”

Me: “And you pulled out that cord, did you?”

Caller: “Yeah, it’s unplugged!”

Me: “That doesn’t seem possible for it to be getting electricity when it’s not plugged in.”

(I can see perfectly well it’s still online and know he hasn’t unplugged it, but it’s not a type I can reboot from my end.)

Caller: “Yeah, I told you. My Internet doesn’t work! Now can you please send me a tech?”

Me: “Well, something certainly does seem to be wrong. The next appointment I have is in… three days.”

Caller: “That’s fine. Thanks.”

(I go ahead and book the tech, who will come out and get it online by unplugging it for a few seconds. For that, the caller has to wait for three days, when he could have just done what I told him to and been online again immediately!)

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