Should Draw A Line In The Sanding Machines

| The Netherlands | Bigotry, Home Improvement

(I am a female employee at a hardware store. An older male customer comes to the service desk.)

Me: “Good afternoon, sir. How can I help you?”

Customer: “I just looked at the sanding machines.”

Me: “All right, so what would you like to know?”

Customer: “I just looked at the sanding machines.”

Me: “Yes, and what is your question exactly?”

(The guy just looks at me and repeats himself once more.)

Me: “Do you need any help?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “With what, exactly?”

Customer: “The sanding machines.”

Me: “What part about sanding machines exactly do you need help with?”

(The customer doesn’t answer my question and says, yet again:)

Customer: “I was just looking at the sanding machines.” *after a short pause, he says* “Is there anyone here who can help me find the right one?”

Me: “Oh, well, I can’t leave the register, as there is nobody else here to take care of that, but if you ask my colleague over there, he’ll be happy to help you.”

Customer: “Yes, he does look like he knows a little something about that.”

(My male colleague was just standing there, the only visible difference between me and him being that he’s a man. The customer also greatly emphasized the ‘he.’ The customer walked up to my colleague and right off the bat started telling him exactly what he was looking for.)

Racing To Prevent Theft

| CT, USA | Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Criminal & Illegal

(I work at a well-known ‘tween’ girl’s clothing store. I am half black, though I am very light-skinned, so most people just assume I’m white or Hispanic. During training, we’re taught about some of the common ways people shoplift, such as lining empty shopping bags with tinfoil. On this particular day, two black women come into my store carrying a number of shopping bags, at least two of which are empty and I can see tinfoil poking out of one. We are trained to be extra friendly and helpful to people we suspect of trying to shoplift. Since I am up front, I greet them.)

Me: “Good afternoon. Thanks for shopping at [Store]. May I help you find anything today?”

Customer: *brusquely* “I’m all set! Leave me alone!”

Me: “Okay, ma’am, but please let me know if I can help you with anything.”

(I go back to folding jeans, but keep a close eye on the customers. I notice them getting abnormally close to the jeans display, as though they might try to knock them into the empty bag.)

Me: “Just so you know, we’re having a special on these jeans right now. If you buy two pairs, you get $10 to spend on a future purchase.”

Customer: “I told you I didn’t need any help! Why are you following me?!” *I haven’t moved at all throughout this interaction*

Me: “I was just trying to tell you about the sale we’re having.”

Customer: “You’re racist! I don’t see you following anyone else in the store. You think I’m shoplifting! Racist!”

Me: “Ma’am, I can assure you I’m not racist.”

(At this point a coworker of mine, who is also black, but noticeably so, has come over, as has one of my managers.)

Manager: “Is there something I can help you with today?”

Customer: *storms out of the store in a huff*

Need To Take A Seat Due To The Audacity

| Bear, DE, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Criminal & Illegal

(I’m shopping at the local grocer’s and standing in line, waiting to pay for my items. There is a woman in front in me unloading her items onto the belt. She finishes unloading and I notice that there is still one item in the seat part of her shopping cart.)

Me: “Ma’am,’ I think you missed an item.”

Woman: *glances at it* “I haven’t decided if I’m going to buy that or not.”

(The cashier rang up her items.  She paid, moved the loaded bags into her cart, and walked away without paying for the item in her cart seat. I guess she decided not to buy it after all; she stole it instead!)