Sorry, Sir, It All Sounds Like Greek To Me

, , , , , , | Right | July 1, 2020

I work in a deli with an elderly female coworker who is from Greece and has an obvious accent but is easy to understand as she has lived in the US for many years.

A customer approaches the counter and my coworker attempts to assist him.

Coworker: “Hello, sir, how can I help you?”

Customer: *Visibly irritated* “WHAT? WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? I CAN’T UNDERSTAND YOU! DON’T YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?!”

My coworker is taken aback. The rest of us behind the counter are staring at the customer in shock.

Coworker: “I’m sorry, I wasn’t very clear. What can I do for you?”

Customer: “THIS IS RIDICULOUS! You could at least have the decency to speak proper English when you come to America to work!”

The customer promptly storms off. Skip ahead two weeks later, and the same customer shows up. Both my coworker and I happen to be working again. The customer is glaring at my coworker.

Customer: “Have you learned more English? Can you take my order?!”

My coworker gives the sweetest smile she can but with a tone dripping with sarcasm.

Coworker: “Sorry, sir, I can’t understand what you’re saying!”

The rest of us there are doing our level best to stifle our laughter at this and the customer gets red-faced.

Customer: “I DEMAND TO SEE YOUR MANAGER!”

I go over to the phone and page one of our managers, explaining the situations including the previous incident with this “gentleman.” The manager stops me short in my explanation and says that this customer put in a complaint about two weeks ago and that he is aware of the situation and will be right over.

Manager: *To the customer* “Sir, what seems to be the problem?”

Customer: “Why do you insist on hiring these d*** Mexicans?”

Everyone is now looking at each other in disbelief.

Customer: “This country is being ruined by immigrants, and companies like yours are allowing this to happen by hiring them!”

Manager: “Let me stop you there, sir! We here at [Store] have a no-discrimination policy, regardless of creed, gender, ethnic origin, or personal preferences. And furthermore, this country was founded by immigrants, so if you don’t care for our policy, you can kindly take your business elsewhere!”

The manager gestures towards the front doors. With a huff, the customer leaves.

Me: *To my manager* “You, sir, just became hero of the day!”

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Subordinate To His Bigoted Ideas

, , , , | Working | June 30, 2020

I’m head of quality assurance and the certification department. There used to be three people including me, but one was fired for drinking and the second one is on maternity leave and won’t be back for another three years.

Before she left, I repeatedly requested new help. It didn’t matter if it was someone from a different department or completely new, because in both cases I’d have to teach them everything. The only requirement was that they had to speak Russian.

The human resources director promised me to find someone, but no luck… until one day I speak to the head of the development department

Head Of DD: “Hi, [My Name], I’m so sorry. I apologize. I had no idea.”

Me: “Hi, [Head Of DD]. What’s wrong? Why do you apologize?”

Head Of DD: “I swear, I didn’t know about it. I’m sorry.”

Me: “Okay, how about you start from the beginning?”

Head Of DD: “I went to [HR Director] to ask if she could find me someone more capable than [Coworker]; he is totally useless. She said fine and that she would move him to your department. I’m really sorry. I didn’t know she still hadn’t found a substitute for [Coworker On Maternity Leave].”

Me: “Oh, well, as long as he can speak Russian. I need someone who can deal with Russian documentation, send emails, and tell me what [Mother Company] needs from me. It’s not like he has to do something complicated like drawings, material calculations, and other technical stuff like your team does. If he is at least able to do this, I won’t have to work fifteen hours a day. I’m really tired.”

Head Of DD: “That’s why I’m so sorry. I’m afraid he won’t be of much help. His Russian is perfect, but the rest…”

Me: “We will see. Don’t worry.”

The next day, I go to the office kitchen to grab a coffee, and when I return to my office, there is someone sitting in my chair. The guys fiddles with my computer mouse trying to wake up my notebook from the screensaver but only gets to the “locked” screen.

Normally, I lock my office but this time I was away for two minutes and didn’t bother. I recognize the guy as [Coworker]; I saw his photo at the “New Employees” board a few months ago.

Me: “Umm, good morning. That’s my chair. You are [Coworker], right? I’m [My Name]; nice to meet you. Let me show you your workplace.”

The coworker stares at me quietly. Then, he slams his hands on my table, stands up and, still without a word, passes me and leaves the office. I’m confused and have no idea what happened. I let it be as I have too much work to do.

Later, at the company canteen, [Head Of DD] joins me for lunch.

Head Of DD: “Hey, how did it go?”

Me: “I have no idea.”

I tell him what happened.

Me: “He didn’t come back. I even checked if [IT Coworker] had switched the nametag on my office door; he likes pranks like this. Nope, my office was still my office. I have to ask—”

A coworker from the HR department joins us.

HR Coworker: “Hi, guys. [My Name], I’m sorry, no new subordinate for you.

Me: “Why? [Coworker] was in my office, and then, without a word, he disappeared.”

HR Coworker: “Yes, he came to our office. He said that he thought you’d be his subordinate, not his boss. He won’t listen to some silly little girl and if we don’t give him your position he will leave. His words, not mine. So, we said goodbye to him.”

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An Alarming Lack Of Concern

, , , , , | Right | June 30, 2020

One of my regular customers has a son with autism. Her son is fascinated with the date of Halloween, and he likes me because my birthday is on Halloween.

One day, he comes in with his mom, and right after he gives me his usual hug, the fire alarm goes off for testing. The boy covers his ears and screams, running behind my register to hide. He’s not in my way, but he is making a lot of noise to drown out the alarm.

Boy’s Mom:Oh! I am so sorry, [My Name]. He doesn’t like sudden and loud noises.”

Me: “It’s fine. The alarm won’t last long. He’s fine back here.”

A customer approaches and decides they need to involve themselves in the situation.

Customer: “You should be ashamed! All he needs is a good whipping.”

Boy’s Mom: “He has autism. Loud noises upset him.”

Customer: “Nonsense! Let me spank him! I’m in a hurry and he’s upsetting me. That’ll teach him.”

I stop scanning the mom’s items and move to block the entrance to get behind the register.

Me: “If you’re in such a hurry, we have self-checkouts. He’s fine where he is.”

The customer grumbles but goes away. A manager for the store has seen the incident.

Manager: “If she complains, I’ll let them know what happened.”

Finally, the alarm tests ended and the boy’s mom told me how to signal to him. I checked them out and he gave me a hug like nothing had happened and left. Turns out the lady did try to report me, but she blew the whole incident out of proportion and the manager just smiled and nodded. She was quite shocked to see I wasn’t fired.

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Times Like These Can Bring Out The Best… And The Worst In People

, , , , , | Right | June 29, 2020

I’m wheelchair-bound, but I find a small store that lets me work as a cashier. I have to use a chair when working, since I can’t stand. I usually have my wheelchair right next to me. For the most part, few people even notice, especially now that we have sneeze guards up that just about entirely section me away from customer areas.

I’m wearing a mask, as required, and I’m on the register that forbids me from handling cash. A middle-aged woman comes in; she isn’t wearing a mask. As she’s unloading her groceries:

Me: “Hi there!”

She doesn’t answer me, so I assume she can’t hear me. With all the guards up, I’m not surprised. 

Me: “Did you find everything you needed?”

Customer: “No! You idiots are out of toilet paper and the meat I needed!”

Me: “We can’t help that at the moment, I’m afraid.”

Customer: “Well, if you could all do your jobs, we wouldn’t be in this mess! You’re just so lazy! Can’t you hurry up?”

Me: “I’m going as fast as I can.”

The customer evidently sees my wheelchair. 

Customer: “I’m amazed you’re still alive.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Customer: “That wheelchair of yours. I figured the corona would have killed all of you cripples off.”

I say nothing. I’m far too emotional at the moment, and being on the spectrum, I know I’m prone to saying things I’ll regret later. I’ve learned to just stop talking. I finish scanning her items and give her the total. Despite the numerous “NO CASH” signs, she tries repeatedly to shove a handful of twenties into the plastic barrier. 

Me: “No cash this lane! I can only take a card or EBT.”

Customer: “Where does it say that?!”

I point to the sign right above the card reader and the sign at the end of my register. She scoffs at me. 

Customer: “So, you’re saying you won’t accept my good cash?!”

Me: “Not at this register, no.”

Customer: “This is good money! I can’t believe you’re being so rude! Just take it!” 

She forces the money under the very small gap between the register and the barrier. 

Me: “I can’t accept that. You’ll need to move to another register or pay with a card.”

Customer: “Crippled b****!”

By now, my manager has heard the commotion and has come over. Since it’s a small store that’s not part of a major chain, my managers have much more say in how to run things. Namely, they can ban people quite easily since the owners don’t interfere much.

He sees the customer pulling the sneeze guard up in order to retrieve her money, which she managed to push all the way over to my side. The barrier falls on top of me when she lets it go. I don’t anticipate it falling on me, so it makes me jump and I tumble onto the floor. Meanwhile, the customer pays with a card. 

I’m fairly small, but the tight space makes it difficult for me to get back to my chair, especially with the sneeze guard on top of me, so my manager has to help. 

Customer: *On her way out* “You know, you really shouldn’t hire rude cripples like her! She denied my cash and then made me get it myself! I want her fired!”

The manager points to the exit:

Manager: “Get out. Now. And don’t come back. You’re no longer welcome here.”

Customer: “F*** you! I hope the corona kills you all!”

We found out later that she took the liberty of stealing two of the sanitized cleaning wipes we had to clean carts and baskets, meaning we had to borrow from other departments.

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Bye-Bye, Bigot!

, , , , , , | Related | June 26, 2020

I’m on the phone with the grandmother I have an already rocky relationship with. Out of nowhere, she says this:

Grandma: “I don’t like that gay people can adopt.”

Me: “What?! Why?”

Grandma: “What will two women do with a son? They’re women! They don’t know how to raise a boy!”

Me: “That is the dumbest f****** thing I’ve ever heard you say.”

Grandma: “Don’t use that language with—”

Me: “You were a single mother who raised a son and you spoke to the judge to make sure my mother — your own daughter — didn’t get me in the custody battle instead of my single father.”

Grandma: “W-well… Well, I had help from family! And so did your father!”

Me: “And gay people won’t? Gay people don’t have families?”

Grandma: “I just don’t like gay people! I’m old and set in my ways, and I don’t like them and think they’re disgusting and wrong.”

Me: “Well, I’ve decided that I don’t like you and I think you’re disgusting and wrong.”

Grandma: “Why, because I don’t like gay people?”

Me: “I generally don’t like people who hate me, so, yeah.”

Grandma: “I don’t hate you! When did I say I hated you?”

Me: “Just now. I’m gay. So, since you hate me so much, I’ll just never talk to you again! Bye!” *Click*

Several weeks later, I got a letter in the mail from my grandmother demanding I “change my mind about being gay” because she’s “too old to change.”

I’ve spoken to her a total of two times since then and each time she spouts more hateful nonsense, even going so far as to ask me if I was getting divorced two months after I married my wife. The kicker? Her OLDER sister came to the wedding and absolutely loves my wife; they swap recipes.

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