Consider Yourself Downsized

, | Working | April 1, 2013

(My friend owns a couple of clothing stores through his family. He dresses quite humbly, so people don’t really recognize that he is an owner. On this day, I’m accompanying him while he checks on one of his stores.)

Me: “Excuse me, miss? Where is the plus-size section of this shop?”

Clerk:  “Over at the dirt mall where [Plus-size Chain Store] is. We don’t cater to fatty fat-a**es like you.”

Me: “No need for that kind of language, and I’m a size 18, so I can fit in some average-sized clothing, but I prefer the fit in plus. I know that there is a plus section, but the store has been re-arranged so I’m having trouble finding it.”

Clerk: “I’ll speak to you however I want. People like you are beneath the rest of us. Just wrap up in a sheet and call it a dress. You might need two king-size to cover that Buddha-big-belly!”

Me: “May I please speak to your manager? You are being very rude.”

Clerk: “Oh, no! You are not going to stomp over me to get me in trouble just because you’re fat! Get the f*** out of here!”

(My friend taps me on my shoulder and points to a section of the store.)

Friend:  “The plus-size section is over there.”

Clerk:  *to my friend* “Why are you helping that fata**?! We don’t serve her kind here!”

Friend: “Well, if you must know, I am actually one of her best friends. I have been for over ten years, and for about five years, I’ve been running several clothing stores for my grandfather until he decided to officially hand the reins over to me two years ago. I, despite my appearance, now own several lovely clothing stores that cater to every woman of every size…”

Clerk: *stares*

Friend:  “…including this one. Now, I believe my friend asked for your manager?”

(Upon hearing this, the clerk turned pale and called for her manager, who recognized my friend and rushed over. After we explained what happened, the manager apologized over and over, and fired the clerk on the spot for their poor behavior.)

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Dining Sin

, , , | Right | March 22, 2013

(I’m a waitress, seating a woman next to a pair of young men holding hands across the table. They are talking quietly to each other, very obviously on a date. One of the men is drastically shorter than the other, making him appear much younger.)

Female Customer: “Well, isn’t that sweet, taking your little brother out? How old is he, 10?”

([Customer #1] blushes and bites his lip.)

Customer #2: “He’s 19, and he’s my boyfriend.”

(I’m about to walk away, when the woman gasps and shrieks at me in outrage.)

Female Customer: “HOW DARE YOU ALLOW THESE HEATHENS TO ACT LIKE THIS IN PUBLIC?! YOU TWO SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES, YOU F*****S!”

(Both men visibly flinch. The smaller starts pulling his hand away, blinking back tears. The taller catches it and gives him a reassuring smile. Being bisexual myself, I’ve learned how to deal with this.)

Me: “Look at that couple over there.”

(I point to a girl and boy, on the other side of the restaurant. They are about the same age, doing the exact same thing the other couple just was.)

Me: “What do you think of them?”

Female Customer: “Well, they’re cute!”

(I point to the gay couple.)

Me: “And if one of them was a girl?”

(The female customer stammers furiously. She stands up, almost knocking the table over, and starts stomping away.)

Female Customer: “I’m never coming here again! I’ll have you reported for allowing these f*****s to sin here!”

(Luckily for me, my boss laughed in her face. He banned her from the restaurant, and calld other branches to warn them about her. The two men were incredibly sweet, and made sure to give me a twenty dollar tip. They’ve been regulars ever since!)

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Bigotry Unleashed

, , , , , | Right | March 14, 2013

(A gay couple has just met up in the restaurant and kissed each other upon arrival. Another customer has seen this and is obviously angry.)

Angry Customer: “Damn f**s.”

Gay Man: “Excuse me?”

Angry Customer: “You heard me, you little s***. Let’s not make this into some little pride protest, okay? I have to accept that you’re going to live your lifestyle, and you have to accept that I’ve got freedom of speech.”

Gay Man: *quietly* “Is it too much to ask for a little human decency?”

Angry Customer: “Human? Listen up, what you’re doing is not human. I think I have the right to determine what I think is human.”

(The manager shows up. He’s a quiet Italian man who I assume is conservative due to the Christian imagery and portrait of Reagan he keeps around the restaurant.)

Angry Customer: *to the owner* “Hey, can you move either them or us to another table?”

(Instead of responding to the angry customer, the owner instead speaks to his wife.)

Owner: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but we have a strict ‘no pets’ policy in my restaurant.”

Wife: “Uh, I, uh, what? I don’t have a—”

Owner: “Well, according to your talking monkey over here, I can determine who’s a human and who’s not. You bring an animal into my restaurant? I gotta assume it’s your pet.”

(The angry customer stormed out. When I left, the owner was giving his description, and copies of security camera footage, to the biggest crowd of police I’ve seen. Apparently it’s a bad idea to not pay your bill at a restaurant that gives free coffee to cops.)

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Saw Through His Sexism

, , , , , | Right | March 5, 2013

(I am a female woodworking student, shopping for a specific kind of saw in a hardware store. There’s only one on the shelf, so I grab it and start to move towards the register.)

Customer: “You can’t have this saw.”

Me: “And why not?”

Customer: “Because I need it!”

Me: “Well, I’m sorry about that, but I picked it up first when you weren’t even near it. They’ll probably order some soon.”

Customer: “Give it to me. I really need it.”

Me: “As much as I do. I’m sorry, sir, but it’s mine.”

Customer: “I clearly need it more than you; you’re a woman! You can’t have any use for a saw!”

Me: “I’m doing woodworking and I need this saw for an order a client placed with me. I am not going to give it to you and delay my client’s order.”

Customer: *sheepishly* “Oh, I’m sorry, I couldn’t know… If I knew you were a woodworker, I wouldn’t have said that.”

Me: “You shouldn’t make sexist comments like that, regardless of what field I work. Every woman is allowed to buy a saw… not only woodworkers.”

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Suited To The Role

, , , , , , , , | Right | February 18, 2013

(I work the floor at an independently-owned menswear store. The owner, my boss, spends a lot of time at the shop, and tries to keep prices as low as possible to help our city’s large homeless population get good job interview clothes. A clearly homeless man is wandering around the store. The other patrons are giving him looks.)

Customer: “Excuse me, sir?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am?”

Customer: “I think you may want to call security. That… bum over there, he keeps feeling the suits and muttering to himself. I’m just sure he’s planning to steal one.”

Me: “Well, ma’am, I think that’s quite unlikely.”

Customer: “Oh, come on, you know how they are! I mean, I’d keep an eye on him even if he wasn’t homeless!”

(The homeless man in question happens to be Hispanic.)

Me: “We don’t discriminate here, ma’am.”

Customer: “Well, I’m sure the owner would want to hear about this!”

(I give in and call him over. The customer explains her concerns. As a black man, my boss isn’t happy with her racism, but agrees to talk to the homeless man.)

Owner: “Excuse me, sir, are you finding what you need?”

Homeless Man: “Well, not really. I’m hoping for something versatile in a dark or navy wool, but most of the options in my size are cut American style instead of European, which fits me a little better. Not to mention they’re all pinstriped, which I really don’t have the build for, you know?”

Owner: “I… yes, I understand. I think we may have some options over here, if you’ll follow me. How did you know all that?”

Homeless Man: “Back before I lost my job, I used to be really into this stuff. I’m not looking for anything fancy, just something I can use to look good for a job interview later today.”

(My boss helps him find something he likes, and comes to the counter with him. The suit is priced at $87.)

Homeless Man: *digging in his pockets* “Hang on, I think I’ve got enough.”

Owner: *to me* “Take my card. I’m buying it for him.” *to the homeless man* “Here. The suit’s yours, on one condition. After your interview today, you come back and apply for a job here, too. Got it?”

Homeless Man: “I… oh, my God, thank you. Thank you so much.”

(Two years later, that formerly-homeless man is my manager, and has a little girl with his new wife — the owner’s sister.)

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