Speaking English Doesn’t Mean You Have To Be Polite With It

, , , , , | Right | February 20, 2020

(My friend is working as a bank teller in a branch of a major Arabic bank in the middle of Sydney. She was hired for being bilingual; both of her parents are of Palestinian descent, although all three of them now have Australian citizenship. My friend is a Christian and doesn’t wear any kind of headscarf, but she still looks very Arabic. An elderly, Caucasian lady walks into the middle of the branch and stands there, looking confused. My friend walks up to her and politely asks in English:)

Teller: “Is everything all right? May I help you with something today, ma’am?”

Elderly Lady: *visibly relieved* “Oh, thank goodness! And you speak excellent English, too!”

Teller: “Well, thank you, and so do you.”

Elderly Lady: “Oh, but I was born here!”

Teller: “Oh, so was I.”

Elderly Lady: “Oh, I mean, my parents were Australian.”

Teller: “Yes, and so are mine.”

Elderly Lady: *flustered again* “Oh, you foreign types, coming here to take our jobs and then you speak to me like this! All you want from this country is to buy up our businesses and get rich!”

(My poor friend managed to grit her teeth and deal with this bigoted old bat, and it turns out that she had hundreds of thousands of dollars invested… in Arabic-speaking companies overseas, of course.)

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My Business Here Is Done

, , , | Working | February 18, 2020

(I own a little company in Canada and am contacted by an American to make an extension of my business in their country. Everything looks all right, and I get invited to their company to meet them, see who they are, etc., and hopefully finalise the deal. I’m a female in my thirties. I travel to visit them, and being a little early, I announce myself to the reception and wait. I decide to keep standing as I sat the whole trip. That’s when a man comes around and sits himself in the waiting area, addressing me awfully condescendingly.)

Man: “Hey, honey, hand me that game book.”

(It’s literally in front of him, but whatever, I pass it silently thinking it’ll be over.)

Man: “Oh, honey, you need to give me a pen with that, too. How else I’m I going to do them, hmm? Come on, honey. Give me that pen now.”

(I’m totally disgusted now, and I have had enough.)

Me: “Excuse me. Are we married?”

Man: *confused* “No, of course not.”

Me: “Do you think I’m a child?”

Man: “No.”

Me: “Did we milk cows together? Axe some logs of in the woods? Or ever even meet before?”

Man: “What? No.”

Me: “That’s right. So, why do you baby-talk and ‘honey’ me? Or order me around? Find your own pen.”

Man: “How dare you?! I’ve never been so disrespected in my life! Don’t you know who I am? I’m the owner! That’s right; it’s all mine!”

Me: “Oh, really?”

(I start to walk off; no way I’m concluding any deal with such a person. With the kind of timing that only happens in the movies, someone comes over and asks:) 

Employee: “Where’s our guest [My Name]?” 

Me: *without turning back* “She’s going the h*** back home! Thanks, but no thanks. Was not nice meeting you.”

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, , , , | Right | February 18, 2020

(I am a manager for a large, well-known Canadian furniture and appliance retailer that stocks many items in-store. Like any modern business, we have terminals to take debit and credit cards. The financial institution that provides these terminals and services to us is based out of the province of Quebec, as many financial institutions in Canada are, especially ones involved with the furniture, appliance, and electronic retail industry. I am at the front desk when one of our sales associates comes up with a customer to put through a sale for a freezer. The customer has several pounds of meat arriving to him tomorrow and needs a freezer in-stock to preserve it. Everything goes normally up until right after the sale is paid for and completed, and then this happens:)

Customer: “I need to cancel this order.”

Associate: “I’m sorry?”


Associate: “Whoa, we can do that, but what’s the problem?”

Customer: “I see on your terminal that [Our Company] banks with [Quebec Financial Institution]!”

Me: “Well, yes, they provide us with terminals and things like our financing plans…”

Customer: “That’s bulls***! We don’t want [Our Company] here in the west if you do business with Quebec!”

Me: “Sir, I’m not sure I understand the issue here. You don’t want to do business with us because we have terminals from [Quebec Financial Institution]?”

Customer: “Obviously! Quebec doesn’t want a pipeline for our oil but has no problem leeching off our economy to fund their government!”

(The customer proceeds to rant about the oil, the Quebec government, and French people for a minute. To clarify, in recent news, Quebec shot down a plan to have a pipeline built across Canada between our provinces for Alberta’s oil industry. Pipelines can be a controversial topic to some, but apparently, some more than others.)

Me: “Sir, you do understand that [Quebec Financial Institution] is a private business and has nothing to do with the Quebec Government?

Customer: “I don’t care! Quebec and the French won’t be getting any of my money! Now hurry up with my refund so I can take my business elsewhere!”

Me: “All right, but there’s no need for that kind of talk.”

(At this point, my general manager, who is partially French himself, must have overheard part of the conversation, and walks over to the till.)

General Manager: *slightly annoyed* “What’s this about the French? I’m French.”

Customer: *sarcastically* “Good for you.”

(My associate and I get nervous and urge our GM to step away, assuring him we’ll handle this so nothing escalates, which thankfully it doesn’t, even though I’m getting fed up with this customer at this point. I finish up the paperwork and refund the customer.)

Customer: “Make sure you write down the real reason I’m cancelling this, not something made-up!”

Me: “Oh, yes, it’s already written here; no one would believe me if it wasn’t.”

Customer: “I’ll be getting a hold of your home office, telling them we don’t want your company here if this is who you do business with!”

Me: “Yeah, good luck with that.”

(The customer finishes up with our associate, and then proceeds to storm towards the doors.)

Associate: “There you go, sir. Good luck finding a freezer!”

Customer: “Oh, I will! There are better companies here that don’t deal with the French! I’ll be going to [Competitor]!”

Me: *yelling over to ensure he can hear* “We own them!”

Customer: *yelling back* “Then I won’t be going there! I’ll just go to [Different Competitor]!”

Me: “They deal with [Quebec Financial Institution], as well, and they don’t stock appliances!”

Customer: “F*** YOU!”

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Provided An Example For Her Son Regardless

, , , , | Right | February 17, 2020

(I am sixteen and a lesbian. I am ringing up a couple with their son.)

Mother: “You’re a very nice and polite and beautiful young lady! You’ll have no trouble finding a husband.”

Me: “Well, I’m actually a lesbian, but thank you. I’m sure I’ll find a wife.”

(All of a sudden, the mother frowns, and then grabs her groceries off the belt.)

Mother: “I’m not letting some homosexual touch my groceries! What kind of example will this set for my child?!”

(I am too shocked to respond. That’s when a voice from below speaks up.)

Son: “Mommy, didn’t you say that love is the most important thing? So does it matter is she loves boys or if she loves girls, as long as she loves them?”

(The mother’s face turned beet red from embarrassment. I was so proud of this kid and to this day I still am.)

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A Clean Window Into Misogyny

, , , , , , | Working | February 17, 2020

(I have recently moved to Texas and am applying for a job. I apply as a window cleaner and text the number shown on the ad. Soon, a reply comes. An old-sounding man calls me. I am female with a unisex name.)

Old Man: “Is this [My Name]?”

Me: *pleasantly* “Yes, it is!”

Old Man: “Oh… um… I notice… from your voice… you’re a female? Correct?”

Me: “Yes?”

Old Man: “Sorry, I’m not looking for a female… Only men.”

Me: *aghast by his sexism* “Wow, that’s illegal!”

Old Man: *sputters some gibberish*

Me: “Next time, put it in your ad!” *hangs up and blocks number*

(Welcome to Texas, I guess! I told my male roommates what happened and they thought I must’ve been mistaken. I don’t blame them; I wouldn’t have believed this if I hadn’t heard it with my own ears! I would’ve reported the company but he didn’t put the name on the ad.)

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