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Blind-siding Stereotypes

, , , , , | Right | May 23, 2011

(I work at a start-up company in a very small office space that used to be a window shades store. We occasionally get people knocking on the door looking for the old business. A gentleman knocks on the door and I talk to him.)

Me: “Hi, how can I help you?”

Customer: “I bought these blinds, and they don’t fit my window.”

Me: “Oh, you’re at the wrong place. That was the last tenant. This isn’t a shade store anymore.”

Customer: “Oh, but in the phone book this is listed.”

Me: “I know. He hasn’t updated it. We’re not a shade shop. I hope you get help with your problem.”

Customer: “Well, you might be able to help. You’re a woman. Women put up blinds a lot.”

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His Head’s Up In The Sky, With Diamonds

, , , , , | Right | May 16, 2011

(Our store music system is playing Coldplay’s ‘Viva la Vida’. A customer comes up to me, and starts making small talk.)

Customer: “I love this song!”

Me: “Yeah, I like it too. Although, there is a Swedish singer who does a cover of this. I happen to like that one better.”

Customer: “You listen to Swedish music?”

Me: “Well, not really. I just heard that there was a cover of it. I looked it up and–”

Customer: “This is America, sweetie! You should only listen to American music!”

Me: “Sir, you do know that Coldplay, the band who sings this song, is from England?”

Customer: “No, they’re not! They play this song on the radio! American radio!”

Me: “I assure you, sir. They are from England.”

Customer: “Well, I can’t like this song anymore! Unlike you, I only listen to American music–like The Rolling Stones and The Beatles!”

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Ironing Out Some Laundry Stereotypes

, , , , | Right | March 23, 2011

(I am sitting in a laundromat, waiting for my laundry. An irate customer approaches me while I am reading a book.)

Customer: “Can you help?”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Customer: “Can you help me with this machine? I don’t think it’s working properly.”

Me: “I can take a look, but I don’t know too much about these things.”

Customer: *exasperated* “How is it that you don’t know how these machines work? What kind of lazy employee are you? You just sit here reading a book when customers are struggling?”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m just trying to do my laundry like you are.”

Customer: “This is the worst experience I’ve ever had here! Where are your parents? I need to complain to them.”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m 25 years old and my Korean parents live in New Jersey. There is a nice Chinese family that owns this business. They might be able to help you better than I can.”

Customer: “But don’t you all know how to fix these things?”

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Fighting Ignorance With Ignorance, Part 2

, , , , , | Right | February 7, 2011

(I am working in the clothing section of a department store when I overhear this conversation. I work with a very nice woman who moved to America from India about ten years ago.)

Mother: “Did you find everything you needed, hon?”

Child: “Yep! A really nice Indian lady helped me.”

Mother: “No, no! We don’t say Indian. We say ‘Native American.'”

Child: “No, mom, not that kind of Indian. One from India!”

Mother: “Don’t be silly, hon. We took their country from them, not gave them one.”


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How Not To Curry Favor

, , , , , , | Right | January 19, 2011

Me: “How may I help you today?”

Customer: “Yeah, am I calling India? Because I don’t want to be talking to some outsourced guy.”

Me: “No, sir, you are not.”

Customer: “I’ve been watching this TV show about how they can disguise their accents. How do I really know you aren’t in India?”

Me: “Sir, we are based out of Los Angeles.”

Customer: “Well, prove it, then. What’s the capital of Los Angeles?”


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