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Sexism Is Heavy

, , , , , | Working | December 14, 2021

When I was twenty-one in the late 1980s, I graduated from university with a Bachelor of Computer Science degree, and I tried to find work in my field. Alas, jobs were scarce at the time, so, to pay the bills, I became a secretary. I soon learned to not get much respect from my boss and his colleagues. They figured that since I was young and female, I probably didn’t have much in the way of brains. I needed the job, so I gritted my teeth and put up with their sexism.  

One day, I went to grab something from the top drawer of a filing cabinet. I did what I always did: thumb back the release for the drawer and grab the handle with all my strength since it was heavy. For some reason, this time it didn’t “stop” when it was fully extended; it just kept coming, and I found myself with an armful of an extremely heavy file drawer.

Me: “Oh, my God, HELP!”

I got no response.

Me: “HELP! SOMEONE HELP ME, NOW!”

My boss came ambling out of his office, annoyed.

Boss: “What the h***’s the matter?”

Me: “GRAB THIS DRAWER FROM ME! I’M ABOUT TO DROP IT ON MY FEET!”

Boss: “Ugh.”

He grabbed the drawer.

Boss’s Colleague: “Geez, is someone torturing a cat out here? What’s with all the noise?”

Boss: “[My Name] had a mishap with this drawer.”

Colleague: “You’re kidding. I didn’t think filing was something that even [My Name] could screw up!”

[Colleague] laughed. [Boss] chuckled. I glowered.

Boss: “Well, you’re okay now, [My Name], so get back to work.”

I was shaky for the rest of the day, not to mention in pain from strained muscles. No word of solace from any of the higher-ups, of course. Fast-forward to a few months later.

Me: “[Boss], I’d like to talk to you for a minute.”

Boss: “Is it important? Because I’m just about to leave for a meeting.”

He grabbed his golf bag as he spoke. Yes, he really did have “meetings” on the golf course that lasted for hours.

Me: “It’s pretty important. I’ve had an offer for another job, and I’m going to take it.”

Boss: *Stares* “Oh.” *Puts the golf bag down* “Where? Doing what? More secretarial stuff?”

Me: “At [Company], as an entry-level computer programmer.”

Boss: *Pauses* “A computer programmer?”

Me: “Yes. Remember my resume? It stated that I have my Bachelor of Computer Science degree.”

Boss: “Oh, yeah. I remember now. But aren’t you happy here?”

I was not touching that one.

Me: “It’s not that. This is what I’ve trained for, and the money’s much better.”

Boss: “I guess there’s nothing I can do to change your mind, then.”

Me: “No, sorry.”

My new job was everything I’d hoped. It was fun, interesting, and well-paid, and my coworkers respected me. As the final icing on the cake, one of those coworkers was the man who eventually became my husband. We’ve now been married for twenty-eight years.

Age Is No Excuse To Slur Your Words

, , , , , | Right | December 9, 2021

My grandmother grew up in a less enlightened time, and although I don’t think she actively means any harm, she sometimes uses racist terms to refer to certain communities. One of her most common usages was to use a particular slur for Asian communities to refer to local corner shops and newsagents. She would also send me to the local shop on errands when I visited from a fairly young age, which led to this exchange.

Newsagent: “Hello, [My Name], what are you doing here by yourself without your gran?”

Me: “My gran is at home. She just asked me to pop by the [slur]’s to get her newspaper.”

The newsagent looks at me in shock for a few moments.

Newsagent: “What did you say?”

Me: “She asked me to go to the [slur]’s?”

Newsagent: “That’s what I thought you said. Do you know that’s a bad word?”

Me: “No! I thought it was what the shop was called.”

Newsagent: “No, it’s a very bad word to describe people who look like me. You really shouldn’t use it.”

Me: “I’m really sorry. I didn’t know that.”

Newsagent: “That’s okay. I can tell you didn’t know any better; just don’t say it again. Here’s your gran’s paper. Make sure you tell her about our chat and that I said hi.”

What In The Audacious, Entitled, Rude-A** Heck Is This Bulls***?!

, , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: Damionstjames | December 7, 2021

I’m in a wheelchair, and people around where I live don’t pay attention, so I’m pretty much forced to wear this high-visibility yellow-green safety vest.

I run into my most constant issue at a local supermarket. Their trolley-boys (cart wranglers) all wear near-identical safety vests to mine, only theirs actually have black trim added to the vest along with the chain’s name plastered on the left breast and the back. That, and the employees actually have nametags on.

I look like a biker by comparison with my beard, heavy tattoos, and all-black clothes, and I top it off with a Pride 49ers hat. I mean, the hat alone should be a clear sign I don’t work there, but nope! I should also point out that I’m a voice actor. When I’m out in public, I speak with a posh, North-London English accent as I’ve found, due to implicit bias, people tend to treat me better.

One Friday, I headed out to perform what I call the “Double Whammy”: picking up my prescriptions from the pharmacy inside [Supermarket] and doing a bit of food shopping. I waved to or greeted my regular employees and managers, as I’m in there so much and so often that I’m a pretty recognizable face.

I wheeled my chair into the soup aisle. There were so many delicious options that I couldn’t decide on what to get. I don’t think I was in the aisle for more than five minutes when I heard that throat-clearing “eh-hem!” emanate from behind me. I ignored it, because I had no idea it was meant for me. It happened again, and I continued to ignore it.

That’s when this lady grabbed the handles on my wheelchair and spun me around. It took every ounce of effort not to turn and swing on her because I had no idea who she was or her intentions, but obviously, she had no qualms over grabbing someone’s wheelchair and maneuvering them against their will.

Before I could say a single word, the woman began to shout.

Woman: “Hey! When a customer is trying to get your attention, you don’t ignore them! I have been trying to get your attention for minutes now—” *she hadn’t* “—and I don’t like your attitude.”

I took a deep breath and did my best to unclench my hands from the armrests of my wheelchair.

Me: “Madam, I am sorry if I’ve offended you—” *I wasn’t* “—but I must inform you that—”

I was cut off! Due to my mental quirks and conditioning as a child, any time I’m interrupted, I get shut completely down and I can’t speak until the other person stops talking, so I went silent.

Woman: “I don’t want to hear any of your excuses! Just because you’re in a f****** wheelchair, it doesn’t mean you can get away with being an inconsiderate a**hole. The world doesn’t revolve around you, and there are other people in the world far more in need than you. I have half a mind to wheel you over to the Service Desk and report you to management.”

I waited for a couple of beats to see if her rant was going to continue, but it didn’t. She gave me a look that I could without any measure of difficulty correctly identify as a “your move” glare.

I took another deep breath.

Me: “Ma’am, firstly, it’s illegal, sociably irresponsible, and outright tactless to man-handle a person’s disability conveyance without their consent. That counts as assault. While yelling and screaming at me isn’t illegal, per se, I don’t appreciate it. Tell me, ma’am, what incentive do I have to assist you at this point? I don’t work here. Look me over! I don’t have a nametag on, and I’m in black jeans and a T-shirt with a gay pride 49ers hat on that clearly isn’t uniform. I’m just wearing a safety vest for my safety!”

The lady looked like she was about to blow her skullcap with the force of Mount Saint Helens, Krakatoa, and Tambora combined.

Woman: “How dare you?! Disabled people always think they can get away with anything just because they’re crippled.”

She continued to rant, and that was when she lived up to her threat. She stepped around me, grabbed the handles, and began to push me! I was so bewildered that I froze because I never in a thousand years would’ve thought she would actually do this. I could’ve pulled the brake handles on my chair, but I would’ve had to take my hands off the merchandise basket in my lap which would cause it to slip out once we stopped abruptly. Top that off with the fact that the woman would’ve smacked into my back and the back of my head, and I didn’t want that.

Two of the regular checkout attendants at the self-checkout area noticed me being pushed against my will toward customer service. I could just catch [Employee] immediately get on his radio.

Before I could do anything more, we were at the desk. The lady immediately started slapping her hand on the counter in that typical “Hey, barkeep!” manner. A manager, a woman in her late twenties or thirties, turned to the woman. [Manager] is quite tall and loaded down with Marvel Comics tattoos, and we’re very familiar with one another.

The lady launched into a full-blown tirade, accusing me of this, that, and everything from incompetence to an all-out disregard for customer service.

[Manager] just blinked.

Manager: “Um, he doesn’t work here.”

Woman: “What do you mean, he doesn’t work here?! He’s wearing a safety vest, and your employees wear the same ones!”

Manager: “Well, ours say [Supermarket] on them. We also issue nametags for all employees for transparency, so if you have an issue, you know who they are. [My Name] is a customer; he’s in here at least four times a week.”

I could hear the hamster wheels turning in the woman’s head.

Woman: “So… he doesn’t work here? Let me speak to the store manager just in case.”

[Manager] sighed, picked up her phone, and began to call the store manager. However, that call didn’t finish, as the head of [Supermarket] security came striding over, looking quite pissed. [Head Of Security] is a mountain of a man: 6’5″, 250 pounds, and built like a lumberjack.

Head Of Security: “Ma’am, what are you doing to [My Name]?! You really just grabbed a disabled person’s wheelchair and moved them without their consent.”

Woman: “Well, I—”

Head Of Security: “That wasn’t a question. You don’t do that. Not at my store.”

Woman: “But I—”

Head Of Security: “Can it. You need to come with me right now.”

If looks could kill, I’d be dead twice over between the woman’s “you little b*****d” glare and [Head Of Security]’s “ya done f***ed up” look meant for the woman.

The woman was escorted off to the security area in the back, sputtering like an old Edsel.

Manager: “Are you all right, [My Name]?”

Me: “I’m really not. Things have been difficult for me this last week, and this really spiked my anxiety. I’m just going to go home.”

[Manager] did her best to comfort me. She stepped out of the booth and patted me on the shoulder. [Employee] also asked if I was okay. I said I wasn’t really. He offered, if I was comfortable, to push me back out to my car. I accepted.

[Manager] gave me a card and told me that, when I was ready, I could use that number to have my groceries delivered, and for my trouble, she’d waive the fee for delivery. I thanked her and said that’d be best for now. [Employee] wheeled me out to my car and helped me get my wheelchair in my trunk, and I drove home.

I shared my story with my husband and my immediate friends and family, and at their suggestion, I set up an appointment to speak with [Manager], [Head Of Security], and my local sheriff to go about filing official charges.

My lawyer and I met with them, and as of this moment, the matter is now out of my hands. [Manager], [Head Of Security], and some of the clerks that witnessed the incidents all handed in statements to the sheriff on my behalf. The sheriff’s department is moving ahead with an arrest, and my lawyer is working on a prosecution.


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We Don’t Condone Forgery But This Might Be An Exception

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: barbellseed6969 | December 6, 2021

We recently had a guest kicked out of the hotel. A funny note I saw on the report was, “Guest kept walking from the pool to the room with a fuzzy wig and a shiny purple blazer.”

[Guest] checked in alone, but by 7:30 pm, there were seven people that had gone up to the room. A young lady also came to the front desk and asked where the filming in the hotel is. We told her we don’t have filming at the hotel, but then [Guest] came to pick her up. We told him that he does not have a contract with us to film at our hotel, to which he said that they will be disputing all charges due to having a bad experience at our hotel

Later, around 1:00 am, [Guest] tried taking ten people up to the room. We did not allow him to go up, he started cursing at our staff, and then he shoved our security guard. Per the general manager, we locked their room and did not let them go back up. They said they had stuff in there, so we told them to come back in the morning to get it and they must leave immediately.

I arrived in the morning and housekeeping called me, sounding a bit speechless, telling me I needed to see his room.

I went upstairs. The room’s furniture was all moved to corners and sides of the room. The rest of the room was lined with red carpet, which was lined with velvet rope dividers and led to a wall with big red theatre curtains hanging from the ceiling and going all the way down to the floor. On the walls were a bunch of large framed pictures. The pictures featured [Guest] Photoshopped into photos with various celebrities and at celebrity events — horribly Photoshopped, at that. There were around eight shattered champagne glasses and many cigarette butts littered all over the floor, and the room reeked. And there were also just their items and their camera equipment.

Per the general manager, we were to charge a $1,000 cleaning fee and a $500 smoking fee, along with a $500 fee for damages to the room. We posted the charges to the room and charged [Guest]’s card. He eventually returned to the hotel to retrieve his belongings.

Guest: “I need to speak to a manager. I was racially profiled and discriminated against for being Indian. I came back to go to my room, tired, at 1:00 am, and they kicked me out of the hotel. I need to pick up my stuff, but I need you to issue me a full refund for my horrible experience.”

Me: “I’m the manager. You tried taking ten people to the room; the capacity for your room is four people. You were also filming at the hotel, which is against the policy that you signed when you checked in. You then physically assaulted our security guard. Before we can give you your belongings, we just need you to sign this paper accepting these charges.”

Guest: “What the f*** is this? $1,000 cleaning fee? For what? And why am I being charged for smoking? I don’t smoke! And I also didn’t break anything. I’ll be disputing these charges.”

Me: “Sir, you know how you left the room. And there were cigarette butts all over the floor.”

Guest: “You put those cigarette butts there. You’re trying to extort me! You can’t keep my stuff. Give me back my s***!”

Me: “The room is exactly as we found it. You aren’t getting anything back until you sign for these charges.”

Guest: “I have thousands of dollars’ worth of camera equipment in those bags. It’s illegal to not give it back. I will call the police if you don’t give me back my belongings.”

Me: “Go ahead and call the police so that we don’t have to.”

I’m a pretty big dude, so guests like this usually don’t directly insult me. But then, my mid-shift coworker, a small woman, got a word in and told him that he’d left the room a mess and all the furniture had been bunched up in a corner. She has a thick accent but is fluent in English. These are just a few of the things he said to her.

Guest: “Shut the f*** up. Speak English; I can’t even understand you! Jesus f****** Christ!”

Guest: “This is America! Go back to your country if you’re not going to speak English.”

Guest: “Your voice is disgusting. Please go back to your country.”

Guest: “You disgust me. That mole on your chin is nasty. Please don’t even look at me.”

He also tried mocking her accent then told her to shut the f*** up again.

If it had been a PM shift, I would have gone off on him. But it was an AM shift, and this happened in the afternoon, which is when lobby traffic is heavy. I didn’t want guests seeing me cussing someone out. Of course, I did defend her, telling him to stop talking and to not speak to her that way, etc. Then, security came and took him outside to talk to him and calm him down.

Eventually, the police arrived, and he suddenly became the little victim. He told them that we were extorting him, that we planted cigarettes and trashed his room so that we could charge him, and that we were discriminating against him since he was Indian, etc.

They told him to wait outside and asked us our story, which we told them. The cops then went outside and talked with him, but we couldn’t hear what he said. After a few more minutes, [Guest] came back inside.

Guest: “Give me that paper you wanted me to sign.”

We gave him the paper and he literally just scribbled all over it.

Me: “That’s not a signature. That’s a scribble.”

We printed out a new one.

Me: “Sign where it says, ‘Signature’.”

He still scribbled over the entire paper. We told him he was not getting his stuff back until he signed, and he finally did.

Sensitivity Isn’t Native To This Coworker

, , , , , , , , , | Working | December 4, 2021

I work for the TSA. Most of you don’t like that very much. I am terribly sorry for the things that cause our negative reputation. I know it’s well deserved. I really am sorry.

I personally need the health insurance very badly and appreciated the $22-per-hour starting wages — which have gone up since then — pretty well.

One of my coworkers is patting down a Native woman. The woman has two long braided lengths of hair. My coworker grabs the braids and makes a “giddyap” motion like one would do with reins on a horse and says, “Hu-ha! Giddyap, cowboy!”

They put the coworker on bin running for a few months and made her take a sensitivity class.

I still feel bad about this.