Let Them Carry On While You Carry

, , , , , | Related | November 17, 2017

(My stepdad is notoriously sexist and has put on a big show about coming outside and actually helping us for once. He and my fiancé are carrying bags of cement into the garage by themselves while my mom and I watch, because we have already cleaned the garage.)

Stepdad: *in a derogatory tone* “What would you women do if we weren’t here to carry this for you?”

(My mom snaps back while I lean close to whisper in my fiancé’s ear.)

Me: “I’m the one who put them in the car.”

Fiancé: *bursts out laughing*

Bigotry Doesn’t Have A Nice Ring To It

, , , , , , , | Working | November 16, 2017

(We are a gay couple. My husband gave me a ring for my birthday. It apparently cost a lot, but after only a day of wearing it I notice my skin going green, a classic sign that the metal is cheap. My husband can’t explain it, but gives me the receipt to exchange it. I am seen by the store owner.)

Me: “Yes, I’d like to return this ring. My husband was told it was pure metal, but my finger tells me otherwise.”

(The owner takes the receipt and inspects the ring. I can tell there’s something wrong by his expression.)

Owner: “This ring doesn’t match the description. Are you sure he got it from here?”

Me: “I’m 100% certain. Your store name is embossed on the rim.”

Owner: “Yes, I can see. Give me a moment, please.”

(He disappears for about quarter of an hour and returns with a ledger.)

Owner: “Yes, your husband’s name is here with the same description on the receipt. I’ve checked the footage for the time and he was indeed sold this ring. However, this ring is worth a significant fraction of the price.”

Me: “What can you do, then?”

Owner: “Give me another moment, please. I want to be certain this is straightened out. [Worker] is in today; she served your husband.”

(The owner calls her over.)

Owner: “[Worker], did you sell this ring in exchange of [expensive ring] to a gentleman two weeks ago?”

Worker: “I don’t know. I’ve never see him before though.” *nods to me*

Me: “He has shoulder length black hair and a nose ring.”

Worker: “Oh, the [homophobic slur]. Yes, I did.”

(Both the owner and I wince at the word.)

Owner: “[Worker]! Why would you do such a thing?”

Worker: “Because marriage is between a man and a woman. Their [slur] marriage is fake and cheap, so that’s all they deserve!”

(I’m actually stunned at how blunt the woman is. The owner addresses me.)

Owner: “I am so sorry for this. My store does not discriminate under any circumstances, and I assure you this matter will be dealt with, with extreme severity.” *to the worker* “Go to my office. We’ll talk later.” *back to me* “The original cost your husband paid was [amount], but given the circumstances, I would like to offer you a choice of anything in store, as compensation.”

Me: “Well… No, thank you. I’ll be more than happy with a ring at equivalent price.”

Owner: “Then, perhaps a paired ring to go with whatever you choose?”

(I picked out two rings and headed home with them. My husband was more than a little shocked with what happened, but we were both happy with the compromise. The woman was fired from the jewellery store, but she now works in a café across town. We don’t go in.)

You’ve Been Selected For A Random Credit Check

, , , , , , | Working | November 16, 2017

(During my week of exploring professional opportunities in the Boston metro area, I sign up to attend an evening networking event at a hotel. For what it’s worth, I am an Indian-American, with no accent, and this hotel is in an affluent, predominantly Caucasian suburb just west of Boston. I arrive at the hotel several hours early and plan to work on my other job search activities while having a late lunch. The waitress immediately seats me and gives me a menu. I order my sandwich.)

Waitress: “Okay, so, that is [sandwich] and just water. Great! I will immediately place your order. Now, I just need to keep your credit card on file.”

Me: “Um, why would you need to keep my credit card with you?”

Waitress: “Well, that is our policy for our hotel guests.”

Me: “I’m not a guest here; I’m a little early for an evening networking event on your patio.” *points to the outdoor space just past the patio doors* “Also, I have never experienced or heard of this type of hotel restaurant policy. Don’t you keep hotel tabs?”

Waitress: “Oh.” *pause* “Well, I still need to hold onto your credit card. It is our policy.”

Me: “Well, I will just pay for my meal with cash instead.”

Waitress: “You can pay with cash… and I still need to hold onto the card.”

(At that point, I am very upset with this terrible treatment and decide to leave.)

Me: “This is absolutely horrible service! You clearly do not want to serve me. I am going complain to your management!”

(Still fuming, I ask the front desk person if this hotel has a policy on keeping guests’ credit cards “on file” while they are dining in the restaurant.)

Front Desk Staff: *with a completely bewildered expression* “Um, no, ma’am. I have never heard of that policy, and I am certain it is not our hotel’s policy. I am very sorry you experienced that from our restaurant staff.”

(In the end, another coffee shop gave me two free desserts after hearing this story. I also returned to the hotel for the networking program, walked straight through that same restaurant with no problems, and enjoyed that event.)

Too Bad You Can’t Transfuse Out Racism

, , | Healthy | November 16, 2017

(This happened to one of my professors in the 1970s while they were working in a hospital’s blood bank dispensary. It wasn’t uncommon at that time for people to be somewhat fixated on the concept of receiving blood from their own race only. Some people falsely believed that “black blood” would “turn you black,” and all sorts of other ridiculous racist things. A patient who has recently received a blood transfusion somehow gets their number.)

Caller: “What color was the blood you gave me?”

Professor: *knowing what they’re asking, but refusing to play* “Red.”

Caller: “No. Where did it come from?”

Professor: “From someone’s veins, out of the goodness of their hearts.”

Caller: “No, I mean, what type of person did it come from?”

Professor: “A generous, kind, and loving one. Look, I don’t know their race, and it doesn’t matter anyway, and I wouldn’t tell you if I did know.”

Caller: “F*** you!”

Special Friends Forever

, , , , , , , | Learning | November 13, 2017

(In fourth grade I move to a new school. On my first day of school, a group of girls comes up to me and claims me as their friend. I become really good friends with one of the girls, and the rest are fun to play with at recess. Some of the girls aren’t as smart as I am, and one is missing a leg. All of them have another class that they go to for part of the day, but being nine, I don’t really think much of it. This happens in sixth grade: My teacher has asked me to stay behind so she can talk to me before I go to recess.)

Teacher: “[My Name], I see that you’ve been playing with [Friends #1, #2, and #3]. You shouldn’t be playing with them; we will find you new friends.”

Me: “But I like my friends, and all the other kids in class are mean or are into things I’m not interested in.”

Teacher: “Well, if you stop being friends with those girls, then people wouldn’t be mean to you.”

Me: “But my friends are friends with me, no matter who I hang out with. Why should I be friends with people who don’t like me because of who I am friends with?”

Teacher: “[My Name], those girls are Day School children and you’re not. You are one of the brightest students I have, and you shouldn’t be playing with them.”

Me: *looking at my teacher in confusion* “But [Teacher], I’m a child and I go to school during the day. What am I, if not a day school child?”

Teacher: *pauses* “Just go outside and try to make new friends.”

(It took me a while to work out that “day school children” meant kids who were in special ed. By the end of seventh grade, I was no longer friends with most of the girls that I was friends with in fourth grade. Some had changed schools, and some had just drifted naturally into different groups. I’m glad I never took my teacher’s advice to abandon a group of people who had welcomed me with open arms just because my teacher thought they were different than me. I’m now in my 30s and still count one of those girls as one of my closest friends.)

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