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Mmm, The Afraid-Of-Being-Called-Racist Discount

, , , , , | Working | September 5, 2018

(The fast food restaurant where I work is only a short walk from my place of residence, so my friends and I often go there and use my employee discount. I have never been given a weekend shift in the eight months since I started. Yet, lo and behold, the one time I misread the roster, I am assigned a Sunday morning shift and do not realise until Sunday morning when I wake up to three missed calls and texts from the shift manager. This is the first shift I have ever missed. Up until now, this particular manager has been friendly with me, even giving me the 50% discount any time I come into the store even though it is only reserved for our break-time meals. But after this incident, his attitude completely changes. He becomes a lot more commanding and bossy, stops making casual conversation with me, no longer gives me the 50% discount, and looks for any reason to not give me the usual 20% employee discount, like if my order is over $20 or if I am ordering from the cheaper items list — while these are technically the standard rules of the discount at all stores, managers have always been a lot more lenient with employees from their own store. When my friends and I enter the store on this night, I notice [Manager] is working this shift and let them know that I’m not likely to get a discount. I am a 20-year-old female of Southeast-Asian descent with light brown skin.)

Manager: *curtly* “Hey.”

Me: *politely* “Hey! Can I grab a [small family box meal] and two [cheaper items], please?”

(My manager silently puts my order in and the total comes up on the display as $20.95.)

Manager: “Your whole order is over $20, so I can’t give you the discount.”

Me: “That’s fine, just on card ple—”

Manager: “Also, how come you didn’t show up to your shift today?”

(I am about to tap the card to the machine when I stop and frown at him.)

Me: “What?”

Manager: “You were rostered on for six to ten this morning. Where were you? That’s the second shift you’ve missed in a month without notice.”

Me: “What are you talking about? I’ve been double-checking the roster every week since that shift I missed, and I definitely wasn’t rostered on at all today!”

Manager: “Yes, you were. We called you multiple times and you never answered, let alone called back to explain why.”

Me: “I’ve had my phone on me all day and never got any calls, let alone notifications for a missed call. As for the shift, I had university lectures starting at nine am today! I don’t think I even have today in my availability, and usually [Manager who organizes roster] puts me on six to ten Monday!”

Manager: “Well, you’re going to have to talk to her, because I sure as heck—” *he goes silent and stares at me intently for a second* “Wait… Aren’t you [Other Female Southeast Asian Employee]?”

Me: “No! I’m [My Name]! I’ve worked here for almost a year now!”

Manager: *sputtering and going slightly red* “I knew that… I did know that! And [Other Employee] doesn’t even go to university.”

Me: “[Manager], you’ve known me since I started!”

Manager: “Oh, God, I’m sorry! I just… I don’t know what… It’s really late… Okay, I’m sorry. I genuinely feel really bad. Um…”

(The manager taps on the register screen a couple of times and my displayed total is immediately halved.)

Manager: “I’ll give you the 50%.”

(I tap my card against the machine and wait for the approval.)

Me: “Thank you. Hope you get some sleep.”

(While we usually eat in the dining area, we decided to take this one home. I assured my friends, who had overheard most of the conversation, that I wasn’t hurt or offended, and we rejoiced at getting a $10 meal for four people. But the next time I went into the restaurant to buy food, the manager had gone back to his previous ways and refused me the 20% discount for ordering off the cheaper items menu. The only difference was that when he served me, he made a point to clearly say my name.)

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Getting His Insecure Panties In A Twist

, , , , | Right | August 9, 2018

(I work in a lingerie sore. We cater only to women, but occasionally a man will come in shopping with his girlfriend or partner. It astounds me how many men think it’s okay to stroll into the fitting room areas with their girlfriends to “assist” them trying things on. Our company policy is that no men are to be allowed in the fitting rooms when there are other customers trying things on. Most women feel very uncomfortable if they are trying on bras when there is a strange man nearby. One day, a man comes in with his girlfriend, and I have to politely ask him to leave the fitting rooms.)

Me: *politely in a quiet voice* “I’m really sorry, but we don’t allow men in our fitting rooms when there are other customers using them.”

Male Customer: *stares at me*

Me: “I know you are just with your girlfriend, but it’s for the privacy of our customers.”

(He blinks and walks away and I think everything is fine, but later he approaches me again.)

Male Customer: *aggressive* “You know, just because I have a penis, it doesn’t mean I am dangerous!

(He certainly seemed threatening after that!)

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Prease Forgive Me

, , , , | Right | July 9, 2018

(I am at a Thai restaurant one night with a guy I am seeing, and we are about to order food. I am still recovering from an ankle reconstruction; I’m therefore still on some painkillers which make me a little dim.)

Thai Waitress: “May I take your order?”

Me: *what I mean to say* “Can I pretty please have the Pad Thai?” *what I actually say* “Can I prease have the Pad Thai?”

(A moment of silence passed as the waitress thought about what I said. I was mortified and my date looked at me funny, and then the waitress lost it. Thankfully, she found it funny, especially when I explained the medication I was on. I made sure to give her a tip to apologise!)

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A Textbook Case Of Kindness

, , , , , , , | Hopeless | July 3, 2018

I am a 19-year-old female working part-time at a 24-hour fast food restaurant while at university. During my semester break, I decide to take on extra shifts as I have the time. I am also essentially broke, as for two subjects in my upcoming semester I am required to have latest edition textbooks. Unable to go for secondhand, I was forced to pay full price for both, which left me with barely enough for my next meal. Therefore, I agree to take on a Saturday late shift from 6:00 pm to 2:00 am, then another the next day from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, ensuring I get paid overtime.

What I forgot, however, is that the Saturday late shift is by far the worst of them all. Over the eight hours, we deal with more bottom-of-the-barrel, deadbeat customers than I have ever dealt with in a whole year of working there. Long story short, we endure lewd, misogynistic comments from drunk men old enough to be our fathers, multiple women stoned out of their minds who holler, “WHY IS THE CAFE AREA NOT OPEN?” before hurling their handbags at us, and I spend forty minutes scraping pickles and cheese slices off the ceiling and heading to my break half an hour late. That is just part of what I deal with on this shift.

Every rush gets longer and busier to the point where, in my last hour, we have a never-ending angry mob chanting for their food like a cult.

To top it off, this is one of the hottest nights on record, and our air-conditioning is broken; we have nothing but a tiny fan in the corner that barely reaches the closest register. I am sweating from under my cap, constantly fanning myself with my hands, and eagerly counting down the last fifteen minutes.

It is while I am desperately trying to match orders to receipts that I feel a tap on my shoulder from a coworker. She points to a young female customer, and says she wants to talk to me. I do not recognise the customer; however, she appears to be one or two years older than me, dressed for a night out in the city, and very clearly sober. Given my past experiences, I still immediately assume the worst and approach the register timidly, prepared for a berating.

However, to my surprise, the girl gives me a soft smile. She says that she has been watching me struggle with the immense amount of orders while still remaining calm and collected and ignoring the constant stream insults. She also notes how often I was fanning myself and that I never failed to smile at any customer when handing them their food, regardless of their attitude towards me. She says that I have been doing an amazing job handling everything and then holds out a $20 note. As tipping is not a standard in Australia, I am not sure if I am allowed to accept it, so I politely turn her down. She insists and I still decline; however, I thank her profusely for her kind comments before returning to my station, this time with a warmed heart and genuine smile.

Fifteen minutes later, I am leaving the work area when I notice the girl has waited around. She walks over to me and asks if my shift has ended. Before I finish telling her yes, she takes my hand and presses the $20 note into it, then wraps me into a hug and tells me I deserve it. When she pulls away, she presses me on how I am getting home and I assure her I have a ride. She then offers me one last smile, wishes me the best, and leaves with a boy who has been standing not too far away.

What that girl will never know is that her generosity is the sole reason I was able to eat breakfast the next day and afford a taxi home after my next late shift. My paycheck came in later that week, and soon I was stable enough to spend money on more than just groceries, but I will never forget that girl’s good heart and kindness towards a person she did not know, and it is still one of the most heart-warming things anyone has ever done for me.

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Mom Has No Reservations On Who To Blame

, , , , , , | Related | June 23, 2018

(My family decides to visit me for the weekend at university. The suburbs in this area are populated primarily by students like me who are away from home, so many of the shops and cafes are targeted at young adults and have “hipster” traits; i.e. the menus are on blackboards, you are required to go up to the counter to order and get a table number, and reservations aren’t taken. One Saturday, my mum, dad, younger sister, and I are in the car together when my mum suggests we do brunch the next day.)

Mum: “[My Name], what’s a good place to eat?”

Me: “Ooh, there’s this really nice cafe called [Cafe]! The food and coffee is amazing. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s definitely worth it, and it’s only walking distance from [Hotel where parents are staying]!”

(My sister looks up the cafe on a popular social media app and shows my family. It is rather homey with indoor plants and wooden tables, while the food is presented artistically for the purpose of photo-taking so, immediately, they’re all sold.)

Sister: “Wow, this place looks amazing! Let’s go!”

Me: “Yes! But it’s really, really popular, especially on Sundays for brunch. We’d have to go a bit early if we want to get a seat, maybe around 9:30 am.”

Mum: “Oh, I was hoping to sleep in a bit tomorrow. Can’t you just make a reservation?”

Me: *laughs* “No, it’s not that kind of a place. They only allow walk-ins, but I promise it’s worth it.”

Mum: “Are you sure? You can’t just call them up and ask?”

Me: “No, Mum. It doesn’t work like that. None of the cafes in this area do reservations, just the restaurants.”

(There’s a few minutes of silence, then:)

Mum: “Can’t you give them a call?”

Me: *knowing fully well that I would get laughed at if I tried* “Mum, even if I wanted to, they closed at three pm. It’s well past four o’clock now.”

Mum: “What about on their website? Surely you can reserve a table on there!”

Me: “It’s a small local cafe; they don’t have a website, just the [Social Media] page.”

Mum: “That’s ridiculous! What kind of business doesn’t have a website?”

Dad: “Some places that are targeted at younger people just work like that, dear. Look at what [Sister] did before; she didn’t even consider searching for a website and went straight to the cafe’s [Social Media]! It’s just how the kids think.”

(About half an hour later:)

Mum: “[Sister]! Can you look up the cafe’s phone number and give them a call? Maybe we can book a table for around ten am.”

(My sister, my dad, and I all groan.)

Sister: “Mum! [My Name] told you, they don’t do reservations, and they’re closed right now!”

Mum: “She doesn’t know that for sure! [My Name], have you even tried?”

Me: “No, I haven’t, but I’ve been there multiple times, Mum! I’ve been to so many of these cafes; all of them only do walk-ins! I guarantee they don’t even have those metal ‘reserved’ placement cards you see at restaurants! It’s just how these places work!”

Mum: “Okay, okay, fine! We’ll see.”

(The next day, my family ends up waking up later than expected and take far too long to get ready, so we don’t end up getting to the cafe until 10:30 am — prime brunch time. As we approach, we can see the place is packed and there is a massive line of people stretching around the corner of the building. I talk to a waitress, who informs me there’s a 45-minute wait to be seated. Too hungry to stand in line for that long, we accept defeat and decide to find another place.)

Sister: “It’s a shame; their food looked so good.”

Mum: *throwing her arms in the air* “Well, this wouldn’t have happened if we had just made a reservation!”

(We did eventually go to another great cafe that I knew of. As we were seated, my mum made a point of asking them — you guessed it — if they allowed for reservations. As expected, they said no.)

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