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He’s From A Different Time(piece)

| Charlotte, NC, USA | Bigotry, Popular

(I work in a fairly high-end jewelry store. My specialty department is usually luxury timepieces, but on this day the manager asks me to fill in for one of the diamond sales associates who is running late. Part of store policy is that all employees take turns greeting customers, unless a customer is here to see a specific person, then we “hand them over.” I’m next to greet someone and a middle-aged man in business-casual attire walks in. I am a female in my mid-20s and have had training in all of the store’s departments.)

Me: “Good morning! Welcome to [Jewelry Store].” *starts to give the store welcome spiel*

Man: *without even looking at me, walks on into the store, leaving me standing at the door*

Me: “Oh…” *thinking, maybe he’s hard of hearing? I catch up with him and smile* “I’m sorry, sir, we must have passed right by each other. Welcome to [Store].”

Man: *gives me the barest nods of recognition*

Me: *still smiling like a loon* “May I help you with anything special today?”

Man: “No.” *walks away to a different section*

(I decide to let him go, thinking maybe he was here to see a certain associate, and let my manager know. Note: my manager is a man in his early 40s.)

Manager: *takes me aside after talking to the man* “Hey, [My Name], I’ve sent [Male Coworker] over to help that customer, and I just wanted to let you know you don’t need to worry about greeting him if he comes back.”

Me: “Really? But we’re supposed to greet everyone.”

Manager: “Yes, well…” *he glances at the man across the store, who is now talking freely with my coworker* “This particular gentleman apparently thinks he can only buy jewelry from a man.”

Me: “So, you’re saying he thinks a woman can’t help him pick out jewelry for his wife, or whoever?”

Manager: “Unfortunately. We get a few people like that over the years.”

Me: “I honestly don’t know what to say to that.”

Manager: “Don’t worry about it; it’s his own prejudice. [Male Coworker] just clocked in, so you can go back to timepieces whenever you’re ready.”

Me: “Okay, thank you, [Manager].”

(About 15 minutes later, my coworker who was helping the man came up to my counter.)

Coworker: “Um… [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes?”

Coworker: “That customer wants to look at a [REALLY Expensive Brand] timepiece.”

Me: “Okay, and?”

Coworker: “You’re the only sales associate who’s had the training on them.”

Me: “Oh, boy.”

(I ended up standing at the opposite end of the counter, and my coworker walking over to me with every question the guy had, all because he didn’t want a woman to sell him any jewelry!)

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Turning Cursing Into A Blessing

| MO, USA | Bad Behavior, Language & Words, Popular

(This takes place as I answer the phone.)

Me: “Hello, thank you for calling [Jewelry Store]. This is [My Name]. How may I help you?”

Customer: “God d***, f******…!”

(This stream of cursing goes on for a couple seconds as it is evident that the customer has not realized I answered the phone.)

Me: “Hello? How may I help you?”

Customer: “Oh, God, did you just hear all of that?! I am so sorry! You shouldn’t have heard that. I didn’t realize you had picked up the phone! What’s your name, ma’am?”

Me: “It’s [My Name], sir, and it’s okay! I’ve heard it all before.”

Customer: “However, I am still sorry. I shouldn’t have been cursing.”

(I direct his call and about a week passes. I am at work when I hear a customer ask if I was in today, and he is carrying a huge bouquet of flowers.)

Customer: “Here you go, ma’am. I am so sorry you had to hear that. A gentleman should never curse in front of a lady. Please accept these flowers as my apology.”

(The flowers were beautiful, whoever you are! Thank you for making my week!)

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Not Because It’s A Black Diamond

| NC, USA | Bigotry, Crazy Requests, Popular

(The company is implementing a new “extended training” program that required all employees to observe a sales transaction they weren’t a part of and critique the coworker who handled it. This particular incident happens on a really slow day, and I am the only one who has gotten my required number of observations for the day. So I [a woman] say I’ll take the next customer and my four coworkers [all men] can observe and get their reports done. An older, black gentleman in a nice suit comes into the store:)

Me: “Good evening, welcome to [Jewelry Store]! How may I help you?

Customer: *doesn’t speak right away, as he is already looking at the display cases, mumbles hello*

Me: “Are you looking for anything special today? A gift maybe?”

Customer: *finally looking at me* “Yes, I need a present for my wife’s birthday tomorrow.”

Me: “Wonderful! We have a great selection—”

Customer: *interrupts, looking past me at my four coworkers standing at the back of the store* “What are they looking at?!”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Customer: “What, are they all staring because I’m a black man?!”

(Out of my for coworkers, two were white, one was Hispanic, and the fourth was half-Greek.)

Me: “Oh, no, sir! We’re required by our company to observe each other and offer critiques on our ability to work with customers. They’re looking at me, not you.”

Customer: *ignores what I said* “They’re just staring because I’m a black man and I’m being waited on by some white girl. A black man can’t go anywhere without…”

(This leads to a fifteen minute lecture on racism, that apparently I am also participating in just by standing there. He’s not shouting or calling me names, so I just try to smile and nod, and wait for an opening to talk.)

Me: “I’m very sorry you feel that way, sir. They really are watching me to critique my sales methods. You said you wanted something for your wife’s birthday?”

Customer: “Eh… yeah, yeah. You got any square onyx?”

Me: “Unfortunately, no, we don’t have much onyx in stock right now. We can definitely order a piece from our catalogue but it will take about a week to come in.”

Customer: “No, no! I need a square onyx and I need it in a gold ring like this one!”

(He holds up a VERY uniquely shaped ring. It’s obviously pretty old and worn. The gold is paper thin at the bottom of the ring shank.)

Me: “I’m afraid a ring that unique would require an individual casting by our custom jeweler. This kind of process can take up to 30 days, since they want to make sure everything is just right.”

Customer: “Ridiculous! You just won’t make the ring by tomorrow because I’m a black man!”

(He takes his ring and walks out of the store, saying a few other things about our staff being racist.)

Me: “Have a good night, sir!”

Coworker #1: “Hey, [My Name], you handled that really well.”

Coworker #2: “Yeah, we were going to step in if he got out of line with you but you did great.”

Me: “Thanks? I’m still not sure what just happened though.”

Coworker #3: “He’s probably just cranky because he’s buying his wife a birthday present at the last minute.”

(We let the manager know about the customer, just in case he called to complain. But to my knowledge he never did. All of my coworkers gave me 5 stars on my employee critique.)

How To Make Me Blue

, | NY, USA | Crazy Requests

(I design and create jewelry for my own business. I often take custom requests.)

Customer: “I like that piece you made, but I’d really like it in blue.”

Me: “Okay, here are the blue beads you can choose from.”

Customer: “Well, I want a blue, but not too blue. Do you have anything like that?”

Me: “These are what I have available. If you would like me to place a special order for a different shade of blue, I’d be happy to.”

(Customer looks over the options and chooses the same darn shade I offered her. I finish the piece and send her photos.)

Customer: “Wow, that’s really… blue.”

Me: “Indeed. Those are the beads you selected.”

Customer: “Hmm. Can you make it in red?”

(Cut to me, crying and drinking in the corner.)

Can’t Tarnish Your Christmas

, | PA, USA | Holidays, Theme Of The Month

(I work in fine jewelry at a local department store. It’s about three weeks to Christmas and I notice a woman is looking in the sterling silver case and I go to help her.)

Me: “Is there anything I can help you with?”

Woman: “Yes, I am interested in that cross necklace there.”

(I proceed to pull out the cross she mentions and hand it to her to look at.)

Woman: “This chain is tarnished. Is there some kind of discount on it because it’s tarnished?”

Me: “I am not sure, but I can find out for you if you don’t mind waiting a moment.”

(She is fine with waiting so I call a manager and explain what is going on and show her the necklace.)

Manager: “See if you can get it clean for her but take an extra 15% off the sale price.”

(I proceed to grab the silver polishing rag and begin working on the chain. It’s obvious that the tarnish was going to come off so I worked on it then walk back down to the customer.)

Me: “Well, I’ve gotten the tarnish off for you.” *as I hand it to her to look at*

Woman: *takes the necklace but doesn’t really look at it* “I think you’re a lying little s***.”

(I am a bit stunned for a second because I’ve never had a customer say anything like that to me before.)

Me: “Excuse me, ma’am, but I don’t appreciated being called a ‘lying little s***,’ especially when I was trying to help you out.”

(Needless to say she turned red when she realized another customer, who was standing right beside her, heard the whole thing. I sold her the necklace with the extra 15% and she left. I ended up having to stock something else in the store, when I came back I found a Christmas card that she had left for me as an apology.)

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