I Don’t Mean To Sound Racist But I Am

| Rock Hill, SC, USA | Friendly | February 28, 2017

(I am looking for a pair of prom shoes for my daughter. We finally find a pair that isn’t too expensive and matches her dress perfectly, in a store about thirty minutes away from our house. It’s a pretty generalized location, and there are four other people shopping in the store with us: three African-American women and one older Caucasian woman in her early sixties. My daughter has just tried on the shoes in question to find them a perfect fit and is putting them back in the box when the older lady approaches us.)

Older Lady: “Excuse me, can y’all help me?”

(The other three women are standing at the register just four or five feet away from us. She motions to the display of shoes and looks over at us conspiratorially.)

Older Lady: “I don’t mean to sound racist, but don’t these shoes look a little…” *she lowers her voice, but does that loud whisper that anyone in the store can hear* “…ETHNIC… to you?”

(All eyes are immediately on us, and my daughter wants to sink under the bench. I look up at the shoes and come up with the only thing I can think to say.)

Me: “Are you kidding? All kids are wearing their shoes like this!”

(She grimaces as if I’ve told her all kids wear leeches on their feet.)

Older Lady: “Yeah. But my son goes to a preparatory academy and I don’t think he’d like looking like… one of them.”

Me: “Well, if that’s true then all you can do is bring him back here with you to ask him yourself!”

(She stood there for a minute, blissfully ignorant of the three women still giving her a bit of the stink-eye and my daughter slinking away from her, before finally wandering out of the store. As we got up to the front register, the lady behind the counter just gave us a “WTF?” look as we shrugged our shoulders, paid for my daughter’s shoes, and went on our way. For the record folks, if you have to preface what you’re about to say with “I may sound prejudiced, but…” THEN DON’T BLOODY SAY IT!)

Should Have Had A Measure Of Common Sense

| Hickory, NC, USA | Right | February 8, 2017

(I work in a shoe store, where we get some pretty unbelievable customers. My manager has just been approached by an elderly lady.)

Manager: “Welcome to [Store]. Is there anything I can help you with today?”

Customer: “Yes, I’m not happy with these shoes.”

Manager: “I’m sorry to hear that. How can I help?”

Customer: “I bought these at your store in [City an hour away]. The man measured my feet, but when I brought them home they didn’t fit! I need to return them.”

Manager: “Did you try them on when you bought them?”

Customer: “Of course not. He measured my feet.”

Manager: *after a pause* “Okay. So what size would you like instead?”

Customer: *now in a huff* “Well, why don’t you do your job and measure my feet and tell me!”

(My manager finds her some shoes, which she doesn’t try on, and rings her up before turning to me.)

Manager: “Are you f****** kidding me?”

Lie In Ruins

| San Bruno, CA, USA | Working | December 3, 2016

(Our store is part of a large chain. We often call other locations to request inventory transfers, always saying that a customer requested a shoe in a specific size. I’m on the phone with another location’s manager:)

Me: “It’s for the display on the wall, so any size is okay.”

Other Manager: *slowly drawing out his words* “Interesting… It doesn’t look like we have any here.”

(I recheck the computer and confirm he has three each of multiple sizes. Then I notice my manager double face-palming.)

My Manager: “Just hang up! Tell him we don’t need it anymore!”

(I do as requested.)

My Manager: “Great. Now I’m going to hear it from [Other Manager]. You’re too honest.”

Me: “Doesn’t he ever call to request shoes for display? Or does he just lie and say they’re for customers?”

My Manager: “Yes, he lies!”

Walk A Mile In His Radioactive Shoes

| MA, USA | Working | November 11, 2016

(This takes place soon after the Three Mile Island incident in Pennsylvania where a nuclear facility had a partial meltdown. My grandfather was in the process of moving his family TO Pennsylvania at the time, and had actually just started living there by himself at the time of the accident. He went back up to Massachusetts for a little while to be with his family and get some paperwork-related things sorted out, and while he was there he decided to get some new shoes.)

Shoe Store Employee: *as he’s helping my grandfather try on some shoes*

“So, how about that nuclear thing going on in Pennsylvania?”

Grandfather: “Oh, it’s absolutely terrifying. My family was so worried for me while I was in the area!”

Shoe Store Employee: *looks at my grandfather with a horrified expression* “Wait… you were DOWN THERE?”

Grandfather: “Er, yeah. Well, not in the area of the disaster, but in Pennsy—”

Shoe Store Employee: *drops my grandfather’s shoes and backs away from him* “You’re radioactive! Oh, gosh, and now I’m radioactive! Aaah!” *runs away*

(The manager came over, looked at the cowering employee and my confused grandfather, and upon learning the whole story told the employee that he’d handle my grandfather, and sent the guy to the break room. My grandfather got his shoes for free.)

Returner Burner, Part 4

| IL, USA | Right | September 27, 2016

(It’s my first week on the job, and I’m really excited about it (stupid me) because, at the time, I really liked retail. I’m in training and shadowing my manager at the register. A woman comes in with a pair of shoes that she wants to return. I’ve known this since the day I started: there is a very strict return policy that says that the shoes must be UNWORN and returned within SEVEN DAYS of purchasing. It’s on every single receipt printed from the register, and there’s a rather large sign in front of the register, right where the woman is standing.)

Customer: “Excuse me, I need to return these.”

Coworker: “Do you have your receipt?”

Customer: “Yes, here. These shoes simply don’t fit me and are uncomfortable so I need to return them.”

Coworker: “Well, ma’am, it says here that you paid for these a month ago.”

Customer: *quickly getting belligerent* “So?”

Coworker: “Ma’am, we cannot take these back. Our return policy says that we cannot. However, we can do an exchange if you’d like—”

Customer: “Your return policy? No one ever said anything about a return policy!”

(I slowly reach in front of the computer and tap the sign about the return policy. I clear my throat politely. The woman stares at it as though the words are going to jump out and murder her.)

Coworker: *politely* “We would have told you when you bought the shoes, as that’s part of our company policy. It was also on the bottom of your receipt, ma’am, right here. It’s the part that takes up most of the receipt.”

(The customer grabs the shoes, glares at us, and takes off, scoffing at us the entire way.)

Me: “So…”

Coworker: *sighing* “Sadly that’s not the dumbest thing I’ve seen all week.”

(I was at that job nearly two years after that.)

Returner Burner, Part 3
Returner Burner, Part 2
Returner Burner

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