They’re Black-Listed

| Bothell, WA, USA | Working | August 5, 2017

(My coworker at a video rental store is half African-American but often mistaken for being Filipino, which he expresses comical exasperation about each time it happens — it becomes a bit of a joke. One night he gets into an altercation with a customer over renting a video game. The conversation has built up to a boiling point:)

Coworker: “I’m sorry, sir, I cannot let you rent a video game unless you have a valid credit card on file.”

Customer: “That’s b***-s***! Do you not understand how currency works? I want to pay CASH!”

Coworker: “I understand that, sir, but the system won’t let me process this transaction unless I can scan your card.”

(The customer is holding a placement box that doesn’t contain the actual game disc. He abruptly storms off with it in hand, but pauses at the door and slams the box on the counter.)

Customer: “Here’s your empty box back, you [very offensive term for an African-American]!”

Coworker: *turns to me with an amazed expression* “He actually knew I’m black!”

Math Is For The Devil

| KY, USA | Working | February 15, 2017

(Way back when video stores were actually a thing, I went in looking for a specific movie. This interaction made me weep for our education system.)

Clerk: “How can I help you?” *in tone that implies he’d rather not*

Me: “Yes, I’m looking for a movie called The Devil’s Arithmetic? It stars Kirsten Dunst and Brittany Murphy?”

Clerk: “The Devil’s WHAT?”

Me:The Devil’s Arithmetic?”

Clerk: *incredibly sarcastic tone* “The Devil’s Uh-thuh-thuh-thuh?”

Me: “Um. No. A-rith-me-tic. You know, like, math?”

Clerk: “Whatever. We don’t have anything like that.”

A Clockwork Derange

| MD, USA | Friendly | August 23, 2016

(I used to work at a chain video store as a second job. The biggest question we receive from customers, after “do you have [New Release that everyone already grabbed] behind the counter,” was the request that we recommend a good comedy. Now, comedy is subjective. What I find funny doesn’t always mean that someone else will find it funny. After getting fed up with all the refunds, I changed my tactics. This was a typical interaction.)

Customer: “Can you recommend a good comedy?”

Me: “Sure. Do you like musical comedies?”

Customer: “Sure.”

Me: “Then rent A Clockwork Orange. It’s a musical comedy, with some great themes, and a lot of slapstick.”

Customer: “Thanks!”

(Cut to usually an hour or two later…)

Customer: *returning movie with a look of horror* “What is WRONG with you?”

Me: “What? I laugh every time I watch it!”

(They usually leave me alone after that.)

The Look On His Face Was Pure Goldfish

| WA, USA | Right | April 17, 2016

(I am dealing with a customer who’s raising hell over late fees on his account that we refuse to waive. Notably, he pulled this same stunt on me the previous week, though bizarrely he doesn’t seem to recognize me until we until we get to this part of the exchange:)

Customer: “Do you know how much I spend in here? What if I said that, thanks to you, I’m never coming back and you can kiss my business goodbye?!”

Me: “I’d remind you that you said the same thing not more than seven days ago, yet here you are again.”

Customer: “What?! How do you know that?”

Me: “If you check your receipt you’ll find I’m the one who served you then. Also, you’re wearing the same outfit as the last time you were in here. It kind of makes you stand out, actually.”

(The customer looks down at the receipt in his hand, then to his flashy ensemble of expensive clothes. He looks back at me in shock.)

Customer: “Wait… you guys actually remember stuff like that?”

Me: “I’m actually surprised you don’t remember me considering it was only a week ago.”

Customer: “Uh… well, I do, but… s***, I thought you guys were like goldfish! Two hours and you forget everything… or something…”

(He eventually agreed to pay his late fees, still mumbling about how he couldn’t believe we still recalled who he was.)

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Looks Are Relative

| NJ, USA | Friendly | January 2, 2016

(I’m about thirteen and waiting in line with my eighteen year-old brother. The customer in front of us is purchasing something, but it costs more than what cash he had on him.)

Customer: “Aw, man, I guess I could put this on my card…” *he half-jokingly addresses the other customers* “Does anyone have two dollars?”

Brother: “Oh, I do, here!” *he hands the guy two dollars*

Customer: “Oh, wow, thank you so much, man. I really appreciate it!” *he looks at me* “A guy like that’s hard to come by. Hold onto him.”

(At this point it should be pointed out, that I’m a fair-skinned brunette with brown eyes, and my older brother has naturally tan skin with hazel eyes. I looked at him confused, but my brother quickly realized the customer thought I was his girlfriend.)

Brother: “Dude, she’s got no choice. She’s my sister.”

Customer: “Ohhh… Well, I feel like an a**-hole!”

(We all laughed and parted ways. My brother and I still tell that story when people point out that we don’t look related.)

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