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Thankful For Diwali

, , , , | Right | April 13, 2015

(I work customer service for a large Canadian grocery retailer. This exchange takes place just around Thanksgiving, when we had signs for Diwali and Halloween as well.)

Customer: “Excuse me! What are these signs?”

(She gestures to the purple signs above a display of flowers which read ‘Happy Diwali’.)

Me: “Those are signs for Diwali. It’s the Indian Festival of Lights, celebrated by a billion-plus people worldwide.”

Customer: “Take it down.”

Me: “…I’m sorry?”

Customer: “Take it down. I don’t like it. How racist.”

Me: “I assure you the holiday is not racist, as everyone is invited to participate if they would like to, and the deals we have for the holiday are applicable to all customers.”

Customer: “But I don’t get to participate! I don’t like it. I want you to take it down.”

Me: “Well, do you celebrate Thanksgiving?”

Customer: “Yes. But these people are—”

Me: “—These people may not celebrate Thanksgiving, or Halloween, or Christmas, and we are an equal opportunity employer, so we accommodate several cultures and their respective traditions. As well as Diwali, we market for Chinese New Year’s and Eid.

Customer: “You must take this sign down, or I will be calling head office.”

Me: “You can get their number at the customer service desk. Head Office sent us these signs. They also wished their Indian employees a Happy Diwali. If you have any other questions, I’ll be happy to help; otherwise, I’m afraid we cannot continue this discussion.”

Customer: “Fine! I’ll call them! I’ll be sure to give them your name, too!”

Me: “That’s quite all right with me. My name is [distinctly North Indian name] and I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving. Happy Diwali, as well!”


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