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The Biggest Win Is When The Bigot Leaves

, , , , , | Right | October 24, 2020

I’m working as an assistant manager at a medium-sized company. At my department, we are mainly in charge of customer care, but we run a small tobacco and lottery shop on the side, as well.

A new coworker recently started and she’s still quite insecure, mainly because German is not her native language, and although she does understand most things, she has trouble speaking it.

This happens while she is working the lottery till. An older customer has just handed her a whole bunch of lottery tickets to check for winnings and some new ones he’d like to play.

My coworker is speaking slowly and carefully pronouncing everything with only a faint accent.

Coworker: “Would you like me to set your winnings off against what your new tickets cost?”

Customer: “What?”

Coworker: “Do you want to pay for the new tickets in full and receive your winnings in cash, or do you want me to subtract the winnings from the cost of the new tickets?”

Customer: “I don’t understand a word you say!”

I am close by, helping another customer over the phone, but I try to keep an eye on the situation. I understand her perfectly.

The customer notices me and turns to me.

Customer: “I don’t understand a word she says!”

I glance at him and motion to the telephone, mouthing, “One moment, please.” The customer mumbles something rude under his breath and turns back to my coworker, who is looking quite intimidated by now.

Customer: “What’s my total?”

Coworker: *Shakily* “That will be [offset total], please!”

Customer: “That’s too little; I always pay [amount without the winnings taken into account]! You must have done something wrong!”

She tries to explain that she subtracted the winnings and writes it down to illustrate, since the stress of being yelled at does not help the language problem. I try to end my phone call as quickly as I can without alienating my customer, while my coworker is looking in my direction for help. A couple of minutes pass before I can end the call and hurry over towards her to help.

Me: “Hi there! How can I help you?”

Customer: “That stupid foreigner did something wrong with my transaction! You should not hire people who don’t understand a word of German!”

I pretend to check over the transaction thoughtfully, although I already know she did nothing wrong, just to appease him.

Me: “You played new tickets for [amount he claimed he always pays] and won [amount of winnings]. She charged you the amount for the new tickets reduced by your winnings.”

Customer: *Not really listening to me now* “You should not hire someone who has no clue what they’re doing! Hire someone who can understand what I want them to do!”

Me: “Okay, let me see what I can do for you!” 

I void the transaction, and for that, I have to void all of the tickets separately and go through the whole ordeal of scanning them all once again.

Me: *Handing him his winnings* “Okay, seems like you won [amount]! Here you go!”

Afterward, I repeat the procedure with the ones he wants to play.

Me: “And your total for these would be [amount he claims he always pays], please!”

He takes the tickets and glances at the amount of money I just handed him still resting on the counter. Then, he carefully counts out how much money is missing and puts it next to the winnings. He’s basically paying exactly the amount my coworker told him to pay in the first place.

Customer: *While leaving* “See? You understood me and everything went well. You should fire her!”

My coworker was devastated and close to crying, so I let her work in the back to restock some things while I took over the till. I don’t know if that was racism or just senile stubbornness, but sadly, we get stuff like that every other day. My coworker’s German has since improved vastly, although she still practices some of the sentences she has to use often with the team until she’s confident in her pronunciation.

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