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Times Like These Can Bring Out The Best… And The Worst In People

, , , , , | Right | June 29, 2020

I’m wheelchair-bound, but I find a small store that lets me work as a cashier. I have to use a chair when working, since I can’t stand. I usually have my wheelchair right next to me. For the most part, few people even notice, especially now that we have sneeze guards up that just about entirely section me away from customer areas.

I’m wearing a mask, as required, and I’m on the register that forbids me from handling cash. A middle-aged woman comes in; she isn’t wearing a mask. As she’s unloading her groceries:

Me: “Hi there!”

She doesn’t answer me, so I assume she can’t hear me. With all the guards up, I’m not surprised. 

Me: “Did you find everything you needed?”

Customer: “No! You idiots are out of toilet paper and the meat I needed!”

Me: “We can’t help that at the moment, I’m afraid.”

Customer: “Well, if you could all do your jobs, we wouldn’t be in this mess! You’re just so lazy! Can’t you hurry up?”

Me: “I’m going as fast as I can.”

The customer evidently sees my wheelchair. 

Customer: “I’m amazed you’re still alive.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Customer: “That wheelchair of yours. I figured the corona would have killed all of you cripples off.”

I say nothing. I’m far too emotional at the moment, and being on the spectrum, I know I’m prone to saying things I’ll regret later. I’ve learned to just stop talking. I finish scanning her items and give her the total. Despite the numerous “NO CASH” signs, she tries repeatedly to shove a handful of twenties into the plastic barrier. 

Me: “No cash this lane! I can only take a card or EBT.”

Customer: “Where does it say that?!”

I point to the sign right above the card reader and the sign at the end of my register. She scoffs at me. 

Customer: “So, you’re saying you won’t accept my good cash?!”

Me: “Not at this register, no.”

Customer: “This is good money! I can’t believe you’re being so rude! Just take it!” 

She forces the money under the very small gap between the register and the barrier. 

Me: “I can’t accept that. You’ll need to move to another register or pay with a card.”

Customer: “Crippled b****!”

By now, my manager has heard the commotion and has come over. Since it’s a small store that’s not part of a major chain, my managers have much more say in how to run things. Namely, they can ban people quite easily since the owners don’t interfere much.

He sees the customer pulling the sneeze guard up in order to retrieve her money, which she managed to push all the way over to my side. The barrier falls on top of me when she lets it go. I don’t anticipate it falling on me, so it makes me jump and I tumble onto the floor. Meanwhile, the customer pays with a card. 

I’m fairly small, but the tight space makes it difficult for me to get back to my chair, especially with the sneeze guard on top of me, so my manager has to help. 

Customer: *On her way out* “You know, you really shouldn’t hire rude cripples like her! She denied my cash and then made me get it myself! I want her fired!”

The manager points to the exit:

Manager: “Get out. Now. And don’t come back. You’re no longer welcome here.”

Customer: “F*** you! I hope the corona kills you all!”

We found out later that she took the liberty of stealing two of the sanitized cleaning wipes we had to clean carts and baskets, meaning we had to borrow from other departments.

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