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Unable To Get To The Meat Of The Issue

, , , , , | Right | July 3, 2021

I am a deli clerk in a big chain grocery store in Canada. My job involves slicing meats behind a service counter, with our opened chubs in bags with their shelf life represented in orange stickers. Recently, all employees had to do a racial and discrimination course to ensure we were dealing with customers properly, and I am extremely wary of offending anybody. This is also during the health crisis, so a lot of customers are wearing masks. I have been wearing one myself every shift since the beginning of April. A customer comes up to my counter and pulls down his face mask.

Customer: “I have strong accent; maybe you cannot understand me.”

He sounds Russian but I have no issues with that at all and actually enjoy listening to certain accents.

Me: “Maybe, but I have no difficulties understanding you at all. What can I get for you?”

Customer: “I want 300 grams European Bologna sandwich sliced.”

Me: “Okay.”

I walk over to the case and dig for the correct product.

Customer: “That will not be enough. I don’t want tiny piece. You cut it from this one.”

He indicates the closed chub on display.

Me: “Sir, there is more than enough on this piece to fill your order without giving you the end piece. We are not allowed to open multiple chubs of one type of meat—”

Customer: “That isn’t enough. Cut it from the new one.”

Me: “Sir, if you’ll let me—”

The customer cuts me off and begins complaining to the other staff that I refuse to serve him his meat.

Customer: *To anybody near enough* “This lady refuses to give me product from my own country!”

Me: “Sir, I have no issues filling your order, but I could get in trouble for opening multiple meat chubs of the same thing.”

The customer continued to cut me off multiple times, the conversation going around and around like this. After a few moments, I realized that I was not going to get a word in edgewise. Even lifting my hand to signal him that I was trying to speak didn’t help.

In the end, he left without his meat, complaining to two colleagues of mine on the way out of my department. The next morning, I sliced that same exact piece for our case and it would have easily filled his request without the end piece being too small.