What Would Jesus Discount?

| Sydney, NSW, Australia | Working | October 1, 2014

(I have several friends’ birthdays coming up, so I decide to buy what ends up being a large number of bath products from a small store in a mall near my home. The store is right next to a place of worship.)

Cashier: “Your total comes to [price].”

Me: “Great.”

(I hand her some cash, but she doesn’t move to take it, leaving me hanging with my arm stretched out, clutching several paper notes.)

Cashier: “Before you pay, are you a member of the Church of Truth?”

Me: “No, I’m not. Can I pay, please?”

Cashier: “Oh, how unfortunate. Church members get an 8% discount. If we applied that to your purchase, you would only have to pay [slightly lower price]!”

Me: “I’m not a member, and I’d just like to pay. Please take my money.”

Cashier: “It’s not too late to join, you know. You just have to accept the truth of god the savior into your heart! And then you can get an 8% discount on all your purchases!”

Me: “I am not about to join a church to get a discount. And I’m not interested in them anyway. Please stop refusing to let me pay and just accept my money.”

(The cashier starts a very obviously memorized spiel about the church. The entire time, my hand is a foot in front of her, awkwardly holding the money for my purchase. Eventually I interrupt.)

Me: “Are they paying you to advertise for them or something?”

Cashier: *startled, and suddenly looking very guilty* “N-no, why would you think so?”

Me: “Look. I have to walk right past that place to get here. So does everyone. There’s no other way to your shop. If I’m interested in them, I’ll go and have a look in my own time. Right now, though, I’ve explicitly said that I’m not interested. Maybe I’ll decide to have a look at their stuff at some point in the future, but it’s unlikely, ESPECIALLY given the fact that you’re trying to pressure me into it and are leaving a very bad taste in my mouth associated with them and your business – the opposite of what an advertisement should be achieving, actually. What you are doing is refusing to serve a customer based on their religious beliefs, which are none of your business, frankly, and is blatant discrimination, not to mention unprofessional and amoral. So we have two options here. Either you allow me to pay for these products, or I take my business elsewhere. But I don’t want to hear another word of your advertisement.”

Cashier: “But… They help you find the truth within yourself—”

Me: “Goodbye.”

(I left my items on the counter and walked out. Bewildered and angry, I related the story to some friends, only to discover that one had been to the same store and had the same experience! Due to the mall being across the road from my home, I was able to witness the number of customers at the bath stop drop steadily until they closed six months later, followed by a series of scathing newspaper articles relating to the whole mess. It turned out that it’s not wise to only accept business from people belonging to a group which isn’t big enough to keep your business afloat, even if they pay you advertisement money to do it!)

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