Sweep Away Your Own Stereotypes

| Springfield, MO, USA | Working | August 15, 2012

(This occurs while I am looking for a miniature toy broom for my daughter. She loves to help out around the house and thinks it is fun. She is two, and I think it is a great idea to encourage this behavior.)

Me: “Do you sell toy brooms here?”

Employee: “No, we do not. This store enforces playing against gender stereotypes.”

Me: “…What?”

Employee: “Those toy brooms and mops are sickening! It just enforces that little girls are only fit for cleaning and girly things.”

Me: “So, let me get this straight: you don’t sell the brooms due to gender stereotypes?”

Employee: “That is correct.”

Me: “I see a problem with that logic.”

Employee: *smugly* “I don’t see how, ma’am.”

Me: *gestures around us* “How about the nice selection of pink & pretty princess accessories, make-up, and glamour dress-up clothes you got here? Shall we talk more about stereotypes?”

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Not The Brightest Bulb

| West Jordan, UT, USA | Working | August 15, 2012

(Note: I am purchasing an extendable pole to change out light bulbs in my nearly 20-foot-high vaulted ceiling.)

Cashier: “Wow, I haven’t seen one of these. What’s this for?”

Me: “It’s for changing light bulbs.”

Cashier: “I don’t see why you’d need one. At my house, my dad changes the bulbs. He’s really tall!”

Offensive Coworker Disorder

, | USA | Working | August 15, 2012

(A nervous-looking customer comes into my work. She tells me her order and hands me the money. As soon as it is out of her hands, she takes a container of hand sanitizer out of her purse. She proceeds to squirt a liberal amount onto her hands and rub it in, all the while looking nervous and slightly embarrassed.)

Me: “Is everything all right, ma’am?”

Customer: “Oh, yeah, I’m sorry. I have OCD… it’s kind of embarrassing.”

(I, myself, have a mild form of OCD so I know how she feels. I ask my coworker to double-clean the things we use to make her order. I go to take another order while my coworker hands her order to her. She proceeds to do the same thing with the sanitizer after she gets her food.)

Coworker: “Wow, lady!”

Customer: “I’m… sorry?”

Coworker: “That is really rude. Do you think I have, like, germs or something? What the h*** is wrong with you?!”

Me: “What’s going on?”

Coworker: “This lady is acting like I’ve got an infection or something! I wash my hands just like everyone else!”

Me: “Hey [coworker], she has OCD. She can’t help it.”

(The lady is looking seriously freaked at this point. All of the customers are watching this exchange and many of my coworkers, including the manager, have come up to see what is going on. Then my coworker breaks out this lovely little comment.)

Coworker: “Then she should go back to the institution before she offends someone else!”

Manager: “[Coworker], go home. You are done.”

(My now ex-coworker was fired right after that. I wound up getting a free meal for my break, which I ate whilst sitting with my new friend, the customer with OCD.)

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Not Taking Stock Of The Situation

| Matteson, IL, USA | Working | August 14, 2012

(I am shopping in a store where you pay for your items at a register in the back, then go up front to get the merchandise from the stockroom. I purchase a clock radio after asking the sales clerk to verify that they have the product in the stockroom. After handing over my receipt, and waiting for at least 10 minutes, this is what follows.)

Stocker: “I’m sorry, but I can’t find this radio in the back.”

Me: “Your salesperson said you had two in stock.”

Stocker: “Let me go check again. Be right back…”

(He goes back in the stockroom for at least another 10 minutes, and then returns.)

Stocker: “Nope, we are out of stock.”

Me: “This is why I asked the clerk if you had any in stock. I guess I will just take a refund.”

(Note: the total sale on the receipt is $19.82.)

Stocker: “Fine.”

(He does the return and counts back the money. It comes to about $17.00.)

Me: “The total was $19.82.”

Stocker: “Yes, there’s a 10% restocking fee.”

Me: “What do you mean ‘restocking fee?'”

Stocker: “When you return an item, there is a 10% restocking fee for the return.”

Me: “But I didn’t return it. You didn’t even have it!”

Stocker: “This is a return. Store policy says there is a 10%—”

Me: “Get your manager.”

(A very young assistant manager joins us at the desk.)

Assistant Manager: “Can I help you?”

Stocker: “She doesn’t want to pay the restocking fee on her return.”

Me: “I want a refund for an item I paid for in back, but you don’t have in the stockroom. Your associate is charging me a 10% restocking fee.”

Assistant Manager: “Well, ma’am, there is a 10% restocking fee.”

Me: “I don’t think you understand. I am not returning the clock radio. I paid for it back there, but you didn’t actually have any in stock. I only want my money back for an item you don’t have.”

Assistant Manager: *very snotty* “No, ma’am, YOU don’t understand. There is a 10% fee for our inconvenience when you return an item.”


(This goes on for about five minutes until I insist they call the store director at his home on his day off. The assistant doesn’t explain to him the real story, only that I don’t want to pay the return charge. I insist she give me the phone.)

Store Director: “Ma’am, store policy—”

Me: “Look, here’s the story. I bought the clock in the back, your computer said you had two in the stockroom, but when I got to the counter, the stockboy said there were none in the back. I want a return on an item I paid for that you did not have.”

Store Director: “Ah, okay. Give the phone to [assistant manager].”

(I hand the phone to the assistant manager. I can hear the store director yelling at her through the phone. The assistant manager eventually hangs up and turns to me.)

Assistant Manager: “So, your total was $19.82. Here you go!” *slaps the money into my hand, gives me a dirty look, and walks away*

(Needless to say, I never went back there. Not surprisingly, this company went out of business only a couple months later.)

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Stupid In Any Language

| Kittery, ME, USA | Working | August 14, 2012

(Two very attractive young ladies come into the shoe store where I work. My male coworker and male assistant manager practically climb over each other in order to be the one to help them.)

Assistant Manager: “Hello, ladies! How are you this fine evening?”

Lady #1: “No hablo Inglés.”

Assistant Manager: “Oh, really… I see. Is there anything I can help you two find?”

(The two ladies glance at each other, shrug their shoulders, and walk away.)

Assistant Manager: *to coworker* “Don’t even bother! They’re stuck up b****es!”

Me: “They’re speaking Spanish. They just told you that they don’t speak English!”

Assistant Manager: “Foreign chicks! Translate for me: I want to see if they’ll meet me for a drink after work.”

Me: “Sorry, I know very little Spanish. Only a couple of phrases.”

Assistant Manager: “You just don’t want me to score!”

(The assistant manager follows the ladies around the store, smiling at them, and speaking to them loudly and slowly in English. When they still don’t seem to understand him, he starts to talk inappropriately.)

Assistant Manager: “You girls are lucky to be in my country! I should make you get down on your knees and suck my **** for the privilege!”

Coworker: *laughs hysterically*

Me: “You shouldn’t be speaking to any customer that way, even if they don’t speak English! You never know… they may understand some of what you’re saying!”

(The assistant manager blows me off and he and my coworker continue to harass the ladies. The whole time, the ladies just smile and nod. Eventually, they come up to my register with two pairs of shoes.)

Me: “Lo sentimos; hablo muy poco español.” (“Sorry, I speak very little Spanish.”)

Lady #1: *in perfect English* “That’s okay. Thanks for trying!”

Me: *surprised* “Oh… I’m sorry. I thought I heard you say earlier that you don’t speak English.”

Lady #2: “Yeah, we did say that. We just wanted to be left alone…” *turns to my shocked assistant manager and coworker* “…and we understood EVERYTHING that was said.”

Lady #1: “That’s right!” *laughs* “Are you the manager?”

Me: “No, I’m not.”

Lady #1: “Well, you should be! When is the manager due in? Please don’t tell me the manager is one of those guys over there!”

Me: “The manager’s name is [name]. He typically only works weekdays.”

Lady #2: “Thanks! We’ll be back!”

(The ladies did come back and threatened to sue the company for sexual harassment. The assistant manager and my coworker were both fired, sexual harassment training became mandatory for all employees, and I got a raise.)

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