You Can’t Skirt Around Some People’s Ignorance

, , | Right | November 18, 2019

(I am the owner of a South Indian restaurant. One day, I decide to wear a piece of Indian men’s clothing that goes by many names across the major Indian languages, though the most common names for it in South India are Dhoti, Pancha, and Veshti. It looks somewhat like a skirt in that there are no pant legs. I am in the general area of the restaurant. One table has a family of non-Indians consisting of a man, a woman, and two small children.)

Male Customer: *to waiter* “Can I speak to a manager, please?”

(Hearing this, I come over to speak to the customer.)

Me: “I am the owner. What seems to be the problem?”

Male Customer: “The food was prepared a bit too spicy and our children cannot handle it. I want it to be remade. I am willing to pay for both if I need to.”

(The food cooked in this restaurant is Telugu cuisine, which is one of the spiciest cuisines in India, so it makes sense that people may have trouble with the spice levels. Even though they ordered a North Indian dish, the food was still cooked by our same Telugu chefs and still might be spicy to the tongue.)

Me: “Sure, that is fine. I won’t even make you pay for it twice.”

Female Customer: “Why are you wearing a skirt?”

Me: “This is a Pancha; it is the traditional men’s clothing of South India.”

Female Customer: “Are all Indians [gay slur]s, then?”

Me: “Sorry?”

Female Customer: “You know what? I refuse to go at a place owned by your kind from now on. Are you coming, [Male Customer]?”

Male Customer: “No. And don’t contact me or my family again, please. I thought you’d changed, but you obviously haven’t.”

(The female customer leaves $12 on the table to cover for her meal and storms off angrily.)

Male Customer: “Sorry about that. That’s my estranged sister whom I haven’t seen in years, but she wanted to see her niece and nephew.”

Me: “It’s not your fault at all. Since she barely touched her dosa, I think I’ll put it in a box and you can take it home. Sound good?”

Male Customer: “Yeah, that’s good.”

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