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Category: Bigotry

Colorful Language

| USA | Bigotry, Coworkers, Ignoring/Inattentive

(I’m a shift leader at a chain fabric store. Many of my coworkers are from Mexico and Central America. While I am white, I have been exposed to Spanish since childhood and can speak it fluently. Two of my team members are at the cutting tables serving customers. One is Guatemalan.)

Coworker #1: “Hey, [My Name]. I have something to tell you when I finish these cuts.”

Me: “Sure thing, [Coworker #1].”

(A few minutes pass and Coworker #1 is finished cutting.)

Me: “So what did you want to talk me about?”

Coworker #1: “Shh! Not yet! Later! Later.”

Me: “Uh. Okay.”

(A little while later, she approaches me while I’m tidying up.)

Coworker #1: “Okay, now I can tell you.”

Me: “Okay. So, what’s up?”

Coworker #1: “You know that couple I was cutting for?”

Me: “Yeah, the blond lady and her husband?”

Coworker #1: “Yeah, yeah! Well, he was all over her. Had his hands in her jeans pockets and kept smacking her on the rump. In public! White men. Tch.”

Me: “Haha. I noticed that! Why couldn’t you tell me about this before?”

Coworker #1: “Oh, because [Coworker #2] was standing there. She’s white, so she might have gotten offended.”

Me: Uh. [Coworker #1]. You realize I’m just as white as [Coworker #2], right?”

Coworker #1: *giggling* “Oh, [My Name]. You are not white. You speak Spanish!”

Brit Brat

, | Germany | Bigotry, Coworkers

(We have a bus full of Brits come in.)

Coworker: “Nope. Not gonna serve them if they don’t speak German.”

Me: “What! Why?”

Coworker: “I don’t speak English. They’re in Germany. They can f****** speak German.”

Me: *out loud to all customers* “Would everyone who doesn’t speak German please come into my line? Thank you!”

Coworker: *looks at me as if I have killed someone* “That’s so rude of you!”

Me: “Not worse than denying them service. Go and take care of the other customers, please. The ones who speak German.”

(I spend the next half hour serving only Brits while she was done after only five minutes.)

Me: “Can you at least help me prepare all the food?”

Coworker: “No. I’m gonna go for a smoke.”

(Apparently, some of the guests do understand German because as soon as my coworker is gone they start moaning about her. I am left speechless while this group of people start telling me how nice I am, how great my English is, and that I should keep my chin up and not despair.)

Me: “Thank you, but it’s okay. Really.”

(After all the customers are done and served, the oldest of them comes up to me and hands me €10!)

Oldest Customer: “Here you go. I know you don’t usually get tips, so this is from us to you because you’re awesome. Treat yourself.”

(I tried to decline but then just thanked him. That’s when my coworker came back; she took a 20-minute smoking break while I worked. I was thinking about complaining to our supervisor for a while but then just thought it was not worth the hassle. The kitchen crew had noticed the whole thing. An hour later our supervisor came and asked me what had happened (my coworker was smoking again) and I told him the truth. She got a very strict warning from him – apparently not her first!)

Assumptions Are Off Color

| MA, USA | Bigotry, Coworkers, Health & Body

(I work in a store where, in lieu of uniforms, employees have color-coded name tags designating their sections; blue for kitchen, green for household, etc. I am explaining to a new coworker that I have prosopagnosia, a condition wherein I can’t recognize faces.)

Coworker #1: “That’s so bizarre! How do you recognize people?”

Me: “Well, everyone’s faces look the same, so I look for an identifying characteristic, like that you have a purple mohawk, or that coworker has a jacket with [cartoon character] on it that he wears every day.”

Coworker #1: “So, something that’s really hard to miss and is instantly noticeable? That must make retail interesting!”

Me: “Oh yeah! Last week—”

(I am interrupted by another coworker, who has overheard us and come over, interrupting our conversation.)

Coworker #2: “So what’s my identifying feature?”

Me: “Oh, that’s easy! It’s because you’re—”

Coworker #2: “It’s because I’m [race], isn’t it? Everyone’s face is the same except mine, because you just can’t see anything other than a [race] coworker.”

Me: “Well, you—”

Coworker #2: “I think it’s disgusting that I’m the only one you can ‘see’ because of my color. You can just ‘see’ me magically.”

(She continues on for a couple more minutes about racial stereotyping in the workplace. Finally, when she pauses to take a breath…)

Me: “Actually, it’s because of your name tag. It’s red. You’re the only person with a red name tag, because you’re the manager.”

Coworker #2: *is quiet for about a minute* “Don’t let it happen again.” *storms off*

Their Humor Is Handicapped

, | OH, USA | Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Bosses & Owners, Coworkers

(I am working the closing shift by doing dishes. All night when there is no customer at the drive through, my coworker on the grill yells what he thinks are funny impersonations of people with mental handicaps.)

Coworker: “[Manager]! It’s impossible to make [My Name] laugh!”

Manager: “What? No it isn’t.”

(I am so focused on doing the dishes that I don’t notice her coming up behind me.)

Manager: “Hey, [My Name], look.” *pulls out her phone, showing a funny animated GIF involving two cats*

Me: *bursts out laughing*

Manager: “See? I told you it is possible to make her laugh!”

Coworker: “But she doesn’t laugh at me!”

Me: “Because you’re not funny. And you do realize that my little brother has a disability, right?”

(My coworker left me alone for the rest of the night!)

Finally Tipped Off

, | BC, Canada | Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Employees, Food & Drink, Money

(I am 21 years old and slightly scruffy looking, but hold a prominent position in an ultrasonic based oil and gas service company in northern British Columbia. I take a vacation down south for a family get together. I go out for breakfast.)

Me: “Hello. I am looking for the restaurant. Can you help me?”

Security Guard: “Sir, if you want to go into the casino, I need to see some ID.”

Me: “That is fine; I was unaware that the restaurant was in there.”

Security Guard: “It’s not. There is a concession there that sells chips but I need to see your ID first.”

Me: “Look I just want to sit down at a nice place and have a nice meal. If you insist here is my ID.”

Security Guard: “Okay, sir, the concession is up the stairs and to the left.”

(I go up to the concession and ask the woman if she could help me. She promptly points me in the right direction. I head down to the restaurant and get a table where I am placed in the farthest back corner with no view.)

Waitress: “Yeah, what can I get you?”

Me: “I will have the candied salmon eggs benedict with a glass of orange juice, please.”

Waitress: “Are you sure? That is quite expensive.”

Me: “I can afford it, I assure you.”

Waitress: “Okay, I’m ‘sure’ you can.”

(I receive my food and it is quite good, but I flag down the waitress to get a refill.)

Me: “Hello. Can I get another orange juice, please?”

Waitress: “You know you have to pay for that, right? They are not free refills. This isn’t a cheap restaurant.”

Me: “Ma’am, I understand that you probably have a lot of people come in that try to dine and dash. I understand that I am not dressed according to my economic status. However, my mother raised me alone on a waitress’ salary and I have always been a believer in very good tips for good service. You have treated me like scum since I walked in here. People are never who you think them to be and I am quite insulted by this. Do you see that brand new fully loaded 2012 Chevy pick up?” *uses key fob* “That’s mine. I am an honest hard working person who is on vacation. But you know what, since you’re so concerned with my money, don’t worry. Now that you’re not getting a tip the bill will be a lot easier on this poor soul.”

(The waitress’ face turned bright red and she couldn’t even look at me.)


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