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  • Saying It Over And Ovarian
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  • Category: Coworkers

    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!)

    You Can’t Hack It

    | Canada | Coworkers, Technology

    (I work in a call centre providing tech support. We sometimes have to ask a customer to find something like a paperclip to straighten and use on a pinhole button to reset a device. I’m in the bathroom on my break when I discover my fly’s zipper’s been slipping and isn’t staying up on its own. Happily, I know to wrap a paper-clip around my pants’ button, and use it as a hook to hold the zipper head up. I figure the secretary will probably have one I can use.)

    Me: “Hey, guys. Hey, [Secretary], do you have a paperclip I can use?”

    Secretary: “Sure, [My Name]. So what are you trying to hack?” *she winks*

    Me: “My pants?”

    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*

    That Training Went Right Down The Toilet

    , | MD, USA | Bosses & Owners, Coworkers, Extra Stupid, Food & Drink, New Hires

    (I have recently started working at a fast food restaurant and am still being trained to do various tasks. The coffee makers for both regular and decaf use pre-measured packets of coffee.)

    Manager: “Customers have been complaining that the decaf is too strong. Who made it?”

    Me: “I did. I put in two packets of coffee like [Coworker] taught me to.”

    Coworker: “I never told you to do that! The coffee is pre-measured. You just pour one packet into the filter.”

    Me:” No, I’m pretty sure you said two…. Oh, wait, I think I’m confusing coffee with toilet cleaner.”

    (They still let me work there, and I eventually got pretty good at my job!)


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