Getting The Nowledge

| Glasgow, Scotland, UK | Working | May 29, 2017

Coworker: “There are a load of books that have been put under ‘N’ instead of ‘K,’ because they start with ‘knee’ and ‘knife.’”

Me: “That’s going to be a serious problem.”

Coworker: “We can monitor it and see if it gets worse. We’ve had a few new starters this week, so maybe one of them doesn’t know the system.”

(We did monitor it and the problem only surfaced in the early mornings on weekdays, which was when the new starters worked. We called in the starters and gave them a literacy test. We were originally going to keep the results private and secretly put those with a lack of understanding through training, but it turned out the entire group failed. They all came from the same school, so I can only imagine how bad it was there. We ended up setting up an adult literacy course for them, in the preschool area (the owner’s choice). It was quite a surreal moment walking in to the library and seeing nine early-twenty-year-olds all seated and learning their ABCs. It fixed the problem, though, and many seemed thankful for it.)

That Opinion Belongs Nowhere

| PA, USA | Working | May 29, 2017

(This is the day after the tragic Orlando, FL, shooting where one man targeted patrons at a gay nightclub. My coworkers and I are discussing the event. Three of the five of us in the discussion are openly gay or bisexual, including myself.)

Shift Lead: “I can’t believe someone would just get so upset that they felt the need to kill so many innocent people.”

Coworker: “They were just getting rid of people that don’t belong in this world.”

(The four of us just look at this one coworker in shock.)

Shift Lead: “Wait, what?!”

Me: “That’s REALLY wrong for you to say! What do you mean, ‘people that don’t belong in this world’?”

Coworker: “NONE of them belong here!”

(I had to leave the room because of how upset I was feeling. Word quickly spread up the chain of command of this coworker’s comments, and she was heavily reprimanded. She had to make a formal apology to me and the other LGBTQ coworkers, and basically remained on thin ice with the administrative staff for some weeks after that.)

You Can’t Get Rid Of Stoners

| USA | Working | May 29, 2017

(I’m cashing out a woman and everything is going normally until I start to give the lady her change. I notice that the dollar that I gave her was written on so instead of saying “one” it says “stoner.”)

Me: *after pointing it out to the lady* “Sorry about that, ma’am. If you want I can get another bill for you.”

Lady: “That’s okay. I’ll take it anyway.”

(Several days later I see her in my line and she pays with dollar bills. I check the money and sure enough one says “stoner.”)

Lady: “It’s back!”

(We both start to laugh.)

Lady: “At least we had our laugh for the day. Have a good one.”

Adding Toppings And Complications

, | Ottawa, ON, Canada | Working | May 29, 2017

(I’m at a fast food chain that has several different types of burgers with different toppings. I have a coupon for two of a certain burger, and in small print at the bottom, it says “may be substituted with Alternate Burger.” Behind the till is a young man, and behind him is a woman. It’s pretty clear from their body language that she’s his supervisor and that he’s terrified of her.)

Me: “Hi, I’d like to use this coupon, but my order might be a little more complicated since it will be for two different people…”

(The supervisor interrupts with a bored tone.)

Supervisor: “So four [Alternate Burger]s?”

Me: “Oh, no, that’s not what I meant. Sorry.”

(I turn back to the actual cashier, while the supervisor rolls her eyes and walks into the back.)

Me: “I’m not using the coupon twice; I just meant that I want the two [Original Type of Burger]s, but they’re going to have very different toppings on them because it’s for two different people with different food allergies.”

Cashier: “Sure, no problem. What will be on the first one?”

(I give my order and step off to the side to wait. The supervisor comes to the counter with a bag.)

Supervisor: “Four [Alternate Burger]s!”

(I don’t look up because that’s not my order, but she begins waving to get my attention.)

Supervisor: “[Alternate Burger]s! Ma’am! Your food is ready!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but that’s not what I ordered”.

Supervisor: “Yes, it is. Your ‘COMPLICATED’ order is all ready to go. You know, normally we don’t let people use the coupon twice, but I’ve let it slide. Take your food.”

(Meanwhile, the cashier comes to the table with another bag.)

Cashier: “Two [Original Type of Burger (with correct toppings)]!”

Me: “Thank you so much!”

(I give the cashier a big smile, grab my actual food, and start to leave. The supervisor looks furious and walks away.)

Cashier: “Are you sure you don’t want those burgers? We’re just going to throw them out, and she’ll be a lot less angry if she sees they’re gone.”

Me: “I’m really sorry, but there’s nobody at my house who could eat them. I hope your evening gets better, though!”

Cashier: “I doubt it. Enjoy your meal and have a great night!”

Came Down With A Bad Case Of Stereotyping

| KS, USA | Working | May 29, 2017

(I go to the doctor’s office for an appointment. I am Puerto Rican.)

Receptionist: “We need to ask your wife a few questions. Is it okay if we call her at work at [Large Factory (where a large portion of the workers are Latino)]?”

Me: “My wife is a preschool teacher.”

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