Shopping shouldn't be a form of torture! These people were looking for a little retail therapy, but all they found were wicked employees who's only goal was to ruin peoples' lives. This is the one time where someone should definitely speak to the manager! Content has been edited for clarity.
It Turned So Sour So Quickly
“One day back in 2010, I drove to a Safeway in Kent, Washington, with my roommate John. We were casually joking around as we picked out our groceries and made our way to the checkout area. We went through the same lane. I went first while John took a few extra seconds to look over the candy and gum near the register. Our cashier was a middle-aged woman. She sported neat hair, neat makeup, and neat work clothes. She smiled at me and amiably engaged me in small talk as she rang up my purchases. When our transaction was finished, I smiled and thanked her and walked several feet away to wait for John. I couldn’t hear the full conversation between John and the cashier, but I felt a bit puzzled when I looked over and noticed that the cashier’s warm, friendly demeanor seemed visibly cooler. She was no longer smiling, her eyes looked wider, and she was almost barking questions at John. No small talk. ‘Are you buying that gum or not?’ ‘Do you need a bag?!’ ‘How are you paying?!’
At some point during the transaction, she must have noticed me standing nearby, because she turned and asked, ‘You need somethin’, hun?’ I took a step forward but froze for a second. ‘Uh… I’m just waiting for my friend,’ I said, gesturing towards John. John finished up his purchase, and we walked back outside to the parking lot together. He didn’t say anything, so I asked what seemed like a somewhat obvious question, ‘Is it just me, or was that cashier being kind of rude to you?’
John turned toward me, made a pained smile, took a deep breath as if about to sigh, and let out a long, defeated, knowing, ‘Yeah, I wasn’t going to say anything, because I wasn’t even sure if you noticed anything back there or not. But that’s what it’s like being black. Every single day. All these little things. And bigger things. All this nonsense.’
And that is my most vivid memory of witnessing almost first-hand some of the casual everyday prejudice that black people experience here in the U.S.”
Treated As Less Than Human
“So this happened whilst I was wedding dress shopping. Usually you book an appointment. It’s better that way, so you can get real help. However, I had an appointment which I had booked two months in advance, and I intended to buy, not just browse. When I showed up with my girls, ten minutes before my time, I didn’t know what we were in for, honestly. We browsed a bit while waiting and waiting. They had said it would be just a few moments, but no. It took almost an hour and a half after my scheduled appointment time for someone to come over and help me. It turned out that they had let people who were browsing or had just walked in go before me, because they were apparently in a more rush than me. I hadn’t said my wedding date though, so how she knew that is beyond me. During my appointment, the lady was rude and my girls were quite appalled. I am plus-sized and had asked when I booked my appointment if they had dresses in my size, which she said was no problem. Hah. I got to try one dress. The ones I wanted to try on, she didn’t even want to pull down from the rack. She was a horrible human being, and I have eight witnesses who confirmed I wasn’t doing anything wrong. She kept pressuring me to get that ugly dress I tried on too, which was a serious nope from me. I asked them if they had anything they could let me try without zipping it up if she didn’t have anything my size, or even hold it up in front of me, but I only got a no. I have a photo a friend took of me in the ugly dress, where the nasty consultant is rolling her eyes at me with her arms crossed. Nice. I’m told she was one of the owners too, but I don’t know. She looked down her nose at me and told me they could order one of two (ugly) dresses, but that I would be obligated to buy them then, regardless if I liked them or if they even fit. Yeah, heck no to that.
I do not dress like a slob, so this treatment was most likely due to my curves. After this, I felt let down. I didn’t know what to do, and I didn’t feel like going wedding dress shopping again. However, I found a site where I did like the dresses online a month later, and I did book an appointment for two months later at their store, contemplating whether I should bother going. I’m glad I did. I only brought three friends this time, and I told the consultant about my previous appointment at that other horrible store. She made it her mission to let me have a great day then and made me feel like a princess. I was even lucky enough to somehow have booked an appointment during a blowout sale and got my dress for 70% off! And they had plenty of options in my size and bigger too! I hope the first consultant wasn’t an owner and was fired. I did leave a very poor review though. And we’ve all told every bride to be we know about that place, warning them away.”
How Could She Be So Heartless
“I was sixteen at the time, and my first boyfriend had just broken up with me. I was feeling pretty fragile and unattractive. I decided to go to this fairly cheap clothing store in the UK and maybe buy something that would make me feel more confident. I had also recently overcome a major illness, so what I had been mostly wearing for the past few months were just t-shirts and leggings. I found some nice summer shirts and some underwear that I liked, but I wanted to try it on first. My chest is on the larger side, and I struggle to find bras that actually fit comfortably in most mainstream stores. When I went to try them on, I overheard one of the employees by the changing rooms giggling to her coworker about how i was too fat to wear anything that i picked out. According to her, I looked like a whale. She also went on to make several comments about my hair and general appearance. I may have looked odd to some, since I had blue hair and a lip ring, but I didn’t look nearly as terrible as she was describing. In the end I left the cubicle crying, passed the bras to her, and said she could keep the basket as I was ‘too much of a whale’ for any of it. At that point she looked embarrassed, although I think she was more worried about her job than the fact that she had hurt me. I didn’t make a massive fuss, I just left and didn’t go back for a long time. To be quite honest, I still don’t try things on in stores since that event happened four years ago. I just buy them and return them if I have to.”
He’s About To Blow!
“Geez, I really wanted to punch this guy so, so hard. For context, I had been unemployed for nearly eighteen months at this point, and I was applying for jobs every single day. I was at my wit’s end trying to find something. I was desperate for literally anything at this point. I was disagreeable, easy to annoy, and generally irascible. My wife and I walked into the store, looking for an item that the store’s website said they had in stock. This tall gentleman, probably in his mid twenties, asked us if he could help. I asked him about the item we were looking for, so we looked around and could find it at all. This guy just seemed so careless that it really set me off. I looked that man straight in the eye, even though he was considerably taller than I was. My eyes were locked onto his. I told him, ‘Listen carefully, it says on my computer that this store has THREE of these items in stock!’
My wife could sense that I was about to blow. She met my gaze and told me to back off as I was getting noticeably louder. I didn’t break away from the employee, but I did take a noticeable step back. My wife warned me now to do anything extreme. At this time, a female employee witnessed everything going on, and she suggested that the male employee look up the item on the stores computer system. When het got to the computer, he had to ask me several times what the item was again. It was literally a phone charger that you could place on your work desk! It was the simplest thing to look up, but this guy seemed completely clueless! I could not believe it. I could have punched everything in sight at that point! Now to be clear, I am not normally a violent person, but I was in a rough headspace at the time mentally, and any little thing would set me off so easily. My wife took over for me then and explained all of the details. The store really didn’t have anything in stock, so we finally left. We got back in the car and discussed the situation quite calmly. I wasn’t used to the calm, and I needed to release all of that tension that had been steadily building up inside of me during that entire event. Thankfully, it wasn’t too much longer before I found a permanent job, which I have been working at now for five and a half years. I also am looking into a therapist, since I think I really needed one after having such intense feelings at a random time!”
“One of my favorite stores to shop is Kohl’s. They normally have lots of discounts and clearance sales. Because of this, anytime I visit another state or county in the US, I check out their Kohl’s store to compare the difference with my home store. On this day, I began my adventure in a store in a new state I was visiting. I saw a very beautiful scarf for $2 and I picked a sweater for $3.30. I was pleased with my bargain, so I went to the cashier to pay for it. The cashier then tried to convince me to get a Kohl’s credit card and get some more percentage off my purchase. I think she got a bonus for how many customers she could convince to get a Kohl’s credit card, but I told her I wasn’t interested. She seemed disappointed, rung up my stuff, and I paid and was heading to the car. I checked my receipt and smiled at my awesome bargain. That was when I saw $46. Huh?!
I ran back into the store and waited to show the cashier her mistake. She totally ignored me and eventually said there was no mistake, and that was the correct price. I showed her the marked down clearance sale sticker that clearly showed the price of the items. She became rude, saying that the scarf was $40 and maybe someone accidentally put a $2 sticker on it. Apparently, I could return it if I couldn’t afford it. I became so upset that I asked to speak to the manager. While waiting for the manager, this cashier droned on and on, getting increasingly snarky with me, even though I hadn’t done anything! When the manager came, I explained to her what happened and showed her my receipt. She accepted there was a mistake and gave me a refund and left, but she never spoke to the cashier about her behavior. I stopped shopping at Kohl’s after that incident. And I also never wore the scarf because every time I look at it, I remember this incident.”
Who Was Worse Here?
“One day, then I was seventeen years old, there was this ‘head shop’ nearby where I went to school. Now there were a few ‘head shops’ in the city that were known to sell all sorts of things related in some way or another to music inspired by the hippy era, new wave, punk, and heavy metal. They would sell music-inspired clothing, cheap jewelry, and racks of random movie posters. But the main supply that any head shop would sell includes lots and lots of smoking paraphernalia. Despite the typical stoner clientele, I would browse head shops from time to time, either to browse or get a band t-shirt. I went there one day during my lunch break, when I noticed this stocky looking skinhead working the jewelry counter in the store. I carefully examine and slowly turn the revolving jewelry stand around. When I seen the piece of jewelry that I really liked, I ASKED the skinhead, ‘How much for this one?’
Would you believe the skinhead just about worked himself into a raging fit, AS IF I had stolen something from him personally or from the store?! Didn’t he realize that his insulting comments to me weren’t how this exchange was supposed to happen? I was so offended at this guy for yelling at me that I became just as angry towards him. I decide to actually do something impulsive, so while the skinhead’s back was turned, I swiped a tiny piece of jewelry from the counter. As I was about to leave, the skinhead yells for his manager, who grabs my arm and effortlessly took the jewelry back from me. Now if you were the boss, wouldn’t you take the customer’s side if your employee was known for being this aggressive? Also why hire that guy to work the jewelry counter in the first place?! So I returned the jewelry and was banned from that store. But the employee was the weirdly aggressive one who started it, I was just feeling particularly rebellious that day!”
Taking Drastic Matters Into Her Own Hands
“My husband and I were shopping for our weekly groceries. We live just around the corner from Wal-Mart, so we go there a few times a week. Now for some important context, the cashier at the register we walked up to is Mexican, my husband is Mexican, and I am white. This cashier was either weirdly prejudiced or was really into my husband. When she spotted him, she flew around the line and started to unload his cart for him. My husband told her in Spanish that she didn’t have to help like that. I put a few things onto the conveyor belt from my own cart, but the cashier completely ignored me. The cashier continued to make small talk with my husband, getting a little too touchy for my comfort. The two of them simply laughed and chatted and took their sweet time, while I was waiting for some actual service! I decided to do something about it, so I went to the manager and complained about them. Now I finally knew why my husband mentioned that this particular lane was his favorite one! I was so embarrassed that he didn’t stick up for me in front of her. He should have been just as offended as I was! When I got back from talking to the manager, the cashier finally decided to ring up my items as well, even though they had been sitting there for quite some time. Believe it or not, I actually hired an attorney over this, and my useless husband didn’t even attend one single appointment. But we got this cashier on video and audio flirting with my husband and totally ignoring her job duties. I actually sued Wal-Mart for how their employees were mistreating their customers. I actually settled right away out of court, as my attorney told me that was my best possible option. Despite all of that, my husband will still go through that particular check-out lane, even though I would be shocked if that woman had not been fired!”
You Want Me To Make What?!
“A few years back, late on a Sunday afternoon, I was at a Target near me with my son, and we went into the pocket Starbucks there to get a cappuccino. Due to the time of day and week, it was very slow in the store. It was even slower in Starbucks. There was no one there. I went up to the counter, and some young woman wearing the green apron was sitting at a nearby table. She was apparently, judging from subsequent events, on her break, although with no customers in the store, it was sort of hard to tell, as there was nothing for her to be taking a break from. When she saw me at the counter, she yelled for someone named Tyrone. After about fifteen seconds seconds, Tyrone eventually appeared, walking out to the counter with a slightly confused look on his face. I asked for a grande cappuccino. ‘We only sell coffee here.’ Huh? I repeated my request. He looked even more confused and told me that they only made coffee. Frankly, the whole experience made me feel like I was in a comedy sketch, except here it was entirely real and unscripted. These people were beyond help. I called to my son and we left the store, going instead to a freestanding Starbucks about a mile away. There I actually went through the drive-through, about the only time I’ve ever done that at Starbucks, because I was upset and we had to get somewhere. I told the staffer at the drive-through what had happened at Target, and he just shook his head.
I was put out enough by it to complain to Starbucks about it via email from their website. I did get a response, although how it was disposed, I don’t know. But a few months later I was at a different Target nearby, which also has a Starbucks. It was slow and I told the staffers there, who as I had surmised from the red name tags on their aprons, were actually hired and paid by Target, about that other Target. They told me that while Tyrone (who I had sort of figured was not only new but may never have even gone into a Starbucks in his life) was still there, the manager had been fired. I’m guessing that was the young woman at the table who couldn’t be bothered to take a break from her break. And I’ve never had any problems there since. In fact one of their later baristas made the best, most European cappuccino I’ve ever tasted at any American coffeeshop. Whatever she did, I told her to keep doing it).
Their Actions Spoke Louder Than Words
You know, sometimes it is the little things that throw you for a loop. I’m old and I use a cane to get around most days, and usually someone comes with me to grocery shop, but they only come once because for me, it is a three hour experience. I price shop, I compare, and I go for the 30% off stickers, and I ONLY go if there are great deal or it is a $1 sale. Needless to say, i usually fill three or sometimes even four carts! It was just about closing time, and I was finishing up bagging all of my stuff to take out to a cab. I heard these two younger employees chatting away about having tomorrow off, and how they were going to head to this party right after they got off of work when the last customer left. These employees definitely could have gone to the back of the store to punch out and have this conversation. Instead, one of them glanced at me trying to shove my carts towards the exit. The next thing I know, both of these guys are helping me out, without another word being said. They simply grabbed the bags and got at it. We got to the front door, but there weren’t any cabs to be found! One of the employees told me, ‘No worries sir, I’ll go all one for you.’ That employee headed back inside, and the other one waited with me until a cab arrived. They helped me to load up the trunk and the back seat, and it was now twenty minutes past when their shift was supposed to end. I didn’t hear one word of complaining or a mention of the time. There weren’t even any efforts to hurry me up or anything! All they told me after we finished up was to have an excellent evening, and thank you for shopping with us. It’s those little things that make a lasting impression. Once I got home and put all of my food away, I wrote to that store and informed them precisely of how well things had gone. Sometimes actions definitely speak louder than words.”
I Can’t Believe He Actually Bought It!
“While in my senior year in high school in 1960, I worked in a television store that sole RCA color television sets. This was back when color television was just being introduced! Back in those days, there was such a tedious process to set up one of these televisions for display, and we could not move it once it was properly aligned. This television was actually made from a metal casing that was sensitive to magnetic waves in the earth. Buyers could not understand our warnings about not moving the televisions once we finished setting them up in each house. It was up to me to answer service calls and perform repairs on televisions and respond to people complaining that their sets had a blurry or fuzzy picture. We would always know immediately what would call the color televisions to become totally blurry. One day I arrived at a home to fix another blurry set, and I noticed immediately that the set had been moved across the room. I asked the woman why the set had been moved, and she said that her husband wanted it in a different location. I asked if she remembered our telling her not to move the television, and she said she did, and that she had warned her husband not to move it, but he didn’t believe our instructions. Because the antenna cable wasn’t long enough to reach the new location, the husband tried using the rabbit ears antenna, which wasn’t sensitive enough to relay a strong signal to the set. I moved the set back to the original location and realigned the three color prongs in the picture tube. I told the woman to tell her husband not to move the set again. She told me he wouldn’t listen. I told her I wouldn’t come back if the set was moved again. About that time, the husband entered and I tried to explain the rules once again. He got angry and threatened me for some reason. He was much bigger than me, and I really didn’t want to take him on. That’s when I had the wackiest idea.
I told this customer that I had electrical powers which I learned from fixing televisions, and that I could use those powers against humans too. So if this guy was looking to beat me up, he should better be prepared to get shocked with approximately twenty thousand volts of electricity. This man actually completely believed my lie, so he backed off and promised he would not move the television set once again. I told him that if he wanted the set in a different location, that I would have to rewire his outside antenna and make the antenna cable longer, but all he could get out of his mouth was to tell his wife to pay me for the service call so I could leave. I shared the story with my two coworkers in the shop and we couldn’t stop laughing. We would always look back fondly on that incident.”