You Can’t Make This Shit Up (Part VI)

15 July, 2008

(((Wife))), (((Boy))), and I went out this evening (well, it was late afternoon (but after dinner (BLT’s made with thick cut hickory smoked bacon and heirloom tomatoes (our tomatoes are not in yet)) and boiled corn on the cob)), stopped at a store so (((Wife))) could find a cloth bag (she’s headed to Florida to visit relatives and she wants a bag which can hold her clothes without having to be checked (a checked bag costs an extra $50.00, for Pete’s sake)).  After, we headed across the river to Rita’s (a somewhat local chain with really good Italian Ices and custard (i’m currently eating a cherry Gelatti (custard and cherry ice))).  Along the way, we stopped at a quickie mart (can’t remember which one (WaWa’s, Turkey Hill, Sheetz (everything BUT 7-11))) as (((Boy))) needed to use the facilities.  While inside, I heard the following:

Customer #1:  This is the twelfth time I’ve been here and the damn gas pump wouldn’t give me a receipt.

Manager:  I’m very sorry, sir, I’ll get you a receipt right now.

Customer #1:  This happens every goddamned time!  What’re you trying to do, save money?  Don’t have to buy paper?

Customer #2:  That’s just like THEM.

Manager:  Here is you’re receipt, sir.

The manager was South Asian;  well spoken, polite, well dressed.  The two customers were Pennsylvania Redneck — unshaved (no beard or mustache, just too lazy to shave), dirty T-shirts (maybe they were coming from work digging ditches (and before anyone attacks me on that one, I have dug ditches)), bad hair cuts (one sported a really nice mullet (not the fish, the hair cut)) and generally looked like the kind of person I would forbid my daughter dating (which is not a problem, because I seriously doubt she would even look at men like that in that way).  The one who made the racist comment sported a T-shirt with the following:

“God Loves Everyone!”

(((Wife))) and I discussed this on the way over to get the Italian Ice. 

So Customer #2’s attitude was:  “God Loves Everyone, But I’m a Racist.”  Or maybe his thought process (and I use the term ‘thought’ rather liberally here) was:  “It’s the truth, I’m just the only one brave enough to say it.”  Does he really believe that this attitude is acceptable?  Apparently, south Asian “Arab-looking” men are acceptable targets for racism (thank you, war on terror). 

The racist comment offended me.  The fact that he was wearing a fundie T-shirt just amused me.



  1. When I had my last surgery at the VA I was asked if I objected to the anesthesiologist who was an Arab.

    I asked if he was competent, would my questioner accept his services. I was told ‘of course’.

    That was good enough for me, and I asked why the question was even asked in the first place.

    I was told that a lot of people didn’t trust the Arabic or south Asian people.

    I can understand why this might be so in the case of a returnee from the present fun and games, but apparently it translated to many others.

    Turned out the man wasn’t even Islamic, he was a Copt.

  2. Sad to say, your story does not surprise me at all.

  3. You know there was something on ABC where they had two secret actors in a store, a white guy behind the counter and a muslim woman as a customer. The one behind the counter tells the other she has to leave and he won’t serve her kind. Some of the real customers gave him a thumbs up. A few gave him shit. Most just quietly said and did nothing, continued shopping and left.

    The post is nice boss, but what did you do there?

  4. I wondered if anyone would notice that part was left out. I have to admit that I was slightly stunned (it’s not often (luckily) that I run across such blatant offensiveness), so my reaction was not as quick as it should have been. Customer #2 was already on his way out. I said to Customer #1: “That was offensive” while nodding toward the guy heading out the door. He said, “And he does it all the time.” Then customer #1 apologized to the manager for his friend’s comment.

    I should have been quick enough to say something to #2, but didn’t think quick enough. Given the muscles and attitude, I did not chase after him.

    And trust me, I ain’t the boss. I avoid long-term leadership positions (I’ll gladly head up a project, but don’t make me the permanent boss) because of situations like this — something comes out of left field and I tend to freeze up. Later, I can deal with it, but at the time? Kinda slow.

    These damn things take me by surprise. I thought of some snappy comebacks later, but I don’t have Al Jaffe’s imagination.

  5. You’ll know Christians by their love (/snark)

    What would Jesus do? Make racist and bigoted comments at a WaWa’s apparently.

  6. In my younger days (getting farther and farther away, now) I sometimes worked at one of the local gas stations in our area of Northern Virginia.

    The owner made Archie Bunker look like the soul of liberalism, when he didn’t add some adjective to a racial or ethnic slur it was a sign he kind of liked the person he was talking about.

    He owned three stations and spent time at each of them left under the management of someone else, in the case of the one I worked at it was cousin and his oldest and best freind.

    A black man (this was 1963) came in one day and wanted his engine flushed. The manager gave me the job, told me to drain the oil, fill the crank case with kerosene, let it run for five minutes, drain it, and replace the oil and filter. I questioned this, and was told we didn’t have all day, and if I wanted to be there at the end of it, get cracking.

    The man made it about two blocks before the engine turned into a very large fishing weight, and he came back angry. A very spirited dispute was taking place when the big boss came in.

    He wanted to know what was going on and his kinsman told him, opining that it was a good joke on the explitive racial slur.

    Big boss didn’t agree, to the shock of all present. He turned red as a beet and fired his cousin and friend on the spot. Told him to ‘go long down the road’.
    His cousin was shocked, how could he DO such a thing??!! It was just a racial slur!

    Big boss said the man may be a racial slur with black skin, but he had green money and was a customer. Big boss stated that he was a lot of things, but two that he was not were thief and cheat and he wouldn’t tolerate ANYONE he dealt with to be treated as this man had been treated. So, ‘go ‘long down the road, cain’t use ya in my business”. And a life long friendship was ended.

    He replaced the mans engine free of charge, and it was my job to pick him up and take him to work and take him home from work and take his wife food shopping if she wanted, until the engine was done. Gave him a brand new engine, too.

    I still can’t make up my mind whether he did the wrong thing for the right reasons or the right thing for the wrong reasons.

  7. Sarge – another great story. Off the top of my head, the guy seems to have done the right thing for the wrong reasons. Still, the right thing got done. More importantly, you seem to have learned some valuable lessons from the whole thing.

  8. Chaplain – Back in those days…I think things are a lot better.

    One of the jobs I had back then was working on the capitol dome, sand blasting and other things. I helped the boss replace the lightning rods on the statue on top of the cupola.

    There was a small burger stand near there where we would often pick up something for break or lunch, and everyone, black and white, ate there.

    Laws were passed about non-discrimination and the man stopped serving blacks. Wouldn’t be told what to do, it was HIS place and NO ONE would tell him who he MUST accept as customers. Since most of his custom was “black” he folded in about two weeks. Being “right” was more important than prosperity, or consistancey.

    But, I met my daughter-in-law, a black woman, in the same room that I read about the banishment of an interracial couple at about the time the events with the diner and gas station occurred.

    A branch of my wife’s family owned pretty extensive land in the Silver Spring, MD, and Fairfax, VA area about a hundred and fifty years ago, and they owned many slaves. Our married son was stationed at Bethesda Naval Hospital and lived on land once owned by them. Complained about the noise from 495, but I told him it was probably the sound of his ancestors doing triple flip flops in their graves. We all laughed.

    And we have since found out that my wife’s family, which really rejoiced at being caucasian, well, there’s (as they used to say) “a touch of the tar brush”. We REALLY Laugh about that.

  9. He was wearing a “god loves everyone” t-shirt to top it off. Wow. No respect. In college we were encouraged not to wear school or fraternity apparel when doing stupid things (generally drinking). It was more out of respect for all the other people you represent when in those clothes. So sad.

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