I have never worked in retail and am just totally baffled by all the stories where customers act so abusive towards retail workers, just because they have a different coloured skin, an accent, a religion, not a religion, are part of lgbtq, or … I dunno…
After reading hundreds of NAP stories, I just feel so sorry for all of you who have had those terrible experiences.
I realise more than ever that my demographics and whatever seem to have given me privileges that I thought were normal and common.
I know I’m rambling a bit, but I just… man, I wish I could comfort all of you. Nobody should be treated like that.
My apologies, NAP really is mindblowing for me, so if I forgot any more types of abuse, that is totally accidental and not on purpose.
I never realised that I seem to live in some kind of fairy tale environment and I’m not so sure how I feel about that right now, or rather, there are a lot of emotions. It’s not that I haven’t had abusive encounters, but I never have been in a situation where I couldn’t do anything about it.
It just never occured to me that there are zillions of people who aren’t as lucky and that makes me feel stupid/ignorant/sad/angry/and then some.
I guess I’m what people call a privileged straight (*) middle aged white guy. I just never realised how privileged that is. For the record, I haven’t been middle aged all of my life. I’m not rich or anything like that, I have a middle class career in a niche in IT, meaning I never have had to worry about finding a job. I realise that helps a lot. But I’m afraid the straight white male part helps too and I hate that.
I live in The Netherlands, Europe. Maybe that helps too? I don’t know, I have read some terrible Euro stories as well.
*) I have gay friends who try to persuade me to wise up, as their lovelife has been more stable than mine. I think they might be on to something, but I’m still sticking with heterosexuality.-
As a Londoner by birth, I would have probably had a similar experience had I not moved to different parts of the country. For instance I have not known a job where you needed to plan all your holidays a year in advance. Then I met SWMBO (from the North-East UK) and she didn’t know anybody who didn’t. Yes, we were both straight and white but we went it alone in a third part of the country. Believe me, in this liberalised world being a white, straight male doesn’t mean shit anymore.
DO NOT FEEL SORRY for having worked your backside off for a career that puts food on the table and pays the bills. Otherwise you would have people like me, turned down by the likes of the Golden Arches, blaming that on the fact that I didn’t tick a diversity box. Personally blaming yourself for being white and straight is discrimination, just like blaming someone who happened to tick a diversity box for getting the job and ignoring all the hard work that they have done.
I’ve never worked retail, so my experience is 100% up to what I see while shopping, and I am similarly shocked by the attitudes of so many customers on this site. You’d have to have me at knifepoint to get me to yell at an employee.
I’m also from the Netherlands. I’m a white male and not quite middleaged yet I like to think.
I’ve met a few screamers working retail, and my fair share of stupidity in bosses. However, most altercations with bosses are also because I don’t take even a little bit of shit, so if I would’ve been a bit different, I might not have had those at all.
The Netherlands (Europe in general) has less entitlement towards staff, basically because staff is allowed to have a spine more then in US, and in less fear of immediate termination. Chances are smaller to encounter stuff like that because of it.
And keep in mind: all stories here are the worst of a lot of different people, it’s not like you walk into a store, and everything you read here happens on a daily basis.
After writing the OP, I realised that I did have my fair share of abusive managers, but each and every time I was able to turn that around in my own advantage, so they didn’t stick as being bad experiences. I did have need to hire lawyers twice, but after they wrote their initial letters, the company/management gave in. One CEO had to rehire me after I left, for 2 weeks, for 8 times the pay, so I could write documentation and train my replacement. That company filed for bankrupcy 4 months later. So my career has seen some interesting ups and downs.
But I didn’t make an account here to boast about my experiences, and I have no idea if me being a straight white male has given me unfair advantages or not.
But the large amount of stories here where sexuality, race, religion were made relevant by customers have made me thinking.
So to all of you here who have to deal with that, and to all of you who have to deal with people whose only reason of existence is to make other peoples lives miserable; I’m impressed that you are/were able to deal with that, and you should be proud of who you are!
I know it’s off topic, but could you please (if you haven’t already) submit those stories, especially about the one where you had to be hired back for 8 times the pay? Or post them in the “Share your experiences”?
Back on topic, there is an interesting thread which might give you an understanding at least of LGBTQ+. I have no idea if it will help answer your question as to why some people are utter jerks to those who are LGBTQ+, but understanding of others is always a good thing.
@Istvan_Kiss; I’ll ignore your ignorance (if/when applicable) if you can overlook my mistakes/typos (not rarely applicable).
I had a fun but exhausting day yesterday while crossing 5 mountain passes in Austria and continuing to drive to Croatia afterwards. They have very nice beer here, and I am prepared to blame those for all my typing errors.
I remember a conversation with my Dad when I was a youth wherein he told me that he was worried people would take advantage of me because “I had no concept of people who just like to be nasty and cruel for the fun of it or because they can’t control themselves”.
A few years working in retail and in call centre work sure cured that.
@Stephen; I submitted the story, but just in case it doesn’t get published, here you go;
Years ago I was working at a videoproduction company that used computers to create 360 degrees video, before smartphones were powerful enough to that. I was responsible for designing and building all of their IT and was busy with a pair of coworkers to design a portable computer that was capable of real time video editting.
Because the CEO was young and unexperienced he often ended up accepting gigs that costed money.
[Coworker 2] had already been laid off and [Coworker 1] and myself were just about finishing the development of the portable computer when a promising customer in Brasil wanted to do a life registration of a concert. It was decided that [coworker 1] would help the videocrew with the setup and I spend my day off helping [coworker 1] to pack all the things he needed to take with him.
When I got home I go a phone call from [CEO] who directly started to yell at me for 5 at least 5 minutes because I hadn’t replied on an important email he had send me. When he finally stopped to breath, I told him that 1. It had been my day off, so it was unrealistic to expect that I would have read the email and 2. that I had been busy all day to make sure [coworker 1] would catch his flight and 3. I would never accept him yelling at me and 4. that I had recorded the call.
The next morning I gave him my resignation and told him that in instead of the legal termination term of 2 months I would give him 1 month, which with substraction of vacation days I would stop working in 2 weeks time -or- I would call in sick immediately and that we could talk in front of a judge.
He accepted and after my last 2 weeks of working I started self enployment and quickly got my first customer.
While working at their location my phone rang and it was [CEO]. They had found a replacement for me, but because he was a bit less experienced than me, he wanted me to write documentation and give him a head start by training him. When I told [CEO] my consultancy fee, effectively 8 times what I made before, he accepted it.
While looking at [replacement]s resumee I noticed that he had written half a page on describing -using- some software that I had -created- for a previous company we both had worked for. He was a friendly enough, but not capable of maintaining my software, and because the promising customer in Brasil wasn’t as promising after all, the company filed for bankrupcy some months later.
[Coworker 1] found a high profile job in the US while [coworker 2] went on a roadtrip to south east Asia.
@AlienToasterRepairs and @Kenneth_Vendelboe; I do not trust many people and may actually be borderline paranoia about that, but I just can’t comprehend why people feel the need to diminish other people. I can happily distrust someone while acknowledging that they are equal to me and treating them fair as long as they treat me fair too. And when I find out they didn’t, paranoia me will have prepared counter measures.
Unfortunately, it’s pretty simple why people treat minorities badly. People feel better about themselves when they’re superior to other people. So if you want to appeal to them, you convince them that they’re better than a minority that they’re not part of. This can also work to make people follow the virtues you want them to follow, like praising someone for being good at going to church every week makes them want to go even more. But you can’t just do that, or they’ll eventually catch on, because that really only works when people are insecure. Secure people who believe other people are inferior only feel pity, not hatred or disgust, which are far easier to manipulate. So in addition to them being inferior, you claim that they’re threats, because you don’t pity a threat. This also has the side effect of pushing all of society’s problems onto a single party, so you can excuse any of your wrongdoing by blaming the minorities.
The classic example would be blood libel, in which Jewish people are said to kill Christian children and eat their blood (note, Jews are not allowed to eat blood) because that stops them from menstruating from the butt for crucifixion-related reasons. Yes, this is an actual thing people believed and killed Jews over. Killing kids = threat, but they’re doing it because they’re religiously inferior. Thus, they are both objects of derision compared to the virtuous Christians and they are threats to the babies, and babbies must be protecc. And clearly, that means the virtuous Christians are absolutely not at fault for babies going missing.
More modern examples are saying that “gay people destroy the institution of marriage”. Because upholding the institution of marriage as a desirable thing is bad, apparently. They never actually explain how this works, aside from things like “marriage is religious”, but none of them ever try to stop atheists or people outside their religion from getting married. It’s almost as if it’s about making gay people into some kind of threat more than protecting the religiosity of marriage. Simultaneously, gay people are seen as licentious and unable to have children, making them inferior to faithful monogamous childbearers.
Once you get people into the mindset that X people are both threats and inferior to the virtues you want to promote, you can basically manipulate them at your leisure. Like how “radical feminists” have been manipulated into supporting misogynistic policies and accused rapists because that protects women better than allowing trans women to pee in peace. At the same time, they begin treating minorities with hatred, because they believe minorities are going to hurt them and are inferior, so minorities don’t have the power to stop it. And that leads to the behavior we see in NAR stories.
@KiannaMcDowell ; So you’re saying that abusive people first lower themselves and -then- try to bring other people down to their own perceived level. And me, having an inflated ego for no obvious reason, treats others on my perceived elevated level.
So everybody treats others as equal, just at different levels.
Apologies to make a joke of it; I think you are correct, but the implication is kind of funny if it weren’t so tragic.