Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Today I met a real live racist

I had two goals today - to buy an iMac for my children (been saving up forever), and watch tonight's debate between Obama and McCain.

I did all of the usual things - go to the store, point to the machine I wanted, told what warrantees I wanted (and which I didn't). The problem started when I ran my bank card through the machine, and was declined (even though I had more than enough money in my checking account).

Then came - the racism.

Me: I'm hoping to get out of here in time so I can go watch the debates. Especially with all of the nastiness Palin has been spreading around.

Salesguy: Oh, I like her. Besides, Obama kind of scares me.

Me: Really.

Usually when I hear "Obama scares me", I get an earful about "most liberal senator" or some other stuff.

Me: How so?

Salesguy: I've noticed he's been revealing more of his true Muslim nature.

I nearly froze. I had my phone to my ear while my bank tried to figure out why my purchase didn't go through.

Me: Oh, yeah. I mean - heaven forbid. We certainly wouldn't want a Muslim to have any government office. No - wait, that would be a horribly racist thing to say.

Salesguy: Oh, I don't think so - they're dangerous!

At that moment, the bank took me off of hold. Turns out I had to purchase the computer as an "debit" not "credit". Oh. Silly me.

I made my purchase, and the sales guy walked me out with my purchase to the car. And the whole time, I kept thinking - he looks so normal. I would never think the guy was a racist.

I 've never really met racism. I mean, I've heard a racist joke - the old Polish jokes when I was a kid, but I've never met someone who really thought bad things about a person because of their religion or ethnic background.

Actually, that's not entirely true. I remember as a teen being told by others that I didn't believe in Jesus because I was Mormon - even though the name "The Church of Jesus Christ" it put in big metal letters on the side of our buildings. But people never thought that I was a danger should I ever run for office, or that my "family history" should preclude me from ever doing anything in public.

I now regret not saying something more, making how offended I was clear. Or perhaps being more forceful. Or even canceling my purchase. I didn't - I just walked away.

1 comment:

Pam said...

You can still do something--contact the store manager and express your surprise and dismay that a sales person believes it is appropriate to make racist commentary to customers, and that while you didn't cancel the purchase at the time, you now regret doing so, and intend to shop elsewhere for your Apple products in the future. It would be best if you could provide the salesperson's name, but even if you can't, if you give your name, what you bought, and time of purchase, they should have a record.

I mean, this really isn't an economic environment where stores can afford to be alienating customers, so the will probably get a reprimand, if nothing else.