Casual racism

Customer: I can’t believe you’ve got all this Christmas stuff but no Nativity scenes!
Me: We’ve got Nativity scenes! See?
Her: No, I was looking for Christmas stocking designs. *pause* It’s all because the Jews and Arabs are taking over the world.
Me: Excuse me, this shop is run by a Jewish family…
Her: I bet it is!
Me: Look, we’ve got tons of Nativity scenes here. See? Whole books full of Christian iconography. There you go. We just don’t have any stockings right now!

And I left, fuming. How dare she? She looked like any other customer, like somebody’s Mom. Your typical middle class, middle-aged, white Australian Christian lady with boofy hair and big earrings. When she said it, my first response was to try to shame her by pointing out that the people who owned the shop she was in were part of the groups she was maligning. Instead, she took it as a friggin’ explanation. I’m still mad. I went downstairs and Albert asked me what I was so upset about. “Could you go upstairs?” I said. “There’s a blonde woman over by the fabric counter. Could you just stand near her for a while? Maybe mutter something about Palestine or leave a suspicious package next to her?” He laughed it off; he’s dealt with people like her before. I haven’t. I just still can’t believe how casually she said it, as if everybody knows about the big Jewish and Arab conspiracy to keep Fat Racist Cows from buying Baby Jesus Christmas Stockings. (And who puts the Nativity on a stocking anyway? Stockings are about Santa, woman! So blame the damn commercialization of Christmas, not a Zionist conspiracy.) Some of the other staff said that she made similar comments to them, so evidently she was just wandering all over the shop spouting this crap at anyone with ears. I’ve worked out what I should’ve done though, and what I’m going to do in the future: I’m going to say that I’m Jewish. And I am going to shame her. And then I’m going to ask her to leave the store. Not that she’ll probably come back anyway…


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  1. Ha! I love those kinds of customers. Every once in a while someone like that will walk into my mom’s store and say something similar. That’s when my mom gently leans over and whispers, “I’m married to one.” in their ears.

    My favorite incident was when this woman was rambling on about no one around her being able to speak English. I let this woman go on for a good three minutes before letting her in on the secret that everyone around her was ignorning her because she was a you know what.

    I think next time you should say it is a Pagan conspiracy. They want their holidays back after they were stolen by the Christians! 😉

  2. I hate to break it to you Kris, but I’m afraid a person like that *has* no shame when it comes to such an issue – and if you told her indignantly (or politely!) that you were Jewish, she may stop her immediate comments, but as soon as she was home she’d probably complain about the ‘uppity shopgirl’ (ok, no one says uppity any more, but you know what I mean), and how there was yet more proof of the ‘Jewish conspiracy’…

  3. Kris, are you too sensitive? Those kind a people don’t understand to shame, they
    just think that you are behaving badly.

  4. people suck. bottom line.

  5. Play up to it – tell her she’s now added to the “list” then walk away. She can make of it what she wants.

  6. Aren’t people ridiculous sometimes? Blech.

  7. Hey Kris, I work right across the street from you. Next time you get one of these let me know, I’ll come on over and be all gay AND Buddhist right at her.

  8. Andrew, fantastic idea! (Where do you work anyway? I should come in and say “hi”!)

  9. If you look across the street and down towards the Westpac bank on the corner, I’m in the office building shrouded in scaffolding and hording. 99 York. (I swear the work on this building will never end.)

    I’ll pop into Tapestry Craft and say ‘Hi’ some time! I’ve thought about stopping by before, it’s only shyness and not wanting to appear to be a stalker that’s stopped me. 🙂

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