**This is a true story, however names of locations and individuals have been altered or omitted to protect the awful…Enjoy my struggle**
Many years ago, I worked at a Print & Ship Center. It was the most conveniently placed location in the downtown area of my home town which is where I lived at the time. People would filter in throughout the day to make copies, rent computers for printing and research, even buy office supplies. One of the most utilized functions was being able to overnight ship packages to most any location (within reason). It was truly a one stop shop for most office needs.
On this particular day, I was manning the shipping counter. It was a duty I generally had no qualms in taking on, simply because it was repetitive and therefore easy;
- Take Package
- Offer Packing Services If The Package Wasn’t Ready To Ship
- Have Customer Fill Our Shipping Form
- Scan Shipping Form
- Fill In Shipping Information
- Provide Customer With Quote Of Shipping Cost
- Accept Payment
- Return Credit Card To Customer If One Was Provided
- Print Out Shipping Label
- Affix Label To Package
- Thank Customer…Wish Them A Pleasant Day
- Profit $$$
Number 8 is bold because this was one of the most crucial steps to me in my process as far as I’m concerned. Being a working class black man, I want to give people absolutely no reason to believe that I would steal anything from them. I’ve been accused of stealing, or having intent to steal (not sure how one can visually measure intent) more times than I care to admit, so I do everything I can to avoid those types of situations.
A nice elderly lady came in to ship a package. Naturally I was more than willing to help her out. I had gone through all my steps, until we got to step 8. I swiped her card like I always do, printed out the receipt like I always do, and handed said card and said receipt back to the customer like I always do, which she stuck into her purse (no where specific).
This is where things got interesting and the nice elderly lady became not so nice.. (This is not the conversation verbatim, some of it is paraphrased:
Lady: Oh, where’s my credit card?
Nero: I handed it back to you ma’am. (smiling politely)
Lady: No you didn’t it’s not in my purse!
Nero: Perhaps you put it somewhere you don’t normally put it in your purse?
Lady: NO! I ALWAYS put it in the same place! Are you sure you didn’t put it in your pocket?
Nero: Ma’am, I’m 100% sure that I gave your card back to you…I (I was going to explain that I always make sure to hand the credit card back to avoid it being misplaced but she interrupted me with)
Lady: WELL I’M 100% SURE YOU DIDN’T! IF YOU TOOK MY CARD, PLEASE JUST GIVE IT BACK TO ME.
At this point, she had captured the attention of other customers in the store, several customers were looking at me…some of the more regular customer with the look of “This poor guy” and the rest with a look of pure disgust. How could this awful black monster take a credit card from a helpless old woman!?
At this point I wasn’t going to try and call her out…but at the same time she was not only calling me a thief but a liar on top of it! I pretended to look for her credit card behind the counter, knowing that I wasn’t going to find anything there. All the while I was thinking “Please just look in your purse…please just look in your purse…”
After what felt like forever (but was actually only a few minutes) I heard “Oh….here it is…I put it in a different pocket”
Needless to say I was pissed off. Insanely pissed off. If she had just humored me, for one second this all could have been avoided, she wouldn’t look like a racist idiot. If that wasn’t bad enough, instead of apologizing, she tries to make small talk with me!
Lady: So…what were you planning to do with the rest of your day after work?
Nero: No plans really…you have a nice day ma’am.
I gave her the last polite smile I could manage, and took a break as soon as I was done helping the rest of the customers in line.
“They don’t pay me enough for this” I thought to myself.