Writer. (arabgirl) wrote in bad_service,
Writer.
arabgirl
bad_service

I don't like your religion and will tell you so

So I've been lucky to rarely encounter bad service. In fact, I think I've posted to this community only once or twice before. A story my sister related to me today, however, really takes the cake and made me pretty upset, so I thought I'd share. A little backstory: my family is Muslim. We all wear hijab (head scarves), so most people can usually tell we're Muslim right away. Her friends that were with her in this story were also all wearing hijab.

My sister and her friends decided to go to Walmart the other day to pick up a few things. The Walmart they visited is the closest one to our house so we usually stop by a few times a month and never encountered any problems before, which is why this particularly bothered me. One of her friends (we'll call her Sara) had brought a USB with her and wanted to print out some pictures, so they went to one of the self-service kiosks towards the back of the store and started using it. A male employee, I think early to mid-20s, then walked up to them and asked if he could ask a question. My sister and her friends said sure (as Muslims, we're used to the occasional question about Islam, especially after 9/11). He directed his question at Sara, who was using the machine, and asked her why she wore that thing on her head (pointing to her scarf). This is not the bad service, and Sara politely answered that she was a practicing Muslim and her religion required her to wear it for modesty purposes, and that it was her choice to wear it. (There, of course, is a much longer and complex answer than that but that's the basic purpose of it.) He responded by saying that he thought that was bullshit and wouldn't they get tired of wearing it when they got older?, and that he was SURE they were just going to take it off when they grew up. (My sister and her friends range in age from 15-17 and look pretty young). My sister and her friends were a little uncomfortable by this point, but were almost done using the machine and so just told him that no, they were happy wearing their scarves and didn't think they'd be taking it off in the future. Sara finished printing her pictures by then and so they took them and were going to go to the front to pay for the pictures and their other small purchases, when he asked them how many pictures they had printed. This question was unnecessary because it was a self-service kiosk which didn't require his help, and because they were going to the front to check out with the pictures so there's no reason he'd need to know, but Sara answered and said she printed 10 pictures. He then pointed to Sara and said: "Well, you better not be lying to me, cus if you are I'm going to rip that rag off your head!" By this time my sister was pretty offended and angry and they all went to the customer service desk to complain, where they talked to a manager about the employee (who they got the name of from his nametag) who apologized for the employee's behavior and said he shouldn't have said something like that, and that they'd talk to him about it.

I appreciate the manager's apology to my sister and her friends, but the employee's behavior really got on my nerves because they didn't need or ask for his help in the first place (they were using a self-service picture printing kiosk!), and were polite in answering his first question about their religion (which they didn't even have to talk about but usually do because they don't mind explaining about Islam to people who are genuinely curious), but then telling Sara that he was going to "rip that rag" off her head if she didn't tell him the truth about how many pictures she printed made NO sense to me! Even if she HAD lied to him (which, why would she?), it didn't matter because she wasn't even going to checkout with him, they were going to the checkouts in the front, so he didn't even need to know that! Thankfully, there's only been one or two instances where we've encountered that kind of ignorance before.

ETA: Been a while since I've used one of those machines (rarely print out my digital pictures), so didn't think about how he probably had to give them a tag for the pictures. The threat was still completely unnecessary though.
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