I'm home sick, today, because my throat hurts like hell.What do you think? was up with this situation?
I also had an errand or two to run, though. One of the stops I made was at a local grocery store, Albertson's.
As I entered the check-out line, I noticed the little, old, white lady ahead of me was taking quite a while to finish her transaction. The Black clerk who was helping her was exceptionally patient and eager to offer assistance.
While this was mildly inconvenient, I figured I'd take the opportunity to disengage my mobile phone and iPod from their belt-clips to examine the similarities between them. I'd just found a hard case for the iPod and was comparing it to my mobile phone's hard case.
Around that time, the clerk, ready to scan my item, noticed my gadgets and said, "How do y'all walk around with those big ol' phones like that?" Despite my throat, I was prepared to explain that 1) the cases make'em look larger than they are and 2) one is a phone and one is an mp3 player.
Before I could do that, she went on to say, "It just looks so tacky."
. . .
(Did this 3$^#$ just call me "tacky?")
Determined to deliver a very measured response, I quietly, but sarcastically said, "Well, that was nice." She paused, then said, "I'm sorry..."
Right then, her co-worker, who'd been smiling before that, made one of those Mr. Bill-style "Oh, no," faces.
Without missing a beat, the clerk continued saying, "...but I guess that's how those older phones are. But people keep using them. I don't know why... I guess it's just for show."
Now this 3$^#$%& is saying I'm shallow?!
Right after that the old lady who'd gone before me (but STILL hadn't left) said that she needed someone to help her put her items in her vehicle. The clerk was about to call someone, but I turned to the lady and said I'd do it.
The little old lady smiled saying, "Really? Thank y..."
The clerk wasn't having any of that, though. She quickly said, "Noooo, we'd better get one of our employees to do it."
The little old lady shrugged her shoulders and made the Mr. Bill face. I told her that the clerk, "doesn't like me very much."
The clerk offered no response or explanation (like insurance liability or something).
The clerk fumbles around with some papers, then I asked if we were done. She finally hands me my receipt, thanks me, and calls me "sir." As I walk out the door, I tell the little old lady to have a nice day, as I hear the clerk calling an employee over the intercom system.
To recap: The clerk was exceedingly pleasant and helpful with the old, white woman ahead of me, but was rather rude and distrustful with the 32-year-old Black male who was next in line (i.e. me).
Now, I'll be honest, if the clerk had been white, I'd have concluded, with some confidence, that her responses to my presence and actions were racially-motivated. The fact that she's Black makes me doubt that, but I'm not prepared to fully dismiss the notion, yet. (One day, I'll have to post about the Waffle House incident from a couple of years, ago, which primed me for such situations with my people.)
I really hope there are a number of responses to this one because I'm very curious about what you all think of this situation.