Encounter with the Mall Clerk

Went to the post office in the Mall.  The Clerk does not acknowledge me. She slouches over to the counter and barely asks what I want.  Her mannerisms display a clear lack or concern, as if she is bored and can't be bothered.  I ask if I should make the package smaller to lower the price and she sneers an answer.  Al-righty!  It doesn't matter what she said; it was how she said it.

I hold out $20.05 for the $9.05 bill. She cannot even look at my hand to notice that I am holding a nickle with the twenty. I tell her twice I have a nickle. She doesn't respond but finally throws the change she has started to count back into the till and takes the nickle from me.

OK, this lady needs some lessons in etiquette and...or... she must be having a bad day.

As I turn to leave, I hear this Clerk say to the Customer behind me, "Hiiii! How may I help you?" and I hear all manner of perkiness from said Clerk.

I wait for the Customer to come out. She is a lovely grandmother type. I approach her cautiously and say "Excuse me, I just want to check if I'm crazy. Do you think that lady was rude to me?" She agreed with me wholeheartedly that she was very rude to me, and even told me that she saw the clerk roll her eyes when she took the nickle from me.

I shopped a couple of minutes to think things through and pray.  First, approach the person who offended you.  As I approach the Clerk I can see she is already bristling. As I stand at the counter, she is brimming over with a double-shot of attitude. I say, "Do you remember me?" The disgust in her "yes" is palpable, as they say in bad novels. "I just wanted to know if I did or said something to offend you," to which she replied, "Oh I am just having a bad day."

"Well, that's what I thought, but then I saw how polite you were to the woman behind me and I just wanted to know if I offended you somehow." She repeatedly says that "everything's fine" and sorry if I was offended. Hmmm, call me cynical but I don't think she really meant it!  Not only was she [at least] rude, she was also a coward.

So, I spend a few minutes thinking some more, then I went to the Mall Office and shared the situation. It was obvious from the Mall Woman's expression that this was not the first complaint about said Clerk. She said she would take care of it, and she apologized to me.

So what do you think happened?
Need I tell you the Clerk was white?  

and that the grandmotherly Customer was also white?
I have so many friends that do not think East Asians are on the receiving end of prejudice or racism in all it's ugly glory.  How else could I interpret what happened?


Lora said...

I have to say that race most likely was the issue. It's so sad that people are so full of anger and hatred, and I'm guessing they feel that they are justified in their "opinions".

I'm wondering how old this woman was. I've encountered so many people who are prejudice and racist against Asians, especially if they or someone they love fought in the Korean or Vietnam War. And when I was younger, I remember hearing the older men at church talk about WWII and Japanese people.

Also, I find that more Whites are tolerant of African Americans and other Black people than they are Asian people. I often wonder if Whites feel threatened in the job market by Asian people in a way they aren't threatened by Black people.

It's all so horrible and I'm sorry this happened to you and both you and the clerk are in my prayers. You because I love you and her because I have hope that she can change.

Jo-Lynne {Musings of a Housewife} said...

You know we have discussed this and I was surprised to hear that this happens to you. I believe you, I am just surprised. I guess I don't understand that kind of prejudice. I do understand having preconceived notions about people of certain races, which might be prejudice, but I don't understand being rude to a perfect stranger based on their race. It makes no sense to me.