At the counter...(Warning: racist)

I have had to meet people behind the counters all my life; at the banks, to book tickets, at the grocery store, at the driving licence office, etc. And I have noticed, every time I have a bad experience or a LONG delay, it was inevitably a colored person behind the counter.
The driving licence experience was particulary bad. The woman didnt know typing; she was just using two fingers. It took her something like 10 minutes to type my name and address out. She kept munching something that looked like M&Ms and thus soiled my id and other papers. She was positively rude to me as if I was wasting her time. But all I could do was bottle up my frustration and hope to get my licencs.
I am just pissed off with these people. why dont they look at their co-workers and learn? I am NOT saying all blacks are rude. I have MANY blacks who were positively nice to me and wanted to me out; but I am yet to have a bad experience with a non-black person behind the counter.

PS. I live in Baltimore.

I live in Illinois, and I can guarantee you that my experience here has been that it depends on the situation. At K-Mart, for instnce, all the checkout people are slow as molasses, regardless of race, creed, or nationable origin. At the grocery store where I shop, the check-out people are all quick and efficient, again, regardless of skin colour or background.

I think it has more to do with the employer’s attitude towards the customer, than with the employee’s personal situation.

It’s hard sometimes NOT to get ideas based on race. Where I live, the largest minority is Hispanics. For every good experience I have (and I’ve had some INCREDIBLY good service from a Mexican man who installed my sprinkler system), I have ten bad experiences. I don’t know why that is, but I wonder sometimes.

By far, though, the WORST service I get on a regular basis is from the teenagers who work at my local Blockbuster Video. If there was another video store within a few miles, I’d never go to my local Blockbuster EVER. Invariably, I go to check out my movie, and there’s 3 giggly teenagers gossiping at one end of the store, 1 forlorn looking teenager working at a register, and a line with ten people waiting to check out. ARGHGGHGHHG!

I agree with Athena here. Its hard NOT to get such ideas based on race.
Usually I try to cool down and think objectively about it. But when the other person is being callous I cant help cursing under my breath. Several minutes later after I have cooled down I am always amazed at how nasty I was.

You might want to re-word this. . .


I would guess that this is a self fulfilling prophecy. I hear people say this to me in Colorado where hispanics are the majority minority. I never have this problem.

But I have studied spanish for years and I love central american culture. So I expect to meet a nice, helpfull person.

You may be sending off a bad vibe. Or they may be expecting that you are going to be a jerk to THEM because of their race.

you were getting your drivers liscense! The person behind the counter was a state employee! That is why the person was slow! It had nothing to do with melanin content. State employees are slow, rude, and act incompetant (sp?) the reason is, the state employees have fantastic job security, and the state agency has no competition, and therefore can have hideous customer service, and rude workers. Of course, if you were being a jerk, if I was the clerk, I would do an intentional slowdown just to drive you nuts. (I bet you were muttering in line about how slow the service was etc. The sound travels both ways across the counter.)

My main problem is when people think I’m racist, when I’m only trying to do my job. I’ve had two black women accuse me of racism–one because I was going around the lab to make sure that nobody was eating or drinking and when I saw her with a pop, I told her to put it on the window ledge outside the door. She went off on me because I “singled her out” (nobody else had visible drinks or food at that point, and there were only two other people in the lab anyway). Mind you, there are signs posted all over every lab saying “No Food or Drinks Allowed,” and I was WELL within my rights to actually boot her from the labs for breaking the rules, but I never do that. The other came in right as I was opening the labs, and I hadn’t booted up any of the computers. I started up the computer she chose before starting up any of the other ones, and so I didn’t have to come back to hers to log it in, I told her that the computers didn’t need a password to get on the network even though they asked for one. She accused me of thinking she was stupid because she was black. Mind you, I do think that 99% of the people who come into the labs don’t know how to operate those particular computers as well as I do, but that’s a color-blind assumption. I was just trying to be helpful, and save both of us the time.

I wish I knew what to do in those situations. I don’t at all understand what it’s like to have such a big chip on my shoulder that I assume that everyone of a certain race is out to get me.

Verra13, I grew up in San Francisco. With the exception of New York City, SF is probably the most diverse city in the country. I have been helped by “behind-the-counter” people of every racial/ethnic/gender combination you can think of. About half are good at what they do. The other half stink at what they do. Of those that stink, the whites were as bad as the blacks, who were as bad as the spanish, who were as bad as the orientals, who were as bad as the disabled lesbians, who were as bad as…I think you get the idea. Are you sure you’re just not noticing the whites that don’t do a good job? Or maybe, by the tone of your original, and VERY racist, post, you already have this idea fixed firmly in your head, so you expect it to take longer when you see a black person behind the counter.

As we (supposedly) move to a more service oriented economy, it seems that the word service has been erased from the lexicon of today’s work force. I detest having to repeat myself when being waited on, giving my order or asking for assistance. Service personnel incompetence is equally frusting. The single biggest factor in my choosing a store, gas station or even a restaurant is the quality of service. I can only take my business elsewhere when I am dissatisfied. When I’m pleased, I complement the worker, notify the manager and often, when appropriate, over-tip. Servers at my favorite resaurants know who I am and what I like.

Smaller businesses are by far more attentive to their customers’ needs. Their employees are trained to do a job and, more often than not, they do it. Larger businesses seem to hold their employees to a much lower standard.

Who’s to say why?

Just take your gripes to the boss and your money down the street if things don’t change.

That was my take on the OP. And, as Mr. Zambezi said, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I agree with Drain Bead, too, that it’s hard to know what to do when accused of being racist when that was the furthest thing from your mind. The main focus of my homepage is genealogy, and so far in my research I’ve found mostly European and Native American ancestors. And I (foolishly?) stated that on my page. Was that racist of me? Someone thought so because a week or so ago they posted on my message board accusing me of only looking for European and Native American ancestors and being “in denial” about my black ancestors. I was horrified at the accusation! The thought of hiding any part of my heritage like that had never occurred to me. Since I haven’t found any black (or Asian, Latino, Jewish, or Australian Aboriginal) people in my family tree yet, should I add a disclaimer saying something to the effect that, though no blacks have been positively identified, the possibility cannot be and has not been ruled out? I didn’t do that, though, instead I added “AWANBILEYERHEID!” which I think fits because, so far as I can tell, I am much more likely to have Scottish blood in me than African. However, the possibility cannot be and has not been ruled out!

“I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it,” Jack Handy

As a state worker who assists the public, I take exception at that remark. Those remarks. Whatever. My point is, that’s a gross overgeneralization. In my agency, we are held accountable for our actions, and every one of us is required to do some kind of phone duty. I know for a fact that if I was rude or disrespectful to a customer, I’d be taken to task for it.

One of the things that frustrates me (and I’ve ranted about this before so I’ll be brief) is customers who expect us to bend or break the rules for them. We didn’t make these rules up just to inconvenience people, some of the are to protect our customers’ rights. But when you’re dealing with people who already feel like they’ve been jerked around by the system, and EXPECT you to jerk them around too, it’s hard to get through to them at we can’t just twist our timeframes around so they can go on vacation or buy a new car RIGHT NOW. (Granted, a lot of people who call that are desperate for their money having something more pressing than that, like a house payment, they need the money for, but the really irritating people are the ones who call and say, “We’re not going to get to go camping for the 4th of July because you won’t release our agreement early.”) Boo hoo, the law says we can’t, go camping NEXT weekend. That’s what I’d like to say but I can’t and don’t because I’m a good state worker. One of many.

“I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it,” Jack Handy

I dunno if I should joke about “wetbacks” or just keep my mouth shut…

Gr8kat, I am with you! I am a municipal employee. My title is “customer service clerk.” Most customers are okay, but far too many come in just expecting to be jerked around. They don’t want me to help them–they just want to see if they can beat City Hall, regardless of whether or not they are actually right. I and my co-workers do our best to see that the customers needs get met, and we do occasionally bend or break rules to do so. I treat all my customers equally, to a point. If a customer comes in trying to run a line past me (and after years in this business, you can spot them a mile away), I will bend no rules. I will not be deliberately mean or antagonistic to a customer, but I will not jump through hoops for them. I try to be very nice to the service people I deal with outside of work, too. Service work is not easy, whether you work for McDonald’s or the government.

As for race, well, I’ve gotten bad service and good service from pretty much all genders & nationalities. No particular group stands out…but I do agree on the abovementioned point about the teenagers at the video store. Geez…if they’re old enough to be in the workplace, they need to take it seriously!

Well, the thing in the initial question that struck me was the seemingly innocuous ending which mentioned her residing in Baltimore.

Dare i say, that is the key to this little quandry.

In New York City, everyone was everything. You had your cool black folk, and you had your assholes. Same thing for every groupo and even us honkeys. Growing up in this environ was great since I really learned to judge the character of a person.

Then, I moved to Washington DC. All bets were off!

We are talkinga city that reelected Marion Berry here! With a population that swore it was all a plot by the white man. Yeah, I know I could really go from upstanding to hanging with prostitutes offering me crack just because I was offered the stuff…

An overwhelming percentage of the black population in DC (and, says my brother in Baltimore, there as well) acts as if whitey owes them something. The rudeness, laziness and classness of these people was shocking to me.

I’m still all for accepting people who who they are not the color of their skin. But some cities lend themselves towards racism IMHO, and racism comes in all sizes, shapes, and yes, colors too…

VegForLife ““I have MANY blacks who were positively nice to me and wanted to me out;”
You might want to re-word this. . .”

Err… I certainly would. towards the end of the mail I wasnt exactly double checking what I was typing. That should read “I have MANY blacks who were positively nice to me and wanted to help me out”

About ALL governement employees being incompetent or rude, I must disagree. The dame at the tax return office was trying her best to clear things up (she didnt but who can possibly be simple when it comes to IT); the person at the SSN office was also nice,maybe a bit lethargic, but she WAS NOT RUDE and OR INCOMPETENT!! Thats my point.

Satan said" Well, the thing in the initial question that struck me was the seemingly innocuous ending which mentioned her residing in Baltimore."

I would like to clear up soemthing here; that too of slight importance. me Male. Thanks.

I have had pretty bad experiences in Boston also. I dont think the city is the only reason (even though it does play a part.)

Umm. . . You might want to look again. . .


You are positively perverted.
I have nothing else to say.

Never had to deal with a slow stupid white person behind the counter? You REALLY need to get out more.

“The first thing a man will do for his ideals is lie.”

–Joseph A. Schempeter

VegForLife –

 What's the hubbub? Didn't Thomas Jefferson have "manny" blacks who were positively nice to him and wanted to help him out?
 Veera, a regretable, but nontheless hilarious ommission.