It's like having your own black man in the pool!

The new house has an inground pool. I read a book, and opened it successfully.

After vaccuming the bottom a couple of times, I decided my time was better spent elsewhere and I determined to buy one of those bottom crawling pool robots to do the job for me.

So, I go to the local pool store here in rural PA.

The last few times I’d been in there to buy chemicals I didn’t get the time of day, but as soon as I sidle up to the pool robots, I get attacked with customer service.

“That one’s a nice unit!” the guy says.

“What’s so special?” I ask.

The guy starts reading the box to me. I didn’t his help for that.

I look at a few different ones, but I can’t seem to get the guy to go away. Each time I start to examine a box, he jumps in and starts telling me what a nice unit it is, and then reads the box out loud.

He starts trying to qualify me by asking questions about my pool, and doesn’t seem to get the message when I keep telling him “I’m just looking.”

So, even though I came here to buy a pool robot, I decide to leave, and maybe come back when I can evaluate the different kinds in peace or with the help of a knowledgable salesperson.

At which point the guy makes an overture:

“You haven’t seen this one. It’s probably the best for the money.”

I go to look at it, and it’s in the middle of the price range, seems well-built, simple, and it’s made by the same manufacturer as my filter.

“It doesn’t have a lot of extra features, but it’s a reliable workhorse, and it does a good job. It’s what we use in our pools.”

Ok, I think. Maybe the guy does have something to offer after all. I look it over, see the two year warranty. It’s on sale. It’s just what I’m looking for.

“I think this will do,” I say.

“Great!” he says, and picks it up to carry it to check out for me. “These things are great. It’s like having your own personal black man cleaning your pool.”

I’m kind of stunned and don’t say anything. The worst is that a moment later I get annoyed. I really want this thing, but now I feel obligated to inconvenience myself and not by it, because of what the guy just said.

I think about what I’d say to you guys, or my friend the newspaper editor who’s black (although he doesn’t care about this kind of thing. He seems to think these kind of guys blow themselves up without the need of outside help.)

I say “I think I want to think about this a little bit more.”

He says “If you don’t like it, you can bring it back. Don’t worry. You’ll love it.”

So, I sigh, and say what I feel I need to say.

“Actually, I didn’t like your comment.”

“What comment?”

“The thing about the black guy in the pool.”

He gives me concerned “I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just making a joke.”

“I know. No big deal. But, I don’t want to buy it now. Have a nice day.”

He actually follows me out the door, apologizing, but it really feels like he’s chasing a sale.

He keeps saying that he didn’t mean to offend me, that it just came out, adn I keep saying it’s no big deal and thanks for the help, and then I go home and look at the bugs at the bottom of the pool.

After a few moments trying to ponder my little morality play, I’m not sure what’s been accomplished.

I’m not happy. My pool is dirty. The pool guy isn’t happy. He didn’t get a sale. Where’s the gain?

Then it kind of creeps into the back of my head, and it grows and takes on strength.

It Would be nice to have my personal black guy cleaning my pool. But, it’d be even nicer to have that fat white guy doing it.

And, of course, right now the perfect response comes to mind. I should have asked him if he had any white pool robots, as I didn’t want any black ones in the pool.

What an ass! (Him, not you)

Although I really want one of those pool robots. We’ve only got an above-ground, but it would still be nice. But $300 plus? I don’t think so.

Besides, everybody knows that Black people can’t swim… you could be hella liable if your pool robot drowned. :stuck_out_tongue:

If it means anything, Scylla, I am highly satisfied by your refusal to buy the robot. Could making Auntie Em happy be considered a gain? :wink:

Lol what a dumbass. You handled it well. I would have laughed at his stupidity and taken my business elsewhere too.

You know, that is a tough one, Scylla. That stupid asshole has made you uncomfortable purchasing a product that you need. Actually, he’s made you uncomfortable giving $$ to someplace where he works and thus has an association.

You know what I’d keep in mind? His comment and your non-purchase can be separate issues. You didn’t buy the product because you don’t want to reward that kind of ignorance. In a way, you wanted him to know that his comment sucked and that there was a cost involved for making it. The cost, in this case, was that he didn’t get a sale. But you lose out on that as well. The problem is what was chosen as the cost for his comment. Why have it be the sale when that hurts you, as well? Instead, make the cost of his comment a report to his boss about his behavior and how offensive it was. That’s his punishment for being a fookin’ asshole. And buy your product at the price you want. Hell, maybe even the boss’ll cut you a deal.

Of course, if the asshole owns the store, you’re screwed.


Scylla: I would have probably done the same thing. And felt just as conflicted afterwards. Those type of situations ( and I’ve had a couple of similar ones ) throw me for a loop. I always feel a little stunned and uncertain what I should say or do.

  • Tamerlane

Bottom Crawling Pool Robots is a great band name.

So web search the manufacturer, and buy direct. Let them know, if they say they want to use the guy that you won’t deal with him, but do want the product.


Very impressive. I’m sure I wouldn’t have had the moxie to have done the same in your situation. Of course, my pool would be clean, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. :wink:

Scylla, this somehow confirms my belief that you are the ultimate fearless leader. You rock.

:smiley: I would have said to the salesman “C’mon, you’re a little white man, why don’t YOU come and clean my pool. You could be the new top of the line BigotSweep2000!”

But of course, that’s because I’m really mean.

Elly, evil evil fearless leader of the Scylla dictatorship Happy Fun Squad

Have the manufacturer ship you a new one. Of course, if it arrives in the back of the bus then you’re kinda confronted with the same problem again.

You done good, Scylla. That moron had probably been making the same comment to every other customer and it’s nice that someone finally showed him just what a bigot he was.

Just chiming in here, you did the right thing.

I just checked on the internet. The Hayward Navigator is what I want. It’s actually really on good sale at this place. It’s cheaper at the store than at a discount dealer.

I’ll go back during lunch and see if I can buy it from somebody else.

Aye, the man was a bigot, but I think that it was not out of hatred but out of ignorance. Rural PA is not known for it ethnic diversity. It is quite possible that the salesman has lived in the general area his entire life and has seen maybe 15 or 20 minorities. They were quite possibly manual laborors.

While skiing in Southern PA (no jokes about it not really being skiing, please) my friends and I stopped at McD’s to eat. We were served by a pimply faced teen named Rodney. A white guy. Here in the East side of Washington DC, McDs are pretty much staffed by minorities. We commented that the closest thing Yocumtown (no lie, that was the name!) was a white guy named Rodney working in McDonalds!

Where in rural PA are you? Should we expect to see you at DC/Balt. dopefests?

I think what you did makes no sense.

The pool cleaner wasn’t racist. the company that makes it wasn’t racist, the company the guy works for wasn’t racist. so why did you ‘punish’ all those things (by not buying the pool cleaner) because of the racist guy?

Well, I figured he probably got a commission on these things, but I agree that it didn’t make too much sense.

There’s 15 of them on eBay, and I bet very few make any mention of being as good as a black man!

I know he doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt, but…

Is it possible that maybe it is just one of those comments that sounded humorous and a little edgy in his head, and came out totally racist? Obviously he was trying to be funny, and missed his mark terribly.

Surely he didn’t mean that he actually believed the cleaner was like having a black man cleaning the pool, and that somehow this was superior to having a man of another race dedicated 24/7 to just your pool. He did chase after you apoligizing profusely, which is the very least he should do. Maybe he was chasing the sale, or maybe he realized how truly studid he acted and wanted you to forgive him. I’d be more inclined to think the latter if the guy was young, and the former if he was an older guy.

Truly bonehead move, though. No doubt about it.

I had never before considered the deep moral quandry faced by persons who struggle with pool maintenance. I am humbled.

Faced with the storm of accolades and kudos sure to rain down upon your modest self, no doubt you are prepared to blush becomingly and say “It was the least I could do.”

And you would be right.