Friday, April 19, 2013

Apparently Fat Girls and Asians are Fair Game

Act #109: See people beyond their appearances.

I used to have one of those jobs where it was essential for me to remember names of thousands of people.  I was in charge of about 17,000 alumni at a small, private college, and twice a year during reunions, it sometimes felt like all 17,000 would converge back at the picturesque campus of their alma mater. 

Confession:  I'm horrible with names.  I went through great lengths to develop secret tricks to help remember people - like repeating their name back to them after the first initial introduction:  "It's so nice to meet you, Mr. Haley", or honing in on one memorable piece of clothing like a scarf, piece of jewelry or tie (a tactic that failed me miserably during cold weather months when people sometimes shed articles of clothing upon entering the indoors).  Or coming up with little identifying phrases to help jog my memory like "Donna does diseases" for the woman who heads up the Center for Disease Control or "Weird and Washed-up Walter" for the creepy guy with the lingering hug. 

So I get it, it's hard to keep track of so many people at one time.  And when your job depends on it, well the pressure is on.   But people, this slew of absurd nonsense that has been taking place - where fast food workers, restaurant cashiers, and store employees identify and describe customers by insulting their weight and race - has got to stop.  And seriously, what's with Asians and women with certain BMI's being singled out?  Many restaurant policies permit employees to use clothing and hair color to help identify customers, which apparently only works when identifying...skinny white people?

The most recent atrocity took place at a New Jersey CVS this week when a store employee printed the words "Ching Chong Lee" on the photo receipt for a Korean-American woman.  But there have been plenty others.  Last year, a trio of California friends were saddened to find  that their server at Chilly D's Sports Lounge typed the words, "Fat Girls" to identify them on their receipt, and a Papa John's employee was fired after using "Lady with Chinky Eyes" on a customer's receipt.  An Irvine Chick-fil-A employee referred to two Asian customers on their receipts as Ching and Chong.   In Queens, an Asian couple found the term "Chinx" on their Hooter receipts.  For the love of God, just put on your skimpy hot pants and just give them their buffalo wings already. And as an honorable mention, let's not forget the case where the tables were turned, and a customer actually wrote the "Stop eating you fat b*tch" in the tip line of their waitresses bill.  Classy. 

Some of these employees were fired.  Some merely counseled and "re-trained" on diversity awareness and etiquette.  God help you if you're Asian and on a perpetual diet.  Maybe it's time to stop eating out all together.  I hope my skinny white friends still join me sometimes.

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