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Imagine If I Bought Some Crackers

By Wyatt Earp | September 11, 2009

That's Racist!

Okay gang, I need you help. I especially need the help of people from differing races, because my issue is a real pickle. This incident happened to me yesterday, so I’ll tell the story and you can offer your much-needed and much-valued opinion. Here goes:

So, after work yesterday, I stopped at a Rite Aid near the division. Now, I work in a primarily African-American area of the city, so most of the employees of the neighboring businesses reflect the population. I entered the store wearing a shirt, tie, dress pants, and a jacket. My service weapon was hidden, as was my badge. The clerks may have guessed that I was a police officer, but there was no outward signs that this was the case. Keep that in mind.

I walked to the back of the store and grabbed a bottle of Diet Mountain Dew and a small bag of chips. Yes, I know I blew points, but that’s neither here nor there. I walked up the the front of the store, where two African-American female cashiers were at their stations. One cashier was helping a customer, and the other was not. The other cashier – an older woman whose name tag said, “Doris” – made eye contact, so I politely asked, “Excuse me, are you open?”

“Doris” replied, “No,” looked down, and opened her register. I guessed that she was counting her receipts for the day. I was wrong. I stepped into the other line, and awaited my turn. And that’s when it happened.

There was an African-American woman behind me in line, and when the other cashier started ringing up my items, “Doris” waved to the woman, smiled, and said, “I can help you over here!”

I gave “Doris” a quick, quizzical glance that she did not return, and asked myself what just happened. I did not say a word, but the issue was really bothering me. Why did this woman lie about not being open, and why did she immediately wait on the woman behind me?

Did she do this because I was white? Did she do it because the other woman was black?

Remember, there were no obvious signs that I was a police officer, so I don’t think it was that the woman did not care for cops. In four years, I have never had something like this happen to me in my division. Never. That’s why I was taken aback, and that is why it is bothering me. Is “Doris” a racist? I honestly don’t know. Am I overreacting? I don’t know that, either.

What do you think?

UPDATE – I sent an e-mail to Rite Aid Headquarters. Here it is:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I was in store #2604 (6101 N. Broad Street) on Thursday, September 10th, 2009 at approximately 2:45pm. I came to your store to purchase a Diet Mountain Dew for a quick snack. I brought the items to the cashier, and there were two cashiers at the registers. One cashier had a woman waiting in line, and the other did not. When the cashier with the empty line (her name tag read “Doris”) glanced up at me, I asked, “Excuse me, are you open?” Doris replied, “No,” then turned her eyes toward her register. I assumed she was totaling her receipts for the day. I stood in the other line and was waited on by the other cashier. As I was being checked out, an African-American woman got in line behind me (I am a white male). When Doris saw this woman behind me, she smiled at her, and stated, “I can help you over here.”

To say that I was perplexed is an understatement. Doris, who is an African-American female, just told me that her register was closed. When another African-American female appeared, she was magically open. I said nothing, paid for my items and left. I did not want to jump to conclusions, but the situation really disturbed me to the point that I asked myself if Doris’ actions were racially motivated.

While I do not live in area where Store #2604 is located, I do work there. I am a Philadelphia Police Detective who works two blocks away. I frequent this store quite often – or used to – and have never seen anything like this. While I have seen people show contempt for police officers before, I was wearing a jacket, and plainclothes. There is no way Doris could have known what I do for a living. My only thought was that she did not want to ring me up because I am a white male. I cannot prove that, of course, but given the circumstances surrounding the incident, what else can I think?

I am not writing to see anyone lose their job or to seek any compensation from your company. In fact, I have never written an e-mail like this complaining about an employee. I am a fairly easygoing person, and I realize that people sometimes have a “bad day.” I just wanted to let you know what happened to me, and that it disturbed me to the point that I will not shop at that store ever again.

Doris may or may not be a racist, but her actions that day completely offended me. Had I acted like this toward a victim or witness of another race, my department would bring me up on charges, and rightfully so. I would appreciate it if someone addresses this situation with this employee, because if she acted in this manner toward me, she could do so again to another customer.

Thank you for your time.

While I was pretty angry when writing this e-mail, I couldn’t outright accuse this woman of being a racist, nor could I demand satisfaction (read: her firing). I would assume that they throw those angry, bile-filled e-mails away. If I get a response, I’ll let you know.

Topics: All About Wyatt | 36 Comments »

36 Responses to “Imagine If I Bought Some Crackers”

  1. Randal Graves Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Oh snap, that’s way racist. Call Jesse and Al.

    You should have shaken the sh!t out of you Dt. Mtn. Dew, opened it and left it on the counter.

  2. Bill Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Maybe she didn’t like men.

  3. Moe Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Fuck `em. Call RiteAid Corporate and file a complaint. You know they’d have done it to you if it were reversed.

  4. Wyatt Earp Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Randal – I asked my friend, who is a sergeant in the district downstairs. he has been assigned there for years, and really knows the neighborhood and that store, in particular. His response?

    “Dude, do you really have any doubt that it was racist?”

    Bill – Possibly.

    Moe – I don’t want to be “that guy.” And yes, I know she would do the same to me.

  5. Old NFO Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Per my office manager (who is a black female) and my FSO (who is a black male)

    Full on racist, but it doesn’t count because you are:
    a. white
    b. the man
    c. not from around there

    take your pick!

  6. Wyatt Earp Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Old NFO – Can I take “D,” All of the Above?

  7. Mrs. Crankipants Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    Years ago when I waited tables, a nicely dressed African American man and his girlfriend would sit in my station. He wouldn’t look at me or speak to me or acknowledge my presence, so when I was taking their order, he would whisper what he wanted in her ear, and she would speak for him. So she’d tell me he wanted steak, and I would ask him how he would like that cooked, and he’d whisper the temperature in her ear. She thought it was hilarious, I, on the other hand, wanted to plunge a steak knife through his heart. The evening ended with Mr. Silence paying with an Amex gold card, and leaving me a quarter on the tip tray. Did I mention that the check was almost $95?

    After putting up with this crap three or four times, I informed the manager that I would no longer be waiting on these trolls. The following week, they popped in and the manager told them that they were no longer welcome and why. Mr. Silence immediately accused me of being racist (of course), my manager held the door for them and wished them a good evening.

    I’m with Moe on this one.

    (P.S. At least the Mountain Dew was diet!)

  8. Snigs Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Every now and then, Reverse Racism (not sure why it’s called that, as racism is racism, no matter which race is “practicing” it) is proven and something is done about it.

    My first cousin was one of 7 “Old White Women” (now known as the OWW Club) that were racially discriminated against by Atlanta’s Fulton County Public Library system.

    The 7 of them won $17,000,000 when it went to court.

    Somewhere, someone has got to take a stand, however, you’ll be branded as the racist for noticing that Doris wasn’t white if it’s you.

  9. AJ Lynch Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    On the one hand, paying for your purchases in any CVS or Rite Aid store seems to take ridiculously long.

    On the other hand, yes she did not care for your type.

  10. C/A Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    It’s because you won’t make a big deal out of this that things won’t ever change. Until white people scream about every racist slight thrown their way nothing will be done. I really wonder how Rite Aid corporate would react to a sternly worded letter from your lawyer abut their treatment not just of cops, but white people? Do they think they can endure white people shopping elsewhere as Jesse Jackson so loves to pull?

  11. Wyatt Earp Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Okay, okay, I hear you, and I get it. I’ll send an e-mail to Rite Aid relating the story.

  12. Crankipants Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    She hated your white ass. End of story.

    Call Rite-Aid!

  13. Wyatt Earp Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Crankipants – I wrote an e-mail. It’s above.

  14. Mrs. Crankipants Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    If there is any justice, Doris will be eating bon-bons and watching her stories next week. I hear the Dollar Tree is hiring.

    Seriously, good for you. The fact that Doris went out of her way to be rude, it’s not a nice way to be.

  15. Crankipants Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    I ended up with the nickname Crankipants by working entirely too long in retail. The first rule of being a puckering anus in the retail trade is never wear a name badge. Duh, Doris, duuuuhhhhh!!!!!

  16. Wyatt Earp Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    Mrs. Crankipants – I don’t really want her fired, but it would be nice if they gave her a reaming about how just because Obama is president, it doesn’t give you an excuse to demean “Whitey.”

    Crankipants – I spent a few years as the Footwear Manager at Modell’s in the Franklin Mills Mall. It’s where I learned to hate people. So, of course, I went into a “service industry” for a career. Heh.

  17. kaveman Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Try this.

    You may not be able to relate to this because I’m a huge smart-ass and you seem so straight and narrow. Heh.

    But this is what I would do.

    Halloween is right around the corner so I would go into this store a few days before and buy a boat load of candy with the limitation that it ALL was either brown or black. Best if the packaging is see-thru so it’s an obvious visual. Make sure you go through Doris’ line. As you pay for it all, make a casual comment about how much you love Halloween because putting on a mask and pretending to be something you’re not is kinda fun. This will work as well with ALL white candy, the choice is yours.

    Then take all the candy back to the station and hand it out to kids, or maybe just chuck it at your bosses head.

  18. RT Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Yet if some thug had walked in while you were there, you would have saved her butt.

    It was racism.

  19. Deathlok Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    Black women are the most racist people in the world and it is tolerated. PERIOD!

    When my new boss started, a black female, and asked me about my position, I told her that the people in Washington were holding up my promotion. She said (this is verbatim) “Just between you and me, it’s nice to see that they are holding back promotions from the white guys.” It was in a room with just the two of us. If I complain about it, I will lose my job because I WILL BE racist.

  20. Deathlok Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Note to your sons (and all young white males) – learn a blue collar trade that women can’t do. Women (black women) are taking over the world.

  21. Wyatt Earp Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Kaveman – Nice!

    RT – I absolutely would have because I am a professional. “Doris?” Apparently not.

    Deathlok – Sadly, it is like that in the Philadelphia Police Department, too. Many (obviously not all) African-American women on this job are hardcore racists. Rochelle Bilal, president of the “Guardian Civic League” – a racist, fraternal organization for African-American police officers – is tops among them.

  22. Old NFO Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Wyatt- Yeah, I should have had D- all of the above… Good on ya for the email!

  23. Randal Graves Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    She was just pissed that you weren’t buying a Welch’s grape soda.

    *oh no he didn’t.*

  24. dragonlady Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    Racist wench for sure.

  25. Hank in Alabama Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    Wyatt, do you remember Bubba in the Forrest Gump movie? Bubba knew many different ways shrimp could be prepared. Well, based on your description of events, I would classify Doris as a jerk. There are many types of jerks. Here are some that I have encountered: white male jerks, black male jerks, Chinese male jerks, stewardess jerks, Italian male jerks, white female jerks, black female jerks, Vietmanese male jerks, cop jerks, lawyer jerks, car salesman jerks, plumber jerks, high school teacher jerks, German male jerks, bartender jerks, waitress jerks, college professor jerks, truck driver jerks, company commander jerks, short order cook jerks, drill sergeant jerks, judge jerks, nurse jerks, doctor jerks, nurse jerks, receptionist jerks, etc. Life is too short to tolerate jerks in any shape form or fashion. You did the right thing in reporting this particular jerk. It is now up to the management of the company that she works for to decide if they are going to step up and address the situation or do nothing and become jerks in their own right.

  26. TexasFred Says:
    September 12th, 2009 at 12:06 am

    That was racist… :twisted:

  27. Becky Says:
    September 12th, 2009 at 12:29 am

    Wyatt, I am glad you emailed the company. racism is racism no matter what color you are. I can only think with the election of Barack and the dropping of the charges of the Black Panthers in the voter intimidation tha some people think they are paying you back for something your ancestors may or may not have particiated in.

  28. Clady Says:
    September 12th, 2009 at 12:40 am

    If you felt that it was, it was.

  29. Dano Says:
    September 12th, 2009 at 5:48 am

    I’ve run into racism and discrimination, but being a white male can’t do anything about it. Its always left an unpleasant feeling. I don’t care what your skin looks like, its what is in your heart and mind that matters to me. Wanna be a bitch? Fine, I will politely pay and then never enter either your store or another (if a chain) again. You were nicer and sent them a note about it.

    Yes its wrong, and its an uncomfortable experience. Unfortunately, its getting more common. My only solace is that karma is a bitch, you will get what you deserve some day.

  30. Hyman Roth Says:
    September 12th, 2009 at 7:34 am

    Merry Christmas, Wyatt!

  31. JeffT Says:
    September 12th, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Run, don’t walk, away from that city. Obviously the clerk was someone who nags a lot. That’s because she lives in a nagger neighborhood and is surrounded by other naggers who put nagger writing on the walls. I don’t like naggers or the horses they sleep with/rode in on because they are always naggin’ ’bout sumpin. The city is lost. Surrender filthydelephia to Al Qaeda then attack immediately.
    Thanks blobama for all the racial harmony.

  32. Wyatt Earp Says:
    September 12th, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Old NFO – Thanks. I had to send one.

    Randal – Funniest comment of the day.

    DL – I didn’t want to condemn her too soon, but that’s how it’s looking.

    Hank – Very good point. Thanks!

    TexasFred – Yeah, probably.

    Becky – My ancestors were in Slovakia and Ireland at the time. And remember, the Irish were treated like garbage in the 1800’s.

    Clady – I felt it was at least ignorant. Racist? Not sure.

    Dano – I only wanted to buy a soda. I didn’t mind waiting in line, but she shouldn’t have lied to me.

    Hyman Roth – Oh, for cripes’ sake!

    JeffT – Way too far, dude. WAY too far.

  33. sandy Says:
    September 12th, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Wyatt, Shocking, isn’t it? Zero was supposed to heal the earth and folk are still acting like this.

    This reminded me of a shopping incident when we lived in Hawaii some years ago. I, a white woman, was shopping in a nice store in the mall. All of the salespeople were Asian wimmins.

    I was clearly looking around for some help, looking toward the saleswoman and looking confuzzled. I may as well have been invisible. The clerk walked right by me and asked an Asian shopper if she needed help.

    I also remember getting on a city bus in Honolulu. The only seat left was next to an elderly Asian gent. I sat down and he practically glued himself to the window. It was beyond blatant.

  34. Andrew Says:
    September 12th, 2009 at 10:45 am

    This all reminds me of this scene…

  35. sickinmass Says:
    September 12th, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Doris was upset because you chose a ‘white’ soda pop just like she would. She wasn’t up to dealing with the fact that she and you had something in common. Some are that angry. God will sort it out. Move on.

  36. The British Bird Says:
    September 12th, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    she was a jerk. She should have called you over when she decided she WAS open, after all.

    Im afraid to say your incident is probably not isolated.

    Good for you on not making a scene but taking your business elsewhere.