Discrimination Versus Just Bad Customer Service

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Rihana, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    A friend remarked that she has started to experience more racial discrimination in the past year. This is in the USA. Another friend had similar thoughts. These two don't know each other.

    Got me thinking, and now I am also more aware and observant when it comes to interactions at restaurants, store checkout counter, government offices, airports, and local places such as educational institutions.

    Racial discrimination is an entire discussion unto itself. An emotional one. But question for this thread is specific:

    How does one differentiate between racial (or other) discrimination and plain bad customer service?
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  2. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    DH says you differentiate just like how one differentiates between hate crime and plain old mugging/robbery. : )

    I am looking for more specific ideas.

    One that comes to mind is if the person before you or after you was served differently. But even then.. can it be conclusive?

    For example, sometimes I see that the store checkout person greets the person before or after me with a wider smile. : ) Or, skips asking me 'how is your day going?'. Is it because of my skin color, or because my facial expression often indicates, 'please ring me up quickly, no chit chat, I want to be out of here'?

    I did experience racial discrimination last week at a restaurant. Ordering was done at the counter itself. The manager, from far away, told us quite brusquely where the menus were. When she was entering the order in their system, took a while to find one item, and was impatient with us (!) over that. At the end of the order, asked if it was for "to go". It was fairly obvious the order was so big, and included drinks, and kids had settled down at a table. Not a smile throughout the order. The system asked for tip to be added then itself, as we swiped the credit card. No hint of a smile or even a pleasant expression on her face even as the order kept growing and even just before we swiped the card.

    And, she didn't ask the next two (white) customers if order was to-go. And was back to smiling by then.

    DH says she was just having a busy day, and the computer system puzzled her when we ordered items rarely ordered. I was like.. "really!". Those are items on the menu, we didn't ask for any modifications.

    Was it bad service, and we were just unlucky, or was it subtle but sure discrimination...
     
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  3. NeerjaC

    NeerjaC Silver IL'ite

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    I have experienced this too, I never know if it's because people view me as unapproachable or if it really is because of my skin color even though I live in such a diverse community. I thought maybe I should be the one greeting the cashier first just so that she doesn't think I'm being grumpy!

    Is there a way to distinguish between racial discrimination and just plain bad customer service when the reason you may be treated badly is because of the color of your skin? A lot of the times when I am out shopping, I feel like I'm almost invisible but once I strike up a conversation with someone, the person is almost always friendly back.

    USA I feel has become a lot more intolerant in the last couple of years and that scares to the point that I won't go to certain areas in case I get targeted.
     
  4. Endlesshope

    Endlesshope Platinum IL'ite

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    Disclaimer : this is not considering any of the unfortunate events that are happening around us but from my own living conditions and observations based off .

    I live in a city Y (hugely multicultural) and reside in a area that is exclusively republican (trump banners and all )and predominantly Caucasian , most times it’s like we are only brown folks at the restaurant kind . I do sense some hesitation at times , over the years I carried out lil experiments to figure “racial bias” . What I seemed to have figure out :
    1 . I don’t always wait for the pleasantries to be made to me , if I come across stiffbody I comment on how nice something looks on them - works most times , if it doesn’t get a intended smile I conclude they do have stiff things stuck deep dark.
    2. Noticed it isn’t the locals that are biased as much but the fellow immigrants that carry the weight around and are more prone to stereotyping.
    3. Get treated much nicer when I am dressed to the T versus in shambles and assimilating works wonders . At the groceries have noticed that people always seem more helpful and attentive when I am in work clothes like business formals versus tracks . Hate having concluded this the most , all I want is to go in jammies and get me some milk but now I rush in my pencil skirts to get groceries :disrelieved:
    4. People no matter from where come with their pre conceived notions some good some bad - I have been told by some that I look exotic and so is my accent . Have also been asked if I own a hotel or 7/11 or go back to my snakeland . I tune out the bad so long as it’s verbal .

    Not sure if any of these attribute to racial bias but assimilating seems to ease most hesitation and fear of new things
     
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  5. Sunshine04

    Sunshine04 Platinum IL'ite

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    I am seeing more racial bias in trump times
    Mainly its older people who are grumpy.
     
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  6. beingmom

    beingmom Silver IL'ite

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    In the Nextdoor app in my own neighborhood, someone asked if anyone is interested in joining for morning runs. Everyone else responses were acknowledged except mine even when I tried to ask direct questions.

    Like @Endlesshope mentioned, I have noticed the differences when I run errands in work clothes vs tracks. Just for that reason, we try our best to dress well before leaving home.
     
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  7. Mistt

    Mistt IL Hall of Fame

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    Yes, I faced this 2 or 3 times with in 6 months.They behaved very rude with me but I ignored them and done my work.
     
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  8. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    That's often true. If I take the initiative, the person is friendly. So, I wonder if I was invisible earlier : ) due to skin color or facial expression?

    I did try and avoid airports in some U.S. cities when returning from international trip.
     
  9. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    I do this rarely -- initiating the pleasantries -- but, when I do, it works wonders.
    You wouldn't be referring to the fellow desi who sees through you when jogging or at the mall? : )

    Assimilation -- we had a heated discussion in our local yahoo newsgroup recently. About immigrants who do not assimilate, and how entire blocks on streets do not have a single US flag flying on the Fourth of July.
     
  10. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    : ) Yeah, the grumpier ones tend to be on the older side. But, I also saw some older ones who go out of their way. Felt this at places like popular restaurants with huge wait time, and we are the only brown skinned waiting outside. They strike up a conversation and seem genuinely interested to talk.

    That hurts. To experience it in a form where it is so obvious to oneself and to others. Again, I don't know whether this is discrimination or people simply having some preferences about their running partner/group.

    That applies to any place. Even in India, if you go in cheap'ish salwar kameez or sloppy t-shirt jeans, service is bad. At jewelry stores, even the unoccupied salesperson won't ask if you need help. : )
     
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