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User Topic: I wish I was quicker with the clever reply
authenticnow
Moderator
Member # 16024
Default  Posted: 2:09 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)

***This is not meant to be a religious post***

Today at work I was having a friendly conversation with a customer that I talk to whenever she comes in. She's a woman in her 70s-ish, and she was with her daughter/ 40s-ish.

She mentions moving and I said 'Oh good, you sold your house! That seems like it took a long time!'

And the daughter says,'Yeah, they kept trying to Jew us down. You know how they are, they're all like that. This one has all her money stashed away in Jersey somewhere'.

It stopped me in my tracks. I got a sick feeling in my stomach and just got very sad. It actually ruined my day. I replied, 'Well, I'm glad you got your house sold' and then walked away.

When people say things like that, I freeze up. I am terrible on the spot. I was so angry, and so discouraged that there are people who talk and think this way.

I told LD what happened and how discouraged I was. I said, 'There is no diversity here. I don't want to live in a place where people think this way'. He said that there are ignorant people everywhere and that people are mostly good, and let's hope that this woman and her daughter are the exception not the norm. Unrealistic? I'm not sure. I hope not.

I'm just wondering what anyone would have said in response, instead of freezing up like I did. Not to mention I was at work and this was a customer.

On the bright side, I was helping another customer today and he said, 'You are always so helpful. You are the nicest person who works here'.


Take up your space (and do it well).

"That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt."


Posts: 36523 | Registered: Sep 2007
nowiknow23
Guide
Member # 33226
Default  Posted: 2:16 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)

I don't know that there is a clever reply that would find its mark and leave an impact on a narrow mind. I think I would have reacted in the moment exactly as you did, an. And it would have left me feeling sick, too.

I'm so sorry you were on the receiving end of her ignorance.


You can call me NIK

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.
- Plato


Posts: 24381 | Registered: Aug 2011
aesir
Member
Member # 17210
Default  Posted: 2:20 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)

I think the being at work part kinda carries an obligation to just deal with it. I can remember telling staff that the fastest way to get rid of an annoying customer was to sell them their shit so they could leave.

If it's any consolation on a personal level, I have found that many people who use such bigoted phrases casually do so without even thinking about the bigoted origin of the phrase, they have just been using it so long it never occurs to them to think.

LD is right about the ignorant people everywhere, and diversity is no cure for ignorance, you just get to experience all the particular flavors. In general, a lot of people suck, thankfully not you or the last customer you described.


Your mileage may vary... in accordance with the prophecy.

Do not back up. Severe tire damage.


Posts: 14924 | Registered: Nov 2007 | From: Winnipeg
Pentup
Member
Member # 20563
Default  Posted: 2:27 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)


If it's any consolation on a personal level, I have found that many people who use such bigoted phrases casually do so without even thinking about the bigoted origin of the phrase, they have just been using it so long it never occurs to them to think.

I think this is true. I grew up with a lot of these. Honestly, did not know that they could be offensive. Ignorance is ignorance. Sometimes that can be addressed with a simple comment of, "that phrase is offensive to me."

Her additional comments makes me think this is not the case here.

I am sorry AN. I live in the south and hear Yankee comments all the time even by good friends. I have a few comments I have developed over time to deal depending on the situation. Including, "can't we all just get along?" Sometimes that makes people think about what they just said.
Sometimes it does not.


Me- BS
Him- FWS (I hope- F)

Posts: 6418 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: Not Oz
Deeply Scared
Administrator
Member # 2
Default  Posted: 2:27 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)

(((((AN)))))


'You are always so helpful. You are the nicest person who works here'.

And I can back that up by saying you're one of the nicest people I've ever met

I'm sorry her comments hurt your feelings....those types of things are wrong on so many levels.


"Don't give up, the beginning is always the hardest." My Mom:)

My tolerance for stupid shit is getting less and less.


Posts: 196296 | Registered: May 2002
authenticnow
Moderator
Member # 16024
Default  Posted: 2:41 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)

If it's any consolation on a personal level, I have found that many people who use such bigoted phrases casually do so without even thinking about the bigoted origin of the phrase, they have just been using it so long it never occurs to them to think.
To me this is the saddest and scariest part. That this kind of attitude is so normal, so acceptable, that it's not even considered offensive.

My life is full of ironies. One of them being is that my other job is for a non profit mental health agency and it is the most politically correct, culturally competent and aware agency I've ever seen. I just went to our annual cultural competency training and we learned all about this (as we do every year), and the speaker actually did part of his presentation on phrases that might be considered offensive. 'Jew down' wasn't on there, but it might as well have been.

So, I go from this wonderful agency where everyone is treated respectfully, to a job where people have this attitude. My old boss once said to one of the women who had just gotten a really short haircut-"I didn't know we had a dike working here." I couldn't believe it. I wish I had the nerve to report him.

So now I'm just venting and going off on a tangent.

I hope I can find it in myself next time someone says something like that to say, 'I find that comment offensive'. I have found my voice in so many ways...maybe one day I'll get all the way there .


Take up your space (and do it well).

"That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt."


Posts: 36523 | Registered: Sep 2007
jo2love
Moderator
Member # 31528
Default  Posted: 4:33 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)

(((AN)))

Having someone say that while you are at work puts you in a tough situation. If it was outside of work, you could have said how you felt.

I may have been tempted to say, "I'm not sure I understand what you mean" or change the subject slightly by saying "I can't believe it's almost October. I'm looking forward to celebrating Hanukkah."

I'm sorry you had to be near this oaf.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 4:33 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)]


Posts: 33738 | Registered: Mar 2011
jrc1963
Member
Member # 26531
Default  Posted: 4:56 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)

(((AN)))

Even now, sitting here, I can't think of a good comment to come back at this bigot with.

My baser instinct is to punch her in the face... And since I can't be charged for battery by giving a cyber punch to an unknown bigot... That's just what I'm going to do.

*Pow* There ya go... I punched her for you.

I'm sorry you had to endure this... I'm glad you had a nice compliment today too.


Me: BSO - 45
Him: FWSO - 68
DS - 12
D-Day - 12-11-09,
R - he finally came home
Your life is an Occasion. Rise to it. - Mr. Magorium, "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium"

Posts: 24326 | Registered: Dec 2009 | From: Florida
LosferWords
Guide
Member # 30369
Default  Posted: 4:57 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)

(((AN))))

No clever or witty reply here. That sucks that you had to hear that crap. Apparently this customer of yours has no qualms about openly displaying her ignorance. What a pitiful person.

Take comfort in the fact that you are a much more beautiful person than her, inside and out. Ask LD. I'm sure he'd agree with me.


Posts: 6131 | Registered: Dec 2010
Jpapageorge
Member
Member # 31800
Default  Posted: 4:59 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)

Next time your new favorite customer comes in you might just smile and greet her with "As-salamu alaykum" and at the end of the transaction send her along with a cheery "shalom aleichem."
(Is it obvious that I am not suited for any customer service job? )


"Either get busy livin' or get busy dyin'." (and I prefer to live)
"Shame on me for kissing you with my eyes closed."
Spectemur agendo.
Me: FBBF

Posts: 1697 | Registered: Apr 2011 | From: California
metamorphisis
Administrator
Member # 12041
Default  Posted: 5:10 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)

Oh AN,
I hear you. I freeze when I hear stuff like that and afterwards I have so many better things I could have said than "uh..uh..uh.."
I don't think that way so it always shocks me that other people do. Like I forget it exists because it's so far from my reality.



“We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are.”... Anais Nin

Posts: 43902 | Registered: Sep 2006
authenticnow
Moderator
Member # 16024
Default  Posted: 5:12 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)

You all made me smile. Thank you.

And being here makes me know for sure that there are much more nice people in the world than assholes.


Take up your space (and do it well).

"That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt."


Posts: 36523 | Registered: Sep 2007
Sad in AZ
Member
Member # 24239
Default  Posted: 5:27 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)

I'm sorry, AN. Next time tell them your rabbi doesn't think that's very nice.


I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.

Posts: 19779 | Registered: Jun 2009 | From: Upstate NY
deeplysad
Member
Member # 16590
Default  Posted: 6:44 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)

I would have said: "Shalom - have a good rest of your day".

I wear a Star of David that is hard to miss, and I've still had people use phrases like that around me...I just try to be sad for them and their ignorance.


Me: BW - I'm much too young to feel this damn old
Him: FWH - Midlife crisis with a pathetic porn wannabe
D-Day: August 2004; Lots of false R until February 2005.

It takes all kinds of kinds....Miranda Lambert


Posts: 3211 | Registered: Oct 2007 | From: So Calif
yewtree
Member
Member # 16671
Default  Posted: 6:52 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)

Go out and buy them a small housewarming gift for the first holiday season in their new home... A menorah for the window.

I work for a place that has alot of Native American programs, art work, etc. A staff member once commented on someone "going on the war path" about something.

I quietly corrected him and he first did Then he apologized profusely. Then we all had an interesting conversation about where those comments come from, and how we just don't think about it until we get called on it.

One can only hope she will be enlightened by someone who is sensitive to her "mistaken" bigotry, and that she chooses her words more carefully in the future.

I think that since you were at work you handled it just right.


Me(BS)45(at the time of D-day)

Divorced 2009, Closing on house Nov 2011 -
No longer waiting for the other "she" to drop.


Posts: 4621 | Registered: Oct 2007
lost_in_toronto
Member
Member # 25395
Default  Posted: 7:50 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)

I might have asked her to clarify who 'they' were. Just to try to get her thinking, which probably wouldn't have worked.

It is hard to handle something like that in the workplace. Not at work, I would probably say something like, 'I'm sure you didn't mean that to sound racist, but it really did.' I really hate being made to feel complicit in that kind of hatred. I think people get away with it a lot because we are so uncomfortable and shocked when we hear it. But again, at work and in a customer service situation, your hands are kind of tied.

[This message edited by lost_in_toronto at 7:51 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)]


Me: BS/39
Him: WS/37
DDay: August 23, 2009
Together 14 years.
Reconciled.

Posts: 1652 | Registered: Sep 2009 | From: not toronto anymore
authenticnow
Moderator
Member # 16024
Default  Posted: 7:52 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)

I don't think that way so it always shocks me that other people do. Like I forget it exists because it's so far from my reality.
That's exactly it.

I thought of a clever response while I was in the shower. I should have said, "I must have missed the memo that says the Jews have all the money. If I did, I wouldn't be working at this crappy minimum wage job dealing with ignorant people like you!"


Take up your space (and do it well).

"That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt."


Posts: 36523 | Registered: Sep 2007
metamorphisis
Administrator
Member # 12041
Default  Posted: 8:00 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)

going on the war path

And there you go. I didn't ever give any thought to where that came from and I am sure I have used it. I just took it to mean I was out to start something and was angry. My mouth literally just hung open.. I had no idea.
But I'm glad I know now.



“We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are.”... Anais Nin

Posts: 43902 | Registered: Sep 2006
scaredyKat
Member
Member # 25560
Default  Posted: 9:01 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)

It's funny, but I think I first heard this phrase from my father, a Jew. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized how offensive it is and for what reason. He certainly was proud of his heritage and didn't use it literally. But, then again, he used other, equally offensive terms, not realizing their origins or ugliness.
My dad was an immigrant who never completed grade school but managed to learn and change his habits and speech when he learned about offending phrases.
It's possible your customer really needs to be educated...

I'm editing this because I just reread your post...never mind, her comments weren't just those of a woman using a phrase ignorantly, they were those of an out and out BIGOT. Yeah, we are all hiding or money here in Joisey. Stupid idiot...Sorry you had to hear that, honey. I experienced my share of antisemitic actions. It hurts, but think how much worse it would be to have to LIVE IN their skin...

[This message edited by scaredyKat at 9:06 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)]


Me-BS-60-Can't tell you how painful it was to change this number!
HIM-SAFWH-63
Damn autocorrect is responsible for the silly errors, sorry!

Posts: 3257 | Registered: Sep 2009 | From: In my head
sad12008
Member
Member # 18179
Default  Posted: 9:42 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)

Just wanted to commiserate, an. It's especially difficult when it's someone you have otherwise friendly contact with (or in this case, the person's associate). Nails on a chalkboard upsetting.

I'm a fish out of water where we moved, same deal with the lack of diversity; I'm routinely appalled at some of the stuff I encounter. Feelin' your pain!

My mindset has become that I hope I may on occasion become the educable moment, the challenge to the bigoted, thoughtless "thinking". I won't be the person laughing along.

I think in the instance you described, you handled it as well as anyone could! The customer/workplace dynamic was a hobbler for sure. It's hard enough to navigate such situations when it's a purely social relationship.


"Everybody's life is hard. You look at life, and it's not a cakewalk. You've got to be able to bounce back." --Neil Young, father to two children with CP, another with epilepsy, and otherwise experientially qualified to comment

Posts: 3853 | Registered: Feb 2008 | From: a new start together
jjsr
Member
Member # 34353
Default  Posted: 9:50 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)

As an Army wife who has lived in a lot of places, with an Hispanic last night, my family and myself have faced things like that in each place we have lived. So I do agree with your husband. I am sorry that you had to hear it.


Me: BS
Him: WS
Married since 1985
Parents to 2 adult sons and 3 of the cutest cats you have ever seen
D-day 8/6/11 Truth about ONS and 9/21/11 Truth about EA
Trying to reconcile

Posts: 1587 | Registered: Dec 2011 | From: Texas
leapyearbaby
Member
Member # 24902
Default  Posted: 11:03 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)

The first comment I could put down to simple ignorance about the origin of the phrase.

One of my sisters used that term all the time. On particular afternoon, after she had used it multiple times, I finally asked her if she remembered that H is Jewish. She just looked at me, said yes and went right back to her conversation about being almost 'cheated.' I realized she had no clue that phrase would be considered racist. At that point I let it go.

But your customer's comment about 'them' hiding money made it clear she was not unthinking in her comment, that she knew exactly what she was saying.

I am also sorry you were witness to that....as an employee, it's probably better not to respond negatively. On the street and not working....well, that's a whole different matter.


me BS the Big 6-0!!
him WS 56
married 28 years
together 31
DD 6/10/08
ow #1,2 lta on and off since 1995
ow 3 ons summer 2005
2 D, mine from prior marriage, but he raised them
R'ing...probably not....but then again, maybe....


Posts: 1375 | Registered: Jul 2009 | From: Colorado
heartbroken_kk
Member
Member # 22722
Default  Posted: 12:06 AM, September 26th (Thursday)

I grew up in California where we have a fairly diverse history and my parents were liberal in a liberal town. But still....

I have usually learned about the racist or bigoted background of words or phrases - after I've uttered them.

Chew it down - like a piece of cheese. That's how I always heard that phrase. You know, when you barter at the flea market you try to chew the price down.

Let me get my boy on that - you know, the kid who works for me - one of the boys - he's good at stuff and I'm sure he can help you.

My grampa talked about the portagee gate - the wire one in the back fence with the hoop you lift to open it

And gramma always liked us to try the lumpia at the church potluck the filipinos brought

We were pollacks and I was supposed to be offended by Polish jokes except I always thought they were generic jokes that you could substitute "pollack" for any other ethnicity and the joke was still funny.

I never learned a quick reply. I did learn to bite my tongue and file away my knowledge of that person as "pre-judges others based on things they can't control" - whether it was racist, political, religious, or other, you can't pigeon-hole somebody (gosh, is this offensive? I don't even know).

Sigh. I wish the world would become more of a melting pot.


BW then 46, STBXWHNPDPAFTG the destroyer of my entire life.
D-Day 1 1999, D-Day 2,3,4,5,6... 2009 thru 2011.

Separated, divorcing, moving on.
I edit because I always make typos.


Posts: 1086 | Registered: Feb 2009 | From: California
woundedwidow
Member
Member # 36869
Default  Posted: 8:18 AM, September 26th (Thursday)

AN, my own Mother used this expression in a conversation with me once (I'm a convert, so the only Jew in the family), and my jaw just about hit the floor. I was so shocked that I couldn't say anything, and besides I couldn't come back on my MOM, but my big brother lit into her. I've had a lot of people use it in my presence where I live (it's a common expression in the South) and I usually mention that I'm Jewish. Then they're surprised - "Oh, you don't "look" Jewish. Great - add another insult! Some people will just never get it.


Be careful what you wish for the most - you may get it.

Posts: 363 | Registered: Sep 2012 | From: VA
JanetS
Member
Member # 2766
Default  Posted: 12:18 PM, September 27th (Friday)

Meta: I was going to write EXACTLY the same post as yours (well, not word for word, but you know what I mean).

I learned something today, and I'm glad I did.

As for the Jewing Down comment, that is not at all ambiguous. And the follow-up comment indicated that she knew exactly what she was saying. Sad!


Posts: 2538 | Registered: Nov 2003 | From: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada
sullymeishadomi
Member
Member # 16305
Default  Posted: 1:27 PM, September 27th (Friday)

Edited bc not sure if I broke rules.

Ive stood up at work in my own way. Some people are sreadfast in their belief. Some people refuse to believe their commenrs cross any lines. Maybe at work you could say their comment made you feel uncomfortable and because you are at work you cant go into explainations. Then continue the conversation.

Or leave it for after work.

Isnt there a saying here on SI that you cant change stupid?

[This message edited by sullymeishadomi at 2:38 PM, September 27th (Friday)]


People tell you exactly who they are...why expect them to be what they are not

Posts: 8210 | Registered: Sep 2007
uncertainone
Member
Member # 28108
Default  Posted: 11:36 AM, September 29th (Sunday)

I HATE that phrase and call it out nicely as if they haven't really realized what an idiot they're being.

"I'm sure you don't understand that's a very bigoted comment and I'd hate for someone to think you are ignorant" is my standard reply to that.

People amaze me with their lack of historical knowledge and stupidity. Every day.


Me: 37

'til the roof comes off. 'til the lights go out. 'til my legs give out, can't shut my mouth


Posts: 6795 | Registered: Mar 2010
jrc1963
Member
Member # 26531
Default  Posted: 1:11 PM, September 29th (Sunday)

Oddly... after this thread was posted the following happened to me at work.

I wear a Star of David so It's pretty obvious that I'm Jewish. I have been wearing the star for about 6 months now.

Co-worker said to me: "You're Jewish" in a shocked voice. and followed it up with "I should've known, you look Jewish".

Me: "What exactly does 'look Jewish' mean? Oh, because I have a big nose?"

Co-Worker: "Oh ..... I mean you have curly hair."

Yeah, 'cause only Jews have curly hair!

I just shook my head and walked away.


Me: BSO - 45
Him: FWSO - 68
DS - 12
D-Day - 12-11-09,
R - he finally came home
Your life is an Occasion. Rise to it. - Mr. Magorium, "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium"

Posts: 24326 | Registered: Dec 2009 | From: Florida
authenticnow
Moderator
Member # 16024
Default  Posted: 1:49 PM, September 29th (Sunday)

UO, I wish I had my wits about me to say that. I just lose my power of speech when it happens.

Jrc, You know, I have curly hair, too. I guess it IS a Jewish thing. SMH with you.


Take up your space (and do it well).

"That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt."


Posts: 36523 | Registered: Sep 2007
jrc1963
Member
Member # 26531
Default  Posted: 1:56 PM, September 29th (Sunday)

AN - that must be it!

My mother only has curly hair if she gets a perm... otherwise it's completely straight.


Me: BSO - 45
Him: FWSO - 68
DS - 12
D-Day - 12-11-09,
R - he finally came home
Your life is an Occasion. Rise to it. - Mr. Magorium, "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium"

Posts: 24326 | Registered: Dec 2009 | From: Florida
Clarrissa
Member
Member # 21886
Default  Posted: 2:18 PM, September 29th (Sunday)

Only Jews have curly hair?? Dang, I should tell my sister that her oldest is actually Jewish. His hair is (was) as curly as a Brillo pad.

The above was said with heavy sarcasm of course. One of my first thoughts on the "you look/don't look Jewish" was just what, exactly, does a Jew look like? Sammy Davis Jr. was a Jew but he sure didn't look like the stereotypical Jew... being black and all.

Anyway AN, you're not the only one who comes up with the perfect comeback after the fact. There have been plenty of times this has happened to me. Of course sometimes the best comeback is this:


BH Cee64D - 48
WW (me) - 49


All affairs are variations on a theme. No one has 'Beethoven's 5th' to everyone else's 'Chopsticks'.


Posts: 5858 | Registered: Dec 2008 | From: A better place
Random thoughts
Member
Member # 2959
Default  Posted: 3:06 PM, September 29th (Sunday)

My comeback would have been.: oh I didn't know you were a racist.

You know like a friend that you known for yrs and you just found out that her mother was French.

I worked with girl and only knew she was half French when her mother came into the store and they started talking in French I was all excited.


Those three words are said too much and not enough.
Chasing Cars-Snow Patrol.
FWW

Posts: 1570 | Registered: Dec 2003 | From: Some where in New Jersey
Random thoughts
Member
Member # 2959
Default  Posted: 3:09 PM, September 29th (Sunday)

@JRC1963

You should have replied : well now I know what ignorance looks like.


Those three words are said too much and not enough.
Chasing Cars-Snow Patrol.
FWW

Posts: 1570 | Registered: Dec 2003 | From: Some where in New Jersey
PhoenixRisen
Member
Member # 35912
Default  Posted: 3:25 PM, September 29th (Sunday)

When I hear a comment like that I lean, put my hand on their arm, and whisper,
"Just so you know. I'm offended by racist comments like that"
Then I put on a big smile and make a positive comment or compliment some other aspect "So glad you sold your house"

That way its about ME... not about them being rude. It makes it easier and hopefully is a learning experience for them!

[This message edited by PhoenixRisen at 3:26 PM, September 29th (Sunday)]


Posts: 472 | Registered: Jun 2012
jrc1963
Member
Member # 26531
Default  Posted: 5:15 PM, September 29th (Sunday)

You should have replied : well now I know what ignorance looks like.

Where were you when I needed you!


Me: BSO - 45
Him: FWSO - 68
DS - 12
D-Day - 12-11-09,
R - he finally came home
Your life is an Occasion. Rise to it. - Mr. Magorium, "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium"

Posts: 24326 | Registered: Dec 2009 | From: Florida
sisoon
Member
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 10:03 AM, September 30th (Monday)

The only times I've heard 'jew down' have been when non-Jews have tried to get me to lower a price. I haven't had a comeback either, but the memories have stuck - and the last time I heard it said to me was a long time ago.

One of the reasons I stick to big cities, I guess....


fBH (me) - 65+, fWW (her) - 65+, Married 45+, together since 1965
DDay - 12/2010
Recovered, not yet fully R'ed
I share my own experience because it's the only experience I know, not because I'm a good model.

Posts: 9734 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
JKL Vikings
Member
Member # 32094
Default  Posted: 11:21 AM, September 30th (Monday)

AN, I'm sorry you had to deal with such a rude person


Her- Alpha Female 40
Me-FWH 41
Married since '02, together since 2000
D-day 2/10/2009
3 sons- J- born Oct 2001
K- born Sept. 2005
L- born Apr. 2008
We ALL have issues. It's how we deal with them that makes the difference

Posts: 515 | Registered: May 2011 | From: Dallas, TX
Topic Posts: 37