Need advice on what to say In report

Today I performed a card shop at a dealership in South Florida. Although the salesperson was very nice and friendly, he made a racist comment, which was just a generalization and not targeted towards anyone in particular, and I don't believe it was malicious, but rather a cultural difference, but nevertheless, he did use the N-word, and I believe it needs to be addressed. However, I don't want to identify myself, nor do I want the sales person to get in a lot of trouble, but I do think the client needs to know. How and where should I explain what happened?

Create an Account or Log In

Membership is free. Simply choose your username, type in your email address, and choose a password. You immediately get full access to the forum.

Already a member? Log In.

This obviously bothers you or you wouldn't be writing about it here. Your gut instinct is right - he is wrong. Don't worry about "getting him in trouble" - he did that himself by using such objectionable language. This is exactly why mystery shoppers are needed. You probably won't out yourself as a shopper - it isn't the first time he has said that. Hopefully, your honest, objective report of the facts will make it the last time - write the truth.
Sorry, but I don't categorize anyone who uses the N-word as nice OR friendly. Unless he's been living under a rock for the past 60 years, he knows the history of that word and knows that it is highly offensive and should never be used, much less in a professional, business setting.

That definitely needs to go into the report. If the MSC and/or client wants it out for any reason, they can remove it but that's not a call I would make.
We work for the client, and while it is challenging to report while remaining anonymous, I believe you must report it. Maybe you can talk to the scheduler and discuss the situation. It may be able to be reported in a way which you overhead the conversation, which would help protect your identity.

I am fortunate to have opportunities to discuss these issues in large employee training groups on a regular basis. I am constantly amazed at the responses of people of color when called the "N" word, and their forgiveness of certain populations based on experience or age. Others have expressed their desire to remove the power the "N" words hold by not allowing it to affect them. But the employees, people and employers all agree on this: It is NEVER ok to use the N word while performing your paid responsibilities. It's is (hopefully) likely the client has very clear policies against using racial slurs, profanity or any language which creates a hostile environment for employees and customers.

That assignment would have been tough for me to remain calm I think. My desire to educate that moron might have trumped my desire for a shopper fee.

Evaluating and mailing packages since 1994
I never seem to hear the N-word with most people anymore... The place you hear it most, is between black males in rap songs and on the street, saying things like, "N-Please" "My-N" and other forms of expression.

It is truly rare to hear someone say that word. He sounds like he has his head up his ass tongue sticking out smiley
I agree that reporting the use of that word needs to be reported.

I would do it one of two ways. First, if there is an appropriate place for it in the report, I would put there. If this is a simple report without an appropriate place for it, I would send a separate email to the scheduler saying I have an additional item that needs to be reported and let the scheduler deal with it. Either way it is reported and out of my hands.

Happily shopping Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts and Connecticut
If you even have to ask whether that should be reported, then you have to ask yourself whether mystery shopping is for you. If someone is not reporting poor service, inappropriate behavior or poor conditions because they are worried about an employee's feelings, then they are flat out stealing from the company that is paying for the report. I just can't comprehend what some folks think the point of a mystery shop is. Companies spend a lot of money on mystery shopping programs and expect us to turn in honest, factual observations. They don't want sugarcoated shops that protect bad employees.
WOW. I couldn't imagine someone saying that up here in public like that let alone in the South.....

The sales person deserves what comes to him. Being blatantly racist and working in the public sector is just not okay and if he said the n-word in front of you, you should include that in the report. It doesn't sound like it would be his first time using that kind of language in front of customers, I would include it in the report. Who knows, you may not even be the first shopper who got this uh... "character" and reported him using that kind of language. Include it. Please for the sake of future customers. No one should have to deal with someone like that.

Silver Certified ~ Shopping all of Toronto and beyond
I had a convenience store employee entertaining off-duty employees who chose to hang out at the store on their time off.

Not the working employee, but a couple of the off-duty guys started dropping F-bombs like the London Blitz.

I found a way to put that into my report, because it would be a reason that I would not return to that store.

In your situation, my base reaction is "take him down."
"Although the salesperson was very nice and friendly, he made a racist comment,"
He obviously was neither nice or friendly.

"which was just a generalization and not targeted towards anyone in particular,"
This makes it less vile?

"and I don't believe it was malicious, but rather a cultural difference,"
A malicious cultural difference.

"but nevertheless, he did use the N-word, and I believe it needs to be addressed."
Of course it needs to be addressed, immediately if not sooner.

"nor do I want the sales person to get in a lot of trouble,"
Why in the world not?

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
That is what we are paid to do.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away
I can understand OP's conflict, if the word was said without rancor and not preceded by the words "dirty" "lazy" or "g-damn" which would clearly convey hostility toward blacks. I personally think too much is made about the N word when it is not said with hostility. It's just a friggin word. It used to simply be the word used to refer to blacks -- neutrally, without hostility, it was just the word used. When Huck Finn referred to his friend "Ni**er Jim" he did not mean anything derogatory by it. Somewhere in the 60's the word became a pejorative, not just a reference to people of dark skin. And now we have this odd situations where blacks can use the word, but whites can't.

Curious -- was the salesman black?

Some people grow up in an environment where inappropriate words, racial slurs, and F-bombs are common. They get used to hearing them, and even using them. Even though they are not appropriate in the workplace, they can slip out accidentally. However, if that is what occurred, the salesman should have immediately been flustered and said, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to use that word." So I'm not sure how to call this one.

I agree it needs to be mentioned. He should not use that word in the workplace, whether he is white or black and whether the customer is white or black. It should not be used, because many people find it offensive and we should not be offending our customers, whether deliberately or inadvertently.

But I disagree with the statement that a person cannot be nice and friendly and still let that word slip out. Certainly people can be nice and friendly and still commit social faux pas.

I have a client from New York who refers to gays as "fags" which jolts me because I have several gays and lesbians in my acquaintance (and have gay characters in my books) and around here, calling someone a fag is not a term of endearment, but I have not judged him on it because I have not felt disgust from him when he used the word and I suspect this may be a regional thing. Not living in New York myself, I don't know if it is common to use that word instead of "gay" or "queer." So until I know more, I am reluctant to judge him for using a word that may be nothing more than the commonly used term where he came from. If I ever sense an attitude from him about it, I will call him down on the attitude. But I'm not going to judge him or presume him to be homophobic because of the word he used.

I'm more concerned with hostile attitudes and discrimination than with the word used to refer to someone who is not actually present to be offended by it. I don't need to be offended on someone else's behalf. I think blacks probably have less issue with being referred to as "ni**ers" than they would with being referred to as "f-ing African-Americans."

But if someone said to me, "I can't stand the fact that so many f-ing blacks have moved into my neighborhood" then I will judge that person racist and not nice and not associate with that person -- even though they didn't use the N word. Someone who has many black friends and hangs out with them and hears them call each other the n word all the time might easily accidentally refer to his friends as "my ni**er buddies" without thinking about it.

Judge the attitude, not the word.

But report the incident so the salesman can be corrected.

Time to build a bigger bridge.
As a gay male originally from Connecticut who grew up in the South, yes, I tend to hear "fag" used more in New England than in other areas. What is somewhat funny, IMO, is when I'm talking with friends from England and they talk about taking a "fag break" at work...fag being English slang for a cigarette. When they say that, I'll usually reply with, "I'm going out shagging tonight."

Those of you from the south know that the Shag is the official state dance of South Carolina that originated in North Myrtle Beach, SC and is danced to Beach Music. In the UK, "shag" is slang for the F-bomb.

But again, words are a cultural thing. This past summer I had lunch with my dad's youngest brother and he made me uncomfortable with the way he used the N word. Uncle Artie is 82 or so...about 10 years younger than my dad was. My dad never used that word and, when he heard me use it once, he explained why I shouldn't use it--and no use of corporal punishment was involved in the explanation. It's just the environment we are raised in.

In the OP's case, yes it needs to be mentioned, but if there are extenuating circumstances, those need to be mentioned too. In other words, present the entire picture.

.
Have PV-500 & willing to travel.
"Answers are easy. It's asking the right questions which is hard." (The Fourth Doctor, The Face of Evil, 1977)

"Somedays you're the pigeon, somedays you're the statue.” J. Andrew Taylor

"I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him." Galileo Galilei
@dspeakes wrote:

I can understand OP's conflict, if the word was said without rancor and not preceded by the words "dirty" "lazy" or "g-damn" which would clearly convey hostility toward blacks. I personally think too much is made about the N word when it is not said with hostility. It's just a friggin word. It used to simply be the word used to refer to blacks -- neutrally, without hostility, it was just the word used. When Huck Finn referred to his friend "Ni**er Jim" he did not mean anything derogatory by it. Somewhere in the 60's the word became a pejorative, not just a reference to people of dark skin. And now we have this odd situations where blacks can use the word, but whites can't.

Curious -- was the salesman black?

Some people grow up in an environment where inappropriate words, racial slurs, and F-bombs are common. They get used to hearing them, and even using them. Even though they are not appropriate in the workplace, they can slip out accidentally. However, if that is what occurred, the salesman should have immediately been flustered and said, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to use that word." So I'm not sure how to call this one.

I agree it needs to be mentioned. He should not use that word in the workplace, whether he is white or black and whether the customer is white or black. It should not be used, because many people find it offensive and we should not be offending our customers, whether deliberately or inadvertently.

But I disagree with the statement that a person cannot be nice and friendly and still let that word slip out. Certainly people can be nice and friendly and still commit social faux pas.

I have a client from New York who refers to gays as "fags" which jolts me because I have several gays and lesbians in my acquaintance (and have gay characters in my books) and around here, calling someone a fag is not a term of endearment, but I have not judged him on it because I have not felt disgust from him when he used the word and I suspect this may be a regional thing. Not living in New York myself, I don't know if it is common to use that word instead of "gay" or "queer." So until I know more, I am reluctant to judge him for using a word that may be nothing more than the commonly used term where he came from. If I ever sense an attitude from him about it, I will call him down on the attitude. But I'm not going to judge him or presume him to be homophobic because of the word he used.

I'm more concerned with hostile attitudes and discrimination than with the word used to refer to someone who is not actually present to be offended by it. I don't need to be offended on someone else's behalf. I think blacks probably have less issue with being referred to as "ni**ers" than they would with being referred to as "f-ing African-Americans."

But if someone said to me, "I can't stand the fact that so many f-ing blacks have moved into my neighborhood" then I will judge that person racist and not nice and not associate with that person -- even though they didn't use the N word. Someone who has many black friends and hangs out with them and hears them call each other the n word all the time might easily accidentally refer to his friends as "my ni**er buddies" without thinking about it.

Judge the attitude, not the word.

But report the incident so the salesman can be corrected.

To some it is just a word. To me it is just a word and doesn't offend me but to others, it is really hurtful. I think just because some blacks choose to use that word in music doesn't mean it's OK and everyone should make a conscience effort to be aware that some people are just not OK with that world whether it's a or er. It's a pretty ugly word no matter who you say it to and probably shouldn't be used period in a business setting. I have friends that use that world (er) but they aren't going to work saying it, you know? That's just asking for trouble tongue sticking out smiley

Silver Certified ~ Shopping all of Toronto and beyond
@vlade5394 wrote:

If this is a simple report without an appropriate place for it, I would send a separate email to the scheduler saying I have an additional item that needs to be reported.

I had an associate go over and above his job description at a gas station today. (I bought a jug of windshield wiper fluid. Without being asked he removed the plastic seal on top, then asked me if I'd like someone to pour it in for me.) I was trying to figure out how to pass on the information on the simple report. It never occurred to me to send the information to the scheduler!

I just did.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. Eleanor Roosevelt


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2015 08:29PM by KathyG.
I've used the simple response areas to elaborate on things where there isn't narrative boxes. There are usually spots where I need to write a name or some other minor data.
Dspeakes, really? REALLY? For someone that is supposed to have a good rationale on this forum, I am a bit disappointed in your response:

"I personally think too much is made about the N word, which would clearly convey hostility toward blacks."

Wow, if that's not a contradicting sentence or what? You also go on to ask if the salesman where black. My question is, are you black? You also go on to mention that "I'm more concerned with hostile attitudes and discrimination than with the word used to refer to someone who is not actually present to be offended by it. I don't need to be offended on someone else's behalf. I think blacks probably have less issue with being referred to as "ni**ers" than they would with being referred to as "f-ing African-Americans."

Again, how would you know what one culture tends to think? Do you really believe that the African-American culture would think less of being called a n**ger than anything else, let alone a "f**king African-American?" That is just like me saying that all women, regardless of their ethnicity, age or background, is accurately portrayed in today's society with stereotypes passed down through generations that continually are reinforced. Yeah, you think that I would think too much of that? Do you think that I would have less issue with that in speaking with someone either in private or in public?

You are some piece of work, Dspeakes. Thanks for letting us know how you really feel about cultures, as well as what you DON'T OBVIOUSLY KNOW ABOUT CULTURES.
I think Dspeakes brought a different perspective to the issue, and I respect it. It appears that her words really got under your skin, Eric. That's a shame because there may just be some good points to consider in her post even if you disagree with most of it.

I happen to agree with taking the power out of words. How to do that is another questions entirely. As for me, I'll be pondering her words a little bit, and considering what I might be able to take from a divergent point of view.

There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
Normally I'm the one saying words are words. The exception is words which have been used to denigrate an entire race or gender. Trying to justify it by using the writings of Mark Twain doesn't fly. He wrote novels at a time when that was acceptable terminology. Rather than sanitize his writing it should stand as a reminder of the time and how far we are supposed to have progressed, but should never serve as an excuse in modern society.

The bottom line, every race has the right to identify themselves by the words they choose and not by those of people who have not walked that mile in their moccasins. It is no different than the total BS used to support allowing the football team who's home field is our nation's capital to continue to use a racial slur claiming those of us offended misunderstand the intent. A slur is a slur is a slur. Until we truly become a color and gender blind society, those words have no place in our lexicon.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
I think dspeakes is obviously not from the south, where you have two kinds of people. Racist aholes and people who find the word offensive always.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
@LisaSTL wrote:


The bottom line, every race has the right to identify themselves by the words they choose and not by those of people who have not walked that mile in their moccasins.

I don't expect people who have not walked that mile to understand when the races/classes/genders themselves can't even agree.

There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
A traditional slur doesn't require a mandate to be recognized as a slur. The history is too recent. The proven emotional and psychological toll should be more than enough to convince a thoughtful person it is wrong.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
@Eric in Tampa wrote:

Dspeakes, really? REALLY? For someone that is supposed to have a good rationale on this forum, I am a bit disappointed in your response:

"I personally think too much is made about the N word, which would clearly convey hostility toward blacks."


You know, there's a quote feature here for a reason. Here's the actual quote: "I personally think too much is made about the N word when it is not said with hostility. "

Read what I friggin said before you go trying to refute or argue with it.

I am getting sick and tired of people pretending to quote me but changing my words. You've done it, bgriffin has done it and LisaSTL has done it more than once.

Time to build a bigger bridge.
@bgriffin wrote:

where you have two kinds of people. Racist aholes and people who find the word offensive always.

I like this

Silver Certified ~ Shopping all of Toronto and beyond
Wow. I just realized what happened there. Supposedly quoting someone and then changing their words is just ... well.. low class. I rarely get angry at what I read from a bunch strangers on a forum, but I have no respect for anyone who would do such a thing.

There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
Come on folks, you can't compare the times of Mark Twain to today. Since it was ok then, it's ok now?

Historically, black people have been owned, without rights, were sold/beaten/traded, hung, discriminated against and marginalized at every turn ....

So using the language of 'then' only serves to validate the treatment received 'then' and now. The good ole days eh?

Evaluating and mailing packages since 1994
Misquoting dspeakes like that is just wrong in every way.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login