Monday, January 15, 2007
Very Loose Change
As we pause and observe my fellow Capricorn homie Dr. King's birthday, here's a short little reminder that black folks are still viewed as potential marks that can be taken advantage of by some people. My purchase at the convenience store on the first floor of my work building last Friday morning came out to $1.60. After I hand him two dollars, the young clerk, who along with the two or three other older men who have worked the register in the past appears to be of Arab heritage, loudly yells out "FORTY!" as he hands me a quarter and a nickel. I actually had to take a minute to decide whether I wanted to fight over the fucking dime, long enough for him to ring up another customer. But when I finally protested, he was ready. I didn't get the words "Uh, this isn't forty" out of my mouth before he says "SORRY" and hands me the dime, never mind that I never even told him how much I was missing. Dating back to when new ownership took over the local grocery store when I was growing up, this now makes a good seven or eight times that Arab store clerks have shortchanged me. It's really funny how every time they get my change wrong, it's always an error that results in me getting less money back than I should. Some people look at a big black guy with headphones and a baseball cap and assume that he can be taken advantage of. This is one of the reasons why I have always worn that same outfit. I like when folks discover that I'm not a chump and that I have a brain of my own. Dr. King's dream was for people not to be judged by the color of their skin. I'm a natural pessimist, so I say, not in this lifetime. But I still hope that I'm proven wrong someday.