Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Word of the Day: Turban

One morning I was walking past a local arena/convention center and observed a whole swarm of men in attendance wearing turbans. Where did these people all come from? It isn’t like you see one walking the streets every day; in fact I don’t believe I encountered more than a half-dozen in my entire life in an informal setting, even though they should be easy to spot, even from a distance. Turbans today are usually worn by adherents of the Sikhism, the religion of the Sikhs, a people whose origins are mainly in the region of India. A Sikh rejects the belief in deities and the caste system that Hindus abide by. Their religion is divided into different sects, one which requires that the believer have uncut hair hidden under a large turban, while another sect requires hair only long enough be hidden under a small turban. However, other sects do not require the wearing of turbans at all; ironically, the people of the sects wearing large turbans tend to be lighter-skinned than those wearing small turbans.

Now you might ask what the point of this is. Well, there is a point, a very personal one. These turban-wearers are often to be discovered as proprietors of convenience store franchises. Take for instance those to be found at one 7-Eleven in Kent. These folks are apparently from the sect that requires the wearing of small turbans, which seems to indicate the presence of small, bigoted minds. Perhaps I have given them “reasons” to dislike me: I pointed out on several occasions that it was disrespectful that they would try to sell people dried-up food that had been sitting in a warmer for two days, instead of throwing it away; it wasn’t the customers’ fault that they couldn’t properly judge the amount of product to keep on display. 

On another occasion, I bought a half-pint carton of ice cream that was as hard as a rock and tasted awful; I discovered that it was nearly a year past its “sell-by” date. When I demanded an explanation for this, I was told that the supplier had “assured” them that it was still “sellable.” And who was to be the judge of that, I asked—the seller or the consumer? 

And on another occasion I was waiting in line behind a white man who was purchasing two gallon jugs of milk that were on sale; the turban-wearing guy at the cash register felt he needed to “warn” this white man that the milk he was purchasing was a week beyond its expiration date, and was likely soured. I couldn’t help myself; alright, so you know the milk is bad, and you were still going to sell it? Were you hoping some “Mexican” mother would buy it, because you are prejudiced against “Mexicans” and don’t care if their kids get sick on it? 

So it happened that one night I stopped by this establishment to purchase a cup of coffee. I noticed at the donut stand a half-dozen varieties were being sold 2 for a $1.50. OK, I thought I could “splurge” just this once. I was the only one in the store at the time; when I went to the counter to pay for the items, the turban-wearer who was the only employer present purposely ignored me for several minutes, fiddling around to no apparent purpose. He reluctantly responded to my call for attention; he manhandled the two donuts, and then I observed with astonishment his punching in full price for both donuts. I asked him if he did not know that these donuts were on sale; he told me that they were not, and when I told him they were, he as much as called me a liar. When I insisted that they were, the turban-wearer reluctantly “checked” to see  if my claim was correct; he picked out the sale card and appeared to be reading it more minutely that what was required, and came back to the cash register. 

But instead of canceling the price and inputting the correct price, the turban-wearer merely stood there and asked me if I still wanted the donuts. I said yes and “requested” that he change the price. I was informed that he could not change it, that I had to pay the price that he inputted. What do you mean you can’t cancel that transaction? You can’t conduct another transaction for another customer if you don’t. But the turban-wearer just behaved rude and indifferent, and I was certain it was because of prejudice against certain “ethnicities” of customers, because I had observed these turban-wearers holding friendly, respectful conversation with white customers, and rudeness or indifference to other races and ethnicities. These people probably tried cheating other customers they were prejudiced against—their rejection of the caste system apparently only applying to their own social position, not to that of others—but I wasn’t going to be one of the cheated; I just walked out without buying anything, and haven’t returned since.

I subsequently contacted 7-Eleven’s corporate office in Texas to file a complaint of customer discrimination and cheating by the turban-wearing employees of this particular franchise; naturally from a low-service state like Texas, I have not received a response from them.

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