I did something at work yesterday that you’re not supposed to do. I told a customer they were wrong. Worse than that it had nothing to do with anything work related such as an advertised special. It was a misconception about the ACLU and that makes it a political topic which is a definite no-no according to The Rules.
The trouble started, as it often does, with a little old lady who was browsing through the stepping stones that are on sale. Several of them have various Christian quotes on them because, well, the store isn’t above trying to profit off of the overly religious. Stuff like the ever popular “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”. You know the sort of stuff. Anyway, I walked up to the sweet old lady and asked her if she needed any help finding stuff to spend her money on, because that’s what you do when you work for a retail store, and she proceeded to engage me in some small talk for a few minutes.
Then she pointed at one of the religious stepping stones and said to me, “I’m surprised you’re allowed to sell those.” This prompted me to ask the obvious question of why she’d be surprised by this and she replied with, “Because that damned ACLU is trying to stamp out God.”
I tried, with only partial success, to suppress the urge to laugh.
I spent a moment or two debating what my reply should be because I immediately recognized this as one of the Topics That Shall Never Be Discussed Under Pain of Possible Termination that was drilled into us during the orientation training. I ended up going with the “fuck it” option and replied with, “Ma’am, as a card carrying member I can honestly tell you that the ACLU doesn’t care if we’re selling stepping stones with religious passages on them or if you buy them and put them on your lawn. They’re only concerned with improper promotion by the government. They actually have taken on suits in defense of believer’s rights to religious expression.”
She blinked at me a couple of times as she processed the sudden realization that she was face-to-face with an ACLU member who was contradicting something she clearly believed to be true and her face dropped into a rather dour expression. She mumbled something under her breath and wandered off back into the store. I called after her in my cheeriest voice as she meandered off, “If you have any other questions I’d be more than happy to answer them and thanks for shopping with us!” That was fairly early in the morning and the store director didn’t show up to chew me out or fire me so she must not have complained to anyone of any importance.