Today has seen me experience the good and bad of English caucasian men. The good was all my rubbish was taken away for recycling and disposal. My windows were cleaned by a cheery chap who when I offered him a cup of tea said “no thanks love I’m doing next door then having my lunch”. At the Next store the garden centre man & home furnishings man was lovely. A Meatloaf fan he had “meaty” on one shoulder and the bat from “bat out of hell” on the other. He loved my shoulder tattoos (a dragon on one shoulder and a sexy water spirit on the other). We found a common like of Pink Floyd both of us having loved seeing them live. Guess who had sleeveless top on? lol
However the next store the huge Marks and Spencer in Gemini Retail Park produced an incident the degree of which I’ve not encountered for 5 years and that incident led to the perpetrator being dismissed from his job and I will do everything I can to achieve the same result again!
I went into the M&S home furnishing section to order some curtains that I’d seen two weeks earlier when I spent £1,000 with them on new furniture helped by a charming male assistant. I am a regular shopper there with Chris & Karl for clothing and foods. I have a credit card with them and I will have a tiny pension from my time with them as a graduate management trainee and departmental manager in 1972/3 payable next year. It’s so small I couldn’t be bothered to claim it “early”. A lot of the staff at the store have spoken to me and fussed over Karl.
Today I was approached by a very camp, fat, tall, caucasian male assistant who asked “may I help you” Obviously I gave the wrong answer in “yes” as clearly what I should have said was “oh no I’m not worthy as an inferior disabled woman with history to be served by such a fine upstanding camp male who’s portly figure I am in awe of”.
In all my years of dealing with Marks and Spencer I have never experienced such a surly, condescending, rude and obstructive member of staff. It included marching me to a cafe window when I wanted to see the swatch in natural light, making a loud sarcastic comment of “YOU don’t have to buy a coffee” and when I returned failing to operate the order system properly, leaning over me to read the password I needed to type in, calling me “SIR” twice which I corrected pleasantly the first time but more firmly and with a warning about his conduct the second time.
He then tried to send my order to collect at another M&S store suggesting that’s what I wanted and referring to me as MR Fox in front of 4 customers and 2 other members of staff. At which point I said “I’m sorry you are ether incompetent or stupid & I want to be served by someone else.” He then turned to a lady assistant who was clearly serving an old couple and said “Will you serve this GENTLEMAN?” That lady was his manager. He ten turned to the young male member of staff who was clearly serving another elderly couple and said “will you serve this GENTLEMAN then” which elicited a laugh from the other male assistant. I then said “go and get your store manager now as this is going to be a major complaint”.
At no point did I lose my temper but I was firm in my correction of “mis-gendering” as it’s now referred to. (Which by the way I consider to be an apologetic phrase used by LGB to justify their discrimination against women). At that stage the lady assistant revealed she was actually the departmental manager and swapped the bigot over to the other customers.
We went downstairs as I was struggling to hold it together in terms of tears which overcame me when we went to a quiet corner of their more expensive restaurant area where I was given a cup of tea and the duty manager called over. I explained the sequence and the appalling demeaning, insulting bigoted behaviour of the camp guy who “served” me.
We actually processed my curtain order and I was told that this matter would be taken very seriously and they would write to me within two weeks. I received profuse apologies but I pointed out when I was trained by M&S in 1972 homosexuality had just been decriminalized and the then chairman Sir Marcus Sieff told all of us as his trainee managers we were to discipline in the strongest terms any member of staff who showed the slightest intolerance of gays. That was their/our policy 42 years ago!
I was however a little concerned when the lady departmental manager stated she’d worked with the bigot for many years without any incident. I pointed out the one and only time I had been so badly abused before the manager of that store thanked me for complaining as they’d had issues before with the culprit and they could now fire him with impunity and I know he was dismissed as other staff told me and he never appeared again.
Now whilst I will allow them time for due process I’m not going to let this matter lie. Also if I do not get an unreserved apology plus a tangible amount (minimum £500) credited to my Marks & Spencer account I will pursue them through the courts for damages.
That bigot should be fired or if not dismissed given a final written warning for gross misconduct and removed from any customer facing role. I will use my contacts to ensure that this matter gets to the Group Director of Human Resources as I won’t allow this to be swept under the carpet. In my experience camp caucasians and asians think they can play the gay or racist card themselves for immunity from discrimination against women. I disabuse those bigots of that belief and this one will not be an exception!
I said zero tolerance after Manchester NHS attempts to destroy me and I really mean it.
Still I had my first al-fresco supper in my sunny garden tonight as well as breakfast outside this morning. I remain happy and will not allow a fat, caucasian camp bastard to spoil my enjoyment be it shopping at Marks and Spencer or anywhere else.
The M&S bigot was dismissed.
The M&S bigot was dismissed.