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David O White

Chances are she is a recent convert to Islam, and you know what they say about converts. Well, I don't know what they say, but converts to anything tend to be more strident and meticulous about following proper procedure and showing respect. Also, don't they have senior prices for coffee in your neck of the woods?


I read your blog but have never commented. I have worked in retail. It IS customary to hand people money, both ways. It is axiomatic that the rudest snobbiest people are the ONLY ones who will 'make' you pick up the money. The ones who do this act like they would prefer to fling the money on the ground just to see you grovel. This may be a bit of projection. But retail workers are held and treated as low-lying scum who ought to feel grateful they are employed. They are very sensitive to slights, and not handing someone money is a slight. But a woman in a hijab in today's world has automatic reason to distrust white people. She is also a POC, and a retail worker. You could have had any of three reasons to enact a bit of hierarchical display. I'll bet anything that's what she assumed you were doing. Also too she's in PA, which is Philly and Pittsburgh separated by Alabama, and has likely been subjected to some choice treatment recently.

If you find yourself there again, it would be an act of kindness to describe your physical disability that required you to lay you cash on the counter, and thus give her a reason to question her own assumptions. Such is the slow and tortuous path to mutual understanding.

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