I work at a grocery store. a lady came up to me and told me I looked familiar and she said, "I know I've seen you at (name of her church.)" I said I had never heard of the church and she asked me if I'd like to come, I said, "No maam, I'm an atheist." She looked at me, horrified, and left. a while later my manager came and said a woman had complained that I had insulted her church. I was dumbfounded, and told him what happened. He said, "well from now on, keep your opinions to yourself."

Whaaat??? What should I have done? what would you have done?

 

Is it not okay for me to be open about my atheism?

 

I was on the closet all my life until college. Now I am out in the open and I don't hide it anymore. Why should I?

 

(also sorry if this is in the wrong forum.)

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I try to not broach it in the work environment, especially with customers.  Not because I don't think I don't have the right, but because it is not politically expedient and doing otherwise could harm my effectiveness in my job.  At the end of the day, my thoughts on politics and religion don't pay my bills or support my family.  While I would never deny being an atheist to coworkers, I don't advertise it either.  In Sales one learns quick to be whatever the customer wants you to be.  If they hate atheists, then you are not an atheist as far as they know.


That said, you should have informed your boss that you merely stated facts and offered no opinions.  Or, maybe not.

I hate to say that the reality of some situations is not always fair or just.  This is why I am an advocate of taking advice with grains of salt.  For some people. being an unapologetic and outspoken atheists is the cat's meow.  For others, it could literally be a death sentence.  Always evaluate your situation and do what is best for you.  If it benefits you none to come out atheists, then don't do it.  Especially if you expect some personal benefit.  If you are sacrificing for future atheists, then realize that you will suffer without gain and likely some loss.
I'm the type of person that can't keep his mouth shut, either.  However, I have learned that keeping one's mouth shut can be quit the virtue.  The key is to know when to talk and when to shut up.  I'm still learning, unfortunately.
When the lady invited you to her church you should have just responded with no thank you and left it at that. Customers you interact with on the job don't need to know things like your religious views, your sexual orientation, or your political opinion if it's not relevant to your job. If the customer is doing something inappropriate or harassing you then you immediately talk to your manager or HR person. What I'd do if I were you is write down the date, the time, what happened, and what was said and file it away just in case this becomes an issue for some reason in the future.
Exactly!  This is what I was trying to answer with but you said it better. I used to work in food service and I know that customers can bitch at you all the time. The best idea is to keep a level head and remain friendly... say as little as possible and get your manager if you can't diffuse the situation.
Grey area. You didn't initiate a conversation on the topic of religion, and what you stated was a simple matter of fact in response to a question. You weren't wrong. Your situation was also avoidable. As others have stated, it generally would have been enough to decline the invitation politely without further explanation. In that sense, you weren't right either. It was what it was, the customer took it the wrong way, and ultimately that's going to come back to you one way or another.

It's quite possible that the incident hit your manager's "I don't want to deal with this shit" button. He may very well not care one way or the other what you believe (or don't believe); he just doesn't want to talk to customers that happen to be annoying.

Sometimes you can get the most impact out of showing the least response. If you appear troubled or distressed, your manager has room to push you around. If you appear angered or frustrated, your manager has an excuse to reprimand. If you simply respond with professional neutrality your manager has to respond in kind.

You should not discuss atheism at the workplace or any setting simular. Although the women did ask, invite, take offence at a reasonably polite statement of fact, and then complain to your manager about something inapproprate she had brought up for discussion in a workplace situation. She should have not offered and you should not have had to reply. Really you just have to deal with life and understand that not all situations are fair; the majority of people are bias to some extent and that is normally towards popular or common culture.

Agreed.

NOT A GOOD IDEA!! I used to work in food service and I know from personal experience that while some customers are sweethearts, others are assholes and can be very unfair. When I was working at KFC I was the cashier... the "packer" [the one who puts the chicken in the bucket] was a newbie on her first day. It wasn't my job to pack the food... but regardless it's always the cashier that gets blamed when customers get given wrong orders. I remember a woman who came in at rush hour and screamed at me that the drive-through clerk had shorted her order 1 drumstick. [She had ordered a 16 piece meal]. It was unfair. Not only was I not connected to drive-through in any way... but the packer was the one who had shorted her a drumstick... AND it was 1 fucking drumstick!! She screamed at me for about 20 minutes while about 10 customers behind her looked both irritated and shocked. I tried to calm her down and apologized again and again. Finally the manager came to my rescue and offered the woman a coupon for a free 16 piece chicken. She stormed out muttering to herself. 

 

Point is... customers can be assholes... but if you want to keep your job you have to be nice to them anyway.

One dumstick? all that for one bone with a bit of meat? is that worth 20 minutes of both your time, her time and the time of the customers waiting in line? That is insane.
Maybe she has OCD?

Some people are mean..

This what makes me more disbeliever...

I have experienced something similar to this before as well..but it was worse..

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