This may seem a small thing to some, but there are some small things that cannot be overlooked. This is one of them.
On September 23, 2011, a friend of mine rented a UHaul truck from Smith's Express Service Center in Jackson, Alabama. My friend is a highly educated PhD, and very well spoken, so during two previous business calls with the owner of that UHaul franchise location she found the owner to be very friendly and personable.
However, when she walked in the front door to sign the paperwork, and the owner realized that my friend is black, his demeanor did a 180 degree turn. He made us wait for forty minutes while he waited on his "real customers" (his words, not mine), all of whom had arrived after us. At one point, he walked away from her while she was in the middle of a sentence.
When he finally deigned to speak with her, he answered a perfectly valid business question by stating, "Look lady, I don't need your *** little attitude." He then launched into a tirade during which he referred to her *** attitude" three times, stated that he didn't even want to rent her the truck or do business with her." As justification for this blatant display of racism, he then said, "You haven't even smiled one time since you walked in here."
It should be noted that my friend has a medical condition which has left half of her face paralyzed. Even if she had felt like smiling, she couldn't have.
A phone call to the corporate office only added insult to injury. They offered her a coupon for her "inconvenience." As if a coupon to do business with this company was something that she will ever likely use. What they should have done -- and what they should still do - is refund my friend's money and strip that franchise owner of his contract.
A letter to UHaul's parent company, Amerco, who also owns Amerco Real Estate Company, Rep West Insurance Company and Oxford Life Insurance Company, went completely ignored.
So in the event that you are a person of color and you have a customer service issue with any of these companies, make sure you smile nice and big for them and throw in a couple of "yes-suh's and no-suh's" for good measure, or be prepared to be insulted, disrespected, and summarily dismissed.
Please feel free to copy and paste this to any of your friends. Maybe Amerco will get the message that ignoring racism is just a quiet way of practicing it.
Product or Service Mentioned: Uhaul Moving Service.