I was a cashier throughout high school. I was promoted to seafood clerk when I turned 18. It was my summer job until I was 20. When I moved to DC permanently as a college junior, I took a seafood clerk job at the Tenley Whole Foods. I dealt with some disgusting people. A few customers on Cape Cod reacted with disgust when I told them I went to school in Washington. I got a lot of questions and snide remarks about what it must be like living around so many black people. While working at Whole Foods customers would tell me that they weren't comfortable with minorities touching their fish. Truly disgusting people.
I served all of them. I steamed their lobsters, asked if they wanted paper or plastic, and offered to walk their bags to their car. Did I like doing that? Not especially. If I refused to serve them would my employers have had my back? Probably. But it was my job to serve them. So I did.
The University of Maryland doesn't see things the same way. An employee at the Maryland Food Collective, a sandwich stop in their student union, refused to serve a customer. Was the customer abusive or belligerent? No. She was wearing a shirt that offended the cashier. It read: "Baltimore Zionist District" and "I Stand for Israel." The horror!
Here's how the story should have ended: The cashier gets fired. The university tells the Collective and any other employees working on campus grounds that is has to accept the viewpoints of its students. After all, the entire point of a learning institution is to be surrounded by as many opinions as possible, right?
Instead, UMD students end up tripping over each other to show how understanding and politically correct they are.
The collective, which rents space from the university, announced last week that it would serve any customer who was not physically or verbally abusive, but that any worker who was offended by a customer's politics could discreetly slip away and find another clerk to serve the patron.
No. That's wrong. The customer's politics? They can refuse to serve anyone wearing a shirt saying they attended a pro-life rally? They can refuse service to someone who was espousing conservative views in the classroom? Think about how crazy this is. It's a public university! If you can't deal with someone having an opposing viewpoint, please do the world a favor and kill yourself. You are obviously ill-equipped to handle the world and you are only going to be a drain on our precious resources, namely air, water, and space. The cashier is showing a lot of chutzpah (ha!) by being offended that someone had the gall to disagree with her. Especially on a subject as cut-and-dry as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There's hardly any room for disagreement there.
By the way, the cashier is remaining anonymous. Way to stand behind your core beliefs, you fucking coward.
The cashier who refused to serve Lazarus will not talk about the incident because "she would be misrepresented," one co-op worker told me. The workers who would talk to me -- most would not because "the collective speaks collectively," as one member put it [ed note: WTF!?] -- said no one should have to have contact with people whose views they find hurtful.
Oh it is going to be sweet when these people enter the real world. Being forced to acknowledge other views? That's fucking rough.
By the way, I would bet a million dollars that these Collective fucks would be incensed if some ass-douche pharmacist refused to fill out their Plan B prescription.
So, fuck the Collective. I wish I could end this post here. But, alas:
"The arrangement we worked out, while not ideal, is a reasonable accommodation," said Avi Mayer, president of the university's Pro-Israel Terrapin Alliance, who joined the meeting with the collective. "I would not want to force anyone to act against their own political beliefs."
(Side note: Am I wrong for capitalizing "Collective"? It's referring to a specific store so it should be capitalized, no? Why isn't the Post capitalizing it?)
What the Hell is going on here? This is ok with you? Not being served at a sandwich shop for being pro-Israel? Why don't people understand why this is so foul? This is only a step away from refusing to serve someone for disagreeing with their religious beliefs. I hate slippery slope theories as much as the next debate team president, but, come on. The connection is easy enough to make.
This story devolves into both camps trying to out-understand the other with politically correct gobbely-gook.
"I would have rung her up," said Kiki -- "no last name, please, we're getting too many ugly phone calls" -- "and nobody was refused service. She paid for her food less than a minute after it happened. But it's hard to gauge. Is it intolerant to say that America's actions in Iraq are intolerant?"
Wait, what? Shut up, Kiki. You're speaking nonsense.
When Lazarus [the spurned customer] and others active in Maryland's Jewish student groups met with the collective, the visitors baked a vegan chocolate cake and brought it as a peace offering. In a letter to the cashier who turned her away, Lazarus was as non-confrontational as could be: "I got the impression that your action at the register was a very 'in the moment,' emotional reaction. Nonetheless, the way you expressed your feelings was not the most constructive."
Oh my God. OH MY GOD. More fuel for my "UMD must be destroyed" argument. Shut up, all of you, you sniveling fucks. Man, if I am ever refused service at a publicly funded institution for wearing a political shirt, I am leaving that fucking place in handcuffs. Someone gets their rights trampled on and she responds with a vegan cake? That is so fucking weak. Grow a pair.
Thank goodness for the stellar (as usual) work of Washington Post Metro columnist Marc Fisher. He, like me and other reasonable humans, sees right through the very thick layer of bullshit. I can't believe these college students are so cavalier about First Amendment rights. What a disgrace. At least UMD told the Collective to cut this out or lose their lease. Now if they could only get around to not admitting these twat-waffles in the first place.