Yesterday (8/15/09) I stopped into the Kmart off Palmetto Park Road in Boca Raton around 3pm. After picking up what I needed I stood in line at the checkout and was given a demonstration by two Kmart employees on why diversity and sensitivity training is a must for all businesses.
As I was having my items scanned by the cashier, she saw two women in the lane next to her who were “butch” in appearance. She stopped scanning, yelled over to the cashier at the next checkstand and pointed at the two women. The second cashier yelled back, “rainbow?”
My cashier responded by saying, “I think one is the husband and the other is the wife, they’re both not lesbians.” The other cashier responded by saying, “oh yes! Rainbow!”
This was all going on while other people are standing in line listening to the back and forth banter of these two individuals which included code words like “rainbow” to indicate the presence of homosexual people.
I stood there in shock listening to this, wanting to say something, but I didn’t want to embarrass the women who were the subject of the insults any further. I walked out of the store, got in my car and sat there wondering what just happened.
It’s incidents like this that make me wonder what breeds such intolerance in people. Is it the way they were brought up? Does it have to do with geographical location? Is there a way to educate people and stop such things from happening? And most importantly, why do companies tolerate such behavior from their employees.
Why can’t we all just get along?