Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Domino Effect of Words

What I said got someone fired.

No, it's what SHE said that got her fired.

Actually, it's Camping World's  laudable zero tolerance for racism that got a woman fired for using the "n" word in conversation with me.

And it all happened -- her words, my horror and her firing -- within two hours today.

Here's what happened.

We need a hose for our motorhome's bathroom, so we stop at a nearby Camping World. Allen wants to fix the broken one with duct tape and Super Glue. I want to spend $75  to buy a new setup.

The saleswoman looks at me and says he (meaning my husband) likes to "n"-rig things (she uses the whole derogatory word). What? I ask? "N"-rig things, she replies. Stunned, because I'm sure what I heard is NOT what she said, I ask again. What? "N"-rig, she replies.

I don't know what that is, I say. "Some say jury-rigged," she replies.

I'm  shocked by her flagrant, unashamed use of the "n" word,  yet I walk away, saying nothing to her. I regret not telling her how awful her words are. I regret I didn't verbally wash out her mouth with soap.

As we leave the store, I turn to Allen and say "I feel dirty." And the only way to feel clean again is to address the situation.
So, when we get back on the road, I track down the e-mail address for Marcus Lemonis, the chairman and CEO of Camping World, and at 1:58 p.m. (Eastern Time) I send him an e-mail outlining my outrage.

At 1:59 p.m. -- I kid you not; a minute later -- he responds with "Nancy, I am horrified by this and will respond immediately.  This is unacceptable. ML"

By 3:15 p.m., I get an e-mail, from the president of Camping World, asking to talk to me personally.

By 3:30 p.m., we're on the phone, and he tells me the woman with the offensive mouth was fired. And assures me there is no room at Camping World for racism. And asks that I don't judge the 4,000 people who work there by the one who now doesn't.

And, he assures me several times, the woman with the racist language got herself fired because Camping World has a zero tolerance for such things. 

I can live with that. I regret that this woman' life got turned upside down because I ratted her out. But I hate even more the insidiousness of racism.

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