You Say Tomato, I Say Racist



I live in an extremely diverse area. It is impossible to go anywhere and not encounter a non-white person. As such, open racism tends to be minimal, and I imagine it is difficult to live here if you’re an old racist. I’m busy working when this white woman approaches. She doesn’t greet me or anything, she just blurts out:

Customer “Why are all your tomatoes Mexican? Do you not have any tomatoes grown in the US?”

Me *Shocked* “Uh… Let me go ask the produce manager. She knows more about this than I do.”

I walk over to the produce manager, who is Hispanic.

Me “That woman over there is wondering why all of our tomatoes are Mexican.”

Manager “Seriously? Mexican tomatoes? Tell her to complain to the government about that. I don’t have any control over where our produce is grown. It’s about supply and demand, cost, etc.”

Me “Right.”

Manager “Actually, I might have one or two types of tomatoes grown in the US right now. Let’s see…”

She starts checking all the tomatoes.

Manager “This one says, ‘Product of America.’ And this one is also grown in the US. Oh, this one is Canadian if she’s okay with that. But you can tell her we do have some patriotic tomatoes.”

Me “Okay… where’d she go?”

I look all over the produce department, but the woman is gone. I wonder if it’s because the produce manager is Hispanic, but I say nothing.

Manager “That’s weird.”

Me “Yeah. If I see her again, I’ll let her know.”

Manager “Mexican tomatoes… ha! They’re freaking tomatoes! Just eat them!”

I finish what I am doing and decide to give customer service a heads-up in case the customer decides to complain. The customer service manager is of Egyptian descent, but she’s mistaken for Hispanic all the time. As I’m telling her about what happened, the customer finishes up at the register and starts to approach the desk, but then she stares at the customer service manager for a minute and leaves the store.

Customer Service Manager: “Was that her?”

Me: “Yep.”

Customer Service Manager: “Well, I hope she goes back to wherever she came from… back to where the nationalist tomatoes grow.”

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