Is Bath and Body Works racist?

This is me in front of the offending store. Boo!

Okay, so this entry is as political as I’ll get.  I don’t usually like playing the “race card“. It’s too done. Being the first generation of my family to be born here in Toronto, one of the most multi cultural places in the world, I haven’t really ever felt racism. I mean there were awkward times during my high school years where I didn’t fit in with the main cliques, partly do to the fact that I was a small, withdrawn Asian girl that didn’t play sports…but other than that, I’ve lived without any major discomfort due to my Chinese background.

This doesn’t mean that I’m not sensitive to it.  I am well aware of some Asian stereotypes, and I still do fight them today.  But most recently I had a brief stint working as a seasonal sales staff at Bath and Body Works.  And it was one of the worst employment experiences I’ve ever had.  I wanted to work in the cosmetics industry because it is my interest, so I went in for an interview, even though I had my reservations to work for such a big box company.  It was a group interview involving me, a busty redhead from the UK and a BBW manager that shall remain nameless.  So as I battled it out with the Brit, answering questions for this position, I realized that with my superior knowledge of the make-up industry and my retail sales experience in general, I kind of blew her out of the water.  But at the end of the interview, we both got the position.  That’s fine or is it?  It turns out that that there were only so many hours that could be doled out, so it would mean that me and the Brit would be splitting the little shifts that there was.  I worked 3 hours a week during the brief stint, barely worth getting out of bed for.

Luckily, two weeks and miserably into the position at BBW, I got a call from another make-up company ready to take me on!  I went for the interview, and it was immediate click.  They knew I knew my stuff.  And I knew I wanted to be with them.  No jumping over hurdles, battling it out with a red head, fighting over three hours shifts.  I could relax and know I got the position, because I was qualified.  I decided however to finish one more day at BBW before letting them know I was quitting.  Big mistake.  On this day, they didn’t let me talk to customers, I was put on bag duty, which is double bagging bags.  😦 Then I was sent to the back room to cut box trays.  I know this was prep for Black Friday, but I couldn’t help but feel that they didn’t appreciate me, and I finally noticed that all the front line staff that day were white.  When I looked at the next weeks’ schedule, I had only 1 on-call shift, while the new hire UK girl had gotten 2 shifts.  It had nothing to do with me being a new hire then.  What else could it have been other than race?  Hmm, I can’t prove it, but I sure felt it.  To make matters worse, they gave me a shotty knife to cut the boxes with and I ended up straining my two fore fingers, and they ended up turning numb!  For one week my fingers were numb and were not the same and even as I’m typing now, my index finger is still weird.  BBW, I truly hate thou.  The next day, I phoned in my resignation, and danced for joy, having a way better job to fall back on!  I will write more about my new job in another entry soon!

As a side note, despite what BBW did to me, don’t shop there anyways.  They could be possibly racist, but also, their products suck.  They all smell the same, and are loaded with synthetic chemicals that are junky.  You heard it from me first!

Check out the following video.  It shows that racism in the retail workplace does totally exist.

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