It is tricky being a good socialist book dealer at times.
Apart from the inherent dilemma of being a capitalist company owner accumulating possessions
And (obviously) exploiting my downtrodden staff (or so they tell me)
And making my living from products whose main value is their scarcity,
There is the problem of being surrounded by Nazi Bigots.
This afternoon I received a fine racist rant from a rather smelly older gentleman.
His main argument was that the Labour party is trying to destroy the country by filling it with immigrants as foriegners hate the royal family and will bring in communism and that the blacks are filling up our country and will kill us all and look at Rhodesia and everyone is afraid to have an opinion it's political correctness gone mad i tell you we should be more like America and allow racism as the foriegners should all go back to their own country and they would kill us if they had the chance so bring back cruficixion and deportation and then flogging for a second offence and if i want to be racist why shouldn't I as they shouldnt be here in my country anyhow and i dont go live in theirs so why are they in mine and this country should be white and catholics deported too as they are all communists and don't you agree ?
So what do I say? Is the customer always right ?
What i would like to say is "Sir, not only are you a racist smelly old bigot, but you argument is facile, incorrect and just plain wrong. Please desist your ranting and depart from my premises immediately."
What I actually said was "Well I believe tolerance is important, and freedom shouldn't extent to the extent of hurting others"
Which unfortunately just set him off again.
Is one really able to confront quite objectional attitudes and opinions in ones own shop ? Yes, I can throw anyone out, but one (ex) customer muttering darkly about the shop will lose me more sales than Oxfam.
Hmmm. Any suggestions gratefully received.