Sunday, December 30, 2018

The GameStop Misgendering & Retail Customer Service Advice

People have been asking me for my thoughts on the GameStop misgendering. The executive summary is "I understand why she was upset, but losing her cool like that actually makes her look more masculine. She hurts her own interests and those of the community." After all, I can't think of a single situation where threatening to take someone outside and beat them like a man would beat them is somehow feminine in behavior.

Longer version with explanation:

I've been misgendered many times, and it hurts each time. It made me feel insulted and belittled, because in my opinion I had taken great pains to present as a woman, and I figured that if I was dressed like a woman and had hair and makeup and jewelry like a woman and smelled like a woman and acted like a woman and (hopefully) sounded like a woman, then all those things would be huge clues to the average person that, regardless of how I was born or what I had between my legs,  I wanted to be treated as a woman.

However, there is a vast gulf of difference between accidental and deliberate misgendering. Most people who misgender do it accidentally, and how I react to that can affect how they view and treat other transgender people in the future. It starts by making a few acknowledgements:
  • I acknowledge that people are primarily visual creatures and that the eyes go straight to the brain. That means if people look at me and see "man" and call me "sir" that it's probably an accident. The same goes for the ears; I'm about 50-50 on people calling me "ma'am" or "sir" on the telephone. 
  • I acknowledge that most people don't mean to insult me, and that any misgendering is accidental, either due to the aforementioned visual/vocal cues or perhaps they've never met a transgender person before. 
  • I acknowledge that biting someone's head off over an innocent mistake is a good way to ruin things for everyone. 
So in the instances when I've been misgendered, my response is always to smile politely and say "Miss/She/Her, if you please". 

90% percent of the time, that solves the issue. Most people will blush or fluster or be embarrassed and say something like "Oh, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to do that/I didn't know." And this is enough to make me happy, because they have apologized for hurting my feelings and have corrected their behavior, and I can't ask for more than that. 

About 5% of the time, the person will either be so mortified that they can't say anything, or is so socially clueless that they don't realize how what they've said is inappropriate. Those people are best left alone, because in the case of the former they're already punishing themselves so there's no need to make it worse, and in the latter you'll have better luck explaining the situation to a stone. In either case, I save my energy for more important things. 

Then there's the remaining 5%, the people who will go out of their way to be insulting to transgender people because it stokes their sense of righteousness. Depending on my mood, I will sometimes fight with them ; not in the hopes of convincing them they're wrong, but rather to draw them out so that others can see just how spiteful and toxic they can be. I give them a nice long rope that they obligingly put around their necks, and once they've said things they cannot walk back from, I block them on social media / walk away in real life because they aren't worth my time. The rest of the time, I just walk away. 

Unfortunately, the GameStop transwoman does everything badly. She not only acts aggressively (therefore reinforcing the perception of her as masculine) but she also makes all transgender people look unstable and prone to outbursts of profanity and vandalism. 

What she should have done was demanded to see the manager before any of this happened. She was clearly already upset with the level of customer service she was receiving -- if she weren't, people wouldn't have recorded it -- and so when someone offscreen misgenders her she reacts angrily. Getting mad at a minimum wage clerk solves nothing; instead, ask for a manager who has the ability and authority to solve your problem. If the clerk had misgendered her before the recording happened, she could have brought that to the attention of his boss instead of making a scene. 

I worked in retail for many years in my 20s. I worked retail on Black Friday. While my experience is not the same as everyone else's, I've met my share of irate customers who decided to take it out on me, and this is what I can tell you:
  • If I'm not the manager, an upset customer isn't my problem. I literally didn't get paid enough to deal with those people. My stock reply was "I'm sorry I'm unable to help you. Would you like me to get the manager?"
  • In nearly every single case, the manager later told me something like "Don't sweat it, that person was an asshole" or "There's no way you could have solved that problem." In other words, a customer blowing their stack literally had no effect on my job, and most of the time we laughed at them after they'd left. 
  • In the rare cases where I did get a reprimand, it wasn't because the customer was upset at me; it was because I'd failed to do my job properly. Yes, sometimes the customer was mad because I'd screwed up, but I never got in trouble for that. I only got in trouble for not doing my job to the best of my ability. 
In other words, if you want to put the fear of God into an employee, you don't yell at them; you ask to see their boss. 

On the other hand, good behavior from an employee should be praised, and when I receive exemplary service I ask for the manager so I can praise that employee. You might think it's a waste of time, but my experience tells me otherwise: nothing brightens a manager's day quite like being told that one of their employees did a fine job and made a customer extra happy, and a manager who is aware of an employee's fine performance is more likely to reward that employee with a raise or other benefits, and a rewarded employee is happy and continues to give great customer service. It's a virtuous cycle. 

I will close by relating to you my experience at the 2016 NRA Annual Meeting in Nashville, TN. I was checking in at the media room in order to acquire my media credentials for the convention, something that I had done before. However, unlike all the other times before and since, this time the lady checking me in asked for photo identification. 

This presented a dilemma to me, as this convention was also the very first time I attended in full female form, and I had not changed my legal name or gender marker and therefore my ID still had a picture of me looking very male with a male name. 

I had several ways to handle this situation. I could have made a scene; I could have stormed out; I could have broken down and cried. Instead, I went with polite honesty: "Well, I can give you my ID, but it won't do you much good because I'm transgender." I whispered that last word because I didn't want to announce my business to the world. 

The woman checking me in went pale and said "Oh my god, I am so sorry, I didn't mean anything by that." She acted as if she'd insulted me directly, and was either aghast at causing offense or worried I would cause a scene.

I smiled and said "It's all right. Now, please tell me how we can best handle this?" She went and got her supervisor, who as turns out knew who I was and told her to issue me my credentials without needing to see my ID.  The entire times she acted embarrassed, and I told her it was fine, that I wasn't insulted. 

And then, once the rush was over, I sought out her supervisor and praised her for how she handled it. After all, she could have refused me entry because my ID didn't match; she could have made a scene; she could have called security to have me removed from the press room. But she didn't, and instead worked to resolve the problem without making me, the customer, uncomfortable. Her supervisor was happy, and she was happy, and I was happy because I knew that the next time this woman meets another transgender person, she'll know what to do. I made her life, and the life of that transgender person, that much easier. 

That's how you handle being misgendered. 

Friday, December 28, 2018

SHTFriday: New Posts at Blue Collar Prepping

I know there was a months-long period where I wasn't writing anything for Blue Collar Prepping, but I hope to write more there (and do more writing in general) in the coming new year.

For now, though, you'll have to content yourselves with two recent articles of mine: one about foot wraps (called Portyanki in Russian) written last month, and one about how to build a self-feeding fire that I wrote today.


Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas 2018

Sometimes, the kindest gift of all is the gift of time and attention.

Thank you for your lovely Christmas Presence.

Merry Christmas & a Happy Hearth's Warming!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Don We Now Our Gay Apparel

Deck the Halls exhorts me to don my Gay Apparel. Okay, but is Gay Apparel light, medium, or heavy armor? I need to know this so I know how many turns it will take me to don (or hastily don) it!

Of course, given that people wearing said Gay Apparel are singers, that means they're probably bards, and bards only wear light armor because that doesn't interfere with their spellcasting.

And there's probably a benefit to singing while wearing Gay Apparel, because otherwise the carolers wouldn't be doing it as a group.

You know where this is going, right?

Gay Apparel
Light Armor
  • Aura: Faint illusion
  • Caster Level: 4th
  • Cost: 1,151 gp
Gay Apparel is a masterwork reinforced tunic of red, green and white, usually decorated with bells and festive designs of snowflakes, candy canes and reindeer. Because it is essentially a shirt, Gay Apparel can be donned (or removed) as a Move Action (there is no “don hastily” option for Gay Apparel).

When worn by anyone possessing bardic performance, Gay Apparel grants the Lingering Performance feat. When worn by anyone with at least one rank in Perform: Sing, it grants the use of the Basic Harmony teamwork feat even if they lack the prerequisites.

Construction Requirements: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Basic Harmony, Lingering Performance, Auditory Hallucination.

Gay Apparel, Lesser
Light Armor
  • Aura: Faint illusion
  • Caster Level: 1st
  • Cost: 651 gp
As above, only without granting the Lingering Performance feat.
Construction Requirements: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Basic Harmony, Auditory Hallucination.

Gay Apparel, Greater
Light Armor
  • Aura: Moderate illusion
  • Caster Level: 7th
  • Cost: 16,151 gp
As above, except that Gay Apparel, Greater has the Harmonizing special ability.
Construction Requirements: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Basic Harmony,  Lingering Performance, Auditory Hallucination, Major Image.

Don your bard-assisting tunic!

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la!

It's very quick, no need to panic!

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la!

It doesn't take a Standard Action!

Fa-la-la, la-la-la, la-la-la!

Just a Move, so get to crackin'!

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Apologies for my Absence

I know I haven't been posting much lately. Part of that has been due to increased familial demands on my time / general holiday craziness -- there's a reason why I typically take a break from blogging in late December -- but part of it has been health-related.

I don't know when it started, but at some point I didn't have as much energy as I used to. Not only was I lethargic, but my brain felt sleepy; I couldn't think as quickly as I used to and my creativity steeply declined. All I wanted to was just chill out and quietly read or play on the computer instead of writing or working on Operation Blazing Sword / Pink Pistols.

At first, I thought it was just seasonal depression brought on by the anniversary of the dog attack and the usual holiday blahs, being compounded by all the awful political infighting and name-calling that's happening across social media.

Then at some point I had a realization: I had gone through this exact scenario before and I'd fixed it with a daily iron supplement. And, oh yeah, I'd stopped taking daily iron because the doctor I'd seen after the dog attack told me I didn't need it and should go off of it. And just like before, I've been craving meat (usually red meat) and having trouble thinking clearly and expressing myself properly.

I find it a bit strange that it took about a year for me to begin suffering effects from whatever mild anemia I have, but whatever, my body is weird in general.

So I took an iron supplement the night I made the connection and the next morning, I wasn't exhausted all morning and half the afternoon. I actually felt well-rested. I had not one but two really neat ideas (one political, one geeky) that basically crept up and dope-slapped me upside the head.

I feel like MYSELF for the first time in literal months.

So yeah, to hell with that doctor. I'm back on iron (don't freak out, it's only 50mg a day, not a massive dose) and I'm feeling good again. The cobwebs have been cleared and I'm thinking once again.

I expect to begin posting actual good stuff soon.

(Please, no comments from the Cult of Cast Iron regarding how all I need to do is cook my food in cast iron pans. I need more than whatever piddly amount leeches into the food.)

Monday, December 17, 2018

ACP Episode 036: The Brain Worms

In This Episode:
  • Erin and Weer’d Talk about some recent political drama with a certain hosting site;
  • Oddball gives us some of his observations on Cold Steel Knives, as well as the company behind them;
  • Weer'd Fisks an interesting series from Viceland about guns called "Maybe I'm Wrong";
  • and David begins a series on concealed carry options, starting with belt carry.

Listen to the episode here.

Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.

Show Notes

Main Topic
Oddball's Corner Pocket
Weer'd Audio Fisk
Gun Lovers and Other Strangers

Monday, December 10, 2018

ACP Episode 035: Grumpy Old Podcasters

In This Episode:
  • Erin and Weer’d Talk about home defense and guns they want for Christmas;
  • They also discuss the story of a Harvard student who was asked to move out of her apartment by her landlord because of her legally owned guns;
  • Weer'd fisks Cory Booker as he talks gun control with Jordan Klepper;
  • Oddball talks about the different types of locking mechanisms folding knives have;
  • and Steve takes a day off to talk about what the future has in store for his Private Investigator business.

Listen to the episode here.

Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.

Show Notes

Main Topic
    Weer’d Audio Fisk

        Saturday, December 8, 2018

        Happy Hanukkah, Everypony!

        Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends!

        Now I need to explain to my non-Jewish friends what is going on in this picture.

        During Hanukkah, children play a game with a dreidel (a four-sided spinning top, pronounced dray-del) for chocolate coins called gelt.  The rules of the game are as follows:
        • Each player begins with an equal amount of gelt, usually 5 or 10 pieces.
        • Each player puts one gelt into the center "pot" at the beginning of the game. 
        • Each player also puts one gelt into the pot at the end of every player's turn.
        • Each player spins the dreidel once during their turn. What happens next depends on which side lands face-up:
          • If נ‬ (nun) is facing up, the player does nothing. 
          • If ג‬ (gimel) is facing up, the player gets everything in the pot.
          • If ה‬ (hey) is facing up, the player gets half of the geltin the pot. If there are an odd number of gelt, they take the half the pot rounded up.
          • If ש‬ (shin) is facing up, the player adds one gelt to the pot.
        • When you run out of gelt, you're out of the game. 
        Yes, it's basically kids gambling for chocolate. This explains why Pinkie Pie (ostensibly an adult pony) is playing; she loves all things sugary. Apparently she keeps winning the pot (probably due to her Pinkie Sense) and Rarity is irritated that her little sister is getting "taken". 

        Don't worry, Sweetie Belle! I'm sure Pinkie will share when the game is done. 

        Now, for you adults who don't feel like gambling for chocolate, how about a drinking game instead? Here are the rules for Drinking Dreidel (also known as “Drink & Drei” or “Fatal Dreidel” if you’re playing with tequila), written by Molly Tolsky
        • If נ‎ (nun) is facing up, you do nothing. Sounds boring, but believe me, when the game gets rolling, you’ll be grateful for those precious nuns (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write on a Jewish website).
        • • If ש‎ (shin) is facing up, you take a drink. In regular dreidel, shin means put one in. In this case, you’re putting one in… to your mouth.
        • • If ה‎ (hey) is facing up, you choose somebody else to take a drink, specifically by saying, “Hey ___, take a drink.”
        • • If ג‎ (gimel) is facing up, everybody takes a drink! But first you all must shout, “GIMEL!!!” and clink glasses. Don’t skip over that step — it’s important for overall morale.
        Want to buy a dreidel? Amazon has them

        Monday, December 3, 2018

        ACP Episode 034: Stupid Laws

        In This Episode:
        • Erin and Weer’d talk about the recent Massachusetts appellate court ruling that firearm license restrictions are constitutional;
        • Oddball gives us a primer on the various knife laws around the country;
        • Weer'd gives us part two of the Young Turks losing their mind over guns;
        • David discusses the basics of metallic cartridge reloading;
        • and Steve takes a break from doing paperwork at the local Tire Center to discuss tailing and pursuit techniques.

        Listen to the episode here.

        Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.

        Show Notes

        Main Topic
        Oddball’s Corner Pocket
        Weer’d Audio Fisk
        Gun Lovers and Other Strangers

        The Fine Print

        This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

        Creative Commons License

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