Portland, Ore. (CBS SEATTLE) — After finding a homophobic slur printed on his receipt from a Portland Apple Store, an Oregon man says he wants the company to embrace a more “progressive” standard of employee training.
Adam Catanzarite, who self-identifies as gay, told The Oregonian on Wednesday that he was prompted to Facebook post the receipt listing his email as, email@example.com, because he believes the company should respond by offering cultural competency training the people it hires. The receipt was printed from the downtown Portland Apple Store and Catanzarite posted the photo on social media after the company failed to refund him the price of the headphones as promised.
Catanzarite posted a photo of the July 8 Apple Store receipt to Facebook with the caption: “So here’s a thing. I got called a f@g by an #Apple employee here in #Portland. The store manager did not do what he said he would to rectify the situation, so now I feel it is important to share the story. Being queer and having worked with queer youth, I know first-hand that this is an example of the type of #homophobic beliefs and actions that lead young people to harm themselves. This type of action is NOT OKAY, especially from a company that prides itself on being LGBTQ inclusive and welcoming.”
Hundreds of Facebook, Reddit and Imgur users shared the receipt photo.
Catanzarite told The Oregonian that the incident began with his purchase of a $29 earphone set and a store employee asked him to provide his email address, but he declined.
“With most receipts, I just stuff it in my backpack and only pull it out when needed,” he said.
Days later, Catanzarite says he discovered the receipt with the “firstname.lastname@example.org” listing as his email address. After contacting the store manager and speaking with him both on the phone and in-person, he said the “kind” and “reasonable enough” manager promised to fund the price of the earphones. Catanzarite, who works as an HIV prevention specialist for Cascade AIDS Project, said he offered to lead cultural competency courses during training for the store’s staff.
But after weeks went by, Catanzarite tells The Oregonian that the refund was not given and he received no word from the store. As of Wednesday, the refund was still not posted.
Portland’s LGBTQ community center, the Q Center, said similar incidents of discrimination are common in business transactions, and noted the Gresham bakery owner who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple in Oregon last year.
Cantanzarite says he doesn’t believe the employee who input the slur should be fired, but that the company should improve employee training on cultural acceptance.
“The employee who entered email@example.com should not be fired (take a minute to let that settle in if you need to), but should be given an opportunity to learn about the impact of the use of the word f** and how these words impact the individuals who have been oppressed by them.”
An Apple spokesperson acknowledged the incident but declined to make additional statements.