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    Category: Family & Kids

    Contains Refunds Not Suitable For A Younger Audience

    | Surrey, England, UK | Family & Kids, Liars & Scammers, Movies & TV

    (My colleague has kicked out a pair of boys from a 15-rated film. Managers have stated to us in the past that screen jumpers do not get refunds.)

    Boy: “We want our money back!”

    Colleague: “I’ll talk to the manager.”

    (My colleague goes behind the concession stand for a couple of minutes and comes out.)

    Colleague: “My manager says he will not be issuing you a refund.”

    Boy: “Then let us back into our film!”

    Colleague: “No.”

    (My colleague leaves me standing on gate with these boys.)

    Boy: “Why can’t you let us back in?”

    Me: “You’ve broken the contract you signed by buying a ticket, which states that refunds are not issued, that you will go to the film on your ticket and not into one you’ve been refused entry to, and you’ve broken the trust in our staff that you will keep your deal.”

    Boy: “Well, we’re not leaving until we get our money back.”

    Me: “You’ve broken your side of the bargain. We have a zero tolerance policy against people who run between screens for any reason and thus we will not be issuing you a refund. Your threat can be seen as harassment, and at this point your only options are to leave this building, or go home escorted by the police. I really don’t mind which.”

    (The boys hesitate, and then run off!)

    Forget To Drink To Forget

    | London, England, UK | Extra Stupid, Family & Kids, Food & Drink

    (I’m bartending at a wedding and the bar is quiet. A father approaches the bar with his newly 18-year-old daughter.)

    Father: “I’ll have a pint of Guinness, please.”

    Me: “Certainly, sir. Is there anything else I can get you?”

    Father: “Do you want anything, [Daughter]?”

    Daughter: “Oh, I’ll just have some water, please.”

    Father: “Are you sure? You’re allowed alcohol now, remember!”

    Daughter: *face lights up* “Oh, yeah! Uhm…” *falls silent for about five seconds* “What do you have?”

    (I motion to the wide range of alcoholic beverages behind me.)

    Me: “Whatever you fancy, ma’am.”

    Daughter: “Uhm… I don’t know! What do I want?”

    (Her father says nothing, so I presume the question is to me.)

    Me: “Well, what do you normally drink? We have a very wide range of spirits behind me, cold beer on tap in front of you, and several ciders and ales in the fridges that I can list if you’d like.”

    Daughter: “Uhm, can I have a rum and Coke?”

    Me: “Of course, ma’am! Light or dark rum?”

    Daughter: “Uhm… Do you have Barcardi?”

    Me: “Coming right up!”

    (I make her Barcardi and Coke and pour the father his Guinness before taking payment. As the daughter walks away, the father sighs.)

    Father: “I’m very sorry about that! Sometimes I wonder if she’s all there!”

    (He then walks away without his Guinness, returning a minute or so later to collect it with a sheepish look on his face!)

    This Round He Lost (In Translation), Part 4

    , | USA | Extra Stupid, Family & Kids, Language & Words

    (People call us to set up appointments at counseling clinics. One of our affiliated clinics’ entire staff speaks English, Arabic, and Chaldean, so we get a lot of Arabic callers seeking appointments who may need an interpreter. I know a little bit of Arabic, but not enough to have an entire phone conversation.)

    Me: “Good afternoon. [Call Center]. How many I help you?”

    Caller: “Hello, I’d like to set up my father with an appointment to see [Doctor at Arabic facility].”

    Me: “Okay. Do you have legal guardianship over your father?”

    Caller: “No, he is his own man.”

    Me: “Well, since he’s an adult you can’t make the appointment for him, due to HIPAA laws.  Is he there with you?”

    Caller: “He’s next to me, but he only speaks Arabic.”

    Me: “Not a problem! We can do one of two things: I can get an interpreter on the phone, or he can give me permission over the phone for you to make the appointment on his behalf.”

    Caller: “Uh… but he doesn’t speak English…”

    Me: “Oh, I understand! You could explain to him in Arabic that I’m going to ask ‘Is it okay if I speak with your son on your behalf?’, and to say “N’am” or “Yes”, if he wants that service. It’s legal, and we do it all the time since some people are more comfortable with us speaking with a family member.”

    Caller: “Okay, I’ll do that. Here’s my father.”

    (I hear the phone shuffle around, and don’t hear any kind of verbal exchange indicating he’s telling his father what’s happening.)

    Me: *in Arabic* “…Hello?”

    Caller’s Father: “Huh?”

    Me: “… Is it okay if I speak with your son on your behalf?”

    Caller’s Father: “HELLO?!”

    Caller: “See, this is stupid because he doesn’t understand English.”

    Me: “… Did you explain to him what I was going to say?”

    Caller: “Ma’am, you misunderstand me! He does not speak English!”

    Me: “I understand that, sir. What I’m saying is, you could interpret this portion of the phone call, and explain to him, in Arabic, what I am about to ask him, and what he should say back if he wants you to make the appointment. I’m not asking him to understand English. If you want, I’d be more than happy to dial our interpreter line for you?”

    Caller: “NO! He wants ME to do it! He gave me permission before the call!”

    Me: “I need to HEAR the granted permission. If you don’t want an interpreter, please explain to him the Arabic translation of what I’m about to ask him in English.”

    (The caller grumbles and again hands the phone over without saying anything to his father. His father keeps yelling ‘No English’ and ‘Hello.’ The caller takes the phone again and starts screaming.)

    Caller: “HE DOES NOT SPEAK ENGLISH! You are completely incompetent! How am I supposed to interpret if he doesn’t speak English!”

    Me: “Here is how interpreting works. You tell him, in ARABIC, what I am going to ask him. So you are explaining that I will say the ENGLISH EQUIVALENT of what you are saying to him IN ARABIC.”

    Caller: “Don’t tell me how my language works!”

    (Suddenly, I hear a door slam and a confused female voice in the background. The caller is yelling with the female voice in Arabic and English, and the female voice suddenly says, ‘hold on, let me speak with her.’ She takes the phone.)

    Caller’s Sister: *calmly* “Hi. I just came home from work, but I believe you were speaking with my brother. I thought I could help. What is it that he’s not understanding?”

    (I explain the scenario exactly as I’ve been explaining it to her brother.)

    Caller’s Sister: “Oh, okay. So I can just tell my father, in Arabic, what it is that you’re about to ask him in English?”

    Me: “Yes.”

    (The caller’s sister speaks with her father.)

    Caller’s Father: “Oh! N’am! Yes! You… speak with… my… DAUGHTER.”

    Caller’s Son: *in background* “What?! That’s bulls***! I know what I’m doing! She’s just an idiot who thinks I can’t speak Arabic!”

    Caller’s Sister: “I think you’ll be hearing from me more often than my brother. He’s spoken English his whole life, but I swear, he’s dumber than a box of rocks when people give him instructions. So sorry about that. Well, now, what else do you need to know, love?”

    Related:
    This Round He Lost (In Translation), Part 3
    This Round He Lost (In Translation), Part 2
    This Round He Lost (In Translation)

    Cause For Pregnant Pause, Part 6

    | UK | Bad Behavior, Family & Kids, Health & Body

    (I’m 26 but quite petite, so I often get mistaken for being a lot younger. I’m also married and seven months pregnant. I’m at a higher end department store trying on dresses. I’m just leaving the changing room with a very helpful salesgirl. The next person goes in leaving a customer and her teen daughter next in line.)

    Customer: *in a stage whisper* “See! That’s why you keep your legs closed at school. So you don’t end up buying your prom dress looking like that.”

    (Her daughter goes red as several other customers stare in disbelief.)

    Daughter: “For God’s sake, mum! Shut up!”

    Me: “Oh, no, your mum’s right. That’s exactly what my mum told me. When I was 16. 10 years ago.”

    (The customer reddens as her daughter glares at her.)

    Me: “So what I did was, I studied hard at school, went to university, and got a degree. I started my own business, bought a car, and then a house. I met my partner, dated for a couple of years, then got married. Now that we’re financially comfortable we’re having a baby. I’m not saying that’s for everyone but you don’t want to wake up one day to find you’re 50, miserable, bigoted, and rude.”

    Customer: *very embarrassed by everyone’s stares* “I’m only 42!”

    Me: “I’m sure that’s what your daughter will remember about today.”

    Related:
    Cause For Pregnant Pause, Part 5
    Cause For Pregnant Pause, Part 4
    Cause For Pregnant Pause, Part 3
    Cause For Pregnant Pause, Part 2
    Cause For Pregnant Pause

    Some Customers Are A Pet Hate

    | PA, USA | Books & Reading, Crazy Requests, Family & Kids, Pets & Animals

    Caller: “Hi, I’m looking for a specific book to help my children deal with the death of a pet.”

    Me: All right. Can you give me the title or author?

    Caller: “Oh, I don’t remember it. But I’ve purchased copies from your store before. I know you have it!”

    (I search for at least fifteen minutes; using every variant on the phrase ‘death of a pet’ I can think of. The customer alternates between telling me about her poor sick dog, insisting that she’s purchased it here before, and that I really should know about it. Finally, I find the book she wants.)

    Customer: “Thank you! That wasn’t all that hard, now, was it?”

    Me: “All right, ma’am. I’m afraid we do not have this book in the store right now. I’ll happily order you a copy—”

    Customer: “When will it get here?”

    Me: “Three to five business days.”

    Customer: “But she’s being put down tomorrow! I was counting on you!”

    Me: “Ma’am, I’m very sorry, but this is the best I can do, unless you want to order the book from our website yourself and pay extra for overnight shipping.”

    Customer: “… You know what? Never mind. I’ll just tell the kids she went to live on a farm, and tell them the truth in a few years.” *click*


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