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    Category: Geography

    You may call them “lost”, but we prefer the name “geographically disadvantaged.”

    Taiwannical Behavior, Part 2

    | Taiwan | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Geography, Politics

    (I am Caucasian and work in Taiwan. Taiwan is a de facto independent country, even though China claims otherwise. Chinese tourist are notorious for harassing the locals on that issue, but I never had to deal with that personally.)

    Customer: *rudely, as she enter the store* “You work here?”

    Me: “Yes, I do.”

    Customer: “You live in this city?”

    Me: “Yup, for many years now.”

    Customer: “Why you choose here and not Beijing?”

    Me: *cautiously, as I realize from her accent she is Chinese* “I like the life here.”

    Customer: “But Beijing is better! You should come to Beijing instead.”

    Me: “Beijing is probably very nice. Maybe I will visit someday.”

    Customer: “You better move. This city is no good. Beijing is better.”

    Me: “So, may I assume you are from Beijing?”

    Customer: *proudly* “Yes, I am!”

    Me: “Cool! So we are both foreigners here!”

    (She gave me a very black, angry look, then left the store without saying another word.)

    Related:
    Taiwannical Behavior

    Caribbean There, Done That

    | London, England, UK | Bizarre, Family & Kids, Geography

    (I’m a volunteer lunch-server in a nursing home, but I’ve spent the last month working in the south of France. I’ve picked up a slight tan, but usually my skin is as white as it gets. One lady stares at me oddly as I bring her her food.)

    Lady: “Where are you from?”

    Me: “From here, ma’am. I live a few roads away.”

    Lady: “No, I mean where were you born?”

    Me: “Finchley, originally, but I moved—”

    Lady: “No, no, no. Where are you from?”

    Me: “Uh. London, ma’am. Britain.”

    Lady: “And your parents?”

    Me: “Also from London.”

    Lady: *squints at me* “No, you’re lying. There’s no shame in being Jamaican, you know. You can tell me.”

    Me: “I… What?”

    French Disconnection, Part 2

    | Edinburgh Scotland, UK | Funny Names, Geography

    (I’m French but have been working in Scotland for a few years. My accent is not as strong as the typical French one, but most people can guess where I’m from, especially Brits. Sometimes customers think I’m German. A rather drunk customer comes in.)

    Customer: *reading my name tag* “How do you say your name?”

    Me: *says my not very usual but definitely French name*

    Customer: “So,where are you from?”

    Me: “Try to guess!”

    Customer: “Poland?”

    Me: “No.”

    Customer: “Estonia?”

    Me: “No.”

    Customer: “Lithuania?”

    Me: “No.”

    Customer: “Latvia?”

    Me: “No.”

    Customer: Russia?

    Me: No

    Customer: Republic Czech?

    Me: No

    Customer: “Poland?”

    Me: “No, you already asked.”

    Customer: “Oh right! Germany?”

    Me: “No.”

    Customer: “Dutch?”

    Me: “No.”

    Customer: “Romanian?”

    Me: “No.”

    Customer: “You are from Eastern Europe right?”

    Me: “Nope.”

    Customer: “Well, you look like it!”

    (He keeps going and names almost every country in Europe, some twice, but none where people actually speaks French. The evening is slow so I don’t mind and it’s actually quite fun. Finally:)

    Customer: “So where are you from then?”

    Me: “France.”

    Customer: “I knew it!”

    Related:
    French Disconnection

    The Oregon Fail, Part 2

    | Spokane, WA, USA | At The Checkout, Canada, Geography

    (I’m working at a national retail electronics store. We’re required to attempt to collect demographic data in the form of a ZIP code, unless the customer is from another country.)

    Me: “That will be [total]. May I have your ZIP code?”

    Customer: “I’m from Ontario. ”

    Me: “Ontario….?”

    Customer: “Oh, my god! You Americans are so ignorant about any other country! You should know it’s in Canada! Honestly!”

    Me: “Ma’am, there is an Ontario, Oregon and an Ontario, California in the US that I know of. Since you’re from Canada, I don’t need your information. Have a nice day.”

    (The customer’s face turned red, and they left immediately.)

    Related:
    From NotAlwaysRelated:
    The Oregon Fail

    Being Careful With Words Is Now A Mute Point

    , | Tarpon Springs, FL, USA | Geography, Technology

    (I front the calls for an insurance call center. I’m on the phone with a customer, chit-chatting a little about the weather difference, since he is from California. I put my mic on mute while I try to see which agents are free to transfer the call to. In the meantime, I hear the customer talking to his friend in the background.)

    Friend: “What’s that about?”

    Customer: “Something about life insurance. But you should hear her. She sounds hot! I wish I had it on speaker. She sounded really hot! Like seriously, you should hear her! Too bad we’re on opposite ends of the country. She’s in Florida. I guess she just moved from Minnesota.”

    (The entire time I can feel myself turning red, and debate on letting him know I can hear him, but I decide it’s time.)

    Me: “Actually, from Michigan! But close!”

    Customer: “Oh, from Michigan!”

    (At this point you can hear the realization in his voice.)

    Customer: “Oh, crap! You can hear everything? Oh, jeez! You should warn people! Like ‘I’m going to put you on hold but I can still hear you’!”

    Me: “Yeah, but that would take out all the fun!”

    Customer: “Oh man, this is so embarrassing! Well, at least you know somebody thinks you sound hot!”

    (I could hear both him and his friend crack up. It made my day!)

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