Category: Geography

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

Bursting The American Bubble

| Knoxville, TN, USA | Bigotry, Geography, Language & Words

(There are two customers in line: the first customer is in her 20s, and the second customer is a middle-aged man. The first customer hands me her credit card.)

Me: “Ma’am, I need to see your ID.”

Customer #1: “Oh? Is that something new?”

Me: “Yeah, sorry for the inconvenience!”

Customer #1: “Oh, no! It’s totally fine. My driver’s license expired while I was in Reykjavik, though. I just got back; see. Will you take my passport?”

Me: “Oh, of course!”

(Customer #2 stomps up to us as Customer #1 is looking for it.)

Customer #2: “You mean to tell me that I’m having to stand in line and wait behind a foreigner? I’m an American! I demand you help me before helping her!”

(Customer #1 rolls her eyes and shows me her passport.)

Customer #1: “Will this work?”

Me: “Yeah, that’s fine.”

Customer #2: “No! Don’t help her! What country are you from, b****? Russia? Don’t help her! It’s people like her that are ruining this country!”

Customer #1: “Sir, I am an American. And even if I wasn’t, how dare you speak to me and this cashier in such a manner?”

Customer #2: “Liar! An American wouldn’t have a passport!”

Me: “Sir, if you’d looked at her passport, you’d see that it says USA all over it.”

Customer #2: *looks at Customer #1’s passport* “But… but that can’t be! She wouldn’t use a passport if she’s a native American!”

Me: “Right. She’s really from Italy; she just likes to draw random eagles all over her passport. Now where are you from, sir? I’m sure this lady would like to know, so she can be sure never to visit.”

(Customer #2 leaves in a huff, threatening to call the manager and corporate.)

Customer #1: *sighs* “Is your manager here?”

Me: “Oh, yeah. Do you need to talk to him?”

Customer #1: “Please.”

(I get the manager, and he and Customer #1 have a conversation. I go back to work. The manager comes back a few minutes later and drops a $20 in the tip jar.)

Me: “What is that?”

Manager: “From the customer I was talking to. She said she wanted to be sure you didn’t get in trouble for standing up for her and thought you deserved a tip.”

The Maine Difference Between The Accents

| West Gardiner, ME, USA | Geography, Language & Words, Tourists/Travel

(I work in a travel plaza in a town in central Maine, fairly close to the Canada/USA border. The plaza is the only sort of gas station, restaurant, and other amenity on the highway for miles, so we get the gamut of travelers, most of whom are weary from long hours of driving. We are encouraged to be as helpful as possible, and to make conversation while ringing up customers.)

Me: “Did you find everything alright?”

Customer: “Well, I did in here, but…”

Me: “But?”

Customer: “You from around here?”

Me: “Actually, I grew up in the next town over.”

Customer: “Excellent. What is there to do in this area?”

(I offer a few suggestions of popular tourist attractions, and unique local restaurants. The customer gives me an odd look and is silent while I tell him his total. While I’m counting his change, he suddenly explodes. He knocks half his purchases off the counter to get in my face and starts shouting.)

Customer: “DON’T YOU LIE TO ME!”

Me: “I’m sorry; excuse me?!”

Customer: “You stupid b****! There’s no WAY you’re from here! How do I know everything you just told me isn’t all fake? I want to talk to someone who is actually from this area!”

Me: “With all due respect, sir, what makes you say that?”

Customer: “You don’t have the accent!”

Me: “What?”

Customer: “See! I told you you were lying! If you really grew up here, you’d have that authentic Maine accent! ‘Pahk the arnge cah in the yahd’.”

Me: *drawling into a thick ‘Maine’ accent* “Ayuh well there sir what you got yourself there is a Boston accent; you ain’t soundin’ like no Mainer, deyah.”

Customer: “What the f*** did you just say?!”

Me: *in normal voice* “I said, I worked very hard growing up to learn to enunciate properly, but I can assure you I’m far more authentically Maine than these lobster souvenirs you just spent $10 on and then broke. I’m glad to know my hard work paid off. Have a safe trip now, ‘deyah.'”

Canada’s Net Worth

| Edmonton, AB, Canada | Canada, Geography, Technology

(I work in a Canadian call centre that is contracted by an American cable internet company. Therefore all my customers are American.)

Client: *after the issue is resolved* “I can’t place your accent. Where am I calling? Are you in India?”

Me: “No, ma’am. I’m in Edmonton, Alberta. That’s in Canada.”

Client: “Canada? Really?”

Me: “Yes.”

Client: “Do they even have cable internet up there?”

Me: *pausing to swallow incredulity* “Yes, ma’am, we do. In fact, we actually have had cable internet for a bit longer than most US markets.”

Client: “Oh, well, I don’t know nothin’ about Canada. I thought it was a third-world country or something.”

A Whole New World

| NC, USA | Extra Stupid, Geography, Language & Words

(I’m spending the summer with my grandmother in a small southern town, but I’m from Connecticut.)

Me: “Hello, I’m [name]. I’ll be your server today. Can I start you off with something to drink?”

Customer: *in a thick southern drawl* “What an unusual accent! Where are you from?”

Me: “I’m from New England.”

Customer: “How lovely! I’ve always wanted to go to Europe!”

Chip Quip

, | NM, USA | Food & Drink, Geography, Language & Words

(I’ve recently moved to the USA from England, and have got myself a job in a fast food place. I keep saying chips instead of fries, which causes confusion.)

Me: *to coworker* “Can I get two medium chips to go please?”

Customer: “No, I wanted fries.”

Me: “Oh yeah, my bad. I’m still not used to talking American.”

Customer: “So where you from? Mexico?”

(I have tanned skin, so this is a common question.)

Me: “No mate, I’m British.”

Customer: “Oh, I see. So you’re not used to speaking English?”

Me: “What? Us Brits speak English too; we invented the language.”

Customer: “Oh sweetie, don’t worry! You’ll learn real English in America.”

Me: “Okay.” *I decide to throw in a British colloquialism* “Here’s your order. Have a pukka day!”

Customer: “See, I knew you British didn’t speak English.”

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