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  • September Theme Of The Month: Overheard!

    Category: Geography

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

    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.”

    Not-So-Smart Phone, Part 10

    | Halifax, NS, Canada | Bizarre, Food & Drink, Geography

    (I work in a little bakery. It’s been a quiet evening when a customer’s car comes speeding in to a parking spot outside the front door. She gets out of her car with her cell phone in her out-stretched arm. She looks utterly confused as she enters the store.)

    Me: “Hi there!”

    Customer: “Yeah, hi.”

    (The customer spins in a slow circle and looks around.)

    Me: “Can I help you with anything?”

    Customer: *looks at her phone* “Yeah, I’m looking for [address of location].”

    Me: “You found it!”

    Customer: “NO! My phone is saying this is [coffee shop]. This is supposed to be [coffee shop]!”

    Me: “Oh, yeah. It used to be over two years ago, but they closed down and we moved in.”

    Customer: “NO! My phone is saying that this is the location of the coffee shop. Where is it!?”

    Me: “They closed over two years ago—”

    Customer: “NO! Phones are not wrong. This is supposed to be [coffee shop]!”

    Me: *looks around the bakery, than back to the customer* “Nope, this is [bakery]. Sorry to disappoint you.”

    Customer: “I’m sorry; I’m just not understanding.”

    (I have no idea how much more clearly I can let this customer know that the coffee shop closed down and she is standing in a bakery.)

    Me: I’m sorry, ma’am, but this is [bakery]. There is another coffee shop down the road though.”

    Customer: “Okay, I guess I’ll go down the street. But you’re sure there isn’t a coffee shop here?”

    Me: “One thousand percent sure. Have a wonderful evening.”

    (I watch her leave the store. She sits in her car for 10 minutes playing with her phone. I see violent movements coming from the car, so I call my coworker to the front. We watch while she violently shakes her phone and yells. I hope she finds that coffee shop and gets a decaf!)

    Not-So-Smart Phone, Part 9
    Not-So-Smart Phone, Part 8
    Not-So-Smart Phone, Part 7
    Not-So-Smart Phone, Part 6
    Not-So-Smart Phone, Part 5
    Not-So-Smart Phone, Part 4

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