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  • September Theme Of The Month: Overheard!

    Category: Geography

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

    O, Canaduh, Part 5

    | Manchester, England, UK | Crazy Requests, Geography

    Me: “Good Afternoon, you’re speaking to [My Name]. Can I take your reference number, please?”

    Customer: “Hi, I’m calling from Toronto.”

    Me: “Okay, how can I help?”

    Customer: “Well, I’ve seen [alarm product that we don’t stock] being advertised and I want to know if you could sell me one?”

    Me: “I can look into it for you. Are you looking to install this into a property in the UK?”

    Customer: “No, of course not! I told you I’m in Toronto. Why ever would you think that?”

    Me: “Well, ma’am, you have called a company based in the UK, so the systems we sell are set to UK settings.”

    Customer: “Well, I know that.”

    Me: “So, then you’d be aware that even if we did sell you a system, it wouldn’t work in your property?”

    Customer: “Of course it would! We’re a part of the British Commonwealth!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, it definitely wouldn’t work, as it needs connection to a power outlet, and the outlets in Canada are different to the ones here in Britain. Also, even if we were to look into selling you a system, regulations state we need to get a trained engineer to install it for you, and none of our engineers would be able travel to Canada from the UK to install it.”

    Customer: “Well, what am I supposed to do?”

    Me: “I’d recommend contacting a supplier in Toronto.”

    Customer: “You’ve just lost thousands of dollars!” *slams phone down*

    Related:
    O, Canaduh, Part 4
    O, Canaduh, Part 3
    O, Canaduh, Part 2

    O, Canaduh, Part 4

    | Toronto, ON, Canada | Canada, Extra Stupid, Geography

    (It is a warm day in late June. The customer I am serving has a pronounced American accent.)

    Me: “I couldn’t help noticing your accent. Where are you from?”

    Customer: “Des Moines. It’s my first time in Canada.”

    Me: “What do you think so far?”

    Customer: “Well, I was a little shocked when we were flying in, actually.”

    Me: “About what?”

    Customer: “I was pretty surprised not to see snow.”

    Me: “I think that Iowa and Ontario have a pretty similar climate. Is there snow on the ground there right now?”

    Customer: “No, but this is CANADA.”

    Related:
    O, Canaduh, Part 3
    O, Canaduh, Part 2
    O, Canaduh

    The Only Book Required Is A Map

    | Milwaukee, WI, USA | Geography

    (Employees trade off phone shifts where I work. This was the conversation I overheard from one of my coworkers on the phone with a customer.)

    Coworker: “Hello. Thank you for calling [Store]. How can I help you today?”  *pause* “You have a book on hold with us and you need directions? Where are you coming from?”

    (There’s a long pause.)

    Coworker: “Well, sir, if you’re coming from Texas, the first thing to do is catch a plane.”

    (We never did figure out how he got our number, but we did track down his book at a store in Texas.)

    Trying To Drive The Job Away

    | Frederick, MD, USA | Crazy Requests, Geography

    (I work for a health insurance company.)

    Me: “Thank you for calling [Company]. My name is [My Name].”

    Caller: “Hi, I was just cut off by a bus on the highway and I demand you fire the driver!”

    Me: “I’m not sure that I can help you with that.”

    Caller: “The bus had your company’s logo on the side of it. Fire the driver!”

    Me: “Where are you?”

    Caller: “Miami. Aren’t you?”

    Me: “No, I’m in Maryland, and I’m sure the bus just had an ad for our product on it. We wouldn’t own the bus.”

    Caller: “Well, transfer me to someone who can fire the bus driver.”

    A Total Brazil Nut

    | France | Food & Drink, Geography, Language & Words, Top

    (Every year I work at a local fair as a waitress, at a travelling Brazilian restaurant. I am not a native, but my Portuguese is perfect. A Brazilian woman, accompanied by a French friend, sits at one of my tables and interrupts other customers while I finish taking their orders.)

    Customer: *in Portuguese* “YOU! Come serve me right now! I’m starving. I am Brazilian, you know! Brazilians eat a lot. We are not like these skinny French people who don’t eat a thing. These French people can wait. I can’t!”

    (After explaining her the different formulas she can choose from, she goes for all you can eat beef.)

    Me: “I will only serve the side dishes, and the meat slicers will cut prime beef into a plate whenever you want it.”

    Customer: “My friend doesn’t want to eat; just a cocktail, because she is French, and these people don’t eat like Brazilians.”

    (Her friend confirms it to me in French. When her plate and the friend’s cocktail are ready I start serving her the side dishes.)

    Customer: *yelling* “What is this? Are you putting me on a diet? This is NOT what I had ordered! I wanted all you can eat beef and you are not serving me meat! This is outrageous! If this were Brazil, you’d be fired straight away!”

    Me: “I am sorry; maybe I haven’t explained myself very clearly. I am just serving the side dishes, and the gentlemen other there will come straight to your table and cut beef right into your plate.”

    Customer: “I have another HUGE problem. Look at my friend; she’s got nothing to eat. This is so rude of you; you have only served her a drink. She may be one of those skinny French, but she has the right to eat you know! This is clearly not Brazil! What part of Brazil are you from to be such a bad waitress?”

    Me: “I am sorry; I’ll bring food to your friend right away. And I am not actually Brazilian. I am a local.”

    Customer: “Why would they dare employ a non-Brazilian? This is outrageous! French people are just NOT qualified to work here.”

    Me: “Well, you hadn’t noticed my accent until now, so it means my Portuguese is good enough to work here. Besides, I’ve lived in Brazil, I am married to a Brazilian, and I am also a certified samba instructor, so it is not as if I didn’t know anything about your culture.”

    Customer: “I can’t believe this! This is a scandal! You are not Brazilian! You are such a bad waitress! Call the boss; I’ll make sure you’ll get fired because you are not Brazilian! You can’t possibly know how to serve us. You are a disgrace to my country!”

    (I refused to continue serving her. When she finished eating, she made a scandal at the checkout. While leaving, she met the restaurant’s boss, and told him that the service had been horrible, that I had been rude to her, and that French people shouldn’t work at such a place. She also complained about the ‘fat b****’ she had to deal with at the checkout. The boss replied that no one had ever complained about the quality of my service, and that the ‘fat’ woman at the checkout was his pregnant wife. He told her to never dare come back again, and insulted her in front of a bunch of laughing Brazilians.)

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