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    Category: Geography

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

    French Disconnection

    | Quebec City, QC, Canada | Bigotry, Geography, History, Language & Words, Top

    (I’m a customer in a very small boutique that specializes in selling Quebec-made items. It is a slow day and I am alone with the shop owner who helps me choose a gift. A man storms in and goes straight to the owner with a really angry face. The owner sees him and welcomes him in French.)

    Owner: “Bonjour, Monsieur. Comment puis-je vous aider?” *Hi, sir. How can I help you?*

    Customer: *loud and angrily* “ENGLISH! Do you even speak it?”

    Owner: “Of course, sir! How are you today and how can I help you?”

    Customer: “Finally! Someone who’s speaking English! I don’t know what the h*** is going on but everyone in this f***** town is speaking some kind of weird gibberish!”

    Owner: “Actually, they are speaking French, sir, as do most people in the province of Quebec.”

    Customer: “What the h***?! We are not in f***** France! This is America and people speaks god d*** American! I don’t understand what the fuss is about! Is this some kind of a weird hipster thing? Young people trying to be cool or whatever?!”

    Owner: “I’m sorry, sir. Is there anything I can do to help you today?”

    Customer: “Yeah, I’m looking for a poutine recipe book. Do you have any?”

    Owner: “Of course! Right this way, sir.”

    Customer: “Why do people want to speak French anyway? It is a dead language like Latin or Greek. We are in America and America is for American speakers! We don’t need no foreigners to come here and bring their weird language. And you shouldn’t encourage them by greeting American customers, in America, with any other language than American!”

    Owner: “I’m sorry, sir, but I can no longer pretend that what you are saying is not wrong. Just so you know, people are speaking in French because Quebec was colonized by France more than 400 years ago. Quebec City is actually the oldest city in North America and has always been French. That is why everything from the street names to the billboards are in French! The Canadian dollar you’re holding is in both languages. Even the name poutine is French! Did you do any research before coming here?”

    Customer: *hesitating* “Well, yeah! But the brochure was in English! How was I supposed to know that poutine was a French word. We have that in New York!”

    Owner: “First of all, you can find pretzels in New York and those are German, or gelato which is Italian! It just proves that languages get mixed and influenced with time. That is also why there are cities in the United States that have French names, such as Baton Rouge or Des Moines! Those are all proofs that the French were present in North America hundreds of years ago! H***! Even the term ‘brochure’ is French!”

    Customer: “That is irrelevant! You are all just lazy for not learning American! You live in the past, holding to some old bull-s*** language!”

    Owner: “Well, I AM speaking English! And, by the way, it is ‘English’ and not ‘American’ because that language originated from England and not America. But I am also speaking French. How many languages do you speak?”

    Customer: “I speak English and English only! I don’t need to know any other language!”

    Owner: “Who’s being lazy, then?”

    Canada: America’s Hat, Part 8

    | Halifax, NS, Canada | Canada, Extra Stupid, Geography

    (I work in a call center dealing with Americans and insurance claims. A caller calls from Washington state.)

    Caller: “Where am I calling to?”

    Me: “That would be Halifax, Nova Scotia, sir.”

    Caller: “Where’s that?”

    Me: “That’s in Canada, sir.”

    Caller: “Whoa… so that’s like a foreign country?”

    Me: “Yes, sir, we’re located above the US.”

    Caller: “Really? You learn something new every day!”

    (After the call ends…)

    Supervisor: “You should have told him Nova Scotia and Canada were suburbs of New York.”

    Related:
    Canada: America’s Hat, Part 7
    Canada: America’s Hat, Part 6
    Canada: America’s Hat, Part 5
    Canada: America’s Hat, Part 4
    Canada: America’s Hat, Part 3
    Canada: America’s Hat, Part 2
    Canada: America’s Hat

    A Directionless Conversation, Part 3

    | Germany | Extra Stupid, Geography, Hotels & Lodging

    (I answer the phone.)

    Me: “Good evening, you have reached the front desk. How may I assist you?”

    Guest: “I’m lost.”

    Me: “I’m sorry to hear that; where are you right now?”

    Guest: “I don’t know; I told you I was lost!”

    Me: “Where are you calling from right now?”

    Guest: *annoyed* “My cell phone!”

    Me: “I understand that, ma’am, but I need to know where you are if you would like directions to the hotel. Is there a street sign near you?”

    Guest: “Yes.”

    (There is a very long pause.)

    Me: “Can you tell me what it says?”

    Guest: “No.”

    Me: “No?”

    Guest: “No. It’s dark; I can’t read it.”

    Me: “Ma’am, if you would like me to give you directions I will need to know where you currently are. Can you please tell me the street name?”

    Guest: “Fine…”

    Related:
    A Directionless Conversation, Part 2
    A Directionless Conversation

    No Vocation For Location, Part 8

    | Toronto, ON, Canada | Extra Stupid, Geography, Tourists/Travel

    (We have a screen with special offers on the wall. Customer #1 is reading the board as offers flash by.)

    Customer #1: “Wait, Paris is in Europe?”

    Customer #2: “Really? Where did you think it was? Asia?”

    Customer #1: “I never really paid much attention in Geometry class.”

    (Customer #2 starts laughing as Customer #1 realizes what she just said.)

    Customer #1: “Yeah… didn’t pay much attention at all.”

    Related:
    No Vocation For Location, Part 7
    No Vocation For Location, Part 6
    No Vocation For Location, Part 5
    No Vocation For Location, Part 4

    That Kind Of Behavior Is Just Not Cricket

    | London, England, UK | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Geography

    (I’m standing in line at a corner shop. The customer at the till is a typical 40-something skinhead, wearing an England football shirt. He’s harassing the cashier because of the difference between the display price of a packet of cigarettes, and what he’s being charged.)

    Customer: “THIS IS F****** RIDICULOUS! IT’S ILLEGAL!”

    Cashier: “I’m sorry, sir, but due to the changes in taxes, we’ve had to increase the price. We haven’t had time to change the signs yet.”

    Customer: “THAT’S BULLSHIT! YOU’RE NOT FROM HERE! WHERE ARE YOU FROM?!”

    (The cashier isn’t ethnically British, but he’s been working at the store for a few years now and is a pretty decent guy.)

    Cashier: “That doesn’t matter, sir. Could you just pay for your items?”

    Customer: “I SAID WHERE ARE YOU FROM?!”

    Cashier: *rolling his eyes* “Sri Lanka.”

    (The customer tries to think of an insult using the tiny amount of brainpower not given over to alcohol and rage.)

    Customer: “…yeah … well your cricket team is s***!”

    (The customer then storms off after paying for the cigarettes. I go up to the register.)

    Me: “Didn’t Sri Lanka just win the Cricket World Cup?”

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