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  • Had It Up To Their Neck With Bad Customers
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    Category: Language & Words

    This category features customers whose mishandling of vocabulary and grammar are so bad that we literally have no words to describe them!

    Can’t Get A Handle On The Situation

    | NB, Canada | At The Checkout, Language & Words

    (We sell brooms and mops, but we also sell a variety of replacement broom handles and broom and mop heads, all of which fit with each other. I get called to the cash for customer service.)

    Customer: *in French* “Yes, my father was in here yesterday and bought me five mop handles, but he never brought the mop heads.”

    (I figure he left them behind at the cash, and the customer has come to retrieve them. She hands me her receipt, and I see he only paid for the mop handles, not the heads. She cuts me off before I can speak.)

    Customer: “Yes, so I can’t really do much without the mop heads you know. Somebody should have told him. I’m going to need the mop heads.”

    (I realize that the customer thinks they come together, and wants me to correct ‘our mistake.’ She cuts me off again, speaking to her friend in French.)

    Customer: *in French* “I don’t think this girl understands a word I’m saying. This store is unbelievable. Their manager doesn’t even know what I’m talking about. I should—”

    Me: *in perfect French* “Yes, ma’am, I understand perfectly. Your father came in yesterday and bought you five mop handles, but forgot to buy mop heads to go with them. That is unfortunate, given that you had to come back today to buy them. However, as they are sold separately and do not come together, and customers often buy one or the other as replacements, my cashiers would have had no reason to believe that he had forgotten to pick them up or remind him. If you would like to buy some mop heads, I can show you exactly where they are; just follow me.”

    (The customer turns bright red, and her friend turns away trying to hide her laughter.)

    Customer: “Oh, uh… no it’s okay, thank you. I’ll find them myself. Thank you.”

    (The customer practically runs away to the cleaning department, pays for her mop heads without ever making eye contact with anybody, and leaves quickly. I’ve never seen her since.)

    Out Of The Dirty Mouth Of Babes

    | Melbourne, VIC, Australia | Family & Kids, Language & Words, Themed Giveaway

    (A three-year-old girl is waiting with her family for her turn to see the doctor. She is entertaining herself by singing.)

    Girl: “I wonder what your name is; I wonder what’s your name? My name’s [name]! Hello, hello, hello. I wonder what your name is; I wonder what’s your name?” *approaches my desk* “What’s YOUR name, b****?”

    Me: *speechless*

    Their Brain Is French-Fried

    | BC, Canada | Extra Stupid, Language & Words

    Customer: “Where are you from?”

    Me: “From Quebec.”

    Customer: “Quebec? Is that the province that speaks French?”

    Me: “Yes.”

    Customer: “But how come you can speak in English?”

    Me: *looking at him in disbelief*

    Customer: “And when you started to speak in English, did you choose to have a French accent?”

    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.’”

    Chipping Away At A Translation

    | USA | Family & Kids, Language & Words, Themed Giveaway

    (I am eating lunch in the lobby of my store, having a sandwich and a bag of chips, when a Spanish-speaking family walks in with a three-year-old boy. As they order, he walks a few feet over to me and points at my bag of chips. I don’t speak any Spanish.)

    Little Boy: *pointing at my chips, saying something in Spanish*

    Me: “Sorry, sweetie, these are mine. Maybe your mommy can get you some?”

    (The little boy is pointing more furiously now, repeating a phrase I don’t understand.)

    Me: “I’ll let you have some of mine if your mommy says it’s okay. I don’t want to give you anything you’re not allowed to have.”

    (The little boy repeats the phrase again. This time, his teenage sister, standing in line, rushes over and pulls him away.)

    Sister: “I’m so sorry!”

    Me: “Oh, that’s okay! If it’s okay for him to have some he can—”

    (By this point she has dragged the little boy to the other side of the store, where his parents are paying. I finish my break and go into the back to put away my purse and grab my apron. My Spanish-speaking coworker rushes over to me.)

    Coworker: “Are you okay?”

    Me: “Yeah, why?”

    Coworker: “You didn’t hear what he was saying to you?”

    Me: “I figured he wanted some of my chips.”

    Coworker: “Yeah, then he started calling you a f****** a**-hole!”


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