• A Pain In The Nugget
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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!

    Hamming Up The Translation

    | Orlando, FL, USA | Language & Words

    (One of my coworkers is Turkish, but because of her skin tone, she is often mistaken for Hispanic.)

    Customer: *in Spanish* “Can you get me some ham?”

    Coworker: “Sorry, I don’t speak Spanish.”

    Customer: *in Spanish* “Don’t lie to me, you b****. I want some ham right now!”

    Me: *in Spanish* “I can help you, sir.”

    (He looks at me with bewilderment, obviously not expecting a white person to be able to speak Spanish.)

    Customer: “Sorry, I no speak English.” *to my coworker, in Spanish* “I told you to get me some ham!”

    Coworker: “I don’t understand, sir. I not Spanish; I am from Turkey.”

    Me: *in Spanish* “She doesn’t speak Spanish, sir. She’s actually from Turkey. I can get you some ham if you’ll tell me what kind you want.”

    (He slams both hands down hard on the counter.)

    Customer: *in English* “What kind of store is this?! The Spanish person doesn’t speak Spanish but the white person does?! I’m not shopping here!”

    (He stormed out of the store, almost breaking the glass door.)

    Something Stinks About The Address

    | Orem, UT, USA | Language & Words, Rude & Risque, Technology

    (As cashiers, we’re required to ask for emails at the end of a purchase. Customers can decline, and it’s no problem for us to bypass the email capture screen. I’ve just finished up ringing a young woman and her boyfriend.)

    Me: “Perfect, we’re almost done! Could I just enter your email?”

    Customer: “Sure. It’s [email protected]

    Me: *typing it in without thinking* “All right, if you could just verify the email below on the card reader— oh.”

    Boyfriend: *snickers*

    Me: “I guess that’ll be a ‘no, thank you’ on the email then…”

    Making You Feel Very Small (Talk)

    | NM, USA | At The Checkout, Language & Words

    (This was a few years ago when I was a receptionist at a bank. Sometimes people would come in and ignore friendly conversation. After a while, this gets on my nerves. I had a few ways of dealing with people like this.)

    Me: “Good morning, sir! How are you doing today?”

    Customer: “Karen.”

    Me: “I’m sorry?”

    Customer: “Karen.”

    Me: “Are you dropping something off for Karen? Picking something up from Karen? Does Karen have paperwork for you to sign? Do you have paperwork for Karen to sign? Does Karen need to notarize something for you? Is Karen opening an account for you? Do you need Karen to do a Signature Guarantee for you? Is Karen closing an account for you? Do you have a meeting with Karen? Would you like to speak with Karen?”

    Customer: “Uh… meeting.”

    Me: *with a sigh* “Okay.”

    Has A Load Of Explaining To Do

    | MI, USA | At The Checkout, Language & Words, Rude & Risque

    (I am helping an older couple buy lottery tickets. They have a ten dollar bill, and their total is at nine dollars.)

    Wife: “Why not get one more 1$ dollar ticket. I’ll blow my load!”

    (I am thinking: do not laugh at that! You are an adult. That was an innocent statement meaning she’ll spend all her money. Maintain composure! Unfortunately she says it again, and the husband and I make eye contact and die laughing.)

    Husband: *mutters* “It means something different these days; I’ll explain on the way home.”

    (I can only imagine what that conversation was like!)

    ‘V’ For Victory

    | Portland, OR, USA | Bad Behavior, Health & Body, Language & Words

    (I work in a call center that offers referrals for mental health clinicians. This lady has been chewing my ear off about how she can’t find anyone in her area, despite there being around 50 clinicians within 20 miles of her.)

    Caller: “I have to see a psychologist or a psychiatrist. NO NURSE PRACTITIONERS!”

    Me: “Okay.”

    Caller: “I need to see someone who is an actual professional.”

    Me: “Well, nurse practitioners are licensed professionals. They actually can prescribe medication, whereas a PhD can’t.”

    Caller: “Well, I don’t want to deal with someone who couldn’t make it in medical school.”

    Me: “No psychologist in your area went to medical school, either.”

    (This goes on for a few minutes, until I find her a clinician that fits her picky standards.)

    Me: “So the provider’s name is Tivoli. ‘T’ as in Tom, ‘I’ as in Idaho, ‘V’ as in Victor, ‘O’ as in—”

    Caller: “Hold it, hold it! What the h*** do you mean ‘C’ as in Victor? Are you brain-dead or something? There’s no ‘C’ in Victor!”

    Me: “Well, for one thing, there is. It’s the third letter. And for another, I said ‘V’ as in Victor.”

    Caller: “Oh. I thought you said ‘C.'”

    Me: “That’s why I gave you a phonetic word. To avoid that very confusion.”

    Caller: “Still… *she had nothing to follow this*

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