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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!

    Acting Cuckoo

    , | Scotland, UK | Food & Drink, Language & Words, Tourists/Travel

    (Our hotel is in a pretty popular tourist area and we frequently get customers who struggle with English, especially with the bar food menu. My colleagues have already had some trouble making themselves understood when I go over to take one table’s order.)

    Me: “Hi, would you like to order some food?”

    Customer: “Yes, we would like food please.”

    (There is a long awkward pause, until I realise they are not going to order on their own.)

    Me: “So… what food would you like?”

    Customer: “Oh! I would like this. This is steak, yes?”

    (The customer is pointing to lamb shank on the menu.)

    Me: “Oh, no, that’s lamb. Lamb shank, it’s like a small leg. We have a steak just here, if you like?”

    (The customer remains pointing at the lamb shank.)

    Customer: “So this… this is steak?”

    Me: “No, no, this is steak…” *I point* “…and that is lamb.”

    Customer: “So this… what animal?”

    Me: “Pardon?”

    Customer: “What animal this?”

    Me: “Oh! Sorry! That’s lamb. Uh, sheep.”

    Customer: “Sheep?”

    Me: “Yes, sheep. Erm…”

    Customer:Maaaaaaaa?”

    (I am puzzled for a second, and then realise he is making a sheep noise!)

    Me: “Yes, baaaaa!”

    Customer: “Oh! Yes! And this?”

    (The customer points to the steak.)

    Me: “Steak. Cow.”

    Customer:Moooo?”

    Me: “Yes, mooooo!”

    (The customer points to each successive meat dish in turn, and eventually I begin to make the animal noises before he does, to save time. I manage to keep a straight face, because I don’t want him to feel patronised, but his impressions are very funny.)

    Customer: “And this?”

    (The customer points at the last menu item, which is a venison dish.)

    Customer: “What animal, this?”

    Me: “That’s venison, which means deer.”

    Customer: “Deer? What is deer?”

    Me: “Erm…”

    (I stop dead as I realise that I haven’t the faintest idea what noise a deer makes, and am certainly not capable of reproducing it.)

    Me: “It’s… ah… deer… well, it’s… stag. You know, stag?”

    (In desperation, I hold my hands above my head in the shape of antlers. The man looks puzzled for a moment, then seemingly has an epiphany.)

    Customer: “Ah! STAG! Stag…”

    (The customer looks questioningly at his wife, and then at me, seemingly without getting the help he needs.)

    Customer: “I… like… stag?”

    (The customer did end up getting the venison dish, and was very pleased with it. His wife had ‘chicken cluck cluck’ and was likewise satisfied.)

    Giving You Hell(sinki)

    | London, England, UK | Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Language & Words, Money

    (I work in retail, but my shift is over and I am sitting at a café near my work place reading a newspaper. A regular customer of my store, who is always rude and demanding, approaches me. It should be very clear to anyone that I’m not working at the moment, but it doesn’t seem to bother her at all.)

    Customer: “I’ve been meaning to ask about your name. Why do you have such an unusual name?”

    Me: “It’s a Finnish name.”

    Customer: “What does that mean?”

    Me: “Finland, the country.”

    Customer: “Why would you have a Finnish name? Were your parents hippies or something? No wonder you can’t get ahead in life.”

    (I ignore the insult, since I’ve seen her throw tantrums from the smallest provocation.)

    Me: “My parents are Finns, as am I.”

    Customer: “You are not from Finland! You don’t have an accent and you don’t look foreign!”

    Me: “Well thank you, but I really am from Finland.”

    Customer: “I should have known! You’re here to leech off our welfare!”

    Me: “You’ve seen me working, right?”

    Customer: “So what? Why would you come here if not for the benefits?!”

    Me: “Not that it’s any of your business, but my whole family is living here for a year because of my father’s work. My father wanted that I and my brother come along, even though we haven’t lived with our parents for a few years now. He just wanted us to have the experience and to be near us. He pays for our rent and expenses, but my brother and I decided to get jobs because we know that he is really stretching his funds to make this happen.”

    Customer: “A simple question, how much do you get in government hand outs in a month?”

    Me: “I haven’t asked for or received a single penny from the British government. And furthermore, if I wanted to live on benefits I would have been better off staying in Finland.”

    Customer: “Liar! Finland is a third world communist country and you are all too lazy to do anything about it. You should be trying to better yourself in your homeland, to help it out of the hole it has gotten itself into, not run away to live on OUR money! That’s why you are here, I know it! I am the customer! I’m coming to call your shop tomorrow to make a complaint about you!”

    (I want to avoid her coming to the store to complain, because no one wants to deal with her rage fits.)

    Me: “Okay, you are right. I’m here to take your tax money and jobs as well. I’m sorry about that, but you know how things are in Finland. We would have starved over there, or we might have been put into prison for our anti-communist views.”

    Customer: “Well, I guess it’s understandable in some cases. At least you had the decency to learn our language!”

    (She suddenly cheered up and offered to buy me coffee. I declined because I couldn’t think of a more hellish situation than having coffee with her. After that, she always asked for the foreign boy, meaning me, when she came to the store. She was still the rudest and most demanding customer. Lucky me.)

    Me No Help You

    | Akron, OH, USA | Language & Words

    (I work at a well known hardware store. I am putting something away, when a customer calls out to me.)

    Customer: “Hey you!”

    (I turn around and look.)

    Customer: “You, yeah you! I’m talking to you!”

    Me: “Yes?”

    Customer: “You electric guy?”

    Me: “No. You English major?”

    Customer: *confused* “No?”

    Me: “Didn’t think so…”

    (I walk off, leaving the man to ponder.)

    Displacing An Order

    | Buffalo, NY, USA | Food & Drink, Language & Words

    (I am at a local Chinese restaurant to pick up food for my office. I have done a lot of business with these folks. The young lady working seems to have trouble with her English. As I wait, another customer walks in the door.)

    Customer: “Hi, I’m picking up my order my wife placed 20 minutes ago.”

    Worker: “I am sorry. I have no order.”

    (The customer starts getting angry, and the worker is getting upset and trying her best to accommodate him.)

    Customer: “This is un-f******-believable. You people are ridiculous!”

    Worker: “I am so sorry. I will make your food. What did you order?”

    Customer: “You people need to get your s*** together. You need to learn how to COMMUNICATE!”

    (The customer calls his wife.)

    Customer: “Yeah, honey? I’m at [Chinese restaurant] getting our food. They screwed up and didn’t, wait, what? Okay…”

    (The customer hangs up, suddenly looking very timid.)

    Customer: “Yeah, I’m at the wrong place.”

    (I feel the need to comment.)

    Me: “Looks like you need to learn how to COMMUNICATE.”

    (I then grab my food, tip the worker a comfortable amount, and walk out. I can see the smirk on her face, and the embarrassment radiating from the customer.)

    Needs To Find A New Post

    | UK | Extra Stupid, Health & Body, Language & Words

    Customer: “Excuse me. I’m looking for [brand] aftershave lotion, but you don’t seem to have any!”

    Me: “Did you look in the [brand] section? I think they do a few different ones actually. I’ll show you now.”

    (I walk him to the section and show him a few.)

    Me: “So, you’ve got this one, for sensitive skin, and this one is—”

    Customer: “This isn’t AFTER shave! It says right here: ‘POST Shave Balm!”

    Me: “Erm, actually ‘post’ means ‘after.’”

    Customer: “…What do they pay you here?”

    Me: “Around [salary] per hour.”

    Customer: “Well, you deserve every penny of it! You’re a smart girl!” *mutters as he walks off* “Who knew that ‘post’ meant ‘after’…”

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