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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!

    Shogun The Way To Go Home, Part 2

    | Tokyo, Japan | Awesome Customers, Bigotry, Language & Words, Top, Tourists/Travel

    (I grew up in Japan and am bilingual, even though I am Australian by birth. I am showing some Australian friends around Tokyo.)

    American customer: *to the station attendant, in English* “Hey, I need to get to Akihabara station. How do I do that?”

    Station attendant: *in Japanese* “Sorry, I do not speak English. Could you point it out?”

    (As the station attendant speaks, he has a big map of the subway system and his gestures make it VERY obvious what he wants the customer to do.)

    American customer: *in English* “Are you deaf?! I need to get to Akihabara station!”

    Station attendant: *in Japanese, while gesturing at the map emphatically* “I don’t know English, sorry. Please point where you are going.”

    American customer: *in English* “Stupid Asians. Just tell me how to get there!”

    (I intervene at this point, as I feel sorry for the poor station worker.)

    Me: *in Japanese* “He wants to get to Akihabara station. I know the way; I’ll explain it to him.”

    (I explain, in English, how to get to the station, and tell him the station attendant was trying but he doesn’t speak English.)

    American customer: *to me, in English* “These stupid Japs should learn English. Why couldn’t he tell me that?”

    Me: “When Asians visit your country, you expect them to speak English, right? So it’s only fair when you come here you try to use their language. Plus, he was trying to help you if you had just pointed it out on the map.”

    American customer: “Everyone should know English!”

    (He storms off without apologizing, or thanking me or the station worker.)

    Station attendant: *to me, in Japanese* “Thank you so much for helping. I didn’t know what to do.”

    Me: “Don’t worry about it. He was just being rude. I feel like I should be apologizing for his behaviour on behalf of all foreigners.”

    Station attendant: “Oh, don’t worry, we get much worse. Then there are people like you who help convince me you’re not all bad. Thanks again!”

    Related:
    Shogun The Way To Go Home

    To Give Credit Where Debit Is Due, Part 2

    | San Jose, CA, USA | Bizarre, Language & Words

    Customer: “Why won’t your gas pump accept my credit card?”

    Clerk: “Sorry, it’s cash or debit only.”

    Customer: “But I have a credit card and it won’t take it!”

    Clerk: “Cash or debit only, ma’am.”

    Customer: “This is a credit card!”

    Clerk: *pause* “It’s cash or debit only, not credit.”

    (The customer finally realizes what the clerk’s been saying and automatically becomes huffy.)

    Customer: “Well! Y’know, giving me the same answer three times doesn’t help me understand. You should have said, ‘we only accept cash or debit’. How was I supposed to understand what ‘cash or debit only’ means? It’s not a complete sentence!” *storms out*

    Related:
    To Give Credit Where Debit Is Due

    A Negative Shopping Experience

    | NH, USA | At The Checkout, Language & Words, Top

    (I am ringing up a customer.)

    Me: “Good afternoon, sir. How are you?”

    Customer: *remains silent as I scan his items*

    Me: “Are you a member of the store rewards program?”

    Customer: “No.”

    Me: “Have you heard about the program?”

    Customer: “No.”

    Me: “Do you care about the program?”

    Customer: “No.”

    (The ustomer swipes his debit card and puts in his pin.)

    Customer: “I can say more than ‘no’, you know. ”

    Me: “I don’t doubt it, sir. Would you like cash back?”

    Customer: “No.”

    (Thankfully, he had a sense of humor; after his last reply, we both looked at each other and laughed.)

    Fond Of The Name Change

    | Australia | Food & Drink, Language & Words

    (Our cafe makes a number of desserts. Most can be made by any of the staff. However, a few need to be made specifically by the chef. Typically, if business is not too fast, those of us taking the orders will simply call the order out to the chef for the entire cafe to hear.)

    Me: “Hello, how can I help you today?”

    Customer: “I’d like a fondle.”

    Me: “Excuse me!?”

    Customer: “Yeah, I’ve got some friends waiting, so hurry up.”

    Me: “Of course, sir. Could, you… er… please repeat your order for me so I can put it through?”

    Customer: “A fondle! You know the one for five people! Geez, you haven’t been working here long, have you?”

    Me: “A fon… oh, the chocolate fondue?”

    Customer: “The fondle, yes! Hurry it up!”

    Me: “It won’t be long, sir. I’ll call you when it’s done.”

    (The customer, grumbling, goes and sits down at a table with various other people.)

    Me: *to the chef* “One chocolate fondle, please!”

    Chef: “One… what?”

    Me: “The last customer asked for a fondle. So, one of your absolute best fondles for him please!”

    Chef: “Well, of course! One extra-large fondle coming up!”

    (Most of the customer’s friends start chuckling. The customer himself does not seem to notice anything awry. The chef, amused, makes the fondue and brings it out to the customer himself.)

    Chef: *to the customer* “Here you are, sir. A big satisfying fondle, just as you requested!”

    (From that point on, we nearly always call fondue orders out to the chef this way. He is proud to be able to claim that he gives hundreds of men and women ‘fondles’ every day, with full approval from his wife.)

    It All Ends Swimmingly

    | USA | Family & Kids, Language & Words

    (I teach swim lessons to kids, aged 4-12. Many of the children have lisps or other slight speech impediments, and this particular child is very rambunctious and is pushing himself off the wall of the pool and moving quickly through the water.)

    Child: “I pee’d you!”

    Me: “Wait, what?”

    Child: “I PEE’D YOU!”

    Me: *fearing the worst* “What do you mean by you ‘pee’d’ me?”

    Child: “Look, I’ll do it again!”

    (He pushes off the wall and moves quickly through the water again.)

    Me: “Oh, you mean you torpedoed me!”

    Child: “Yeah! What did you think I meant?”


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