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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!

    Lost On The Train And In Translation

    | England, UK | Language & Words, Tourists/Travel, Transportation

    (I work in the ticket office at a train station. One night a customer with very poor English comes up to me.)

    Customer: “Cawidge.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, where are you headed?”

    Customer: “Cawidge.”

    Me: “Cambridge?”

    Customer: “No, I go Cawidge.”

    Me: “Can you write that for me?” *I hand him a piece of paper and a pen.*

    Customer: *shouts something in a foreign language to someone on the other side of the station, who comes running up.*

    Customer’s Friend: “He go Cawidge.”

    Me: “Yes, can you write that for me please?”

    Customer’s Friend: “Uh… Cawidge. Brummum?”

    Me: “Birmingham?”

    Customer’s Friend: *excitedly* “Yeah, yeah! Brummum! Brummum Cawidge!”

    *it suddenly clicks*

    Me: “Oh, University of Birmingham?”

    Customer: “Yeah, cawidge!”

    Me: “Sure, that’ll be [price]. In future though, don’t ask for the College, ask for University of Birmingham. Okay?”

    Customer: “Yew… nee… verse… Brummum!”

    Me: “… Yeah, that’ll do.”

    Charlie Is Barely Barley, Bizarrely

    | Canada | Extra Stupid, Language & Words

    (We interact with customers over the phone, and sometimes have to spell things out for them, so for clarity’s sake, we are encouraged to memorize and use the NATO phonetics to spell when needed. A as in Alpha, B as in Bravo…)

    Me: “Okay, please type this in: C for Charlie—”

    Customer: “B for barley?”

    (So much for clarity!)

    Knows Zip About The Code

    | NM, USA | Extra Stupid, Language & Words

    Me: “Thank you, Ma’am. Now I need your address so we can mail your order out to you.”

    Caller: “I live at [Street, City, State, USA].”

    Me: “OK, ma’am, I have all that. May I have your ZIP code, please?”

    Caller: “My what?”

    Me: “Your ZIP code. It’s part of your address. After your address.”

    Caller: “After my address? No, I don’t have one.”

    Me: “Everyone has a ZIP code. It’s the number that follows your address. If you live in the USA, you have a ZIP code. All addresses have one.”

    Caller: “And I’m telling you I never heard of such a thing, I’ve lived in this house for 15 years and there’s no ZIP code here.”

    Me: “You live in [City], right?”

    Caller “Yes. In [City] in [State].”

    Me: “Then your ZIP code is a five digit number and would probably begin with [number].”

    Caller: “You’re out of your mind! I am looking out my window RIGHT NOW at my house number, on the front porch and there is NO ZIP CODE!”

    (Trans)Late To Understanding

    | Virum, Denmark | Language & Words, Technology

    (We run a tech support channel. Unlike traditional channels, we allow anybody and everybody to ask and receive answers. The popularity of the channel forced us to bring in a bot which tells the user to speak English in their own language if they are speaking a non-English language. The user is from Colombia.)

    User: *in Spanish* “Hi, my game is broken. Can you help?”

    Bot: *in Spanish* “This is an English-only channel. Try Google Translate if you need translations to English.”

    User: *in German* “Hi, my game is broken. Can you help?”

    Bot: *in German* “This is an English-only channel. Try Google Translate if you need translations to English.”

    (The user disconnects.)

    Another User: “I wonder which part of “this channel is English only” doesn’t he get?”

    Misread The Situation

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

    (I work on the front end of a well-known pharmacy as a cashier. We have four registers at the front, and only one is active right now, #3. There are signs on the other registers directing the customer to #3, with a bell included on #3 that says ‘please ring for service.’ I’m stocking an aisle, when a woman walks up to register #1.)

    Me: “Ma’am, I’ll be right there to help you. Could you please go to register #3?”

    Customer: “Sure, no problem.”

    (I walk up behind the counter, logging onto register #3, while the woman has her items set out on register #4.)

    Me: “Ma’am, could I help you at this register, please?”

    Customer: “Oh, right. I guess it would help if I could read.”

    Me: “Well, that’s not really my judgment to make.”

    (The woman goes silent for the rest of the transaction. I ring her up, hand her her receipt, and ask if there’s anything else I can help her with.)

    Customer: “No, but I certainly hope you’re nicer to your next customer!”

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