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!

A Very Sharp Customer

| Portland, OR, USA | Home Improvement, Language & Words

(I used to work at a semi-popular retail store. On my first day of working customer service I get called up to the registers, where I see a foreign man standing by the till.)

Coworker: “[My Name], can you help this gentleman here?”

Me: “Sure, no problem.” *turn to the man* “What can I help you with?”

(The man holds up his hand, obviously asking me to wait. He pulls up his phone and types something down, then hands it to me. He’s opened a translator app, and the word he’s put in directly translates to ‘meat processing board.’)

Me: “Right this way.”

(I lead him over to the kitchen appliance section and show him our selection of cutting boards.)

Me: “Is this what you’re looking for?”

Customer: “Ah, yes! Tacktacktack! Thank you!”

Me: “You’re welcome; if there’s anything else you need just let me know!”

(Later that night after closing my coworker comes up to me while I’m sweeping the floors.)

Coworker: “So, what did that man want? He wasn’t speaking any English!”

Me: “Oh, he wanted to know where our cutting boards were.”

Coworker: “I was wondering why he was pretending to brandish a knife at me!”

Getting It All In Español

| Berlin, Germany | Language & Words

(I’m an American traveling across Europe and manage to get spectacularly lost while in Berlin. I enter a shop to ask for directions.)

Me: *in very bad German* “Excuse me. I don’t speak German very well. Can you help me get to [Cross-Street]?”

(The EXTREMELY patient clerk tries her best but her English is about as bad as my German. Finally…)

Me: *jokingly* “Habla Español?”

Clerk: *in Spanish* “Yes! I do!”

(The rest of the conversation was in Spanish. I got my directions without further problems!)

It’s Oui-Si To Understand

| Minneapolis, MN, USA | Food & Drink, Language & Words

Customer: “I want to order something off the menu, but everything is really hard to say and I don’t speak Spanish.”

(We’re a French restaurant, with the word ‘French’ in our name.)

Directionless With Languages

| Pittsburgh, PA, USA | Language & Words, Technology, Transportation

(I’m working the electronics counter at a large retail store. A woman comes up to the counter and stares at the GPS systems. I ask if she needs help with anything.)

Customer: “My old GPS broke and I need a new one, but can you help me please find one that is in English?”

Me: “All the systems come pre-installed with English.”

Customer: “Really? My old system speaks a language I don’t understand and that’s why I need a new one.”

Me: “Ma’am, is your old GPS in the car? Can you bring it in?”

(She retrieved the GPS from her car and I took less than a minute to reset the language for her. She was nearly in tears because she was so grateful.)

Mishearing Can Be A B****

| RI, USA | Bad Behavior, Language & Words

(I’m stocking cheese and sometimes it’s difficult to hear customers clearly with the fans running in the coolers.)

Customer: “Hey, b****!”

(I turn and see a little old man, smiling politely and I’m sure I must have heard him wrong. He asks for the bread aisle, I send him on his way and he thanks me. Another customer rushes out of an aisle toward me.)

Other Customer : “I can’t believe you helped that guy after he called you a b****!”

Me: “You heard that, too?!”

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