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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!

    A Birthday Fit For A King

    | Belgium | Language & Words, Top

    (This call takes place during pre-Internet times, back when I was a student working a holiday job at a call center for a national telecom operator. My job was to look up international phone and fax numbers for our customers.)

    Me: “International inquiries, how can I help you?”

    Elderly Male Caller: “Hello? I need the number of The King of Morocco’s direct line.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but that type of information would be classified. I can give you the number of our embassy in Morocco if you like. Maybe someone over there can further assist you? ”

    Elderly Male Caller: “No, no, that won’t do. Your colleague already told me to dial [embassy's number], but that’s no good. I want the direct line of The King. He lives in Casablanca.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I’m afraid we cannot help you.”

    Elderly Male Caller: “Are you quite sure? It’s The King I’m looking for, he lives in Casablanca, which is in Morocco, and I’m quite sure there is only one of them in the whole country. Surely you can look up his number?”

    Me: “I’m afraid I can’t, sir, as I’ve explained before—”

    Elderly Male Caller: *sadly* “I used to have his number, you know, but I’ve lost the notebook it was in. Oh well, I’ll just have to wait for him to call me then. Goodbye…”

    (The caller hangs up. However, over the next hour, several of my coworkers get the same call, with the elderly man sounding more desperate, and repeating over and over he needs to speak to The King in Casablanca. Eventually, I get him on my line again.)

    Me: “Sir, I’m really sorry, but there’s nothing more me or my colleagues can do for you. The King’s direct number is private. We simply cannot access that kind of information.”

    Elderly Male Caller: “But it’s his 68th birthday! I ALWAYS call him on his birthday! Ever since he moved to Casablanca, over 25 years ago! My brother, The King!”

    (At this point, it finally dawned on me that “The King” he was trying to call was simply the elderly caller’s brother, Mr. De Koning (“The King”, literally), who had indeed moved to Casablanca, and who indeed turned out to be the only “De Koning”/”The King” in the Casablanca telephone directory. When I finally gave our customer the number of “The King” of Casablanca, he was extremely grateful!)

    With Customers Like These, Sales Are Guaranteed To Take Off

    | Las Vegas, NV, USA | Language & Words

    Me: “Hi, may I help you find something today?”

    Customer: “Uh, yeah. Where do you have your ceiling propellers?”

    Me: “Do you mean ceiling fans?”

    Customer: “No, I’m looking for ceiling propellers.”

    (I assume that she is looking for ceiling fans anyway, and point her towards them.)

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

    Customer: “Oh yes! There’s your ceiling propellers. I thought you sold them!”

    In A Tsary State, Part 2

    | Boston, MA, USA | Language & Words

    (A group of three Russian 20-somethings comes in; they’re unaware that I also speak Russian. Note: state law in Massachusetts says I have to card everyone in a group in order to sell them alcohol.)

    Me: “May I see your IDs?”

    (Two give me their IDs, but one doesn’t have it on him.)

    Customer: “He’s not drinking.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but I need his ID anyway. State law: I have to card the whole group.”

    Customer: “But he’s not drinking.”

    Me: “If you don’t all have IDs, I can’t sell this to you. Sorry, guys.”

    (The man without his ID goes to their car to get it. He returns, I check it, and proceed to run the credit card through, but the customer is clearly upset by this minor inconvenience. I print out the receipt and the customer signs the store copy.)

    Customer: *in Russian* “Here you go, b****.”

    Me: *also in Russian* “Thank you! Bye bye, now!”

    (I have never seen anyone leave the store that quickly before in my life!)

    Related:
    In A Tsary State

    Not Specifying Spices Can Spark Speculation

    | Atlanta, GA, USA | Food & Drink, Language & Words

    (I work a popular sub sandwich chain. I’m finishing up a customer’s sandwich with vegetables and condiments.)

    Me: “Would you like anything else?”

    Customer: “Yeah, some peppers.”

    (Note: the customer is very clearly pronouncing the “s” in “peppers.” We have bell peppers, pepperoncinis, and jalapeños.)

    Me: “Which kind?”

    Customer: “Peppers.”

    Me: “Which kind of peppers?”

    Customer: “PEP-PERS. PEPPERS!”

    Me: “Yes, but which kind?”

    Customer: “Freaking black peppers! Right there in the shaker! The only peppers you have!”

    Me: “Oh, pepper! I’m sorry, I thought you were talking about the veggies.”

    Customer: “Why would peppers be a vegetable?! It’s just little black flakes!”

    Me: *speechless*

    Customer: *to her companion* “Dumb b****!”

    Parlez-vous Down Under

    | California, USA | Geography, Language & Words

    (I’ve just finished ringing up a customer. Note that I have a very noticeable Australian accent, as I am from Australia.)

    Me: “Have a nice day!”

    Customer: “You too! By the way, I’m surprised, your English is really good!”

    Me: “Er… thanks?”

    Customer: “No, really! I mean it! If it weren’t for your accent, I’d have no idea you were French!”

    Me: “Um… actually, I’m from Australia.”

    Customer: “Oh, nonsense! I know a French accent when I hear one! Come on, say something in French!”

    (To humor her, I make up some random sounds that vaguely sound like French, as I do not actually speak French.)

    Customer: “See! I knew you were French! So what does that mean?”

    Me: “It means, ‘I don’t speak any French because I’m not from France.’”

    Customer: “Oh, you! You French have such great senses of humor!”

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