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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!

Please Stop ‘Schwer’-ing

| Germany | Language & Words

(I work in a climbing hall which contains a large boulder area where are three levels of difficulty marked with the letters S, M, L. This means ‘Schwer’, the highest difficulty, ‘Mittel’ which is a medium route to climb and ‘Leicht’ for the easiest options. There is a sign next to the entrance explaining the rating system and the whole word the letters stand for is written in small text under the difficulty-signs. A female customer approaches me.)

Customer: “Hi there, I have a question about the boulder difficulties written on the signs.”

Me: “Sure, go ahead.”

Customer: “First, why are the boulders rated with clothing sizes? And why are the ‘S’ routes so insane difficult? I didn’t even manage to do one of them?”

Me: “Miss, you realize the letters do not stand for small, medium, and large? In fact, there’s a sign two meters from you explaining the difficulties and it’s also written beneath every sign here. ‘S’ therefore is the most difficult thing you can do here.”

Customer: “I don’t care about your god-d*** f****** signs explaining s***! S,M,L are definite clothing sizes as they have always been! Now move you lazy a** and reassign those f****** signs so I can climb my ‘S’ routes as I want!”

Me: “I’m sorry, madam, that the standard system of rating boulders does not fit your expectations. Nevertheless, I cannot and will not change the standardised system as it would confuse every other customer. Also I have to ask you to watch your language as there are children close by.”

(By saying that I can see the customer is not going to accept the answer and indeed she goes off, shouting me names and threatening to push the stones into my butt if I won’t serve her the way she wants.)

Me: “Madam, please try to calm down and please stop swearing; it disturbs our other customers, especially the children!”

(The customer by now ignores me and is shouting in full voice about the system. The manager comes over and gets the customer escorted out by two coworkers.)

Manager: “So, let me guess. That lady could not get over the shock of hearing that S,M,L are not always clothing sizes, too?”

Me: “‘too’? You mean this was not the first time that happened?”

Manager: “Well, let’s say some women are a bit special about stuff concerning their clothes…”

Surprising Language

| CA, USA | Language & Words

(I’m working the registers and serving a Chinese person. My perky coworker, who’s Latino, walks by.)

Coworker: “Ní hǎo!”

Customer: “¿Cómo está?!”

Coworker: *completely taken by surprise* “That’s Spanish!”

Not Speaking The Same Language

| Wilmington, NC, USA | Bizarre, Language & Words, Technology

Caller: “It says select a language. What do I do?”

Me: “Select your language.”

Caller: “So if I go to another country, I can change it to their language?”

Me: “You could but you’re still going to be the one using the phone so you would probably still want to leave it on a language you speak.”

Caller: “Oh, okay.”

Her Lips Are Sealed And Waterproof

| WA, USA | Language & Words, Rude & Risque

(I am shopping for shelf brackets at a hardware store and I overhear this conversation between a nervous-looking woman and an apron-clad store assistant.)

Woman: “Yes, hi, I need to replace the edges of my bathtub. Could you tell me which aisle has those?”

Assistant: “Well, we have bathroom units and tub liners that cover your bath and give it a new surface. I can show you where those are, if you’d like.”

Customer: “No, no, no. I don’t want a new bathtub. I just need to… there are some cracks and old spots around the edges that I just need to, um, reseal.”

Assistant: “Oh, well if you want to touch up cracks or worn places in the finish, I’d really suggest having a professional come look at it. We have the primer and finish here, but it’s not the easiest job for one person.”

Woman: *visibly flustered and fidgeting with her pocketbook* “No, it’s not the paint that needs to be fixed; it’s the edges near the wall. I need to seal them so I don’t get mold in the walls.”

Assistant: *I see his brow furrow as I sneak a peek at the odd conversation* “So something to waterproof the inside edges? Do you mean caulk?”

Woman: *turns an alarmingly bright red and stares at him for a few seconds with wide eyes before whispering* “Yes, that.”

Assistant: *looking amused, but stays professional* “No problem, ma’am, the waterproofing sealant is this way. In fact, we have some products that prevent mildew, so you don’t have to worry about your walls.”

(They walk off and I giggle to myself. The poor woman, around fifty years old but still too embarrassed to say ‘caulk’!)

Can’t Be Possible

| USA | Language & Words

(During a call with an irate customer.)

Customer: “Don’t you know you can’t use the word ‘can’t’ in customer service?”

Me: “Okay, then, it’s not possible.”

Customer: *expletives*