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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!

    This Side Uppity

    | Florida, USA | Food & Drink, Language & Words

    (I work in a fairly ritzy upper-end wine store. We get a lot of customers coming in with partial information about the wine they’re looking for, but we can usually help them find it. Sometimes, not so much.)

    Me: “Can I help you, ma’am?”

    Customer: “Yes, I bought a case of wine here last month, and I’d like another. I don’t remember the name, but I remember where in France it’s from.”

    (Our French wines are organized by the part of France that the wines are from, so this is very helpful.)

    Me: “Okay, perhaps you’ll recognize the bottle when we get to that section. Where’s it from?”

    Customer: “The ‘cote a ouvrir.’”

    Me: “Do you mean Côtes du Rhône, or Côtes du Ventoux, or one of the Côtes appellations in Burgundy, perhaps?”

    Customer: “I know d*** well I bought wine here last month, and the box said ‘cote a ouvrir!’”

    Me: “I’m sure it did, ma’am. That’s French for ‘open this side.’”

    Customer: “Yes! Where do you keep the French wines that say ‘cote a ouvrir?’”

    Me: *gestures to the section we’re in* “About two thirds of these will say that.”

    Customer: “So, it’s not very helpful?”

    Me: “Not as such, no.”

    Customer Service Does (Not) Speak Your Language

    | Topeka, Kansas, USA | Language & Words

    Me: “[Store Name], this is Grace. How can I help you?”

    Caller: “What’s on the down low?”

    Me: *thinking I heard her wrong* “Excuse me, ma’am?”

    Caller: “What’s on the down low?”

    Me: “Um, not a lot.”

    Caller: *angrily* “What’s on the down low?”

    Me: “I’m really sorry. I just don’t think I’m understanding you.”

    Caller: “WHAT’S ON THE DOWN LOW?!”

    Me: “What?”

    Caller: “WHAT TIME Y’ALL CLOSE?!”

    Me: “Oh, we close at 9 PM.”

    Customers Should Watch Their Language, Part 2

    | Michigan, USA | Language & Words, Top

    (I have moderate competency in Mandarin Chinese, but it is not apparent because I’m not Asian.)

    Me: “Hello! Can I help you find anything today?”

    Customer #1: “No, we’re just looking.”

    Customer #2: “Just looking.”

    Me: “All right, just let me know if you need any help.”

    Customer #1: *in Mandarin* “I told her to go away. She doesn’t listen!”

    Customer #2: *in Mandarin* “She’s a dumb girl. Just ignore her.”

    Me: *in Mandarin* “Hey look, the dumb girl speaks Mandarin.”

    The Horrors Of Mispronunciation, Part 5

    | Maryland, USA | Language & Words

    Customer: “Do you have any fecal heart monitors?”

    Me: “Uh…what?”

    Customer: “You know, to hear the baby while it’s still in the womb?”

    Me: “That would be a fetal heart monitor. Right this way…”

    Related:
    The Horrors Of Mispronunciation, Part 4
    The Horrors Of Mispronunciation, Part 3
    The Horrors Of Mispronunciation, Part 2
    The Horrors Of Mispronunciation

    Lost In No Translation, Part 3

    | USA | Language & Words

    (I work in a large home improvement store and I’m the only female in the department. A customer pulls up on his motorcycle and parks it on the sidewalk outside the door, then staggers inside, making a beeline to me despite all the other sales people.)

    Customer: *in a loud drunken slur* “Where do you keep your nipples?”

    Me: “Excuse me?”

    Customer: “Your nipples. Where do you keep your nipples?”

    Me: “I’m not sure I understand what you’re looking for.”

    Customer: *getting louder* “Where do you keep your nipples?! The titties you mash to start your engine!”

    Me: “Oh, the fuel bulbs are kept over here.”

    (The customer purchases them and leaves. The other associates actually gave me applause for the diplomatic interpretation of his drunken demands.)

    Related:
    Lost In No Translation, Part 2
    Lost In No Translation

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