November Theme Of The Month: Black Friday!

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 In No Translation, Part 4

| British Columbia, Canada | Extra Stupid, Language & Words, Tourists/Travel

(I live in a small town where a cruise ship visits in the summer. Mind you, this is BC, Canada, so English is the main language spoken here, rather than French canadians in Quebec. Note that our entire conversation is in English.)

Customer: “Hi! May I ask you a question?”

Me: “Sure, no problem!”

Customer: “Do people speak French here?”

Me: “Well, some people might, but it’s more of a second language here.”

Customer: “Oh, really? Well, I think you’re speaking it very well, because I can understand you!”

Me: *dumbfounded*

(At this point, the customer’s husband steps in.)

Customer’s Husband: “She’s not speaking French, honey.”

Customer: “…Oh.” *walks away*

Lost In No Translation, Part 3
Lost In No Translation, Part 2
Lost In No Translation

You’ve Got To Be Kitten Me

| USA | Language & Words

(Two of my coworkers both speak Irish fluently. I’ve picked up a few phrases from them. They are having a conversation in Irish when this happens. Please note: the female coworker has a medical condition where she twitches.)

Customer: “EXCUSE ME! How DARE you?!”

Female Coworker: “I’m sorry?”

Customer: “Apologize to me, immediately!”

Female Coworker: “I’m sorry ma’am, what’s the problem?”

Customer: “You were just talking about me! I heard my name! [Name]!”

Male Coworker: “You mean [Irish word]?”

Customer: “Yes!”

Female Coworker: *twitches* “I am sorry for the confusion, ma’am. In Irish, [word] means ‘kitten’. We were talking about the kitten my neighbor just bought his daughter.”

Customer: “No! I know it was my name!”

(The customer starts screaming bloody murder, so I approach.)

Me: “Is there something I can help with?”

Customer: “They were insulting me in some… some HEATHEN SPEAK!” *points at my female coworker* “And THAT ONE is possessed or something! She won’t stop twitching!”

(Suddenly, the customer swings her purse violently at us, but thankfully none of us are hit.)

Me: *to my employees* “Are you okay?!”

Female Coworker: “I’m fine. And yourself?”

(The customer screws up her face, balls up her fists and starts screaming again. She wouldn’t stop, so I had to have her arrested and taken out of the store.)

Someone Needs To Boof-riend Him

| Illinois, USA | Language & Words, Pets & Animals

(A man approaches me while I’m at my register.)

Customer: “Excuse me; I have a question.”

Me: “Sure, what can I help you with?”

Customer: “What does ‘boof’ mean?”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Customer: “‘Boof.’ You guys have a bumper sticker that says ‘boof.'”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I have no idea what ‘boof’ means.”

Customer: “The sticker is just dumb. It says, ‘My dog is my ‘boof.'”

Me: “Oh! ‘My dog is my BFF!'”

Customer: “Yeah, that’s what I said.”

Me: “It’s an abbreviation, sir. It means ‘best friends forever.'”

Customer: “Well, that’s dumb. How stupid do you have to be to have a dog as your best friend?!”

You Say Barokee, I Say You Need To Pee

| Sardis, BC, Canada | Health & Body, Language & Words, Top, Tourists/Travel

(I work in a convenience store on the way to a lake (popular with tourists), and the till faces the front door. Currently, two women are in line, the first of which is paying with her debit card. Her back is to the door, and her head is down. Suddenly, a man comes bursting through the door yelling. Both women are incredibly startled.)


Woman #1: “Oh my God!” *bolts upright*

(Woman #2 starts laughing hysterically, while Woman #1 has stopped in the middle of entering her pin to stare.)


Me: “Bathroom key?”

Man: “Yeah! Barookee!”

(He runs off in the direction of the bathroom, arms literally flailing.)

Woman #2: “How did you know what the heck he was saying?”

Me: *deadpan* “I speak tourist.”

Unintentional Prejudice Is Still A Kick In The Teeth

| Tennessee, USA | Bigotry, Language & Words

(I’m a British exchange student working at a Tennessee supermarket. I have a very obvious accent. I’m stocking the shelves when I need to place an item out of my reach.)

Me: “Hey, [coworker], can you give me a hand?”

Customer: “Oh, my! Your accent is amazing! Are you English?”

(I nod.)

Customer: “Oooh, ooh… can you say…” *in a very bad Cockney accent* “Can I please get some help setting up this fish and chips so I can retire for tea time?”

Me: “Erm? Sorry, I won’t.”

Customer: “Well, why not?! I thought all you British people liked tea and fish and chips.”

Coworker: “If I were to ask you why you aren’t wearing blue jean overalls or ending every sentence with “Y’all”, would you be offended?”

Customer: “Well, of course I would!”

(Both my coworker and I raise our eyebrows at her. We watch as her face turns red with realization.)

Customer: “O-oh… I’m sorry.”

(The customer quickly walks to the next aisle, face still red as a beet.)

Coworker: “Sorry about that. We get a lot of people like that around here.”

Me: “Well, at least she didn’t make a comment about my teeth.”