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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!

    Birthright Is Wrong

    | Australia | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Family & Kids, Language & Words

    Customer: “Oh! What an interesting accent! Which country are you from?”

    Me: “Thank you. I was born here, but my dad is Northumbrian, so I have a bit of his accent.”

    Customer: “So when did you arrive in Australia?”

    Me: “I never left. I was born here.”

    Customer: “No, that’s impossible. I don’t think you were. In fact, I KNOW you weren’t.”

    Me: “So, it’s impossible for my mother to have me in Australia with my dad, who migrated from the UK and has a strong accent that I picked up?”

    Customer: “Yes.”

    Me: “I was born here in Australia, ma’am.”

    Customer: “Oh, you keep thinking that.” *winks and leaves the store*

    When Write Is Wrong Is Really Right

    | VA, USA | At The Checkout, Language & Words

    (I work in a video store. This is years before gift cards. We have to hand-write the amount on a certificate.)

    Customer: “That is not spelled right.”

    Employee #1: *writes void on certificate, and tries again*

    Customer: “It’s still not right.”

    (Employee #1 calls over Employee #2.)

    Employee #2: “Ma’am, I’m sure that’s right.”

    Customer: *agitated* “I demand to speak to a manager.”

    (I come over.)

    Me: “Ma’am, how can I help you?”

    Customer: “I need this certificate for $12 and he keeps spelling it wrong.”

    Me: “Okay. What is the amount of the gift certificate?”

    Employee #1: “$12.”

    Me: “How did you spell it?”

    Employee #1 & #2: “T-W-E-L-V-E.”

    Me: “Ma’am, I’m not the greatest speller, but I’m pretty sure that’s right.”

    Customer: “Well, it’s not.”

    Me: “So that we don’t waste anymore gift certificates, why don’t you write the amount?”

    (The customer snatches the booklet and pen, and starts to fill in the information. When she gets to the amount she stops, confusion on her face.)

    Customer: “How did you spell it again?”

    Employee #1: “T-W-E-L-V-E.”

    Customer: “Oh. I guess you were right…”

    A Sheet Understanding Of Languages

    | Coral Springs, FL, USA | Language & Words, Rude & Risque

    (An elderly customer comes in with a manila folder filled with paper.)

    Me: “Hello! Can I help you?”

    Customer: “Yes, I need copy of… How do you say?”

    (It’s clear English isn’t his first language, so I get closer to listen.)

    Me: “What was that?”

    Customer: “Do you say…’piece of paper?’ or ‘sheet of paper?’”

    Me: “You can use either of them. Both are okay.”

    (The customer seems to understand, and hands me a sheet from the folder.)

    Customer: “This. I need five pieces of sheet.”

    Deaf To Reason, Part 3

    | OH, USA | Bigotry, Language & Words, Wild & Unruly

    (I’m mute, but learned sign language as a way to communicate. Most people assume I’m deaf, and I usually don’t need to correct them. However, some people use this assumption to make comments. I’m at the mall.)

    Customer: “Miss, do you know where [Store] is?”

    Me: *signs that I only speak sign language*

    Customer: “Stupid deaf people. Shouldn’t be allowed the same place as us normal people! You ungrateful s*** had better stay the f*** away from me!”

    (I tear up a bit, but then the security officer, who understands sign language, comes over.)

    Security Officer: “Ma’am, please stop harassing her.”

    Customer: “What?! I did no such thing! I only asked her for directions! And, she’s deaf! How could she know?!”

    Security Officer: “She’s not deaf, ma’am. She heard every word. I’d like you to apologize to her.”

    Customer: “H***, no! She’s a little b**** who shouldn’t be out with the normal part of society!”

    Security Officer: “I’m going to ask you to leave now.”

    Customer: “Why?!”

    Security Officer: “You’re being disruptive and rude. You need to leave.”

    Customer: “She should leave! She’s wasting time and space!”

    Security Officer: “She isn’t screaming profanities, harassing others, or even being the least bit loud. I’m going to ask you one more time to leave the property.”

    (The customer refuses, and has to be dragged out by two other officers!)

    Related:
    Deaf To Reason, Part 2
    Deaf To Reason

    Arabian Plights

    | Sunrise, FL, USA | Bad Behavior, Language & Words

    (I am of Middle Eastern heritage, and I speak fluent Arabic, but because of my Western name and lighter complexion, I often get mistaken for a Caucasian man. I am working on the store’s stock team, running trolleys to the store’s grocery department. A customer in a hijab stops to ask me a question.)

    Customer: “Excuse me. I am looking for some [spice I've never heard of].”

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. I’ve never heard of that before. I can tell you what aisle it might be on, but not if we have it. Why don’t you ask my associate over there? He’s far more familiar with this department than I am.”

    (I point to my coworker, who is about 15 feet away.)

    Customer: “Okay. I will, then.”

    (The customer proceeds to mutter various insults and curse words in Arabic as she looks around the aisle. About a minute of this in, I decide to respond.)

    Me: *in Arabic* “You know, it’s really shameful and cowardly when a grown woman, especially one in a hijab, is insulting a worker half her age in a language she thinks he doesn’t understand. Some representative of our culture you are!”

    Customer: *in Arabic, sputtering* “You speak Arabic?”

    Me: *in English* “No, I just said that specific statement to throw you off.”

    (The customer turned bright red with embarrassment, left her cart behind, and exited the store.)

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