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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!

    Shogun The Way To Go Home

    | Tokyo, Japan | Language & Words, Tourists/Travel

    (I work at the local train station. Having spent half my life living in Los Angeles, and the other living in Tokyo, I speak both English and Japanese. The other station masters tend to bring tourists to me, since their English isn’t as good as mine. A tourist approaches me and speaks loudly, slowly, and with very large hand gestures)

    Tourist: “I’m trying to get to [station]! Can you help me?”

    Me: “Yes, ma’am. I actually grew up in Los Angeles, so I can speak English.”

    Tourist: *still speaking in the same way* “No, I’m not from Los Angeles! I’m trying to get to [station]!”

    Me: “No, ma’am, I just meant that I spent a lot of time in Los Angeles.”

    Tourist: “No! Not Los Angeles! [Station]!”

    (The woman’s husband, hearing his wife shouting, joins us.)

    Tourist’s Husband: *to his wife* “What’s going on?”

    Tourist: “This dumb guy keeps asking if we’re from Los Angeles!”

    Tourist’s Husband: “Why would he think that?”

    Tourist: “I don’t know!”

    Tourist’s Husband: *to me, speaking clearly, but not extremely slowly* “We’re trying to get to [station].”

    (I provide directions to the station.)

    Tourist’s Husband: “You speak English very well!”

    Me: “Thank you sir. As I tried to explain to your wife, I grew up in Los Angeles, so I speak English.”

    Tourist’s Husband: *sighs* “I’m sorry you had to put up with her. Thanks for the directions.”

    (As they are walking away, I hear the woman proudly tell her husband, “I told you those Japanese lessons we took would pay off!”)

    It’s All Dutch To Me

    | Eindhoven, Netherlands | Canada, Language & Words, Tourists/Travel

    Customer: “Hey, can I buy these, please?”

    Me: “Sure. That’ll be 10 euros.”

    (The customer hands me 10 Canadian dollars.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t take that currency.”

    Customer: “What? Why?”

    Me: “Because this isn’t Canada.”

    Customer: “But I thought you guys use Canadian dollars? My friend said they use Canadian dollars outside the US.”

    Me: “We don’t. We use Euros here.”

    Customer: “Since when?”

    Me: “Since 2002. Although before that, we used guilders, so your dollars would still be useless.”

    Customer: “But they’re Canadian dollars!”

    Me: “But this isn’t Canada.”

    (At this point, I take a second look at the magazines he’s trying to buy.)

    Me: ” Excuse me, but do you speak Dutch?”

    Customer: “No.”

    Me: “Then why are you buying Dutch magazines?”

    Customer: “I thought they’d be in English.”

    Me: “Because they speak English in Canada?”

    Customer: *blushing* “Yeah.”

    It’s Spelled I-d-i-o-t

    | Indianapolis, IN, USA | Extra Stupid, Language & Words

    (A customer has asked me to spell the name of the city, Indianapolis.)

    Me: “I-n-d..”

    Customer: “I-m-b…”

    Me: “No, I’m sorry, that was I-n-d…”

    Customer: “I-n-b…”

    Me: “That’s d, like dog.”

    Customer: “Oh. Okay.”

    Me: “Okay… you got that?”

    Customer: “I got it.”

    Me: “…i-a-n…”

    Customer: “…i-a-m…”

    Me: “That was an n, like Nancy.”

    Customer: “I have I-m-b-i-n-d-o-k-i-a-m-n.”

    Me: “Let’s start at the beginning.”

    Customer: “Oh. Okay.”

    Me: “I-n-d…”

    Customer: “I-n-d?”

    Me: “Yes. …i-a-n…”

    Customer: “All right, now I have I-n-d-i-a-m-i-m-b-i-n-d-o-k-i-a-m-n – is that how you spell Minneapolis?”

    Me: “No. It is not.”

    Customer: “Must be all them funny Indian letters. Okay, I’ll send this to you. Goodbye.”

    Their Spelling Is Wrong, But They Are Sticking To It

    | Des Moines, IA, USA | Extra Stupid, Language & Words, Technology

    Me: “Thank you for calling [internet provider]. How can I help you?”

    Caller: “Yes, I am trying to provision my personal modem for your internet and I am having issues. Could you help?”

    Me: “Sure. May I please have your modem id?”

    Caller: “001, E as in igloo, A as in apple, 3251, E as in igloo.”

    Me: “So that was 001, Echo, Alpha, 3251, Echo?”

    Caller: “No. E as in Igloo!”

    Me: “Sorry, sir, but Igloo begins with an I.”

    Caller: “The heck it does! Igloo is spelled E-G-L-U-E. I have a G.E.D.—you can’t pull one over on me, Mr. Fancy Pants!”

    When Coffee Tastes Are Too Well Grounded, Part 2

    | Fresno, CA, USA | Language & Words

    Customer:  ”Gimme 1 tall coffee.”

    Me: “Okay. Would you like room for cream?”

    Customer: “No, d*** it! I just want American coffee; no ice cream, mayonnaise, whipped cream or any of that crap! Can’t I just buy a d*** cup of American coffee!?”

    Me: “Sorry, sir.  What flavor would you like today?”

    Customer: “Sumatra.”

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    When Coffee Tastes Are Too Well Grounded

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