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  • September Theme Of The Month: Overheard!

    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!

    I Hail From Unenthusia

    | Sydney, NSW, Australia | Awesome Workers, Language & Words

    (I witness the end of this conversation between a customer and my coworker. The customer sometimes comes in drinking alcohol, and my coworker is usually very sweet and polite.)

    Customer: “What’s your accent?”

    Coworker: “Sorry?”

    Customer: “Where’s your accent from?”

    Coworker: “…I’m from here. Australian.”

    Customer: “Oh… You sound more American or something…”

    (The customer finishes his transaction and leaves.)

    Coworker: “More like my accent was unenthusiasm…”

    A Total Brazil Nut

    | France | Food & Drink, Geography, Language & Words, Top

    (Every year I work at a local fair as a waitress, at a travelling Brazilian restaurant. I am not a native, but my Portuguese is perfect. A Brazilian woman, accompanied by a French friend, sits at one of my tables and interrupts other customers while I finish taking their orders.)

    Customer: *in Portuguese* “YOU! Come serve me right now! I’m starving. I am Brazilian, you know! Brazilians eat a lot. We are not like these skinny French people who don’t eat a thing. These French people can wait. I can’t!”

    (After explaining her the different formulas she can choose from, she goes for all you can eat beef.)

    Me: “I will only serve the side dishes, and the meat slicers will cut prime beef into a plate whenever you want it.”

    Customer: “My friend doesn’t want to eat; just a cocktail, because she is French, and these people don’t eat like Brazilians.”

    (Her friend confirms it to me in French. When her plate and the friend’s cocktail are ready I start serving her the side dishes.)

    Customer: *yelling* “What is this? Are you putting me on a diet? This is NOT what I had ordered! I wanted all you can eat beef and you are not serving me meat! This is outrageous! If this were Brazil, you’d be fired straight away!”

    Me: “I am sorry; maybe I haven’t explained myself very clearly. I am just serving the side dishes, and the gentlemen other there will come straight to your table and cut beef right into your plate.”

    Customer: “I have another HUGE problem. Look at my friend; she’s got nothing to eat. This is so rude of you; you have only served her a drink. She may be one of those skinny French, but she has the right to eat you know! This is clearly not Brazil! What part of Brazil are you from to be such a bad waitress?”

    Me: “I am sorry; I’ll bring food to your friend right away. And I am not actually Brazilian. I am a local.”

    Customer: “Why would they dare employ a non-Brazilian? This is outrageous! French people are just NOT qualified to work here.”

    Me: “Well, you hadn’t noticed my accent until now, so it means my Portuguese is good enough to work here. Besides, I’ve lived in Brazil, I am married to a Brazilian, and I am also a certified samba instructor, so it is not as if I didn’t know anything about your culture.”

    Customer: “I can’t believe this! This is a scandal! You are not Brazilian! You are such a bad waitress! Call the boss; I’ll make sure you’ll get fired because you are not Brazilian! You can’t possibly know how to serve us. You are a disgrace to my country!”

    (I refused to continue serving her. When she finished eating, she made a scandal at the checkout. While leaving, she met the restaurant’s boss, and told him that the service had been horrible, that I had been rude to her, and that French people shouldn’t work at such a place. She also complained about the ‘fat b****’ she had to deal with at the checkout. The boss replied that no one had ever complained about the quality of my service, and that the ‘fat’ woman at the checkout was his pregnant wife. He told her to never dare come back again, and insulted her in front of a bunch of laughing Brazilians.)

    Try Whoson First

    | MO, USA | Language & Words, Transportation

    Me: *on the phone with my mechanic* “Do you do body work?”

    Mechanic: “I’m afraid not.”

    Me: “Could you recommend someone?”

    Mechanic: “Recommended?”

    Me: “Yes.”

    Mechanic: “Okay.” *long pause*

    Me: “So, do you know anyone?”

    Mechanic: “Recommended?”

    Me: “Yes.”

    Mechanic: “They’re out on Highway 24.”

    Me: “Who?”

    Mechanic: “Recommended?”

    (We go back and forth until he finally spells it for me: Wreck-a-mended.)

    Speaking In Double-Dutch

    | Dublin, Ireland | Language & Words

    (I work for large shipping company and we deal with our own specific customers, mostly over email. Customers do call us when it’s urgent or something has gone wrong. This is a customer I have only ever emailed.)

    Me: “Thank you for calling [Company]; My name is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

    Customer: “…So where are you from? Dutch? You don’t sound Dutch.”

    Me: “Yes, originally. But I’ve lived in Canada for a long time, England, and Ireland for the past three years. My accent is a bit of mix.”

    Customer: “Well, it’s very disconcerting. I can’t bloody tell where you’re from. Just email me from now on.” *click*

    Es-pwñ-ol, Part 3

    | Newark, NJ, USA | Family & Kids, Language & Words, Technology

    (I’m with my mother buying a pouch and a case for my brothers hand-held gaming system. I go off on my own to find some computer games. Not even five minutes later I return to my mom looking very flustered with an employee. My mother and I are Peruvian. She speaks Spanish and struggles with English.)

    Me: *in Spanish* “Ma, are you okay?”

    Mom: *in Spanish* “No, I can’t remember the stupid name for this s***. The thing that covers the DS for you brother, what is it?”

    Me: *to the employee, in English* “Oh, my mom is looking for a cover for the 3DS. Do you have any?”

    Employee: “Yes, I showed your mom the selection right here; these are the ones we have.”

    Me: *in Spanish* “Ma, they only have these.”

    Mom: *in Spanish* “No, this f****** idiot isn’t understanding me! I want the ones in foam because your brother keeps breaking the plastic ones.”

    Employee: *in Spanish* “I’m sorry, ma’am, I know what you want. They’re over here at the next aisle.”

    (My mom turned a deep shade of red and mumbled out an apology, saying she was flustered and couldn’t control her temper. I was laughing so hard because I’m always telling my mom that just because she thinks they can’t understand her Spanish and talks s***, doesn’t mean she won’t get caught!)

    Related:
    Es-pwñ-ol, Part 2
    Es-pwñ-ol

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