October Theme Of The Month: Halloween!

Category: Tourists/Travel

Getting Out Of Your Square Bubble

| USA | Bad Behavior, Tourists/Travel

(The bookstore is in a small, fairly quiet town and we frequently get people asking for directions. On this occasion, a 50ish-year-old lady and her husband come in.)

Customer: “I was wondering if I could get some directions? We are looking for the quilt square.”

Me: “Quilt square? I’m not sure what you are looking for. Is that a store?”

Customer: “No, it’s a piece of wood painted to look like a quilt. There are about 50 of them; they are hung up on the sides of buildings around the state. There is supposed to be one here.”

Me: “Oh, I didn’t know anything about that. I can look it up for you though.”

(I get on the internet and finally find the website. The whole time the customer is just chatting about how long it took her to find the square hanging on the barn. The only information I can find is that it is on a particular street.)

Me: “Okay, I found something. This says that it is on [Street].”

Customer: “Okay, but what building is it on?”

Me: “I am not sure. I am not familiar with that street but I know it is towards town.”

(The customer is starting to get frustrated for some reason, so I look up the street on Google Maps.)

Me: “If you take a right out of the store, it looks like the road is about five streets down.”

Customer: “But where is the square?!”

Me: “Ma’am, I am really sorry, but I don’t know anything about the quilts. I can’t really tell you where it is because I have never seen it. If you go down the street, you will probably find it.”

(At this point, I am starting to lose my patience. She isn’t even a customer for my store.)

Customer: *grumbling to her husband* “I swear! These young people just don’t know how to get out of their bubbles! She’ll probably never leave [Small Town]!”

(I just let her leave without saying anything, but it still bugs me to this day. She assumed I don’t have any culture because I don’t know where a piece of wood is. I am not American, was born in Europe, and am not yet an American citizen. I have lived in multiple states in USA plus some of USA’s territories. I am probably more traveled than she is.)

A Weighty Party-Trick

| UK | At The Checkout, Money, Tourists/Travel

(My parents run a general grocery store on a camping/caravanning site. I am 15 and work there. When mum goes on her break and I am alone, I love to watch the shoppers as they walk around putting items in their basket. I know the price of every item in the store so I add it up in my head. When they come to pay I ‘heft’ the basket – as if I am weighing it – and then announce the price.)

Me: “That will be £4.22.”

Customer: *gives me an odd look*

(I enter the items into the till, and it comes to exactly the same price.)

Customer: *looks amazed, and silently hands over the money*

(I overhear the customer talk to their partner outside the shop.)

Customer: “Do you know what that young lad in the shop can do? Amazing!”

Her Learning Doesn’t Hold Much Coin

| MD, USA | At The Checkout, Money, Tourists/Travel

Me: “Your total is $10.60.”

Customer: *with an accent that sounds like she’s from around Manchester, England* “Okay, here’s a ten, and…” *pours her change on the counter and starts going through them* “…Is this twenty-five? No, this is five… and this is ten? No, this one’s twenty-five cents… How much is this one? Oh, I’m not good with this money. I can’t tell what anything is.”

Me: “No problem. I’ll count out sixty for you. So, are vacationing here in the USA?”

Customer: “No, I’ve lived here for ten years…”

Have No Old Faithful In Humanity

| West Yellowstone, MT, USA | Extra Stupid, Tourists/Travel

(My family and I go to visit my aunt and uncle in West Yellowstone, Montana, which is about an hour north of Yellowstone National Park. There are painted bison statues around town that are been part of a contest. My mom and I stop at a tourist information center.)

Mom: “Excuse me; do you have a map of where the buffalo are?”

Employee: “Oh, they’re all over the park. You just have to drive around and keep an eye out for them.”

Mom: “…No, the painted ones around town.”

Employee: “Oh! Yes, I do have a map of those.”

Mom: “Do people seriously ask you that?”

Employee: “Yes. They also ask when Old Faithful is turned on and when the bears are let out.”

Speaking American Is A Country Diction In Terms, Part 3

| Torino, Italy | Language & Words, Tourists/Travel

(As the city is hosting a big international event, we’ve been having a lot of people asking for information about venues, transports, and such. For guests’ convenience we set up two different lines, one for information in English and Spanish and one for information in French and German, as these are the four main languages our guests require. We used flags to represent languages, with a standard UK flag standing for English. A third colleague is standing by the door, answering questions in miscellaneous other languages and directing people to the lines. A couple walks in and addresses him in English.)

Guest: “Excuse me, sir?”

Coworker: “Yes, sir? How can I help you?”

Guest: “We need information in American. Which one of these lines is the correct one?”

(My coworker points to the English speaking line.)

Guest: *pointing to the flag* “That’s an English flag. There’s no American flag here. Are you sure this is the correct line?”

Coworker: *trying not to laugh* “Yes, sir. Yes, I’m quite sure it is.”

(At this point the couple cuts the entire 20-something people line and simply walks up to me while I’m busy with another guest.)

Guest: “Good morning, we would like to know if—”

Me: “Sir, I’m sorry, but you can’t just cut the line like that.”

Guest: “But your colleague said this was the American speaking line.”

Me: “It is sir, but as you can see there’s a lot of people waiting for information. You’ll have to wait like everybody else. I promise you it won’t be long.”

Guest: “But… but… I’m AMERICAN!”

Speaking American Is A Country Diction In Terms, Part 2
Speaking American Is A Country Diction In Terms

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