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    Category: Tourists/Travel

    High Commission Brain Attrition

    | New Zealand | Tourists/Travel

    (A woman tourist  in her late thirties rushes up to my desk, followed by a man who appears to be her husband and three children.)

    Tourist: “Ma’am, ma’am, this is an emergency! My family have missed our flight and our passports are gone!”

    Me: “I can put you in touch with your high commission, Ma’am.”

    Tourist: “Oh, yes! Would you?”

    Woman’s husband: “Sweetheart, I have the passports at the hotel.”

    Tourist: “Oh. Well, we still missed our flight! It’s June 18th and we were meant to leave on the 12th!”

    Me: “Ma’am, may I see your tickets, please? Then I can put you in touch with your travel agent.”

    Tourist: “Here you go!”

    Me: “Ma’am, see here.”

    Tourist: “Yes, June 12th.”

    Me: “No, Ma’am. July 12th.”

    Tourist: “Oh.”

    Woman’s son: *looks about eight* “Oh, mom….”

    Tourist: “Oh, yeah, can you give us directions to that museum thing, Ta Pape?”

    Me: “You mean Te Papa?”

    Tourist: “Yeah.”

    Me: “This is Te Papa.”

    Clearer Than Black And White

    | Ireland | Food & Drink, Language & Words, Tourists/Travel

    Customer: “Can I get a milkshake, please?”

    Me: “What flavor?”

    Customer: “Yeah.”

    Me: “What flavor?”

    Customer: “Yeah.”

    Me: “What flavor?”

    Customer: “Yes!”

    Customers friend: “She said what flavor.”

    Customer: “Oh, I thought she was saying ‘White flavor’. I just thought that’s what they call vanilla in their country!”

    American’t

    | British Columbia, Canada | Geography, Technology, Tourists/Travel

    Me: “Alright in order for me to see your screen, you have to select your region.”

    Caller: “What does that mean?”

    Me: “You need to select the United States on the map.”

    Caller: “Why would you think I would know where that was on a map?!”

    Me: “It’s just a standard world map.”

    (The caller reads places’ names aloud as they hover their mouse over the map.)

    Caller: “Asia…Africa…Russia…China…I don’t think it’s here.”

    Mountainous Gaps Of Knowledge

    | Brighton, UK | Tourists/Travel

    Me: “Hello, can I help you?”

    Customer: “Hello. I want to go on holiday this summer. I’d like to visit somewhere a bit different.”

    Me: “Would you be interested in visiting mountains or skiing at all?”

    Customer: “That could be fun. Except I don’t like the cold.”

    Me: “Well places like the Pyrenees are in Spain, so it’s very hot at ground level and there’s lots to see.”

    Customer: “What? No, mountains are cold. They have snow on.”

    Me: “Yes, the peaks are colder because they are at a higher altitude.”

    Customer: “The bottom bit is hot?”

    Me: “Yes.”

    Customer: “…but I thought mountains only grew in cold places?”

    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!”)

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