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    So Pho, So Crazy

    | London, UK | At The Checkout, Bigotry, History, Language & Words, Top

    (I am working the tills at a supermarket. I am of Vietnamese descent but was born in London. An older gentleman comes through my till.)

    Customer: *practically shouting* “Ni-Hao!”

    Me: “Hello to you to sir, but that’s Chinese. I am actually Vietnamese.”

    (I point to my name tag which in our shop goes by family name instead of first name. Mine is the very common ‘Nguyen’.)

    Customer: “Don’t lie!”

    Me: “I assure you sure I am Vietnamese.”

    Customer: “There aren’t any Vietnamese people left!”

    Me: “Pardon?”

    Customer: “Yeah, the Americans killed them all back in the seventies or something.”

    Me: “I think you may have your history confused. I assure you there is still a Vietnam and it is full of Vietnamese people.”

    Customer: “Well I don’t know how you managed to escape but I wouldn’t say it so loudly. There might be Americans around looking for survivors.”

    Me: *as I ring up his last item* “Probably a good idea. That will be £10.34 please.”

    Customer: *as he pays* “Wouldn’t want a young lad like you getting caught!”

    (The customer heads towards the exit, but unfortunately notices the security guard who also happens to be my brother. He is 6ft tall and a body-builder and I dread what might happen.)

    Customer: “Ni-Hao!”

    Brother: “Actually I’m Vietnamese.”

    Customer: “Another one?! But the Americans wiped you all out!”

    Brother: *standing to full height* “I think you might want to just keep on walking.”

    Customer: “How dare you talk to me like that?! I’m going to call the Americans, and then they’ll come down here and shoot you!”

    That’s (Not) A Wrap Folks

    | Calgary, AB, Canada | Food & Drink, Liars & Scammers

    Me: “Good afternoon.”

    Caller: “I was there at lunch today and got take out. When I got home I realized I had a salad and not the wrap. Your staff obviously can’t get an order right. You better rectify this. I am not impressed at all.”

    Me: “What did you order?”

    Caller: “A caesar salad.”

    Me: “But isn’t that what you got?”

    Caller: “But I wanted the caesar salad wrap. You guys screwed up.”

    Me: “We don’t have a caesar salad wrap. Did you tell the cashier that you wanted a wrap?”

    Caller: “You have caesar salad wraps, so she was pretty stupid if she didn’t know what I wanted.”

    Me: “We have a roma chicken wrap with caesar dressing and feta. Is that what you wanted?”

    Caller: “Well, your business is pretty stupid if you call a salad a caesar salad but don’t call a wrap that when you have one. I expect to be compensated for your stupidity.”

    Me: “So you want to be compensated because you ordered the wrong item and our staff didn’t tell you that you really wanted something else?”

    Caller: “Well…yes!”

    Accentuating The Problem

    | Bend, OR, USA | Language & Words

    (My entire family emigrated from the UK a few years ago. My father and I got together for coffee over the weekend and another customer heard us speaking. In the UK cigarettes are called ‘fags’.)

    Father: “How’s kicking the habit going, alright then?”

    Me: “Well, mostly, been a few months, but I still have days where I’m just gagging for a fag.”

    Customer: “Excuse me! What did you just say?”

    Me: (I adopt my American accent.) “I’m sorry, ma’am, its a really long story. I just meant to say that I do still have cigarette cravings every now and again.”

    Customer: “Wait, what just happened to your voice?”

    Me: “Again, long story, but I can change my accent as needed.”

    Customer: “I’m calling the cops! You’re one of those terrorists! You’re going to blow this place up!”

    (At this point, she’s dialing her phone, screaming at fellow patrons to get out, screaming at the management to subdue me, on and on.)

    Manager: “What seems to be the problem here?”

    Customer: “He’s a terrorist. He has an accent!”

    Manager: “I’m not sure I understand.”

    Customer: “Just talk to him, you’ll understand.”

    Manager: “You have an accent?”

    (At this point, I go back to my native accent.)

    Me: “Well, yes, actually, I was born in Manchester.”

    Manager: *in a perfect Liverpudlian accent* “Bloody Manc! Ma’am please calm down, he’s not a terrorist.”

    Customer: “More of you!” *runs out of the store*

    Customers Should Watch Their Language

    | Buenos Aires, Argentina | Language & Words, Technology, Top

    (I work in tech support for a major US cable company, and sometimes we have to deal with people who just don’t want to talk to you because you’re foreign.)

    Customer: “You know what? I can’t understand a word you’re saying. You have an accent. Can I be transferred to someone who speaks English?”

    Me: “I’m pretty sure I’m speaking English right now, sir.”

    Customer: “Yeah, but I can’t understand you because of your accent.”

    Me: “So, basically you’re saying you want me to transfer you to someone else.”

    Customer: “Yes.”

    Me: “Because I have an accent.”

    Customer: “That’s right.”

    Me: “And you can’t understand what I’m saying.”

    Customer: “Exactly.”

    Me: “So how come you were able to understand what I just said?”

    *a few seconds of silence*

    Customer: “Don’t be an a**-hole and just transfer me!”

    Sounds Like They’ve Had Too Many Bottles Already

    | Memphis, TN, USA | Religion

    (I’m working at a popular arts and crafts store as a cashier.)

    Me: “Thank you for calling [store], this is [name], how can I help you?”

    Customer: “Yes, do you have a chemical, or some sort of solution, for turning clear water into wine?”

    Me: “Uh… like… dyeing it to look like wine?”

    Customer: *completely serious* “No. Turning it INTO wine.”

    Me: “Ma’am, I think you’ll have better luck calling the church for that.”

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