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    The Horrors Of Mispronunciation, Part 4

    | Wisconsin, USA | Top

    Customer: “I want books on gynecology.”

    Me: “Okay. This way, please…”

    (I start to take her to the health section.)

    Customer: “Yeah, I really want to learn about my ancestors.”

    Me: *quickly change course to the genealogy section*

    Related:
    The Horrors Of Mispronunciation, Part 3
    The Horrors Of Mispronunciation, Part 2
    The Horrors Of Mispronunciation

    A War Unwon

    | Sacramento, CA, USA | Bigotry, Military, Top

    (I am on leave and meeting an old friend in a restaurant inside a mall. Since I don’t know the area, I get there early and decide to window-shop beforehand. An old guy in his 80s approaches me.)

    Customer: “I remember the good days when I didn’t have to see many of you orientals. Now, you’re everywhere stealing our jobs. All you do is get in the way and take from my great country.”

    Me: “Sir, I’m a Marine. I’ve been in Afghanistan on multiple tours for the last three years. I serve OUR great country.”

    Customer: “Oh! That’s good. Better you than losing some American boys.”

    (I think about how the Marines trained me to survive everything an enemy can throw at us, but not how to listen to an old racist white man.)

    A Dogged Sense Of Humor

    | Cochrane, Alberta, Canada | At The Checkout

    (A customer comes to me with two giant bags of dog food. I ring them through.)

    Customer: “You must think I have a bunch of dogs huh?”

    Me: “Um, yeah. Sure.”

    Customer: “Nope! The in-laws are in town!”

    Takes One To Jim Crow One

    | San Jose, CA, USA | Bigotry, Top

    (I work at a movie rental store. Sometimes we have deaf customers. I know some conversational ASL and can usually communicate with the deaf community just fine. A woman and her daughter walk up with a note and place it on the counter and point to it repeatedly.)

    Note: “We’re looking for two movies that came out last Tuesday.”

    Me: *in ASL* “Hello, yes, what movies?”

    Customer, to daughter: “Why does he think I’m deaf?”

    Me: “Oh, I’m sorry! Usually our deaf customers write notes to us.”

    Customer: “That’s ridiculous! How dare you just assume I’m disabled! It’s ridiculous!”

    Me: “I’m terribly sorry. May I ask why you gave me a note instead of asking me verbally?”

    Customer: “You’re Asian! How was I supposed to know you knew my language?!”

    Fahrenheit 2011

    | New York, USA | Bigotry, Books & Reading, Top

    Customer: “That boy is sitting at the corner over there reading your book!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. Is he bothering you in any way?”

    Customer: “No, but he is reading a book that he has not paid for yet. He’s like, almost halfway done!”

    Me: “That’s okay, ma’am. We allow our customers to come and read our books here.”

    Customer: “Why the h*** do you let people do that?”

    Me: “Well, sometimes people want to see if they like how the book is written before spending money on it.”

    Customer: “Yeah? Well, poor people shouldn’t be allowed to read!”


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