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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!”