Putting Your Stamp On The Language

| Yellowknife, NWT, Canada | Language & Words

(A family friend is visiting from Quebec. His English is mostly good but suffers from occasional lapses.)

Clerk: “How may I help you today?”

Friend: “Yes, hello. I need to buy some timbers.”

Clerk: “Some what?”

Friend: “Timbers.”

Clerk: “Sir, this is a post office. Perhaps you want the hardware store?”

Friend: “No, no, timbers. To mail the letters with. The little pictures? They are, um, gluey on the back?”

Clerk: *light-bulb moment* STAMPS. You want stamps.”

Friend: “Yes! Stamps.”

(The French word for “stamp” is “timbre”, pronounced like “TAM-bruh”.)

Friend: *to me, in French* “Why didn’t you help me?”

Me: *in French* “I thought it was funny.”

Friend: *in French* “What’s a ‘timber,’ then?”

Me: *in French* “It’s another word for wood.”

Friend: *in French* “Well, that makes NO sense. English is a crazy language.” *in English* “Yes, I will have a book of stampings, please.”

Their Poetry Isn’t Priceless Yet

| Tallahassee, FL, USA | Language & Words, Transportation

(I’m a customer in a post office, mailing a submission for a national poetry contest (the name of which is stated on the envelope). The employee helping me has been entering information into the system.)

Employee: “So. how much is this poetry worth if lost?”

Me: “Only my heart and soul!”

Employee: “I’m just gonna go with a hundred dollars…”

Trying To Remember Without A Dismember

| BC, Canada | Crazy Requests, Food & Drink, Theme Of The Month

(I work at the customer service desk of a member-owned co-op store.)

Me: “Thanks for calling [Store]. How can I help you?”

Member: “This is [Name]. I need to phone [Local Celebrity] but I don’t have his phone number and he’s not on the phone book.”

Me: “I’m sorry. We can’t give out the phone numbers of our members.”

Member: “But you don’t understand! This is very important! He is coming over for dinner, and I was planning to serve chicken, but now I’m thinking he may be a vegetarian! I have to ask him!”

Me: “I’m sorry. I still can’t give you his phone number.”

Member: “But I’m a member! I own the store! You have to do what I say!”

Me: “I’m sorry. I can’t just give other member’s information from their file.”

Member: “Fine! Can you call him instead, ask him if he eats chicken, and then call me back?”

Selective Stealing

| Portugal | Bizarre, Criminal/Illegal, Money

(I’m attending to a client that has her bag and other stuff on the counter, and has to fill out some forms.)

Me: “Do you mind if I attend to another client while you fill out the forms?”

Client #1: “Sure!”

(I call another client, and she has to fill out some forms as well, so I return to Client #1.)

Me: “All done. That will be €5.50.”

Client #1: “Where’s my money?”

Me: “I’m sorry, what?”

Client #1: “I had my money right here in the counter, and it’s gone!”

(We both look for the money, trying to figure out if it has fallen to the floor. Suddenly I look at Client #2, and realize what has happened.)

Me: *to Client #2* “Ma’am, did you take the money that was on the counter?”

Client #2: *after a long pause* “Yes, I did.”

Client #1: “Why on earth would you do that?!”

Client #2: “Well, I didn’t know it was yours; I thought it was hers!” *points to me*

Me: “So that would make it okay?!”

Client #2: *happily* “Exactly!”

This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 21

| PA, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Money

Me: “Hi, how can I help you today?”

Customer: “I need a $500 money order.”

Me: “Okay. It’s $501.20.”

Customer: *hands over $7 cash*

Me: “You’re still $494.20 short.”

Customer: “What? What do you mean?”

Me: “We need $500, plus $1.20 for processing the money order.”

Customer: “This isn’t enough?”

Me: “Sorry, a $500 money order costs $500.”

Customer: “Oh. I didn’t know that.”

Related:
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 20
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 19
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 18
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 17
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 16
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 15
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 14
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 13
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 12

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