Waaay Lost In Translation

| Aurora, CO, USA | Language & Words

(It is a pretty mild day, and most everyone is buzzing about the new Ikea that has opened up the month prior. I am chatting with a particularly effervescent woman with a full cart to scan. She has asked about my studies.)

Me: “I’m just going to school downtown. I’m studying Spanish and German.”

Customer: “Wow! That’s impressive! Pretty and smart!”

Me: “Oh, well thank you! I actually pick up languages easily. I’ve also studied Chinese and French, and for the past year my best friend has been teaching me Swedish.”

Customer: *scoffs* “Swedish? Ha! Like you could speak Swedish!”

Me: “Yes, actually I can. He actually was born and raised in Stockholm… he’s still living there, actually. He’s Swedish, teaching me Swedish, so I can go to Sweden.”

Customer: “Well, I know people who work at Ikea, and they know Swedish. So, tell me, what’s ‘Hello,’ then?”

Me: “‘Hej,’ or ‘Hallo.’ That can be followed up with ‘Hur mår du’ and other various phrases.”

Customer: “Ha! I knew you didn’t speak Swedish. That’s not how you say ‘Hello!'”

Me: “Yes, it is, actually.”

Customer: “No, it’s not! My friends work at Ikea! They would know! You’re not speaking Swedish. That’s not Swedish!”

Me: “Okay, then apparently my Swedish friend doesn’t know how to speak his native tongue. How do you say, ‘Hello’, in Swedish?”

(The customer looks proud in her win and straightens herself.)

Customer: “It’s f*******e.”

(My jaw drops. The translation of this is roughly ‘c***face’.)

Me: “Yes… yes sweetie, that’s exactly how you say that. You’re right. Have a nice day.”

(She left looking incredibly satisfied. The moment I got off of work, I texted my friend. He and I still laugh about this over a year later.)

Now That Is What I Call Up-Selling

| AZ, USA | Extra Stupid, Money

(Our store matches print ads for other stores in the area.)

Customer: “These are on sale for $4.50 at [other store].”

Me: “Ours are $3.89 for that.”

Customer: “I insist that you ad match this for me.”

Me: “Okay…”

Not In The Right Frame Of Mind

| USA | Extra Stupid

(Our picture framing shop sells sheets of glass pre-cut to various sizes. An older customer comes up to the counter with an 11×14 inch piece.)

Customer: “Which side is 11, and which side is 14?”

Es-pwñ-ol

| Phoenix, AZ, USA | Language & Words

(I work at an electronics retail store where we check receipts. It’s 20 minutes past closing time and I have to stand by the electronic doors and open them manually. A middle-aged couple approaches me with a 50-inch television.)

Wife: “We’re going to need someone to load the TV into our car. My husband has a problem with his arm.”

Me: “Not a problem, ma’am. I’ll have to try and get someone’s attention, as I can’t leave my spot here. We’re closing right now so we don’t have very many employees at the moment.”

Husband: “I need someone now. My arm is messed up and I can’t lift the TV, so go get someone.”

Me: “I understand that, sir. I will find someone for you, but you have to understand that I cannot leave this area as I have to guard the door.”

(I begin scoping the area to find an employee that can load the TV for them when I hear them talking about me in Spanish. I am very pale and white, but I’m fluent in Spanish.)

Wife: *in Spanish* “She’s just being lazy. She could leave if she wanted to. Retail workers are unbelievable.”

(After two minutes, I manage to get someone’s attention from the parking lot. I turn back to the couple, who are still insulting me.)

Me: *in Spanish* “Excuse me, that gentleman in the parking lot would be glad to assist you.”

(Their faces go white and they rush out of the store. My coworker, who has just joined me, speaks up.)

Coworker: “That’s golden.”

They Crossed A Line

| OH, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Workers, Bad Behavior, Theme Of The Month

(It is Black Friday. I am waiting with my friend in a queue that wraps all the way around the store. After 45 minutes, we are almost to the front. A nearby rack catches my eye, and since I’m not purchasing anything, I step out of line. My friend and the customer in front of her watch me hold a sweater up.)

Me: *to my friend* “Hey, do you think this sweater’s cute? It’s the last one!”

My Friend: “Definitely. I’ll hold your purse while you try it on!”

(I step away to remove my purse. Suddenly, the customer who’s been watching me dashes over, rips the sweater from my hands, and tries to duck right back into line!)

Customer: “Haha, sorry! Guess you weren’t fast enough!”

My Friend: “Are you kidding me? I’m not going to fight you for that sweater, but there’s no way you’re cutting back in front of me.”

Customer: “Whatever. I didn’t even leave the line.”

(A nearby employee, who has seen the entire exchange, speaks up before I can say another word.)

Employee: *to the customer* “Ma’am, I just saw you step out of line. You need to go to the back of the queue.”

Customer: “No way! I’ve been waiting forever! It’ll take me another hour to check out!”

Employee: “If it were up to me, I wouldn’t let you buy anything from us at all!”

(The customer stomps all the way to the back of the store.)

My Friend and I: *to the customer* “Haha, sorry! Guess you just weren’t quick enough!”

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