Getting It All In Español

| Berlin, Germany | Language & Words

(I’m an American traveling across Europe and manage to get spectacularly lost while in Berlin. I enter a shop to ask for directions.)

Me: *in very bad German* “Excuse me. I don’t speak German very well. Can you help me get to [Cross-Street]?”

(The EXTREMELY patient clerk tries her best but her English is about as bad as my German. Finally…)

Me: *jokingly* “Habla Español?”

Clerk: *in Spanish* “Yes! I do!”

(The rest of the conversation was in Spanish. I got my directions without further problems!)

(Men)swear It’s Not The Store

| UK | Extra Stupid, Technology

(Unfortunately I am the customer in this one. I call a well known electrical store, but dial the wrong number.)

Rep: “Good afternoon, [Menswear Store]. How can I help?”

Me: “Is that [Electrical Store]?”

Rep: “No. This is [Menswear Store].”

Me: “Are you sure?”

Rep: “Please hold.”

(After a pause…)

Rep: “Hello, sir. I’ve checked the sign outside. We are definitely [Menswear Store].”

Me: “Dumb question, huh?”

Rep: “Mm-hmm.”

Me: “Dumbest question today?”

Rep: “Not even close.”

Me: “Do you know much about digital TVs?”

Rep: “No, but I have looked up the number for [Electrical Store] on my PC. It’s [telephone number].”

(Now that’s what I call service!)

It’s Hard (Liquor) To Feed Family

| San Francisco, CA, USA | Criminal/Illegal, Family & Kids, Food & Drink

(A man comes into our store to steal. My coworker confronts him.)

Coworker: “Sir, you’re going to have to put that back.”

Customer: “I don’t have anything.”

Coworker: “I saw you put that bottle of brandy in your jacket.”

Customer: *puts bottle back* “You don’t understand. I need to feed my kids.”

Coworker: “…with brandy?”

Trying To Ferret Out A Deal

| AL, USA | Pets & Animals, Transportation

(I work in a bicycle shop. A man walks in while his wife looks around a bit before joining us.)

Customer: “Hi, I was looking to get into road biking as a means of commuting to and from work. Do you have any recommendations?”

Me: “Certainly! If you’re looking for a decently-priced road bike that has comfort built in, I would look at the [Bike]. It’s my personal favorite in the whole shop.”

(The customer’s wife has just joined us.)

Customer’s Wife: “Which bike are you looking at?”

Customer: “He’s showing me [Bike], and it looks really nice.”

Customer’s Wife: “I’ll let you buy it if you get me another ferret.”

Customer: “That… that’s actually really tempting.”

Me: *taken slightly aback* “Another ferret?”

Customer’s Wife: “Well, sure! We have five right now, three girls and two boys! We need another boy to balance it out.”

Me: “Sounds logical to me.”

Customer: *mulls over the idea*

Customer’s Wife: “Pleeeeaaase?”

Me: *jokingly* “Do it for the ferret!”

Customer: “Don’t encourage her. I don’t know…”

(Seeing this as an opportunity to joke some more with the customer’s wife, I point her over to the cruiser bikes.)

Me: “And here, ma’am, you should check out these bikes! They come with baskets, so you can take the ferrets with you!”

Customer’s Wife: “Ooh, yes! We should totally get one!”

(Cue exasperation from the customer. Sadly, the couple left without a bike.)

Directionless With Languages

| Pittsburgh, PA, USA | Language & Words, Technology, Transportation

(I’m working the electronics counter at a large retail store. A woman comes up to the counter and stares at the GPS systems. I ask if she needs help with anything.)

Customer: “My old GPS broke and I need a new one, but can you help me please find one that is in English?”

Me: “All the systems come pre-installed with English.”

Customer: “Really? My old system speaks a language I don’t understand and that’s why I need a new one.”

Me: “Ma’am, is your old GPS in the car? Can you bring it in?”

(She retrieved the GPS from her car and I took less than a minute to reset the language for her. She was nearly in tears because she was so grateful.)

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