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    Bursting The American Bubble

    | Knoxville, TN, USA | Bigotry, Geography, Language & Words

    (There are two customers in line: the first customer is in her 20s, and the second customer is a middle-aged man. The first customer hands me her credit card.)

    Me: “Ma’am, I need to see your ID.”

    Customer #1: “Oh? Is that something new?”

    Me: “Yeah, sorry for the inconvenience!”

    Customer #1: “Oh, no! It’s totally fine. My driver’s license expired while I was in Reykjavik, though. I just got back; see. Will you take my passport?”

    Me: “Oh, of course!”

    (Customer #2 stomps up to us as Customer #1 is looking for it.)

    Customer #2: “You mean to tell me that I’m having to stand in line and wait behind a foreigner? I’m an American! I demand you help me before helping her!”

    (Customer #1 rolls her eyes and shows me her passport.)

    Customer #1: “Will this work?”

    Me: “Yeah, that’s fine.”

    Customer #2: “No! Don’t help her! What country are you from, b****? Russia? Don’t help her! It’s people like her that are ruining this country!”

    Customer #1: “Sir, I am an American. And even if I wasn’t, how dare you speak to me and this cashier in such a manner?”

    Customer #2: “Liar! An American wouldn’t have a passport!”

    Me: “Sir, if you’d looked at her passport, you’d see that it says USA all over it.”

    Customer #2: *looks at Customer #1’s passport* “But… but that can’t be! She wouldn’t use a passport if she’s a native American!”

    Me: “Right. She’s really from Italy; she just likes to draw random eagles all over her passport. Now where are you from, sir? I’m sure this lady would like to know, so she can be sure never to visit.”

    (Customer #2 leaves in a huff, threatening to call the manager and corporate.)

    Customer #1: *sighs* “Is your manager here?”

    Me: “Oh, yeah. Do you need to talk to him?”

    Customer #1: “Please.”

    (I get the manager, and he and Customer #1 have a conversation. I go back to work. The manager comes back a few minutes later and drops a $20 in the tip jar.)

    Me: “What is that?”

    Manager: “From the customer I was talking to. She said she wanted to be sure you didn’t get in trouble for standing up for her and thought you deserved a tip.”

    This One Cuts The Mustard

    | USA | Awesome Customers, Food & Drink

    (I overhear an exchange while doing prep work.)

    Customer: “Can I get everything on it?”

    Coworker: “Sure thing.”

    Customer: “Oh, wait, I don’t want mustard.”

    Coworker: “Oh, I’m sorry, I already put it on there.”

    Customer: “Oh… it’s okay.”

    Coworker: “Are you sure? We can absolutely make you another sandwich.”

    Customer: “No, no, I’m the one who said I wanted it on there!”

    Coworker: “I promise, sir; I’ll make you a mustard-free sandwich.”

    Coworker: “No, don’t even worry about it, please. I’ll take it as-is. It’s entirely my fault.”

    Coworker: “Okay, sir, if you promise it’s okay! I’m sorry there’s mustard on it!”

    Customer: “Oh don’t be silly; I’m the one who should be sorry.”

    (I turn and look at another worker who looks straight at me.)

    Me: “That guy is the best guy in the entire world.”

    Second Coworker: “Yes. Yes he is. I think he deserves a medal.”

    Chipping Away At A Translation

    | USA | Family & Kids, Language & Words, Theme Of The Month

    (I am eating lunch in the lobby of my store, having a sandwich and a bag of chips, when a Spanish-speaking family walks in with a three-year-old boy. As they order, he walks a few feet over to me and points at my bag of chips. I don’t speak any Spanish.)

    Little Boy: *pointing at my chips, saying something in Spanish*

    Me: “Sorry, sweetie, these are mine. Maybe your mommy can get you some?”

    (The little boy is pointing more furiously now, repeating a phrase I don’t understand.)

    Me: “I’ll let you have some of mine if your mommy says it’s okay. I don’t want to give you anything you’re not allowed to have.”

    (The little boy repeats the phrase again. This time, his teenage sister, standing in line, rushes over and pulls him away.)

    Sister: “I’m so sorry!”

    Me: “Oh, that’s okay! If it’s okay for him to have some he can—”

    (By this point she has dragged the little boy to the other side of the store, where his parents are paying. I finish my break and go into the back to put away my purse and grab my apron. My Spanish-speaking coworker rushes over to me.)

    Coworker: “Are you okay?”

    Me: “Yeah, why?”

    Coworker: “You didn’t hear what he was saying to you?”

    Me: “I figured he wanted some of my chips.”

    Coworker: “Yeah, then he started calling you a f****** a**-hole!”

    His Hearing Is Run Of The Mill

    | MD, USA | Bizarre, Food & Drink

    Customer: “Can I get a chicken salad sandwich on wheat?”

    Me: “Sure, big or small?”

    Customer: “Wheat.”

    Me: “Big or small?”

    Customer: “WHEAT!”

    Me: “Big or small—”

    Customer: “WHEAT!”

    Me: *quickly and loudly* “Size, what size, big or small—”

    Customer: “WHEAT! Wait, what are you asking me?”

    Me: “Big. Or. Small. Size?”

    Customer: “Oh, just a smaller one. Sorry, I thought you were asking me wheat or white!”

    Deaf To Reason

    | USA | Bizarre, Musical Mayhem, Technology

    (I am taking orders face to face with a tablet. There is live music and a ton of people, so it’s loud. Customers constantly cannot hear me, so I start out most interactions with a strong, loud voice.)

    Me: “Hi, ma’am, what can I get for you?”

    Customer: “Uh, a turkey sandwich?”

    Me: “All right! Did you want the large or original size?”

    Customer: *louder than me* “You don’t have to yell!”

    Me: *lowers down to a normal volume* “Sorry, ma’am, did you want the big or small size?”

    Customer: “Huh?” *leans down close to hear me*

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