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  • The English Only Tip Their Hats

    | London, England, UK | Awesome Customers, Money, Theme Of The Month

    (I’m visiting my long distance boyfriend in London. We decide to stop for lunch during our walk through the streets of London. I’m from Canada.)

    Worker: “So, your total is [total].”

    (I hand him a little more than he asked for.)

    Me: “Keep the change.”

    (He looks confused for a moment and tries to give me back the money.)

    Me: “No, no, keep the change. It’s money for you.”

    Worker: “What…?”

    My Boyfriend: *to me* “In London, no one ever uses the term, ‘keep the change.’ It’s unheard of for people working behind the counters to get tips.”

    Me: “Oh, geez… I had no idea.” *to the worker* “I’m actually from Canada. Over there, we use the term ‘keep the change’ when we don’t really need the change back. It’s considered giving a tip. I honestly had no idea that you guys here didn’t do that. Still, it’s just a little bit of money and I don’t need it that badly. Go ahead and pocket it. It’s for you!”

    Worker: *huge smile* “Thank you for explaining!”

    (He kept the change. It seemed like such a minor cultural difference, but I think we both learned something that day!)

    A Gruel-ing Customer

    | MD, USA | Awesome Workers, Bad Behavior, Food & Drink, Theme Of The Month

    (A customer walks up. I’ve been working the registers for awhile.)

    Customer: “I never got my soup.”

    Me: “Okay, what kind of soup?”

    Customer: “The vegetable—he called for it!”

    (I recognize the customer from just a few minutes ago. I pull up her order on the register just to confirm if she had paid for it, which she did not.)

    Me: “All right, would you like to pay for it separately or—”

    Customer: “I already paid.”

    Me: “Well, actually ma’am, I rang you up, and you never said you had soup so I didn’t ring you up for it.”

    Customer: “I did; I said I got the combo!”

    Me: “Well, my apologies; did you want to pay for it on the—”

    Customer: “I don’t have any cash; I only have my card. I can’t pay for it!”

    (I pause because that doesn’t make any sense. However, I decide to let her have the soup for free.)

    Me: “Well, ma’am, don’t—”

    Customer: “Just keep it. I can’t pay for it!”

    Me: “Well, ma’am, if you hadn’t interrupted me, I was about to say ‘Don’t worry about it, you can have it for free.’”

    Customer: “Oh… okay.”

    (She takes it and hurries away. She didn’t even say thank you.)

    Losing English Patience

    | OH, USA | Awesome Customers, Language & Words, Math & Science, School

    (I work at a sandwich shop across the street from a high school. I serve a lot of teachers who come over here for lunch.)

    Me: “You want a turkey on white with tomato? That’s [price].”

    Customer #1: “Oh, and can I have a bottle of water?”

    Me: “‘Course!”

    Customer #1: *scoffs* “I can’t believe you just said that. As an English teacher, I think I should tell you that saying that isn’t proper English.”

    Me: *not sure what to say* “Um… sorry?”

    Customer #1: “There you go again! Those are fragments, not complete sentences! All the other teachers who come in here would be ashamed.”

    (The customer behind her speaks up.)

    Customer #2: “Yeah, well, I’m a math teacher, and trust me, we don’t care.”

    Bull-Only Sandwich

    | Aberdeen, Scotland, UK | Food & Drink, Top, Wild & Unruly

    (I’m a cashier at a fairly small sandwich shop in my city. I’m on duty at the same time as one of my coworkers, who is also my friend. She stands 5’9″ and is very slim with pink hair. She looks like a doll. A rather large guy comes in; he wants a sandwich with an obscene number of exotic and special items.)

    Customer: “I want a large pumpernickel sandwich, with black forest ham, avocado, shrimp, caramelized onions, pine nuts, basil, honey-glazed salmon and dragon fruit. And I want it now, so get a move on!”

    Coworker: “I’m sorry, that sounds delicious, but I’m afraid we only do quite basic sandwiches here. You’d need somewhere special for that order.”

    Customer: “F*** that! I need to be back at work soon and I want my d*** sandwich! Call yourself a business, denying me my food like that! I’m reporting you unless you serve me right now! Now make me my sandwich!”

    Coworker: “Okay, I get that you’re angry about this, but I really can’t do anything about this. The only parts of that order we could do are the onions and the shrimp. Apart from that, we just don’t stock the ingredients. Now, either please order something else or leave. You’re holding up everyone else.”

    Customer: “I don’t believe this. Make me my food right now or I’m coming back there to kick your a** till you do as I said!”

    (My coworker is now quite annoyed, as it’s been a long day.)

    Coworker: “Number one, threats aren’t going to help you. I can’t make it because we don’t have the ingredients, not because I don’t want to. Number two, if you come back here it’s not going to end well, do you understand me?”

    Customer: “If I come back there you can’t do a d*** thing to stop me! I know my rights and I want my food!”

    Coworker: “Please don’t come back here. If you get violent, it will be unpleasant for you.”

    Customer: “What, you think you can do anything to me? You think you can kick my a**, barbie? Nobody believes that.”

    (I’ve been eavesdropping from further down the counter. I’m a pretty big guy, 6’4”, and I’m in good shape. I see this as my cue to lean over.)

    Me: “I believe her.”

    Customer: “Oh yeah? And who the f*** are you? Another a**hole who’s going to refuse me my food?”

    Me: “I was thinking more a black sash in Lethwei, a competitor in both Eskrima and Sambo, and if you’re familiar with the local circuit I’m the latest MMA champion. And yes, I’m refusing your food.”

    Customer: “I wasn’t talking to you though, was I? I was talking to her.”

    Me: “I know. In fact, please do come back here and try to fight her. I need a laugh.”

    (Upon my saying this, the customer looks surprised and confused.)

    Me: “See, what I probably should have mentioned is she’s the one who helps me train for all that stuff I mentioned. She wins about half the time. Please try and fight her? Youtube needs a new hit.”

    (The customer blusters a bit more before backing down and huffing his way out of the shop, still threatening. I wasn’t lying: she would have wiped the floor with him!)

    Parlez-vous Down Under

    | California, USA | Geography, Language & Words

    (I’ve just finished ringing up a customer. Note that I have a very noticeable Australian accent, as I am from Australia.)

    Me: “Have a nice day!”

    Customer: “You too! By the way, I’m surprised, your English is really good!”

    Me: “Er… thanks?”

    Customer: “No, really! I mean it! If it weren’t for your accent, I’d have no idea you were French!”

    Me: “Um… actually, I’m from Australia.”

    Customer: “Oh, nonsense! I know a French accent when I hear one! Come on, say something in French!”

    (To humor her, I make up some random sounds that vaguely sound like French, as I do not actually speak French.)

    Customer: “See! I knew you were French! So what does that mean?”

    Me: “It means, ‘I don’t speak any French because I’m not from France.’”

    Customer: “Oh, you! You French have such great senses of humor!”

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