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    Translation Is No Small Feat

    | Alabama, USA | Language & Words

    Me: “Hi, thank you for calling [supermarket]. How can I help you?”

    Customer: “Hey, can I speak to someone in the ladies wear department?”

    Me: “That’d be me. How can I help you?”

    Customer: “I bought some scrubs at another store and I was wondering what the ‘S/CH’ on the tag means?”

    Me: “It means it’s a small.”

    Customer: “But what does the ‘CH’ mean?”

    Me: “It’s the Spanish abbreviation for small.”

    Customer: “But ‘CH’; isn’t that American?”

    Me: “The letters C and H are used in a lot of different languages, including Spanish.”

    Customer: “Oh, how strange!”

    Feline Felony

    | Christchurch, New Zealand | Liars & Scammers, Pets & Animals

    (I am finishing my break and heading back to the checkout, a woman frantically calls me over and asks me if she’s allowed to take a free cat food sample, and I tell her yes. About 10 minutes later she comes through my lane, with 50 or more cat food samples stuffed down her top, cradled in her arms, and in her handbag.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, the free samples are one per customer.”

    Customer: “I was just picking some up for my friends.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but your friends will have to come and pick up their own sample.”

    (She sighs and throws all the samples that she was holding in her arms onto my checkout.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, but you also have a lot more of our samples down your top and in your bag. You can’t have those ones, either.”

    Customer: “How dare you! I will have you know that I am currently eight months pregnant!”

    Me: “I told you that you could have a free sample ten minutes ago, and you weren’t pregnant then.”

    Customer: “Oh, s***!”

    (She empties all the samples from down her top onto the floor and sprints from the store, trailing escaped samples from her handbag as she goes.)

    Age Or Gender Gap

    | Gloucestershire, UK | At The Checkout, Family & Kids

    (A woman and her daughter are standing by the cigarette counter where I am working.)

    Child: “Mummy, can I have a chocolate bar?”

    Mother: “Okay. Pick the one you want and give it to the man.”

    (There is a long, tense pause as the child and I look at one another.)

    Child: *in a very condescending tone* “Mummy. I think it’s a lady.”

    Me: “She is correct.”

    The Tower Of Babble

    | New Zealand | At The Checkout, Language & Words

    (Note: I am of Asian descent.)

    Me: “Good morning!” *starts scanning groceries*

    Customer: “Ni hao!”

    Me: “Oh, I’m not Chinese.”

    Customer: “Konnichiwa!”

    Me: “I’m not–”

    Customer: “Shalom!”

    Me: “Sir, that’s not even–”

    Customer: “Namaste!”

    *silence*

    Customer: “I know so many languages! So many!

    Curiosity Feeds The Cat

    | Victoria, Australia | Pets & Animals

    Customer: “Can you help me please?”

    Me: “Yes, of course, what can I do for you?”

    Customer: “Well, I want to buy some food for my cat, but mine doesn’t look like the one on the packet. Can I still feed it to him?”

    Me: “Yes sir, of course.”

    Customer: “Wow, really? Thanks!”

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