Unfiltered Story #97599

| Unfiltered | October 13, 2017

(I live in an area where a relatively light Swabian(schwäbischer) dialect is common, but most people can switch to standard German depending on the situation, usually with only a few dialect pronounciations or wordings left over. I grew up in a household where only my mother spoke Swabian and only in a very heavy dialect with different vocabulary of she’d visited her hometown, where everyone speaks with a heavy dialect. As a consequence I personally speak standard German with a few Swabian pronounciations and sometimes even have problems understanding a heavier dialect. Over spring I’ve started working in a small and mainly sit down café, where we are encouraged to chat with customers.)

Customer: *Swabian dialect*”Hello, can I sit where I want?”
Me: “Wherever is free. The menu is on the table. So you already know what you want?”
Customer: *dialect*”No, not yet, thanks. Would you mind coming back in about five minutes to help me?”
Me: “Sure, I’ll come by then.” *cleans tables*
Me: “Are you ready to order?”
Customer: *it’s 08:06*”Well yes, I’d like [drink], but if I buy one of these cookies, would they be finished by three quarter nine?”
(We offer cookies and other baked goods, which are pre-prepared and then put in a small oven whenever someone orders them. ‘Three quarter nine’ is a Swabian wording which I always have troubles understanding. Essentially in standard German you’d say ‘a quarter before nine’- 08:45, but I never remember which time is meant exactly because the before or after is left out.)
Me: *playing it safe*”They would be finished in 15 minutes, would you like your drink now?”
Customer: “Yes, but will they be finished by three quarter nine?!”
Me: “Err, do you mean 09:15? If so, definitely yes.”
Me: *tying hard not to shrink back or panic*”I do. But I don’t know which time that is meant to be.”
Customer: *jumps up, slams hands on table* “YOU F*CKING LIVE HERE! YOU SHOULD KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS, YOU STUPID B*TCH! GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM!” *throws a sugar shaker in my direction*
(I’m frozen to the spot because this was absolutely unexpected. Luckily my boss intervened at this point.)
Boss: *cold voice*”Get out.”
Boss: *takes phone out of pocket, starts talking with an incredibly cheery voice* “Very well. If you won’t leave, I’ll be calling the police to ‘treat. you. appropriately’ with charges of attempted assault on my employee and damaging of store property. We have several eye witnesses and security footage.” *points to small black box on the ceiling*
Customer: *pales and runs out, forgetting his wallet in the process*
(My boss steers me to the employees room as I’m still kind of frozen)
Me: “I thought we didn’t have a security camera.”
Boss: *winks* “We don’t. Are you okay though? That was your first incident with a customer like this. You can take a break if you want to.”
Me: “I still have to clean up. I’m fi-” *my legs give out and my boss catches me before I fall*
Boss: “No, you’re not. Sit down, I’ll clean up.”
(Two minutes later she came back with several of my favorite pastries and a tea, from customers who had witnessed the whole incident. A little card hidden in-between said “I still don’t understand how the whole quarter stuff works and I am from [area where everyone speaks very heavy Swabian]. Thumbs up for staying calm!”. I’ve since moved and gotten new jobs, but that was one of my favourites and I learned a huge amount of ways to deal with troublesome customers from my boss!)

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