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A Jandal Vandal

, , , , , | Right | October 18, 2021

What Americans call “flip-flops,” we Australians call “thongs,” and New Zealanders call “jandals.” At the time of this story, I have never heard the word “jandal” before and have no idea what it means.

Customer: “Hi, do you sell jandals?”

Me: *Thinking I may have misheard* “I’m sorry, do we sell what?”

Customer: “Jandals.”

Me: “I’m really sorry, I have no idea what that is.”

Customer: *Getting angry* “Jandals! JAN-DALS! For your feet?”

I’m really confused, and now I’m getting nervous as she is raising her voice.

Me: “Um, are they like socks or something?”

Customer: “Ugh! I can’t believe you don’t know what jandals are! You know, like—” *slowly and loudly* “—FLIP. FLOPS!”

Me: “Oh! Flip-flops! As in thongs? Yes, we have those!”

I start to walk her over to the aisle, but she continues ranting.

Customer: “No, not thongs, jandals. Thongs go up your butt. Jandals go on your feet. Back in my country, they’re called jandals. If you said the word ‘thong’ to anyone, they would laugh at you!”

Me: “But… we’re not in your country. We’re in Australia.”

She glared at me but had no response and stormed off. I have no issue with people of different cultures having different names for items, but don’t tell me I’m wrong when you’re in my country.