Category: Language & Words

This category features customers whose mishandling of vocabulary and grammar are so bad that we literally have no words to describe them!

In Soviet Russia… I Still Can’t Speak Chinese

| CT, USA | Bizarre, Language & Words

(I’m multiethnic and have a unique look. This usually prompts questions from strangers. This time I’m at a salon and the inquirer is a fellow patron, about 18 years old.)

Patron: “Where are you from?”

Me: “I was born in Ukraine. Dad is from Central African Republic. Mom is from Russia.”

Patron: “Africa? Russia? Where’s Russia? Is that in China?”

Me: *politely* “Erm, no. It’s in– ”

Patron: “So, can your mom, like, speak fluent Russian?”

Me: “Yep, so can I.”

Patron: “You can speak Russian? Tell me something!”

Me: *Says ’nice to meet you’ in Russian*

Patron: “Oooh! Hey, Ma, she just said something to me in Russian. Wait, so does that mean, like, you can understand Chinese?”

Me: *politely* “Erm, no.”

Turning Cursing Into A Blessing

| MO, USA | Bad Behavior, Language & Words, Popular

(This takes place as I answer the phone.)

Me: “Hello, thank you for calling [Jewelry Store]. This is [My Name]. How may I help you?”

Customer: “God d***, f******…!”

(This stream of cursing goes on for a couple seconds as it is evident that the customer has not realized I answered the phone.)

Me: “Hello? How may I help you?”

Customer: “Oh, God, did you just hear all of that?! I am so sorry! You shouldn’t have heard that. I didn’t realize you had picked up the phone! What’s your name, ma’am?”

Me: “It’s [My Name], sir, and it’s okay! I’ve heard it all before.”

Customer: “However, I am still sorry. I shouldn’t have been cursing.”

(I direct his call and about a week passes. I am at work when I hear a customer ask if I was in today, and he is carrying a huge bouquet of flowers.)

Customer: “Here you go, ma’am. I am so sorry you had to hear that. A gentleman should never curse in front of a lady. Please accept these flowers as my apology.”

(The flowers were beautiful, whoever you are! Thank you for making my week!)

You’re Making This R-I-E-lly Difficult

| USA | Language & Words, Popular

(An older man approaches my counter with two movie rental jackets in hand. If people don’t have their store card, we can look up by phone number or last name, but it only pulls up names if you spell them completely and correctly. It can’t bring up partial names.)

Customer: *loudly* “I haven’t rented in a long time. I’m in the system probably. My name’s [long, complicated surname], spelled R-I-E… *trails off and stares expectantly*

Me: *knowing I would butcher the spelling if I guessed* “What was the phone number on the account, please?”

Customer: “What?”

Me: *louder* “What’s your phone number?”

Customer: “R-I-E…” *trails off again and stares at me*

Me: “That’s not a phone number, okay.” *keys back up to the ‘last name’ option* “Can you spell out your last n—”

Customer: *talking over me* “What?”

Me: *even louder* “Can you please spell out your last name?”

Customer: “[Long, complicated name], spelled R-I-E…” *stares expectantly*

Me: “…and the rest of it?”

Customer: “What?”

Me: “Can you please spell out the last name for me?”

Customer: “R-I-E…” *stares*

Me: “No, the whole—”

Customer: “What?”

Me: “The whole name, please.”

Customer: *louder and slower* “R… I… E…” *stares expectantly again*

Me: *louder still* “Can you please spell out your ENTIRE last name?”

Customer: “Oh, you can’t spell [complicated last name]? It’s R… I… E…” *finally gives me the rest*

(I typed in the full name, and his account took a grand total of two seconds to pull up. It could have done that in the beginning, if he’d just given the full spelling the first time.)

Don’t F*** With The Menu

, | Australia | At The Checkout, Language & Words

(I work on drive-thru. I have a bit of a reputation for acting silly with customers, usually because I work the late-night weekend shifts and therefore talk to a lot of drunk people.)

Me: “Hi, welcome to [Restaurant]. Can I please take your order?”

Customer: *confused, obviously caught out* “Ah, ah – f***!”

Me: *not missing a beat* “That’ll cost extra, sir.”

Balls To The Walls Crazy

| Halifax, NS, Canada | Language & Words, Rude & Risque

(I work for a luxury furniture company that has recently featured giant faux-fur covered pilates balls. A woman in her mid-forties runs into the store with a clearly abnormal level of excitement about the product.)

Woman: “I just came in to touch your balls. Oh! They’re so soft, I could just sit on them naked. They look like dirty snowballs. I want a dirty snowball so bad.”

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