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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!

Lost In Stupid Translation

| RTX, USA | Bigotry, Language & Words

(My husband and I have been fighting for the past few days, so when I come in for my shift, I’m not in the best of moods. There is a customer there, that is known for being difficult, harassing my coworker who is Hispanic and has a slight accent, but speaks perfect English.)

Customer: *speaking loud and slow* “I said I want to use my coupon for 10% off this item.”

Coworker: “Yes, ma’am, but I need to see the coupon. It has a code I need to type in.”

Customer: *still doing the loud and slow bit* “Coupon! Do you know what that is? Habla English?” *turns to her husband* “I have no idea why they even hire these illegals.”

Coworker: *angry and in tears* “I cannot give you the 10% without a coupon.”

Me: *doing the slow and loud bit to the customer* “She said you need the coupon here.” *makes a hand gesture of pointing to my hand* “She can’t do magic and make up a code that is on the piece of paper you call a coupon. Do you understand?”

Customer: *angrily* “Why are you talking to me like that? Yes, I understand.”

Me: “Are you sure? I was worried you didn’t understand what with talking the way you were.”

Customer: “I can’t understand her f****** language! She needs to learn to speak like us.”

Me: “I’m sorry, we don’t speak stupid here. It’s hard enough dealing with it.” *mimicking coworker while handing them their bags* “Thank you and have a nice day.”

(I expected to get written up, but the customer’s husband was laughing so hard she stalked out and left him there.)

Should Have Explained More Plainly

, | Basildon, England, UK | Food & Drink, Language & Words

(I work throughout college. A woman approaches my till with her young daughter.)

Me: “Hi, what would you like today?”

(The woman leans down and says to her daughter loud enough for everyone to hear:)

Woman: “See? THIS is what happens when you don’t do well at school!” *stands up and gives her order extremely slowly, pronouncing every syllable deliberately while I’m trying not to laugh* “…and a plain burger. PLAIN. Do you know what that means?”

Me: “Yes, I’m aware. That’ll be [total], please.”

Woman: “No… No, is that burger PLAAAIN?”

Me: “Yeees, I put that through. [Total], please.”

Woman: “Explain what plain means for me so I’m sure.”

Me: “It means plain, devoid of condiments, bereft of ketchup, void of mustard, a lack of lettuce and onions, nothing but a solitary burger on a lonely bun, the isolated meat longing for the sweet embrace of salads and sauces but doomed to remain on its barren bed awaiting sweet consumption.”

Woman: “What does that mean?”

Me: *head-desk* “[Total], please.”

French Disconnection, Part 3

| France | Family & Kids, Language & Words

(I’m a waitress in a fancy restaurant when four tourists come in: a father, his son, his daughter, and their stepmom. They sit down and are looking over the menu. While French is my primary language I also speak English very well.)

Daughter: “Oh, dear! I can’t understand this. Can one of you guys help me?”

Son: “Of course, sis. Here…”

(He begins translating the whole menu while the dad is also listening in. The stepmom on the other hand looks really bored and annoyed. Finally, the girl has made up her mind.)

Girl: “Thank you, [Son]. What would I do without you?”

Stepmom: “I’m quite fluent myself! Here! Let me prove it.”

(She flags me over with a snap of the fingers, and the four start ordering. To my delight, the four of them, despite the earlier worries, do a great job ordering. Finally, the stepmom hands me the menu and smirks at her stepdaughter.)

Stepmom: “Listen to this.”

(She turns and says something. To her surprise, we are all laughing like crazy.)

Stepmom: “What? Why are you laughing?”

Me: “Ma’am. You just said ‘my son is a cardboard box.'”

(The lady hangs her head in shame for the rest of the meal. When it is time to go, the daughter tips me generously.)

Daughter: “Thank you for putting my stepmom in her place. She took us on this trip to prove she was supreme, but this made the trip amazing!”

Related:
French Disconnection, Part 2
French Disconnection

Fought The Customer With Expert Timing

| Omaha, NE, USA | Language & Words, Musical Mayhem

(I work in a medical clinic and I have a little fun with a patient one day when she complains her kids keep “kung fu-ing” her front door.)

Patient: “They just kept kung fu-ing the door and I kept telling them to stop.”

Me: “Oh, so, everybody was kung fu fighting?”

Patient: “Yes, and I told them to just swing at the air, not hit the door.”

Me: “Were they fast as lightning?”

Patient: “No, and it was scary, I thought they were gonna wreck my door.”

Me: “I bet it was a little bit frightening.”

Patient:“Yes, I thought they were gonna wreck my door!”

Me:“Hey, [Patient], c’mon, I just gave the first part of the song. Don’t leave me hangin’ here”.

Patient: “I know, but I don’t know the rest of the song!”

The Mother Of All Fake Complaints

| Chicago, IL, USA | Bad Behavior, Language & Words

Older Older Guy: “Do you guys have [item]?”

Me: “I believe it’s on [aisle], but let me confirm real quick.” *asks manager, who is two registers away and answers that we don’t carry the item in question*

Older Guy: “Oh, no, don’t ask HER!”

Me: “That person is my manager, sir. She knows this store like the back of her—”

Older Guy: *cuts me off* “Oh, no, I spoke with her earlier! She’s… well, she’s not very professional at all.”

Me: *dumbfounded* “I don’t see how you could have gotten that impress—”

Older Guy: *cuts me off again, eyes cast down* “Oh, when I went to talk to her, she was on the phone with her mother! I had to interrupt her! That’s not very professional at all. I know, you see, I was in business for seventeen years.”

(I HAVE seen my manager, who does the work of three people and still manages the store and a burgeoning staff with a smile, take brief calls to round up the next shift for schedule changes – but only while stocking shelves and never for more than a few moments. She’s been very patient and kind with me, so I’m quite fond of her.)

Me: *breaks out college vocabulary, something I’ve found shuts down snobby customers* “Well, sir, I’m very sorry you garnered such an impression of her. She’s always been eminently professional in my interactions with her.”

(It works, but he keeps forlornly grumbling about “seventeen years in business” and “never acted that way myself” until I finish ringing him up. When I have to do returns, I find my manager and tell her what he said. She bursts out laughing.)

Manager: “Yeah, I remember that guy! He wanted me to walk him to a hundred items on his list individually and got mad when I wouldn’t… And my mother’s been deceased for years!”

(I joked that she should take the guy’s behavior as a compliment: since she doesn’t make mistakes, people have to make things up if they want to complain about her!)

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