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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!

Putting Your Stamp On The Language

| Yellowknife, NWT, Canada | Language & Words

(A family friend is visiting from Quebec. His English is mostly good but suffers from occasional lapses.)

Clerk: “How may I help you today?”

Friend: “Yes, hello. I need to buy some timbers.”

Clerk: “Some what?”

Friend: “Timbers.”

Clerk: “Sir, this is a post office. Perhaps you want the hardware store?”

Friend: “No, no, timbers. To mail the letters with. The little pictures? They are, um, gluey on the back?”

Clerk: *light-bulb moment* STAMPS. You want stamps.”

Friend: “Yes! Stamps.”

(The French word for “stamp” is “timbre”, pronounced like “TAM-bruh”.)

Friend: *to me, in French* “Why didn’t you help me?”

Me: *in French* “I thought it was funny.”

Friend: *in French* “What’s a ‘timber,’ then?”

Me: *in French* “It’s another word for wood.”

Friend: *in French* “Well, that makes NO sense. English is a crazy language.” *in English* “Yes, I will have a book of stampings, please.”

Refuses To Speak Starbucksian

| FL, USA | Bad Behavior, Food & Drink, Language & Words

(I’ve just finished handing off a drink to a customer at our pick-up counter. There’s a pair of ladies waiting to order at my register, and as I approach them, I overhear their conversation:)

Customer #1: “…Yeah, I just refuse to learn their language.”

(Our area has a fairly high population of non-English/English-as-a-second-language speakers. I brace myself to deal with “everyone should speak English,” until…)

Customer #2: “Really?”

Customer #1: “Yep! I just point to what I want.”

(Apparently, the ‘language’ she refuses to learn is ‘medium hot coffee with cream, please.’)

Word Choice Makes An Explosion Of Difference

| USA | Food & Drink, Language & Words

(For a special holiday event hosted by a local organization our fast food restaurant gives them coupons for small ice cream cones to give to children as prizes. We are open the same day and the event lasts all day long. Our poor old ice cream machine quickly overheats and starts gushing liquid ice cream all over the floor.)

Customer #1: *screaming so loud i can hear her through my coworkers headset* “What do you mean we can’t get ice cream? Why do you think we came here in the first place?!”

Coworker: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but the ice cream machine is currently down and—”

Customer #1: “Of course it is! You know what? F*** YOU!”

(The customer drives off, pissed. Just like most of our other customers for that day.)

Me: “You look frazzled. Give me the headset for a while.”

Coworker: “Oh, God, thank you!”

Me: “Thank you for choosing [Restaurant]. How can I help you?”

Customer #2: “Yeah, we got these coupons for free ice cream cones. Can we get that?”

Me: “I’d love to make those for you! …except our ice cream machine exploded earlier today.”

Customer #2: “Oh, My God! Is everyone okay?”

Me: “Yes, no one was hurt but it did make quite a mess. Someone’s coming out to look at it tomorrow but it probably won’t be fixed until Monday.”

Customer #2: “Okay, we’ll just hold onto our coupons then. Let’s just get [order].”

Me: “Yes, sir, your total is [total] at the first window.” *turning to my coworker* “I think I just accidentally discovered something…”

(Every time someone asked for ice cream for the rest of the day, we told them the ice cream machine exploded and suddenly no one was screaming at us anymore because we were unable to make cones. Word choice is important!)