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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!

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Couldn’t Be Fur-thur From What She Wanted

| Natick, MA, USA | Crazy Requests, Language & Words

(A frazzled and cold lady comes in late at night looking for a fox fur coat. I work in lingerie so I’m not extremely familiar with furs, but am excited at the potential commission earnings. I read the ticket on a beautiful jacket and it’s 100% fox. I show my customer.)

Customer: *screaming* “THIS IS NOT FOX FUR”

Me: “No, ma’am, it is indeed entirely fox.”

(I assume maybe she doesn’t like the style so I show her another fox jacket.)

Customer: “HOW DARE YOU! THIS IS NOT FOX FUR! I NEED SOMEONE WITH EXPERIENCE!”

(I turned her over to a coworker in the fur salon thinking maybe I didn’t know as much as I thought. After some bickering back and forth I saw her cashing out and purchasing a beautiful coat. I asked the salesperson who took over what she ended up with. Apparently the customer wanted FAUX fur but was pronouncing it wrong the entire time.)

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Would Have Been Prudent To Look That Up Before Asking

| Washington, DC, USA | At The Checkout, Funny Names, Language & Words

(The customer in front of me is paying for her groceries and notices the cashier’s name tag.)

Customer: “Oh, ‘Prudence,’ what a lovely name!”

Cashier: “Thank you, ma’am.”

Customer: “What does it mean?”

Cashier: “It means ‘wisdom’ or ‘good judgment.’”

Customer: “Wonderful! And what language is it?”

Cashier: “Umm… English.”

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Third Floor Time Lucky

| China | Language & Words

(I work at the information desk on the second floor of a museum of paleontology. It should be noted that while I am a foreigner, I speak decent Chinese and have been told that I speak very clearly.)

Visitor: “Hello! Is there anything on the third floor?”

Me: “The third floor is mammals.”

Visitor: “But is there anything on the third floor?”

Me: “Yes, it has mammals.”

Visitor: “But does the third floor have anything?”

Me: “Yes.”

Visitor: “Okay!” *walks upstairs*

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This Spells Trouble

| USA | Funny Names, Language & Words

(This story happened a few decades ago, before different spellings became more common. My father only had a few names he was unsure of the spelling, one of those names being Elise (Elyse, Aleece, etc.).)

Customer: *finishing conversation* “And this is for Elise, [Last Name].”

My Dad: “All right, and how do you spell that?”

Customer: *huffing loudly* “The right way, of course!”

My Dad: “Well, to be sure I’ve got it right; can you spell it for me?”

Customer: “Argh! A-L-I-C-E, of course!” *hangs up*

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China White

| CA, USA | Language & Words

(I work at an optometry near the division of the primarily Indian and Chinese areas of the city. Everyone in the office is able to at least speak Mandarin Chinese. An older Chinese patient enters.)

Me: “Hello, nihao.”

Patient: *in Mandarin* “Do you speak Mandarin?”

Me: *in Mandarin* “I speak it, yes. Do you have any problems that I can help you with?”

Patient: *in Mandarin* “Do you understand? You understand Chinese?”

Me: *in Mandarin* “I understand it. Do you have anything I can help with?”

Patient: *takes out a broken pair of glasses, points at the hinge and gives it to me*

Me: *in Mandarin* “Give me three minutes.”

(Later, after I fix the hinge and give it back to the patient, her daughter comes in and as they’re about to leave.)

Patient: *to daughter in Mandarin* “Why did they hire a white boy? He doesn’t understand Chinese.”

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