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!

Turning Jesus Into A Complaint

| FL, USA | Crazy Requests, Food & Drink, Language & Words

(I work as a cake decorator in a supermarket bakery. We receive pre-made frozen cakes to put out. These are usually more expensive, but arguably more decadent… covered in caramel and cookie crumbles, etc. When an item hits its sell-by date we mark it down to half price. A woman comes up to me carrying a large, expensive, pre-made carrot cake that’s been marked down. It’s covered in chopped nuts, mounds of cream-cheese icing, and tons of little icing carrot decorations. Getting one of these on markdown is a very good deal, both in terms of quality, and the fact that they’re big enough to feed 20 people or more.)

Customer: “I need something written on top of this. It’s for a church. I need you to write, ‘Celebrate Jesus, He is Risen, He is the Way’ on top.”

Me: “Okay! I’ll do what I can. We don’t typically write on these cakes because there is so little space with all the decorations.”

Customer: *looking affronted, even though this is policy* “Well, you can just move them around, can’t you?”

(Normally, I would say no since it’s not worth my time as an employee to do something so fiddly when I have so much other work to be done, which again is company policy unless a customer really presses it. But this happens to be the last half hour of my shift, and I’m already done cleaning and just helping the other staff assist customers. And hey, I actually DO enjoy my job and a challenge.)

Me: “If you don’t mind waiting, then yes, I will do what I can for you.”

(I break out my tools and some wax paper and begin to carefully lift off the little icing carrots all over the top, which she very sharply informs me she wants in a separate little plastic container for herself. I scrape and smooth off the little bits of coloured icing that remain, rearrange the large swirls of icing, carefully push back the border of chopped nuts, and smooth it all down so it looks freshly iced. Through it all she stares me down, and at one point asks if her watching me makes me nervous, and looks disappointed when I say no.)

Customer: “I suppose you need me to spell ‘Jesus’ for you?”

Me: “I think I can handle that one, but thank you, ma’am.”

(Again, she looks disappointed, and watches almost angrily as I carefully write on the cake. Her attitude perplexes me more than anything else, but I can tell she’s trying to make me screw up or catch me doing so in order to get a bigger discount, since customers are rarely content with what they’ve got.)

Customer: “Well… I guess this will do.”

(She snatches the cake when I put the top back on, and storms off with her little container of icing carrots, not so much as a thank you. My coworker comes over and comments how impressed she is that I kept my cool. I go upstairs to finish up some paperwork for the next week’s sales before I leave, and a few minutes later, my coworker sticks her head into the room.)

Coworker: “That woman is back! She says you misspelled Jesus and she wants a discount!”

(I have no idea what expression I made, but my coworker immediately started laughing and said she’s just joking and ran off. I later found out she wasn’t kidding, but thought I looked so shocked and angry she decided to deal with it herself and went to the store manager instead. I had not, as it turned out, misspelled Jesus, and the woman’s scheme for a greater discount probably would have worked had she not accounted for everyone being able to see and read that for themselves when she showed the cake off to management. That, or maybe I should have been the one to spell it out for her.)

If I Tell You, Will You Go Away?

, | VA, USA | Extra Stupid, Language & Words

(I am sitting behind an older couple at a restaurant/bar. There is a sign on the wall that says “I.I.T.Y.W.Y.B.M.A.D”, an acronym that says “If I tell you, will you buy me a drink?”. The joke is that people are supposed to ask what it stands for, followed by the waitress saying “If I tell you, will you buy me a drink?”. The woman, unaware of the joke, flags down the waitress.)

Woman: “Excuse me. What does that stand for?”

Waitress: “If I tell you, will you buy me a drink?”

Woman: “No.”

Waitress: “…”

Man: “It’s a joke. That is the acronym.”

Woman: “What?”

Man: “’I.I.T.Y.W.Y.B.M.A.D’ is an acronym for ‘If I tell you will you buy me a drink?’.”

Woman: “I don’t get it.”

Nic U Too

| GA, USA | Language & Words

(The customer is proofing a write-up I put together for her.)

Customer: “Change the ‘an’ to ‘a’ before ‘NICU nurse.’”

Me: “’An’ is technically correct in this context; use of a/an is determined by the vowel sound at the beginning of a word/abbreviation/acronym, not necessarily the letter itself. Since ‘NICU’ is traditionally pronounced ‘en-eye-see-you’ we would use ‘an.’ However, if we wrote out the whole thing, it would be ‘a neonatal intensive care unit.’”

Customer: “I pronounce it ‘nic-u’ so change it to ‘a.’”

Me: “…seriously?”

My English Is Bad (Language)

| NV, USA | Language & Words

Me: “[Call Center], this is [My Name]. May I help you?”

Caller: “Is there someone who speaks Spanish?” *this is a frequent request, but one we cannot fulfill at this time*

Me: “No, I’m sorry. I do not, and neither does anyone else here in the call center.”

Caller: “F***!” *hangs up*

(At least he knew that much English!)

You Can’t Teach An Up-Dog New Tricks

| Smokey Mountains, TN, USA | Bizarre, Language & Words

(I work in a toll booth at an amusement park collecting money for parking. My coworker sharing the booth with me has a customer and the transaction proceeds as normal until the end. I catch onto what the customer is doing and am snickering throughout the conversation.)

Customer: “Can I take a bag of up-dog into the park?”

Coworker: “Hotdogs?”

Customer: “No, up-dog.”

Coworker: “What’s that?”

Customer: “What’s what?”

Coworker: “Up-dog?”

Customer: “Yeah, up-dog.”

Coworker: “What is that?”

Customer: “It’s up-dog. ”

Coworker: “Yeah but what is it?”

Customer: “What’s what?”

Coworker: “Up-dog.”

(This repeats a few times.)

Coworker: “Huh?”

Customer: “You’re suppose to ask me what it is.”

Coworker: “Okay… What is it?”

Customer: You’re supposed to say ‘What’s up-dog.’”

(At this point I started laughing and my coworker awkwardly laughed. Defeated, the customer drove off. I then explained to her what it was he was trying to do. We shared a laugh over the poor guy’s failed attempt at ‘up-dog.’)

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