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!

Going On A Mission To The Mission District

| San Francisco, CA, USA | Bizarre, Books & Reading, Geography, Language & Words, Religion

(Being in San Francisco, our store sometimes gets tourists, seeing as it’s local and family-run rather than a big chain. It’s a very slow day, and a couple walks in, identifiable as tourists from their southern accent.)

Customer: *walks up to me and begins speaking in Spanish, with a VERY heavy Anglophone accent*

Me: “Uhm… You can speak English if you’d like, ma’am.”

Customer: “Oh!” *seems pleasantly surprised* “I was just wondering, do you have any local Bibles?”

Me: “I could show you to our religious section, if you’d like?”

Customer: “No, no, I want a LOCAL Bible. I think the word is similar in Spanish. Your English is very good, by the way.”

Me: *somewhat confused* “Okay, I’ll show you a few from our selection.”

(I leave from behind the counter and take three different versions of the Bible from the shelf, and then come back to the lady.)

Me: *lays Bibles on the table* “Any of these?”

Customer: “No, no, I said LOCAL Bibles. These are in English.” *says something Spanish again*

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, I don’t speak Spanish. English is my native language. And I don’t know what you mean by ‘local’ Bibles.”

Customer: *getting upset* “You live in San Francisco; of course you speak Spanish. You don’t have any local Bibles?”

Me: *giving up on arguing with her* “Do you mean a Spanish-language Bible?”

Customer: “No, I mean a LOCAL Bible. We need it for our mission trip.”

(I leave the counter again and this time get a Spanish Bible, which I bring to her.)

Me: “Is this what you’re looking for?”

Customer: “YES! Finally. Gracias.”

(The rest of the transaction went normally, and she left with her husband.)

Got All Tangled Before

| Topsham, ME, USA | Bizarre, Food & Drink, Language & Words

(I stop by a department store after work to grab a few things. While in the grocery section, I see some dinosaur chicken nuggets and decide to buy them for myself, even though I don’t have any kids. At the register, the cashier rings up my groceries.)

Cashier: “You know, we have frozen chicken nuggets.”

Me: “These are frozen.”

Cashier: “No, these are dinosaurs.”

Me: “Yeah, I know. I just kind of thought dinosaurs would be fun.”

Cashier: “Right, so I was just wondering if you saw the frozen ones.”

Me: *confused* “These ARE frozen ones. Unless I somehow grabbed some from a refrigerated section instead of the freezer?”

Cashier: *thinking* “I don’t even remember dinosaurs in frozen, but I could just be forgetting.”

Me: “I’m pretty sure I got them from the freezer section.”

Cashier: *exasperated* “No, I meant frozen chicken nuggets.”

Me: “These ARE frozen chicken nuggets.”

(We both stare at each other for a moment like the other person is a total moron.)

Cashier: *sighing* “I meant Frozen. You know…” *awkward pause* “Like with Elsa. ‘Let it go, let it gooo!’”

Me: *throwing up my hands* “Holy s***, you meant the movie ‘Frozen’!”

Cashier: “Yeah.”

Me: “Jesus Christ, that was confusing.”

Cashier: “Yeah… here’s your receipt.”

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?”

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