English And Polish And French, Oh My

, , | Right | May 25, 2011

(Our bakery in question sells the best cupcakes, muffins and American coffee in town. It attracts a lot of English-speaking clients. Therefore, all the staff speaks excellent English. I am standing in line behind an elegant woman in her mid-30s.)

Cashier: *in Polish* “Good morning, ma’am. What can I get you?”

Customer: *in French* “I’d like a coffee with milk, please.”

Cashier: *switching to English* “Oh, I’m sorry, ma’am. I don’t speak French.”

Customer *in French, appalled* “What?! I don’t understand! You’re talking to me in English!”

(She turns to other customers in line.)

Customer: *in French* “She’s talking to me in English!”

Me: *to the cashier* “I know French. Maybe I could help?”

I  turn to the customer.

Me: *in French* “I’m sorry, ma’am. Maybe I could translate for you? What would you–”

Customer: *in French* “She’s talking to me in English!”

Me: “Yes, she is. She doesn’t speak French. Don’t worry, I can translate for you.”

Customer: “But we’re in Poland! And she’s talking to me in English! Isn’t that illegal?!”

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