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It All Sounds Like Not-Dutch To Me

, , , | Working | June 17, 2018

(I bring a pair of pants to the tailor to get the legs shortened. The lady at the counter is clearly foreign, but I’ve been to this shop a year or so before and have seen her there, so I know she’s been in the country for a while already. I therefore assume she knows enough Dutch to at least communicate well with customers.)

Me: “Hi! I’ve got these pants I need shortened. “

Tailor: *blank stare*

Me: “So, yeah, uh, just a few centimetres off the bottom, I guess. Can you tell me what it is going to cost?”

Tailor: *unintelligible mumbling*

Me: “I’m sorry, could you say that again? Didn’t quite catch that.”

(She takes out an appointment note and writes a figure on it, before handing it to me. I see she wrote down the costs.)

Me: “Okay, so [amount]? That works for me.”

(Cue another round of blank stares, while I’m hoping she picks up a professional demeanour somewhere.)

Me: “I assume you need to know how much you have to trim off, right?”

Tailor: *blank stare, then silently nods*

Me: “Okay, so, I go to the dressing room now, so can put it on and you can measure how much you need to trim, all right?”

(I do so, and once I emerge from the dressing room she almost jumps on me, taking the measurements and marking where she needs to trim. When she’s done, she gives me another stare, which tells me I can go change into my own pants again. Once I’m done:)

Me: “So, when can I pick it up?”

Tailor: *slides appointment note at me, still only with the costs scribbled there*

Me: “Tomorrow?”

Tailor: “Wednesday.”

Me: “Today is Thursday. So… almost a week? That can’t be right, can it?”

Tailor: *points at Friday on the appointment note* “Wednesday.”

Me: “That’s Friday. So, tomorrow then?”

Tailor: “Yes, Fri-desday.” *or something else resembling a Dutch mix of Wednesday and Friday*

Me: “Cool, see you tomorrow, then!”

(I hope that everything goes all right, and come back the next day. I show her my appointment card, which also contains a reference number. She says nothing but proceeds to get a pair of jeans from the rack that is clearly not mine.)

Me: “I believe you have the wrong one.” *spots my jeans on another rack* “I see it! The one with [number] is mine.”

Tailor: “[Different number]?”

Me: “No, [right number], the black jeans, third from the front on that rack there.”

(She gets it right and folds up the jeans.)

Tailor: “[Higher amount than we agreed upon], please.”

Me: “Hold on. You said [lower amount] yesterday. It’s even on the appointment card, see?” *I hand her the card*

Tailor: “Oh, silly!” *taps in amount on register* “[Incorrect, higher amount], please.”

Me: “I don’t think so.”

Tailor: *huffs* “[Correct amount], please.”

Me: “That’s more like it!”

(Surprisingly, my jeans were done just fine. But I swore I’m not going back there if I don’t have to! The other day I did have to, though, and she was still there — two years after the described incident — and her Dutch hasn’t improved in the slightest.)

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