Losing English Patience

| OH, USA | Learning | March 11, 2013

(I work at a sandwich shop across the street from a high school. I serve a lot of teachers who come over here for lunch.)

Me: “You want a turkey on white with tomato? That’s [price].”

Customer #1: “Oh, and can I have a bottle of water?”

Me: “‘Course!”

Customer #1: *scoffs* “I can’t believe you just said that. As an English teacher, I think I should tell you that saying that isn’t proper English.”

Me: *not sure what to say* “Um… sorry?”

Customer #1: “There you go again! Those are fragments, not complete sentences! All the other teachers who come in here would be ashamed.”

(The customer behind her speaks up.)

Customer #2: “Yeah, well, I’m a math teacher, and trust me, we don’t care.”

Music Is Ageless

| Toronto, ON, Canada | Learning | March 11, 2013

(I am a 21-year-old receptionist at a music school. One evening, there is a student waiting for his lesson in the reception area.)

Me: “Hi there. How old are you?”

Student: “8 years old. How old are you?”

Me: *smiles* “How old do you think I am?”

Student: “I dunno. You look really old.”

*silence*

Student: “Yeah, you look like you’re like, 17 or something.”

Light On The Brain Cells

| Willow Grove, PA, USA | Learning | March 11, 2013

(I am working in the office supplies section in late July.)

Customer: “Excuse me, miss, do you have any more of these pencil boxes?”

Me: “Right over here.” *points*

Customer: “Great. I need 29 more. I’m a first grade teacher.”

Me: “That’s nice of you.”

Customer: “There’s only five left in the blue.”

Me: “I apologize, but we do have 20 black ones left. Except for the color, they are identical.”

Customer: “I can’t get black for first graders. It will scare them.”

Me: “Okay. Well, you can try the back to school area, but I doubt they’ll have more than one or two blue left. You’ll have to keep coming back throughout the summer to get 29 more in the blue.”

Customer: “Okay, thank you.” *scoots off to school section*

(Not 15 minutes later, the customer is back putting black cases in her cart.)

Me: “I see you decided to get the black ones after all; excellent choice.”

Customer: “I know. Now I have to cover them in stickers so the children won’t be scared!”

Has A Plain Brain

| MI, USA | Learning | March 11, 2013

(My younger sister is in high school, and I often pick her up. I overhear a conversation when I am waiting.)

Student #1: “I’m gonna go get a burger… wanna come?”

Student #2: “Over at [fast food] place? Nah, they always mess up my order when I go.”

Student #1: “What do they do?”

Student #2: “I always order it plain but then they put nothing on it.”

Student #1: “You dumba***, that’s what plain means!”

Student #2: “No, it isn’t! Plain means a plain burger! You know, how they’re supposed to make it. No changes.”

Student #1: “I can’t believe I’m friends with you.”

Drop(out) The Bomb

| AB, Canada | Learning | March 11, 2013

(I live in a small town; as such, little stories such as ‘so and so made this all star team’ or ‘this person went to a university’s honor band” frequently appear in the newspaper. During high school, I was part of the later group until I started university, where my name would continue to appear in the Dean’s List published at the end of each semester. At this moment, university has been out for a week, while the high schools are finishing up their school year.)

Customer: “Hey, why aren’t you in school?”

Me: “Beg pardon?”

Customer: “It’s 11:00 AM; not even the students with special privileges to work during school hours should be out yet! Why are you not at [school] and working here for?”

Me: “Sir, I graduated a few years ago.”

Customer: “No, you didn’t! I just saw your name in the paper for some fancy list.”

Me: “Oh, you mean the Dean’s List? Yes, I’m happy that I got on it this semester; I was taking a full load of classes!”

Customer: “You shouldn’t be done yet! School doesn’t finish for another three weeks.”

Me: “Sir, I no longer attend [high school]. Instead, I—”

Customer: *shocked* “You dropped out?! After all those times you were in the paper for music and smart stuff? What in the world possessed you to do that?!”

Me: “I didn’t drop out sir. I just—”

Customer: “Where is your manager? I need to talk to him about hiring drop outs, even if they appear to be smarticle like you!”

(yes, he did use the word ‘smarticle’.)

Me: *pulls university ID card out of pocket wallet* “Please read the date this was issued.”

Customer: “Summer 2010?”

Me: “Yes. Now, why would I have a university ID card?”

Customer: “Because you go to that university?”

(I wait.)

Customer: “Oh… yeah. That was the college list, wasn’t it?” *gathers up items, pays, and leaves*

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