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Like A Good Neighbor, Ask NICELY When You Need Something

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: Griffy_42 | March 24, 2022

I live in a small town that’s 95% English-speaking. There are a few French families due to the local industry. I speak enough French (about as well as an eight-year-old native speaker) that I made friends with a neighbour who doesn’t speak English and can’t drive because of seizures. Her husband has been out of town for work for the last few months, so I’ve taken her grocery shopping and to run errands.

Her computer died last week, so I took her to the big box computer store to look at a new one. I work in electronics (as a technician) so I know a thing or two about brands, quality, pricing, and what computer to get based on her needs.

I’m standing at the computer area with her telling her about all the specs, tower versus laptop, etc. I notice someone in my peripheral vision, but I ignore it. Our conversation switches over to school starting soon — our daughters ride the bus together — when the lady behind us pokes me in the shoulder and starts barking at me in French.

Lady: “I need help, too! You need to stop chatting and start helping! Do you know how hard it is to get help in French around here?!”

Employees here wear blue polo shirts and slacks. I’m wearing a hippy maxi dress and Birkenstocks. I start trying to explain that I don’t work here, but I think that’s when she picks up on my obvious Anglo accent. She starts talking to me like I’m a misbehaving toddler.

Lady: “I need you to help me set up my home network. I don’t have time for you to chat about your kids. Have fun finding a job once your manager hears you’re chatting about your kids instead of working!”

At this point, my neighbour pushes me out of the way. She’s about twice as big as the lady yelling at me. She walks up to the lady and just shouts at her for two minutes. I can’t catch most of it because I only know school French, but I’m picking out a lot of F-bombs. Later, she tells me she said something like this:

Neighbour: “Who do you think you are, bugging my friend? What about her says she works here? You are being very rude to my friend who is being very nice. If you had asked nicely, I’m sure she would have helped you.”

One of the staff members came up and tried to ask what was going on, but they weren’t paying him any attention. When he realizes they were not speaking English, he walked away. I guess he didn’t think he could help.

The lady stormed off in a huff. My neighbour is awesome.

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Has a customer ever tried to cross you and lived to regret it? What happened?

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