Lost In Their Own Translation

| Belgium | Bigotry, Language & Words, Top

(My husband and I are from America. We move overseas to Belgium for his job, and make every effort to learn the native language. I am shopping for a computer part, but am tripping over the technical terms. The clerk mercifully switches over to English for my benefit. As he is helping me, a few native men queue up behind me and overhear us.)

Customer #1: *in French* “Such a typical American; expecting everyone to cater to them and their stupid language.”

Customer #2: *in French* “Can’t blame her. This b**** looks too stupid to learn French.”

Me: *in French* “Looks can be deceiving, gentlemen.”

(The customer turns red and quickly wanders off. The clerk is laughing so hard, he has to sit down.)

In Line And Out Of Line

| Durban, South Africa | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Family & Kids, Money, Top

(I’m in line to pay. Customer #1 in front of me is about in his 40s, and very well-dressed in a suit and tie. Customer #2 in front of him seems to be a single mother with her child. I’m 25, and pretty shabbily dressed; wearing only faded jeans, an old, novelty Star Wars shirt, and have my long hair almost covering my eyes.)

Customer #1: “Lady, can you hurry up! Some people are important and actually have places to be!”

(Customer #2 is fumbling with her money. In her cart she only has basic groceries and what appears to be a birthday cake for her child. She mumbles something about not having enough money, and decides to leave the cake behind.)

Customer #1: “Don’t waste everyone’s time if you can’t even pay for your s***! Or maybe you need another government handout that comes from my taxes?!”

(At this point, I feel like I’ve got to step in.)

Me: “Hey man, that’s enough!”

Customer #1: “Who do you think you are? I’ll have you know I’m the [high profile position] at [large shipping company], and no one ever talks to me like that.”

(Suddenly, I become much more respectful.)

Me: “I’m so sorry, sir. I had no idea you were so important. Would you mind if I asked you for your business card?”

(Customer #1 smugly hands me his card. I see he is, indeed, who he says he is.)

Me: “And here’s my business card.”

Customer #1: “Why the h*** would I want your—”

(Customer #1 suddenly goes pale, as he notices that I am co-owner of [large shipping company].)

Me: “Now that I know your name, I’ll be sure to phone your supervisor to ensure you’re put on probation. One more act like this and you’re fired.”

(Customer #1 stammers for a bit, before practically running from the store. I end up paying for the mother’s cake, and even gave them a bit extra to buy the kid any toy from the store.)

The Text Signaler Concurrence

| Ashford, Kent, UK | At The Checkout, Geeks Rule, Theme Of The Month

(I am on the checkout, chatting away to a woman and her daughter whilst putting their shopping through. Suddenly, the woman gets a text message on her mobile.)

Phone: “Bazinga! Bazinga!”

Me: “Um, did your phone just ‘bazinga’?”

Woman: “Oh, yes, I have a text. Sorry about that.”

Daughter: “You’re the first to recognize the word.”

Me: “Oh, we love The Big Bang Theory. My dad has that as his text alert too.”

Daughter: “I have the theme as my ringtone!”

Me: “So do both my parents!”

(We all talk about the show for a few moments before parting ways. The next customer comes up, having overheard the last part of our chat.)

Next Customer: “I’m glad they’ve gone. They were in my spot.”

Me: “Another fan?”

Next Customer: “Oh yes…”