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Pho Fries

, , , , | Right | February 15, 2022

I work at a Vietnamese Sandwich shop where we sell a variety of sandwiches, salads, and soup (called Pho).

A regular comes in: an older Vietnamese woman with her two grandchildren aged maybe eight to ten years old, a boy and a girl. The girl sits patiently at the table as her grandmother orders, while the boy is happily munching on food brought in from a burger-and-fries fast food place. We’re located in a mall, and while it isn’t within the food court but rather its own attached building outside the mall, it isn’t uncommon for people to bring in food we don’t serve, so this isn’t an issue.

This customer is usually pretty pleasant when she comes in, if not a little blunt and strict in her demeanor, but she’s usually super nice in her intent, and she once bought me a scarf because she noticed I take the bus to work in the freezing, snowy weather. Today, however, she seems a bit miffed.

Grandmother: “I’ll take two orders of the beef pho, please. One adult, one small.”

Me: “All right! Is there anything else I can get you?”

Grandmother: *Scowls* “No… that’ll be all.”

I silently put in the order with a smile, wondering if she is angry at me for some reason. I notice she’s still hanging around the cash register, but before I can ask if something is wrong, she starts venting.

Grandmother: “My family, we love Pho, you see. My granddaughter grew up with it before our family move here so she will eat Vietnamese food. But my grandson…”

She turns to eye her grandson obliviously eating his French fries.

Grandmother: “Oh, no. My grandson no like our family’s food. I tell my daughter to make him our food, but she complains because we in America now! American…”

She shakes her head and rolls her eyes, looking back at me. I’m a little too stunned at the awkward conversation to say anything.

Grandmother: “So I have to buy him [Fast Food Restaurant] before we come here. He won’t eat Vietnamese food.”

She leans closer, her face serious.

Grandmother: “That’s why he so fat.”

I didn’t get the chance to say anything (not that I could) before she shook her head and walked away, mumbling to herself in Vietnamese.

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What is the absolute most stupid thing you’ve heard a customer say?

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