Can’t Quite Pin Down A Translation

, , , , | Right | January 3, 2018

(I am running the parts counter when a customer approaches me. I don’t speak Spanish and a large portion of the customers that come in don’t speak English.)

Customer: “I’m looking for this.” *shows me a picture of the entire front suspension*

Me: “What part?”

Customer: *points at nothing specific* “The penis. I need the penis.”

Me: *trying to contain laughter* “The what?”

Customer: “The penis. This one.” *points at nothing specific again*

(I get a Spanish speaker to handle the customer because of the language barrier. Shortly later he leaves.)

Me: “What the h*** did he want? He kept asking me for a penis.”

Coworker: “Peñas is a Spanish word that is pronounced a similar way; it has something to do with pins.”

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Getting A Lot Of Mileage Out Of That One Question

, , | Right | September 14, 2017

(I sell used auto parts online and I have a large selection of instrument clusters [the gauges behind the steering wheel]. I can’t get a mileage reading off newer model clusters because they are digital. Some customers don’t care. Some don’t want to buy without the mileage. And some, like this guy, doesn’t understand that we don’t know. This whole conversation takes place over the phone.)

Me: “Hello.”

Customer: “Yes, I see you have on your site an instrument cluster for [Car].”

Me: “Sure, how can I help you?”

Customer: “I’d like to know the mileage on that.”

Me: “I’m sorry; if the mileage isn’t listed, then we don’t know it unfortunately.”

Customer: “So, you don’t have the mileage off that?”

Me: “Is it listed there?”

Customer: “It says ‘mileage unknown.’”

Me: “Then, I’m sorry; we don’t know it.”

Customer: “Well, can you get it and call me back?”

Me: “We can’t get a reading on the digital clusters; we don’t have anywhere to connect them to get a mileage reading.”

Customer: “So, you don’t know the mileage on it.”

Me: “No, I’m sorry.”

Customer: “Well, I really need one with [amount of miles].”

Me: “We don’t know the mileage on this one unfortunately.”

Customer: “Well, do you have another one with [amount of miles]?”

Me: “I’m sorry; we can’t get the mileage off any of them as they’re digital.”

Customer: “So, you can’t get the mileage off this one and call me back later?”

Me: “No, we can’t know it.”

Customer: *long pause* “I really need to know the mileage before I buy this cluster.”

Me: “I’m sorry.”

Customer: “Well, all right then.” *click*

Me: *rubs eyes*

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Generating Contempt

| Working | July 28, 2017

(I am the customer in this story. I’m about 18. My first car is a vintage VW Bug and it needs work often. Being a young female it is often assumed I do not know what is wrong with my car.)

Employee #1: “Can I help you?”

Me: “I need a generator for my car.”

Employee #1: “You mean an alternator.”

Me: “No, a generator. I have the item number if that helps.”

Employee #1: “You mean a carburetor.”

Me: “No, a generator.”

Employee #1: “Look, sweetie, why don’t you come back with your dad. I’m sure he can help you get the right part.”

Me: *getting frustrated* “Look, is there anyone else here? I’m looking for a generator for my big—”

(He starts to speak again but is interrupted by an older man behind the parts shelf.)

Employee #2: “You got a VW? What year?”

Me: “72 Super Beetle.”

Employee #2: “Hold on, I’ve got a generator on the other shelf.”

Employee #1: “Cars don’t have generators.”

(The old man just grins and says:)

Employee #2: “Maybe you shouldn’t assume you know everything.”

(I was grateful that I got the part and was treated with some respect. We ended up talking vintage cars for a good hour while the original employee licked his wounds.)

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Not Waiting For A Lightbulb Moment

| Working | May 24, 2017

(I’m far from being a car expert, but when one of the headlamps on my old car burns out, I discover that I can open the hood, reach in, and unscrew the burned-out bulb. So I carry it into an auto-parts store.)

Me: *holding up the bulb* “I need to buy a replacement for this bulb.”

Female Cashier: “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Don’t be askin’ me!” *pointing to another customer* “Ask him! He’s a man!”

(He didn’t even work there — but he did know where to find the replacement bulb.)

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Like Talking To An Auto Bot

| Right | May 8, 2017

(I’ve worked in auto retail for several years now and this is one that has been repeated across the nation and working for several companies:)

Me: “Welcome to [Store], auto parts; what are you looking for?”

Customer: “I need a part…”

Me: “Okay, what is it for?”

Customer: “My truck…”

Me: “What kind of truck?”

Customer: “Chevy…”

Me: “What series?”

Customer: “The small one.”

Me: “So an S10 or 1500?”

Customer: “S10.”

Me: “Okay. Got the 4.3 in it right?”

Customer: “Naw, it’s got one of them V8s…”

(You have got to be kidding me!)

Me: “What year is it?”

Customer: “Like a 1998 or a 2000.”

Me: “Well, they built different trucks those years. 1999 is a changeover year.”

Customer: “I dunno; it’s outside.”

(I look outside and see that’s it’s an old body truck, so early 1999 or 1998.)

Me: “All right, and what parts did you need?”

Customer: “I dunno…”

Me: “You know what? Here’s a card to [Auto Garage]. They can help you. Trust me, this is for the best.”

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