Stupidity Is Esca-latin

, , , , , , , | Learning | May 1, 2019

This story is from the 1990s, back when I was at university. Certain exams went like this: there would be a few people at a time in a professor’s study, each would draw a ticket from a tray and had to speak about whatever was on the ticket. One person would be speaking, while the others jotted down notes on their own topics, organized their thoughts, or otherwise prepared for their turn.

This particular exam was in general linguistics and was taught by a guy everyone feared, because it was common knowledge he failed people for the tiniest mistakes, took his subject extremely seriously, and expected the same from everyone else. He was also a bit of a giant, physically; he was very tall and bulky, had a permanent stony expression, and spoke with the coldest voice all the time, and was generally quite intimidating.

In his exam, each ticket also contained a couple of languages we were supposed to say a few words about. I was in the study, busy writing down notes on whatever I drew from the tray and waiting my turn, while a girl started speaking about the first language in her ticket, which happened to be Latin.

“So, Latin… Well, obviously it is spoken in Latin America…”

The professor went bright red, leaned over the desk, and basically — the huge mountain of a man that he is — loomed over her like he was going to drop on her and squash her at any moment. Or explode. I mean, I could see him literally shaking as he yelled, “What?!

She wasn’t even allowed to start on her topics; he ordered her to leave immediately and wouldn’t hear another word from her. He calmed down a bit after she left, and to be honest, he was completely fair with the rest of us that day, and I passed with top marks. The story about the girl with “Latin in Latin America” is now told as part of the local academic “dumbest things students have said” folklore, and some people think it’s made up until I mention that I actually witnessed it.

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Might Have To Walk Them Through This Cake Walk

, , , | Right | November 7, 2018

(A customer is ordering a wedding cake.)

Customer: “This is what I want: a hundred pieces, four-tiered cake, and here is a picture of the model. There’s nothing too special about it; it’s just a simple design, so it shouldn’t be hard to make.”

(She shows me a picture of a wedding cake with a luscious, top-to-bottom cascade of roses, covering almost half of its surface. I know that to make that number of flowers it will take me at least a week and will probably involve me staying after working hours, more than once, but I put on a brave face and calculate the cost.)

Me: “The price of your order will be [price].”

Customer: “What?! Why so much?”

Me: “Well, it does sound lovely, but this particular model is thickly covered with roses. Sugar flowers are expensive, because they are slow to make.”

Customer: “But it’s only a simple model!”

Me: “I admit, the rest of the design looks simple enough, but the sheer amount of flowers will lift the price up.”

Customer: “But it’s only a simple wedding cake!”

Me: *getting fed up* “Look! I counted nearly a hundred individual roses. It’s hard work making them, because they are so time-consuming. The price of one single rose is [price of rose] and put together, they will actually cost more than the edible part.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “…”

Customer: “It’s still too expensive, and I can’t see why.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I just explained to you why.”

Customer: “Fine! I’ll just pick another model, then.”

Me: “I think that’s a good idea.”

(The kicker in this story is that the customer was one of our own employees, she was a cake decorator herself, and she had years of experience making both wedding cakes and sugar flowers.)


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Unfiltered Story #124772

, | Unfiltered | November 4, 2018

I work as a SME/Supervisor in a Bulgarian call center and most of my agents are local and have sometimes difficulties in the English language. I was monitoring some chats when I saw this:

Customer: I am having a problem with one of my orders.

Agent: We are sorry to hear about your order issues, Could you please provide me with your order number?

Customer: (provides order number).

Agent: Could you please bare with me for a moment while I check your account?

Customer: No problem dear, I will take off my clothes for you. Will you do the same?

Agent: (confused). What do you mean?

Customer: I think you meant bear with me :)

Toxic Masculinity Is Always Caffeinated

, , , , , | Working | September 19, 2018

(In the office kitchen, the coffee maker has a part that won’t go in properly after cleaning the grounds container. There’s a trick to doing it that I know, but most other employees don’t. It is literally just pushing slightly on a spot and everything clicks into place, but you need to know where to push. I usually end up doing it for people several times a day. Almost every day, some variation of this happens. I am female.)

Me: “Need help with this?”

Struggling Female Employee: “Yes, please.”

Me: *helps replacing the container*

Struggling Female Employee: “Thanks. You should show me how you do that.”


Me: “Need help with this?”

Struggling Male Employee: “Nah, I got this.” *after several minutes of more struggling* “Okay, you do it.”

Me: *does the magic touch*

Struggling Male Employee: “Yeah, I guess that was easy, now that I’ve done all the hard work.”

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Unfiltered Story #119358

, | Unfiltered | September 2, 2018

(I’m nineteen and I have a summer job as a tour guide/souvenir salesperson. I work at a nature phenomenon in the heart of a wildlife preserve, so there isn’t any electricity or running water. Add to that the average of 40°C we often get in the summer over there, and a very busy day with many groups and use of all the languages I know, and you can understand how exhausted I am by the end of the day. My coworker gives me a ride home and I ask him to stop a bit further, so I can go buy a few things from a local supermarket. At the register though…)

Me: “Hello, just this, please, and I’d like a bag with that.”

Cashier: “No problem at all. And… wow I must say this is the weirdest purchase I’ve seen so far and I’ve been working here for three years now.”

Me: “I’m sorry, what?”

Cashier: “I mean, I have seen some strange things. But fresh raspberries and imported Dutch beer… this is really the best. Can I please tell my husband? He’ll love the combination.”

Me: *finally getting it* “Oh… Oh I meant to get something completely different. I’ve been working under a hot sun all day and I’m a bit distracted.”

Cashier: “It’s all right, it happens to all of us. And your purchase just made my day!”

Me: “Always glad to help!”

(We both laughed and then I got home to continue laughing and to enjoy my beer and my raspberries. Fortunately I had the next day off, so I slept in and got some rest. Years later I still describe this to my friends as the weirdest purchase ever.)