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I Spat On Your Spatula

| Right | October 22, 2015

(I am a student employee working at the cafeteria of my community college that I attend. I am at our fusion station serving various forms of pasta. I keep a fairly clean operation and periodically change my cooking implements as well as clean my station. After dealing with one picky customer, I run through my cleaning routine save for one skillet and spatula I have only just begun using for the previous customer. A female student walks up to the station shortly after I finish cleaning the counters.)

Me: “Hi there, how are you doing today?”

Customer: “Good. What is this?”

(This alone amused me as it was obvious what I was serving but multiple others asked me this already today so I dismissed it.)

Me: “It is a pasta bar today. Would you like some?”

Customer: “Sure.”

(She proceeds to tell me her selections but suddenly stops short when I go to use the aforementioned tools.)

Me: “Is something wrong?”

Customer: “Would you please use a different pan? I don’t want you to make my food in an infected pan.”

(This annoys me slightly but not enough for her to see. I get a new skillet out and move her meal into it and grab the spatula.)

Customer: “Uh, I’m sorry but could you please use another spatula. I don’t want that one used in my food.”

(By this time the lunch rush has begun and other customers have started to line up behind her. I run to the back to get a new spatula, come back, and set it on the counter so I can light the burner.)

Me: “Okay, ma’am, is this what you want?

Customer: “Yes, that’ll be great…”

Me: “Is there still a problem, ma’am?”

Customer: “You know what I think I’m going to pass.”

Me: “Why?”

Customer: “You can’t put a clean spatula on the counter; it’ll get germs all over it. You need to have napkins or plates stacked together to put it on so it doesn’t get infected. I’m sorry but I can’t… have a nice day.”

(The customer speeds off without another word. I’m standing there with her food half made when another female student, who had witnessed most of this, approaches me laughing.)

Me: “Okay, can someone tell me what just happened?”

Customer #2: “It’s okay; don’t get frazzled. I know that girl. Sorry about that.”

Me: “Not a problem. What can I do for you today?”

Customer #2: “You know what? I’ll just have what she was going to have.”

Must Be In A Vegetative State

| Working | October 9, 2015

(I am attempting to order food from a station offering pressed sandwiches, chicken patties, and veggie burgers.)

Me: “Hi, may I have a veggie burger, please?”

Worker: “Sure, which kind?”

Me: “Just the veggie burger, please.”

Worker: “Okay, would you like the chicken or the black bean?”

Me: “…”

Speaking Germaniac

| Working | September 30, 2015

(I moved to Germany quite recently and although I understand the language fairly well, I can only speak in simple sentences. I am also easily flustered. This happens at the university cafeteria, when I pick up a sandwich from the case and go to the counter to order a drink and pay for the items.)

Me: *holding up the sandwich and in my best German* “Here, please, and an orange juice to go.”

Grumpy Guy: *says something very fast in German, which I don’t understand*

Me: “Pardon?”

Grumpy Guy: *repeats the question equally fast, sounding irritated*

Me: *getting flustered, but doing my best* “Sorry, I don’t understa—”

Grumpy Guy: *cutting across me, still in German* “What. Kind. Of. SANDWICH, God d*** it!”

Me: “Oh, it’s the tomato and cheese. And an orange juice to go, please.”

(He glares at me, stomps off, and returns with the juice in a glass instead of a plastic cup.)

Me: *increasingly flustered* “Sorry, I’d like that to go, please.”

Grumpy Guy: “Argh, why the h*** didn’t you say so earlier?”

(He stomps off again, muttering to himself and finally returning with the juice in a plastic cup, which he bangs onto the counter. I move to pick it up but knock it over instead. Juice splashes all over the counter, my pants and the floor.)

Grumpy Guy: “You clumsy idiot! Now look what you’ve done! Bloody fool!”

Me: *very embarrassed and close to tears* “I’m really sorry! So sorry!”

(I grab paper towels and mop up the mess on the counter and the floor, apologizing profusely all the while. He just stands behind the counter, yelling at me, and I don’t understand a word he’s saying. Finally I finish cleaning up, pay for the items and rush out, very upset and getting stared at because of my wet pants all the way home. The next day, I’m relieved to see a different guy behind the counter. When I go to pay, however, I realize that I’ve picked up a sandwich with meat in it by mistake.)

Me: *hesitantly, in German* “Sorry, I’m a vegetarian and this has meat. May I put it back and get something else?”

(Before he can answer, the grumpy guy from the day before sees me and pipes up.)

Grumpy Guy: “Oh, she’s back with another problem, is she? Bloody fool, can’t do a thing right. So many people waiting behind her, too. It’s people like her who’re always causing trouble and holding up our work.”

Me: *speechless with anger which I am unable to articulate in German*

Second Guy: *looks shocked* “What are you saying? Shut up!” *to me* “No problem, ma’am, you can go pick out something else, and I sincerely apologize for my colleague’s rudeness. In fact, have any item you like for free.”

(He waited till I returned with a vegetarian option, even holding the queue for me, and refused to take any money for the order. As I walked away I could hear him arguing with the grumpy guy, who seemingly lost the battle and skulked off to the back. To the nice man who restored my faith in the cafeteria staff: Danke Schön!)

Gut-Busting Humor

| Friendly | August 19, 2015

(Five of us are eating dinner in the dining hall, having various conversations at once. Friend #1 is a biology major, and I overhear her conversation mid-sentence.)

Friend #1: “…and I’ll clean my intestines.”

Me: “Well, I hope your intestines are clean!”

Friend #1: “Don’t worry, they’re fine.”

Friend #2: “I hate cleaning my intestines.”

Me: “Yeah, it’s a whole-day ordeal.”

Friend #1: “And so messy!”

Me: “Especially the large one.”

Friend #2: “And I hate shopping for soap.”

Me: “You need to find an extra-gentle brand.”

Friend #1: “So hard to find one that doesn’t cause an allergic reaction.”

Friend #2: “And then they have a men’s section and a women’s section, and they’re the same soap but the women’s is pink so it’s five dollars more…”

Friend #1: “I just use the men’s soap. No one will know.”

Me: “If they can tell, then they’re too close!”

Friend #2: “Yeah, it’s kind of a private thing. Like you can be married and not let your husband see until you’ve been together for ten years.”

Me: “I’ve been married for thirty and he hasn’t seen me clean my intestines.”

Friend #2: “That’s understandable. It’s very personal.”

Me: “I can’t wait to have a child so I can teach her how to clean her intestines. We’ll use lamb intestines for practice.”

Friend #2: “Yeah, start them off early so they’re used to how intestines look.”

Friend #1: “And smell.”

Me: “…I’m going to go put this on NotAlwaysFriendly.”

When Veggie-Burgers Just Aren’t Enough

, | Learning | August 15, 2015

(My friends and I are headed into the cafeteria for dinner. At the register is a sign showing what’s being served on the main line.)

Me: “‘Vegetarian meatloaf?’ That’s an oxymoron if I ever saw one!”