Lost Email In Translation

, , , , | Right | July 19, 2018

(A customer who doesn’t speak English well comes into the copy shop where I work and needs help emailing something from the self-serve computer.)

Customer: “I don’t know how to send. Help send email.”

Me: “Okay, go to the Internet here, and then type in the website you use for your email.”

(Like most people who need help emailing, he types his entire email address in the search bar.)

Me: “No, not your actual address, just the website you use.”

Customer: “What? Huh? This is my email.”

Me: “What is the last part?”

(The customer says his email address, so I tell him what to type in. Once he finally gets logged into his email, I see that he has it set up in his native language.)

Customer: “Now what?”

Me: “You need to open a new email.”

Customer: “Where?”

Me: “I don’t know; it’s not in English.”

Customer: “Where?! Where?!”

Me: “I don’t know; I can’t read any of that. It should say, ‘new,’ or, ‘compose,’ or something.”

Customer: “No! Not there! Where?”

Me: “I don’t know. I can’t read any of that. Is there a button that says, ‘new’?”

Customer: “Yeah.”

Me: “Okay, click on that.”

(I help him attach the file, and then I figure out which button is the “send” button because it looks like a button. But then he goes somewhere else on his email page.)

Customer: “Did it work? Does this mean it worked?”

Me: “I don’t know; like I said, I can’t read that because it’s not in English.”

(Later on the customer, comes to me with his phone, still in his native language, asking where to go to forward his email.)

Me: “It would be this arrow button here.”

(When he clicks the arrow button, three options in his language come up.)

Customer: “Which one?”

Me: “I don’t know. I can’t read that.”

(This went on for FAR too long.)

Doesn’t Even Sound Good On Paper

, , , | Right | May 11, 2018

Customer: “I would like to get wedding invites done, but I want them on the paper you have on the shelf over there.”

Me: “Unfortunately, our wedding invites are done out of house, and we can only use the paper that’s provided through the vendor.”

Customer: “But it’s probably all white, isn’t it? I want it to look like this.” *shows me on her phone* “Plus, I want the favour tags and save the dates, and thank you cards and rsvps, too.”

Me: “Well, if you like, I can take down all the information about what you want, and send that to head office. They can get back to us letting us know if they can find a vendor who will do what you want, and they’ll give us a price and turnaround time, too.”

Customer: “So, you can’t do it on the paper I want?”

Me: “Not in store, or through our wedding program.”

Customer: “What if I give you the paper I buy from the shelf, and you print them here?”

Me: “We can only use the papers we have in the copy centre, because they’re already approved by Xerox.”

Customer: “So, you can’t do this at all?”

Me: “Well, like I said, I can send away for a quote.”

Customer: “But I want to see samples of the paper they have.”

Me: “They can probably send some samples over to us, actually.”

Customer: “Ugh. What am I going to do?”

Me: *pause* “We can send a quote request out?”

Customer: “I can’t believe you can’t do this for me!”

Me: “I said I could send a request for a quote.”

Customer: “But how will they know the kind of paper I want?”

Me: “I’m going to tell them.”

Customer: “But here: I also want to have this design around my invitation, but it’s $45 to buy the design from the artist! Do you think you could steal it?”

Me: “No.”

Customer: “Why not?”

Me: “Because that’s how the artist makes their money. They won’t make a living if everyone steals their designs. You have to pay them for the file, or our graphic artists can create a new design for you. They could probably make it look similar.”

Customer: “Maybe I can steal it.”

Me: “Can I suggest that you don’t do that?”

Customer: “Ugh, but it’s so expensive! I don’t even want to spend $100 on this.”

Me: “Um, well, having an entire wedding package like this is going to cost you more than $100. Even if I could print it in-store for you, it would be more than $100.”

Customer: “So, you can’t do this for me at all?”

Me: “I didn’t say that. We can’t do it for under $100, but I can still request a quote for you.”

Customer: “But it’s going to be on white paper.”

Me: *screaming inside* “No, it isn’t.”

Customer: “Well, how will I know if I like the paper?”

Me: “I told you that they could most likely send us samples.”

Customer: “And what about when the order’s done? How am I supposed to pick it up?”

Me: “You would pick it up at the store.”

Customer: *looking through store paper sample book* “Ugh, I guess I could do it on this paper. Even though I don’t want this paper, at all. Ugh. I can’t believe I can’t get the paper I want.”

Me: Did you not want me to send out a quote request, to see if we can get the paper you want?”

Customer: “But I don’t get how you tell them what I want.”

Me: “I just type it up on the computer and sent it off. I just tell them what you want.”

Customer: “But we can’t get the paper I want.”

(OH, MY GOD! I was so frustrated with her. It went on forever.)

Self-Serving Verbal Abuse

, , , | Right | April 2, 2018

(I am currently booking in a full-service copy order with a customer when I realize that a line is forming. Just as I am paging for someone to come help me, a woman in the self-serve area yells at me. The self-serve computer she is using is for editing files, scanning, or printing from the Internet. It has Windows 7 on it, so it isn’t some weird computer with an unfamiliar setup or anything. It charges your credit card per minute of use.)

Customer: “Can I get some help over here?!”

Coworker: “Sorry, I’m not familiar with this department, and I have to help with the line-up, but as soon as [My Name] is free, she can give you a hand.”

(I smile at the customer in self-serve and then continue with the customers I am already with.)

Customer: “Excuse me?! I’m still waiting!”

Me: “Oh, you can pause that so you don’t get charged while you’re waiting.”

(I then turn back to my current customers, but the woman in self-serve gives me no time to finish up.)

Customer: “I have no idea what I’m doing!”

Me: “Right, so, pause it so it doesn’t keep charging you, and I’ll be over when I’m done.”

Customer: “This is ridiculous! I have a baby in the car right now who’s probably screaming…”

(I almost say, “ALONE?!”, but then she starts talking again.)

Customer: “…with my boyfriend. And I can’t leave them out there!”

(I’m sort of speechless at this point.)

Me: “Um… I have to finish with my customers here, first. It’s really busy right now.”

Customer: “I have been waiting for so long, and you guys are all helping people over at the cash, instead!”

Me: “Well, that’s a self-serve computer.”

Customer: “This is ridiculous!”

Me: “I can still help you; you just have to wait until we’re free.”


(She storms out, yelling about how we’re rude and ignorant. When I’m finishing up with my customers, I notice that she hasn’t even logged off from the computer and it is still charging her. I go over and log her off, and then another customer approaches me.)

Next Customer: “How do I use the self-serve copiers? Do I need a card?”

Me: “Yes, you need a credit card or a copy card.”

Next Customer: “Oh, I’ll just wait until you’re free and pay to have you do it for me behind the counter. And I won’t verbally abuse you.”

Doesn’t Understand The Prints-iple

, , , | Right | March 27, 2018

(This takes place in the self-serve area of our copy shop, where we have little tablet-like computers beside the copiers, where you can pay, insert a memory stick, or print from a few online sources.)

Customer: *pointing at the tablet screen which says “the copier is now ready to use”* “It’s not working! How am I supposed to get the files on my memory stick to show up!?”

Me: “It looks like you selected ‘Make Copies.’”

Customer: “Yeah.”

Me: “If you’re printing from a USB, you need to select ‘Make Prints.’”

Customer: “That’s the same thing.”

Me: “Um… No, it’s not. ‘Make Copies’ would make photocopies at the copier. ‘Make Prints’ would mean you are printing something… from a digital source.”

Customer: “Well… I’ll give that to you… but they’re the same thing!”

“Entering” A Whole New World

, , , , | Right | March 2, 2018

(This happens at least twice a day at our self-serve computer, after the customer has asked for help.)

Me: “If you’re emailing it, you need to first open the Internet browser.” *points to it on the screen*

(The customer has a blank look on their face.)

Me: *pointing again* “Right there. Okay, now type in the provider of your email address.”

(The customer types in their email address in the website bar.)

Me: “No, not your full email, just the website you use to get at your email.”

(The customer types.)

Me: “Then, hit enter… Hit enter… The enter key, on the keyboard… The one that says enter.”

(The customer finds it.)

Me: “Now, click right here so you can sign in… Right here… No, left click. No, left click. Click the left button on the mouse… That’s the right button.”

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