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Not Being A Goody Two-Shoes

, , , | Right | June 12, 2020

In the tearoom, it’s a common policy to take off your shoes and put them in the shoe locker. First-time visitors usually don’t know this so we ask them to do it. But when it’s too busy we sometimes miss them. This is one of the very busy days.

Customer: “Hey, I want a shisha.”

Coworker: “Okay. Oh, can I ask you to take off your shoes and put them in the locker, please?”

Customer: “Why? I will put them next to my table.”

Coworker: “Please put them in the locker.”

Customer: “Why? I want my shisha.”

Coworker: “Because they would be in the way. I could trip over them and hurt myself or someone else.”

Customer: “I don’t care. I want my shisha!

I was speechless. In the end, one of his friends did it for him.

They’re Not Russian To Pay You Any More

, , , , | Working | March 30, 2020

(My boss, the CEO, calls me to his office. When I come, the HR director is also present. Both of them can speak Russian.)

CEO: “[My Name], next week we will have VIP guests from Russia. I want you to give them the factory tour and show them our workshop, offices, etc.”

Me: “Okay, who’s going to interpret? [Secretary/Interpreter] has a week off next week.”

CEO: “You speak Russian; you don’t need an interpreter.”

Me: “Well, while that may be true, I’m not paid to speak Russian.”

CEO: “But you can speak Russian.”

Me: “When I was hired, I was told I’d get a bonus for every language I could speak except for English, which was one of the main requirements for the position I hold. In my contract, it is written that I’m paid for one foreign language and that’s English; I’d get a bonus for other languages. When I asked for it, you personally told me that I ‘don’t have a paper,’ so no bonus for me.”

HR Director: “Um, yes, that’s our policy that you need a certificate. But in your CV, you stated that your mother tongues are Czech and Russian, right?”

Me: “Yes, your point?”

HR Director: “So, you can speak Russian.”

Me: “Yes, but I’m not paid to do so. Since I don’t have a paper to prove it.'”

HR Director: “But it’s your mother tongue.”

Me: “So I don’t need a paper to get my bonus?”

HR Director: “Ugh, um, it’s your mother tongue, so it’s not a foreign language.”

Me: “But it is for you. We are based in the Czech Republic. Russian isn’t an official language here, so by definition it is a foreign language in this state. Is [Half-Russian Coworker] getting a bonus for speaking Russian?”

HR Director: “Ugh…”

Me: “Don’t worry. I know the answer, which is yes. One of her mother tongues is Russian and she is getting a bonus for it.” *turns to my boss* “Sorry, boss, but if you want me to speak Russian at work, you pay me to do it.” *in Russian* “No money, no Russian.”

(I didn’t give that tour.)

We Don’t Need Your Business (Class)

, , , | Right | December 5, 2019

(I work for the Elite/VIP line at an airline call center in Prague. While most of our passengers are polite and understanding, sometimes they are just entitled jerks.)

Me: “Good morning. Welcome to your [VIP line]. My name is [My Name]; how may I help you?”

Caller: “I need to be on the next flight from Paris to New York. One-way, business class, quickly.”

Me: “Sure thing. Let me look at what we can offer you.”

Caller: “The price on the website is outrageous; I hope you can do better than that.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, we are almost fully booked and the departure is in two hours; the best price I can offer you is [horribly high last-minute price].”


Me: “I understand, sir, but she will not do that. Looking at your booking from six months ago, you purchased the ticket four months in advance. You cannot expect the same price for a last-minute business-class ticket.”

Caller: “But I’m a [second-highest tier] passenger; I should get cheaper prices!”

Me: “That’s not how it works.”

Caller: “Your program is useless. Frequent flyers are not rewarded enough.”

Me: “With your additional bag, your extra-comfortable seat on the [arguably the best passenger plane in the world]’s top deck, as well as the shuttle to the airport, all free of charge on both legs, you saved more than €300 on your previous booking.”

Caller: “I didn’t… I mean, this is normal, but I expect more.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but it looks like the last seat on this plane was booked by another passenger since we did not confirm it early enough, and the next ones for today are already overbooked. If you wish, I can put you on tomorrow’s flight, same time.”

Caller: *curses, then hangs up*

Spy Games

, , , | Related | November 20, 2019

(Our granddaughter is now at camp. Because it’s November, it’s not taking place in the woods, but in a nice old mansion in the suburbs. My wife and I are taking an evening stroll and just happen to be in the vicinity. My wife pulls herself up to the fence.)

Wife: “I see them all! [Supervisor] is there, [Granddaughter’s Friend] is there, and look! There is [Granddaughter]! They seem to be playing some board games. Everything looks fine!”

Me: “Honey, you do realize it is perfectly legal just go inside and ask questions?”

Wife: “Are you crazy? I would be awkward to keep checking on her!”

Me: “And what exactly are you doing now?”

Wife: *beaming* ” I am spying! Totally different!”

They Should Have Czeched Before They Traveled

, , , , | Right | October 21, 2019

(I have a summer job at the reception of a hotel in Prague’s city centre, and our guests are mainly tourists. It is July 3rd. We have two national public holidays coming up, one on July 5th and second on July 6th. Neither is really celebrated unless it’s an anniversary year. The guests are clearly Americans; one of them has an American flag around his suitcase. There are four guys in total, somewhere from thirty to forty years old. They are generally pleasant and cooperate during the check-in.)

Me: “All right, you are all set. Can I help you with anything else? Any places you would like to visit and need directions for?”

Guest: *with the American flag on his suitcase* “Where are the celebrations? What is a good spot to watch the fireworks?”

Me: “Oh, the holidays are on July 5th and July 6th. Unfortunately, there won’t be any festivities. Only some places might be closed, and others might have different opening hours. But definitely nothing major.”

Guest: “What?!”

(He has been really nice up to this moment; however, he starts to raise his voice.)

Another Guest: “The fourth of July.”

Me: “Oh, you mean the American Independence Day?”

Guest: “YES!”

Me: “I’m terribly sorry, but I’m afraid that here in the Czech Republic we do not celebrate the American holiday.”

Guest: “But we came here to celebrate it!”

(After that, the manager came down to the reception and dealt with them. All four guys seemed to be genuinely perplexed that there wouldn’t be any festivities to mark American Independence day in the middle of Europe. However, my manager was quick on his feet and suggested that they look for some Facebook group for expats living in Prague to find some Americans living in Prague that might be celebrating. When I asked my manager about the idea, it turned out they were not the first ones to ask about it.)

This story is part of our July 4th roundup!

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