They’re A Crafty Bunch

, , , , | Friendly | August 16, 2018

Friend #1: “I didn’t know there were this many white people in Durban!”

Me: “We’re at a craft beer festival.”

Friend #2: “It’s, like, their habitat.”

Careful, They’ll Be Watching You

, , , , | Working | July 2, 2018

(In our weekly lab meeting, one of my colleagues is presenting a complicated experimental plan with a lot of procedures over the course of several days.)

Boss: “You’re putting yourself at risk here by having so many steps. Every step you take…”

Me: “Every move you make?”

Only Trafficking Excuses

, , , , , | Working | May 29, 2018

(I just moved to a new country and need to set up a bank account. The HR manager at my institution puts me in touch with a field representative of one of the major banks, who will meet me at work so that I don’t have to go the bank. The first time we are supposed to meet, she calls and says she’s running late because she’s stuck in traffic. When we meet, she has a bit of a strange vibe, very chatty and fake-friendly instead of just professional. She leads me to understand that it’s very complicated to set up a bank account for a foreigner. According to her, I need additional documentation to set up the account, so we have to meet a second time.)

Bank Rep: “I’m sorry; I’m stuck in traffic again.”

Me: “Okay, no problem.”

(Since I’m not familiar with the local traffic, I don’t make any assumptions as to whether or not it’s normal to have a jam in the midafternoon. She finally shows up 45 minutes late again. There are a lot of forms to fill out and she seems to be giving me conflicting information as to what documents I need, compared to the first meeting. While we are going through the forms, her phone rings:)

Bank Rep: “Hello! Yes, I’m sorry, but I’ll be late; I’m stuck in traffic.”

(She said this while we were sitting in a building, nowhere near her car or the road. That was the final straw. I took my documents to the nearest branch of the same bank and had an account set up in less than an hour.)

Not A Standardised Way Of Saying It

, , , , , | Learning | May 1, 2018

(In South Africa, the years in school used to be called, “standards,” like in Malaysian primary schools, but in the 1990s they switched to calling them, “grades,” like in the USA. My friends in this story are in their late 30s, so they would have been in school before the change.)

Me: “English is my home language; I only learned Malay in Standard One.”

South African Friend #1: “You have standards?”

South African Friend #2: “Hey, that’s not nice, to say she doesn’t have standards.”

Not A Very Meaty Proposition

, , , | Right | March 26, 2018

(I’m waiting for my cashier friend to complete his shift at a popular pizza takeaway. The menu contains a pizza with four meats on it: bacon, beef, ham, and chicken.)

Customer: “Hi. Can I get a [Meat Pizza], please?”

Cashier: “Sure. Small, medium, or large?”

Customer: “Large, but can you remove the chicken, ham, bacon, and beef?”

Cashier: “So, you want a [Meat Pizza] with no meat?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Cashier: “Why don’t you order the margherita?”

Customer: “No, I want the [Meat Pizza] with no meat.”

Cashier: *utterly confused and now looking at me for answers*

Me: *blank stare*

Cashier: “But if I remove all the meat, it will be a margherita.”

Customer: “No, I want [Meat Pizza] with no meat.”

Cashier: “Okay.”

(My friend charges the customer for the [Meat Pizza] — which is $9, while the margherita is $3 — then asks the staff to make a margherita and hands it to the customer when it is ready. The customer opens the box and looks at the pizza.)

Customer: “Thank you.”

Me: “…”

Cashier: “…”

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