It’s Not So Oui-sey

, , , , , | Working | June 10, 2018

(My husband and I have taken our five-month-old son abroad to a famous theme park for our first family holiday. We are staying in one of the park’s hotels and go there immediately after arriving to check in and drop off our bags. We don’t speak French, but as the majority of staff speak English, we don’t foresee any problems. We also request a travel cot from reception to be delivered to our room. We venture into the park and spend several hours happily exploring and taking pictures and get back to the hotel well after dark. Being very tired, our first priority is to assemble the travel cot and put the baby down to sleep. However, after a couple of minutes, it becomes clear that something is wrong, as the cot refuses to open. After giving the whole thing a final shake — more out of tiredness and frustration than anything else — the cot suddenly unfolds with a clatter. It turns out that in trying to close it, the previous user of the cot had forced it in such a way that one of the metal legs had broken clean off, resulting in the cot getting suck in the “closed” position and rendering it unusable. Now annoyed, as well as tired and frustrated, I call the reception desk and explain that our travel cot is broken and we require a new one as soon as possible. The receptionist is not as fluent in English as the one we spoke to earlier in the day, but she seems to get the gist of our request and says that she will send someone right away. Twenty minutes later, an employee appears at our door. He does not speak English, but walks straight up to the crumpled pile of travel cot, which we had left in the corner of the room. In three swift movements, he has it unfolded.)

Employee: “Ta-da!” *gives us a smug look at having assembled the cot so swiftly when we apparently could not*

Me: *holding out the broken cot leg* “Okay, and what about this?”

(The employee looked at the leg, then at the cot, and his face fell. He took the leg and started to drag the fully-assembled broken cot out of the room, shaking his head and saying, “Oh la-la, oh la-la,” over and over again. Five minutes later, a new cot was delivered by a different employee. I guess the receptionist didn’t quite understand when we said our cot was broken, not that we didn’t know how to put it up.)

Unfiltered Story #113820

, | | Unfiltered | May 31, 2018

(I live in a city that’s not very far from the English coast. I’m queuing at the checkout. The cashier is ringing up for a lady. He says the price and she gives him a coupon.)

Cashier: “I’m sorry, Ma’am. You cannot pay with this. It’s a 15 euros coupon and your amount is 10.63 euros.”

Customer (in English): “Please, I’d like to pay for my purchases.”

Cashier (still in French): “If you give me this, you’ll have to spend all of it! I cannot give you the missing 5 euros, that’s our policy!”

Customer (still in English): “I know this coupon is valid. Please, I’d just like to pay!”

(At this point, I’m wondering who’s stupider: the manager who hired someone who doesn’t know English in our city, or the tourist who didn’t even learn how to say “please, do you speak English?” in French before coming.)

Me (awkwardly, in English): “Madam, he’s telling you that if you pay with this card, he won’t be able to give you the missing money back.”

Customer: “That’s OK, I don’t mind giving all of it.”

Me (in French): “She says she’s ok with paying with her whole coupon.”

Cashier: “OK, thank you.”

(The lady gives her coupon and leaves with her purchases. The cashier smiles at me.)

Cashier: “It’s nice to be nice with English people!”

Full Carts And Full Hearts

, , , | Hopeless | April 22, 2018

(My mom volunteers to collect food for a national charity. She is at the entrance of a local supermarket handing out papers asking people for food to be offered to people with low income during winter, and collecting whatever customers are willing to give away to them. Most customers either give away canned food, or just ignore them.)

Child: *to his dad* “Daddy, what’s this? *points at my mom*

Customer:Shush! That’s for tramps and hobos, ignore them!” *pulls him in the store*

(My mom and the other volunteers are a bit taken aback, but they don’t think anything of it and the day continues. In the middle of the afternoon, an old lady pays for her purchases, and notices my mom and the charity collection.)

Old Lady: “Oh.”

(My mom watches as she slowly makes her way out into the parking lot with a small bag of purchases in one hand and her cane in the other. My mom then goes back to handing out paper and collecting food. A few hours later, my mom notices the same old lady, slowly making her way back into the store, this time with a shopping cart.)

Old Lady: “Thank you.” *takes paper and goes back in browsing shelves*

(One whole hour later, she goes to the cash register for her new purchases, struggling to push her shopping cart full of groceries. She pays, slowly pushes her full shopping cart towards my mom, and stops it at the charity’s stand.)

Old Lady: “Here you go.”

(The charity volunteers all thanked her a lot. Turns out that, despite her age and the fact she didn’t own a car, she did her best walking back home to put her groceries to her fridge, and walked back to the store only to donate a cart full of groceries for charity. One of the volunteers offered her a ride home, which she said she didn’t need. Thank you, unknown lady.)

At Least He Told The Tooth

, , , | Healthy | April 18, 2018

(I study dentistry in France, where you work at a dental clinic starting on your fourth year. Every half day, you’re in a different service. For example, on Tuesday mornings, I take care of cavities and the like, and on Friday afternoons I remove teeth. To remove a tooth, you obviously have to anesthetize the patient locally, and, for medical reasons, you cannot do that if the patient has taken drugs recently — especially cocaine — or you could cause them to have a heart attack. Although it is a rare occurrence and most likely wouldn’t happen anyway, we still can’t knowingly inject a drugged patient with adrenalin, which is part of our anesthesiant. A patient I know from a different service comes to have a tooth removed. Since I’ve already seen him and his file, I know he is a drug addict. On this particular day, he is acting very “twitchy.”)

Me: *after five minutes of chatting about the treatment I already performed on him while we set up the operation table* “So, have you taken any drugs lately?”

Patient: “You have to be more precise; I’ve been on drugs my entire life!”

Me: “Hm, how about that last week?”

Patient: “Sure.”

Me: “What have you taken?”

Patient: “A bit of everything, really.”

Me: “What about cocaine?”

Patient: “Oh, yeah.”

Me: “In the last three days?”

Patient: *more or less jokingly* “Are you the police? Why are you questioning me?”

Me: “Well, sir, I can’t anesthetize you if you’ve taken cocaine recently; that could cause you to have a heart attack. I personally don’t care; it’s for your sake. So, when’s the last time you’ve taken cocaine?”

Patient: “Hm… Half an hour ago.”

(I resisted the urge to face-palm and informed the patient that I could not legally or ethically remove his tooth. He told me that he had come plenty of times, been anesthetized and never had any issue, but I still refused and sent him away. I told him to come back clean after the weekend and wrote about the incident in his file, warning the next student to check whether he is clean or not. He will probably come back high as a kite and just lie about having taken anything, but at least it will not be my responsibility, then.)

This Taxi Entitlement Condition Is Terminal

, , , | Right | April 2, 2018

(It’s the last day of a college class trip to France. Some in our group have pooled money for a van to take us to the airport. As we’re all putting our luggage into the back, an American couple and their older son suddenly dash out of their hotel and yell about their cab going missing. We shrug it off and get in the van. The woman of the couple gets in with us.)

Woman: *in English* “I need you to take us to the airport!”

Driver: “Madame, they paid for me to drive them. You need to call for another cab.”

Woman: “No! Someone took our taxi. You need to drive us! We are late!

(This goes back and forth for a while. The woman refuses to listen to anyone in the van, her own family included. We tell the driver to just take them along, because we know this woman won’t get out. She proceeds to backseat drive the entire way to the airport, though I’m almost certain she has never been to Paris before.)

Driver: *stops somewhere far away from the terminal* “Here you go!”

Woman: “But this isn’t—”

Woman’s Husband: “This is fine. Thank you.” *pays the driver and ushers the family out*

(They have to walk over a concrete divider to get into the nearest building.)

Driver: *to us, in French* “That woman was driving me crazy!”

(He drove us to our terminal, and we gave him as good a tip as we could with the Euros we had left. Be nice to your cabbies, and don’t backseat drive.)

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