Cultural Stereotypes Are On The Menu

, , , , , | Working | March 8, 2018

My family and I are visiting Europe and Armenia over summer, and while in Vienna, we stop for dinner at a tavern. The waiter brings us the German menu, which is about the size of a ruler, but folds out. The German shouldn’t be a problem since my sister and I both speak German, but since we both learned high German, the menu in Austrian German makes less sense.

We ask the waiter for an English menu, and he goes off to get one. He comes back a few seconds later with a huge menu, complete with pictures and descriptions. We all burst out laughing as the waiter walks off.

I guess they do think Americans are stupid.

Blame Canada! Part 8

, , , , , , | Right | March 6, 2018

(I work at a clothing store in Canada that’s fairly popular in the USA, too. We get a fair amount of American customers, as well. Each country has a different version of the website and different sales. One afternoon, two women approach me at the cash with their shopping and I quickly begin ringing them up.)

Customer #1: “Oh! Those jeans aren’t the right price.”

Me: “Oh, that’s no good. Did the sale sign in the section say something different?” *thinking it’s a signing error*

Customer #2: “No, no, it’s the website price that’s different.”

(She then pulls out her phone to show me the website. I can see from the web address that she’s looking at the American website.)

Me: “Miss, that’s the wrong website; also, we don’t price match to our web prices.”

Customer #1: “What do you mean? We’re at the [Store] website!”

Me: “Miss, you’re in Canada, and even if you were using the Canadian website, I still can’t price match the jeans to that price. If you want the jeans at that price, you’ll have to buy them in the States.”

Customer #2: “But we’re American! I want to pay the American prices with American money!”

Me: “Then, please, go back to the States and purchase the jeans there. While you’re in Canada, you have to pay the Canadian prices. I’m sorry.”

(They left in a huff and I thankfully didn’t see them for the rest of my shift.)

Blame Canada!
Blame Canada! (Day)
Blame Canada!

Germaniac, Part 7

, , , , , , | Working | March 4, 2018

(I am buying a bottle of a well-known brand of carbonated water, among other things. The cashier is probably in her 40s or 50s.)

Cashier: *as she’s ringing me up* “How is this different from regular water?”

Me: “It’s just carbonated water.”

Cashier: “Oh, okay. What flavor?”

Me: “No flavor, just water.”

Cashier: “So, it’s just water?”

Me: “Carbonated water. It was served a lot when I lived in Germany, and I really liked it.”

Cashier: “You lived in Germany? Wasn’t that hard?”

Me: “It was pretty fun, actually.”

Cashier: “But they didn’t speak English, did they?”

Me: “A lot of them did, but I also learned a lot of German over there.”

Cashier: “Oh, that sounds so hard. Whenever I hear those languages on TV, it just sounds like noise. I don’t know how anyone understands it.”

Me: *taking my receipt and slowly trying to detach myself from the conversation* “Well, the Germans manage.”

Germaniac, Part 6
Germaniac, Part 5
Germaniac, Part 4

In A State Of Confusion

, , , , , | Right | March 1, 2018

(I work in a hotel that is situated in a city that has the same name as another state. I get phone calls like this on a regular basis despite the fact that our website clearly displays the full location on our website and in our hotel’s name. Also, we don’t have an area code at all, like those from the other state.)

Me: “Hello! This is [My Name] at [Hotel] in Indiana. How may I help you?”

Caller: “Yes. Hello. I was wondering where in Indiana you were located.”

Me: “No problem. We are located on [Street] right off of the highway, and in the same area as [Store].”

Caller: “No, no. I meant what city in Indiana are you located in.”

Me: “We are actually located in the city of Indiana within the state of Pennsylvania. We are about 350 miles from the border of the state of Indiana.”

Caller: “But you’re website says you are located in Indiana.”

Me: “Yes. That is the city and not the state.”

Caller: “But I want a [Hotel] in Indiana.”

Me: “Then I suggest you look at our websites for hotels in the correct state. Have a good day, sir!”

It’s “Really New” Zealand

, , , , , , | Learning | February 3, 2018

(We are writing about the histories of English-speaking countries for a project on colonialism. This happens when I read out a history of New Zealand in front of the class.)

Me: “People have only lived in New Zealand for approximately 700 years. It may be as long ago as 800 AD, but—”

Teacher: “No, [My Name], I need a history of the natives, not the settlers.”

Me: “But the Māori only arrived in New Zealand from the Pacific in what would have been the medieval times in Europe.”

Teacher: “When I said a history of New Zealand, I didn’t mean just the white people. The white people may have arrived then, but tell me what year they came from Australia, shall we?”

Me: “No, really, it was less than a thousand years ago. They didn’t come from Australia; they came from the Pacific Ocean. And Europeans weren’t interested in places outside of what they already knew until after Columbus came back from America. Well, roughly. So, everything you’re saying is wrong.”

Teacher: *passive-aggressively* “Hmm, I think I’ll be the judge of that.”

(I got a C.)

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