Rest Of The World = Not America

, , , , , | Right | December 5, 2018

(I am currently the supervisor of the front end of a major supermarket in a small Australian town on the edge of the suburbs. I get called over by an employee who is dealing with a rather rude customer.)

Me: “Hi, sir. What seems to be your problem today?”

Customer: “Fire your d*** useless employee now!”

Me: “Okay, sir, please calm down and explain to me what the exact problem is.”

Customer: “This d*** employee won’t accept my rewards card! I never get good service here! You love taking my money, but I never get any service!”

(I turn to the employee and see he is holding a [Massive American Retailer] rewards card.)

Me: “Sir, I am sorry, but we can’t accept this card here.”

Customer: “I demand to talk to a supervisor! This is completely unacceptable!”

Me: “Sir, I am the supervisor currently working today. Now, please calm down and we will try to work this out down at the service desk.”’

(I ask to employee to save the transaction so I can recall it at the service desk.)

Me: “Sir, there is no way we can accept this card, as it is not a [Our Store Rewards Card]; this card is not valid anywhere in this country.”

Customer: “Why the h*** not? I always use this card!”

Me: “Because we are not [Massive American Retailer], and I can assure you nobody here will accept this card.”

Customer: “But I always use this card!”

Me: *seeing this is going nowhere* “Okay, sir, I will ring the closest [Massive American Retailer], and if they say it’s okay, we will accept it.”

Customer: “Finally!”

(I get my phone out and look for the closest store, which happens to be in Honolulu, thousands of kilometres away across the Pacific. As soon as they answer, I give the phone to the customer. I can only hear what he is saying, but he is turning beet red. After a few more seconds, he slams the phone down and turns to me.)

Customer: “Is this some sort of joke? Why did you call a f****** store in Hawaii?”

Me: “That is the closest store; we are in Australia, not America, if you haven’t already noticed.”

Customer: “You f****** idiots have no idea what you are talking about!”

Me: “Sir, please stop swearing. Now, would you like to finish your purchase, or would you like me to void it?”

(He then stormed out, muttering that he was absolutely in America and we just didn’t want to help him. I really didn’t know what to say after that.)

There’s No Sugar-Coating This Wasted Journey

, , , , , , | Romantic | December 4, 2018

A few years ago my husband I traveled from Ireland to the USA to complete a coast-to-coast road trip. One day we stopped for lunch in a restaurant that sold every variety of soda you can think of.

At the time, I had seen a lot of talk online about the Mexican version of a popular soda; people were going crazy over it because it apparently tasted so much better than the American version. The restaurant had the Mexican version in stock — at an inflated price of course — and I decided to order one to see what the fuss was about.

My drinks arrived and I took a sip, only to find it tasted exactly like the soda at home. I asked my husband to try it, too, and he said the same thing. That’s when I realised that the Mexican version of the soda is made with real cane sugar, just like in Ireland, and the American version is made with fructose corn syrup. I basically traveled all the way to America to pay through the nose for the same drink we can get at home! My husband still hasn’t let me live it down.

The Rain In Maine Now Falls Mainly On The UK

, , , , | Right | November 21, 2018

(I grew up in Maine but recently moved to Wisconsin. I’m waiting on a table.)

Customer: “Your accent is interesting. Where are you from?”

Me: “New England.”

Customer: “Oh, like London? Did you ever get to see the queen?!”

Me: “Um, no. New England. Specifically Maine.”

Customer: “I had no idea Maine was in Britain.”

Me: “It’s…” *sigh* “I’ll go get your drinks.”

(They were in their fifties.)

Beer With Me For A Moment

, , , , , , | Working | November 15, 2018

(In early 1994, I am invited over to the States from the UK by an American music software house, as a demonstrator for their flagship software program at a major trade show in California. Whilst at the show, one of their lead sales managers, knowing of my liking for beer, invites me out along with several other folks from the company for an evening at a local bar. This bar is apparently known for having something like 114 different beers from around the world. Anxious to introduce my friends to the peculiar delights of British beer, I peruse the section dedicated to my home country, at which point the alarm bells go off. There are three beers on offer: a low-alcohol brew borne out of the privations of World War II which hasn’t been brewed for UK consumption since 1976, though still brewed for export at that time, a favourite of Clint Eastwood, but only ever available in bottles, never on tap, and a strong cask ale known for its knee-trembler abilities when consumed to excess. I therefore order a jug of the final nectar for our drinking pleasure, which is duly delivered… at which point I feel the need to complain to the barman.)

Me: *after taking a sip* “This isn’t [Brand]!”

Barman: “Yes, it is, sir.”

Me: *deploying my best upper-class English accent* “Au contraire, dear boy! For your information, I was born 100 yards from their brewery in Chiswick, London. I was raised drinking this, my local brew, and can categorically assure you that this is not [Brand]!”

Barman: “What makes you think that?”

Me: “Well, for a start, you’re obviously serving it from a gas-pumped barrel; [Brand] is only ever served from a tap-and-vent barrel, hand-pumped via a long swan neck. Secondly, the colour is entirely wrong, and thirdly — and most importantly — it tastes nothing like [Brand]. I have no idea what you call it here, but in my country we have a little something called the Trades Descriptions Act, which makes it illegal to pass off a product as something else.”

Barman: “…”

Me: “Get me your manager.”

(The manager ended up giving us free drinks for the rest of the night which, despite this hiccup, proved highly entertaining for all concerned, and a prime example of American hospitality. I note with considerable pleasure that in the intervening years, America has embraced the production of craft ale/real ale and is now making some seriously excellent beers.)

Every English Person In The USA Ever

, , , , , | Working | November 3, 2018

(I’m British but have been living in America for five years. I still have a strong British accent. My wife and I are in Cape May celebrating my 30th birthday, and we’re in a gift shop looking for something to bring home as a gift/souvenir.)

Me: “Hi! I love this mug. How much is it?”

Worker: “Oh, my God, your accent! Are you from England?”

(I get this a lot and it doesn’t really bother me, so I smile and nod.)

Me: “Yup. Been living here a while, though. So, this mug—”

Worker: “Do you know the Queen?”

Me: *laughs* “I haven’t met her, if that’s what you mean.”

Worker: *seeming genuinely disappointed* “Aww. I want to meet the Queen. I bet she’s cool. Oh! Hey! Do you know [Common First Name] and [Other Common First Name]?”

Me: “Uh… I don’t think so.”

Worker: “That’s my cousin and his wife! They live in England, too, in [Town]! Do you know them?”

Me: “That’s way up north, and I’ve never been there, so no, I don’t know them.”

Worker: “Oh. Well, they live at [full address], so if you ever go up there, say hi to them from me!”

Me: “Um… Sure.”

(She went on to ask me endless questions about whether I’d been to certain places she’d heard of or met people she knew. She was friendly, but eventually we left without buying anything because I couldn’t get a word in edgeways to ask about the souvenirs I was interested in!)

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