Not Provider-ing The Right Information

, , , | Right | November 19, 2018

(I work tech support in a software company. Our clients are other companies whose employees use our software. If there is a technical issue, the clients’ employees call us directly. In order to help, we naturally need to know which client company they’re calling from.)

Me: “Hello, [Company] tech support. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Hi, I’m having a problem with your software.” *describes problem*

Me: “I see. This issue requires some investigation; please let me look into it and I’ll call you back later. Could you tell your name, and where you are calling from?”

Caller: “I’m [Caller]. I’m calling from my office.”

Me: “No, I mean which company?”

Caller: “Oh. It’s [Major Telecommunications Company].”

(That company is indeed one of our clients, and I’ve been told to give them first priority if they have any issues. After I hang up, I begin to look into the issue, but I can’t find a record of anyone with that name working there. Since their usage history is required to see what caused the problem, that means I can’t do anything about it. Fearing it is taking too long, I let my boss know, but he can’t find the user, either. After a while, he comes to talk to me, looking a mix of amused and annoyed.)

Boss: “So, this [Caller] you spoke to? In fact, she works for [Other Much Smaller Company].”

Me: “So, why did she say they worked for [Major Telecommunications Company]?”

Boss: “She called from her mobile phone, and thought you were asking which provider she uses.”

Different Places, Different Paces

, , , , | Right | November 16, 2018

(A customer calls from London because he needs some help checking in for his flight back to Athens.)

Customer: “Hello. I’m trying to check in online but the site is not working right.”

Me: “I’m afraid the online check-in service will be available four hours from now.”

Customer: “Is it four hours in Greek time or English time?”

Me: “You know, time doesn’t work like that.”

STOP! And Get Out

, , , , , | Learning | October 15, 2018

(I’ve just finished a driving lesson. The instructor has me drive the car to where we’ll pick up another student, and then he’ll drive me home, a short distance away. I’m in the back seat, while the instructor is in the front passenger seat, which has another set of pedals.)

Instructor: “Remember: before crossing another street, slow the car, and look to see if any others are coming. If there’s a STOP sign, stop the car entirely. Understood?”

Student: “Yes, of course.”

(He starts driving. At some point we’re about to cross a semi-big street, with a STOP sign facing us, but the car shows no signs of slowing. Just when I think the other student is going to cross without looking, the car suddenly stops. At first I think the other student has remembered to stop a bit late, but then I look at him. He glances around us for a few moments, then down at his pedals, then at the instructor, looking entirely confused.)

Student: “What just happened?”

(The instructor had used his own brake to stop the car. I walked the rest of the way.)

Euro No No

, , , , , | Right | October 1, 2018

(I am on vacation in Santorini, Greece with a few friends, exploring the town. There is a vendor selling noise-makers and other cute children’s toys on a mat in the square outside a church. An American woman is with her small child, who is playing with the toys, and the following exchange occurs.)

Customer: “I guess we’ll take one of these bouncy balls. How much?”

Vendor: “Three.”

Customer: *hands the man an American $10 bill* “Here you go.”

Vendor: “I can’t take this.”

Customer: “Why not? You said it was three dollars.”

Vendor: “No, euros.”

Customer: “What?! Why didn’t you say so? I don’t have any euros. Just take this. You can even keep the change.”

Vendor: “This is not America; I don’t take American money.”

Customer: “Okay, here’s a card.”

Vendor: “No, euros only.”

(This goes on for a bit, the woman getting angrier. The vendor eventually shakes his head in a final “no,” and she storms off towards us.)

Customer: “Could you believe him?! I can’t believe he wouldn’t take my money.”

Me: “Well, we are… you know… in Greece…”

It May Be All Greek To Me But I Understood

, , , , , | Working | July 9, 2018

(While our family is German, my sister’s fiancé is Greek and moved to Germany with his whole family due to the Greek economy crisis. They went back to their home in Greece for a month in summer and invited my sister to join them for her summer holiday. It’s also important to note that my sister’s fiancé is very white, blonde, and blue-eyed, and doesn’t look typically Greek at all but rather Scandinavian. The two of them are out shopping. My sister does not speak Greek, and relies on her fiancé to translate or just speaks English. They are currently in a small clothing store. My sister wants to try on some shoes while her fiancé has gone elsewhere.)

Sister: “Excuse me, do you have these in [size]?”

Employee: “I think we do! Give me a moment; I’ll check in the back.”

(She comes back with the shoes in the correct size and my sister tries them on, but they don’t fit very well.)

Sister: “I like how they look, but they’re too narrow at the front and loose in the back. Do you maybe have something similar in a wider cut?”

(The employee is very polite and professional, and proceeds to show her several similar pairs. However, all of them are lacking a specific detail that the other shoe had and my sister liked very much. She doesn’t know how to describe it in English, though. Just then, her fiancé shows up with a few shirts he wants to buy.)

Fiancé: *in German* “Hi, babe, how’s it going? Did you find anything?”

(He kisses her.)

Fiancé: *to employee* “Hi!”

Employee: *to fiancé* “Hello, sir. Did you find everything all right?”

Sister: *in German* “[Fiancé]! I’ve been looking for shoes with [detail], but I don’t know how to say it in English! Can you translate it for me?”

(She then explains in German what she couldn’t say in English. Her fiancé proceeds to translate it to Greek for the employee. When he starts speaking Greek, the employee’s eyes go wide and her whole demeanour changes.)

Employee: *speaks rapidly in Greek, gesticulating wildly*

Fiancé: *answers in Greek, brows furrowed*

Employee: *more gesticulating, bats her eyes at [Fiancé]*

Fiancé: *shoves his shirts into the employee’s arms, says something in Greek angrily, and puts his arm around [Sister]*

Fiancé: *in German* “Come on, honey. We’re leaving.”

(He then pulls her out of the store. The employee yells something in Greek after them. Now outside, my sister asks what happened in the store.)

Fiancé: “When the employee realized I was Greek and you couldn’t understand us, she offered to sell everything to me without tax and receipt. I refused. She then called it a ‘special discount’ and started hitting on me, right next to you. She also said some racist things about Germans being greedy and taking all our money, and that I’d be better off without you. I told her to go f*** herself and her ‘discount.’”

(He looks at my sister and laughs.)

Fiancé: “After all, I love you, and your father is a tax accountant!”

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