A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 10

, , , , | Healthy | April 21, 2021

When I was almost nineteen years old, I moved to Iceland to try to work there. I had gotten the job prior to moving, so that and living quarters were not an issue. The job was as an uneducated gardener, so some of it was physical-labour intensive — digging and moving heavy stuff. It was nothing too bad, but as this was very new to me, I did find some new muscles.

One day, about three weeks after I had started, I noticed that my wrist was hurting very badly, every time I tried to use any equipment, light or heavy. Since I had some small problems with my wrist years before, I wanted to get it checked by a doctor to see if it just needed rest or something more.

As I was in a new country, I didn’t understand the local language too well, so I wasn’t sure where to find a healthcare center. Luckily, there was one close to my working area, so I went there to ask them how to get help.

I waited patiently in the queue, and when it was my turn, I asked politely if we could have the conversation in English. The receptionist started to huff, but she did reply in English.

Me: “My wrist is hurting, and I would like to know if someone could take a look at it. Since I haven’t been to a doctor in Iceland before, could you please tell me how I book a time with one?”

Receptionist: *Huffs in anger* “You cannot just walk in here and expect a doctor to just see you! You need to book a time!”

I was very confused, since that’s exactly what I asked for help with.

Me: “Well, yes, that’s what I’m planning on. I’m not expecting a doctor right now, but I just want to know how to book a time. I’ve never done that in Iceland before. Could you help me?”

Receptionist: *Still huffing in anger* “You need to call in order to book at time! This is not how you do it!” *Starts to look at some papers*

Me: *Lost for words* “But… I’m trying to do exactly that. How do I—”

Receptionist: *Cuts me off* “Here! Take this paper and fill it out. Give it back afterward.”

I was very confused, but the papers were in English, so I could fill them out. Afterward, I went back to the receptionist, since I thought maybe now I could get the info I needed.

Me: “Here is the paper. What now?”

Receptionist: *Still clearly annoyed* “Sit down over there. A doctor will take you as soon as possible.”

Me: *Very confused* “But… I did not mean…”

By now, the receptionist was just glaring at me, so I couldn’t do anything else but sit down and wait. Some fifteen or twenty minutes later, a door next to me opened and a doctor asked me to come in.

Doctor: *Visibly not satisfied, but not angry* “You know, you need to book a time before you can see a doctor here. You cannot just walk in and demand one.”

I was now even more confused and annoyed, but I was still trying to be polite.

Me: “But that’s exactly what I tried to do! I did ask the receptionist how to book a time, but they didn’t answer me. They just gave me some papers to fill out and asked me to sit down and wait! I never expected to see a doctor now or even today!”

The doctor finally seemed to realize what had happened.

Doctor: “Really? Well, there is a phone number you can call. And since you live outside of this area, you should go to another healthcare center closer to your address.”

The doctor checked my wrist, and thankfully, it was only about me not being used to this kind of work, so it only needed as much rest as I could give it for a few days. I was still allowed to work.

But I never got an answer to my original question: how do I book a time with a doctor at the healthcare center in my area? It took me at least a year before I found out on my own, and only because I had learned the language well enough.

Related:
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 9
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 8
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 7
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 6
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 5

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Quick! Someone Call Fahrenheit 911!

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: Mammyjam | October 15, 2020

My wife and I are from Manchester, England. We’re doing a mini world-tour as part of our honeymoon. We are in Iceland and visiting a natural hot spring. The place is amazing, basically, a large pond pouring with steam, a river running next to it also pouring with steam and then a load of smaller bubbling pools of water and mini geysers that would blast water into the air every ten minutes or so.

Between the pond and the river there is a roped-off area of small, deep pools that has a sign:

Sign: “Warning water is over 90 degrees. Do not enter at your own risk.”

This is probably a bad translation of ‘no entry, we accept no liability.’

We’re leaning against the side of the pond closest to this and notice a guy wander up, read the sign then step over the rope. As he’s walking up to one of the small pools the lifeguard is running over and shouting.

Lifeguard: “Stop, stop! You can’t go in there!”

An American accent replies:

Tourist: “Whatever buddy, I paid, so I can do whatever I want.”

By this time the lifeguard has reached him and tries to explain to him.

Lifeguard: “That the water is between 90 and 110 degrees! You walked right past a do not enter sign.”

Tourist: “No, it says enter at my own risk, so I am, and it’s not very risky. It’s hotter than 90 degrees in Nevada every day!”

This utterly perplexes the lifeguard who has absolutely no idea what the h*** the American is talking about. So I shout over.

Me: “Oi, mate, it’s Celsius, not Fahrenheit!”

Now the American looks confused.

Tourist: “I don’t know what that is, I’m going in.”

For reference, 90-110c is 194-230f.

Then follows about five more minutes of arguing between the American and the lifeguard before the American has had enough and takes the two steps further to the pool, and goes to put his foot in. Fortunately for him but unfortunately for Darwinism he only manages to dip a toe before screaming in pain and hopping back to the changing room in a huff.

The lifeguard sighs and goes back to his chair.

Me: “What a f****** divvy.”

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Just As Helpful To Just Say It’s Made Of Paper

, , | Right | October 1, 2020

Customer: “I’m looking for a book.”

Me: “All right, do you know the title?”

Customer: “No.”

Me: “Okay, how about the author?”

Customer: “Uh, no.”

Me: “Do you know what the book is about?”

Customer: “No… but it’s a paperback!”

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Mmm, Pepperoni & Vanilla

, , | Right | June 9, 2020

I work at a very busy tourist place in the capital. The cafeteria has all kinds of food — warm or cold, sweet or salty — including twenty different-flavoured ice creams that are made at the same place.

All kinds of nationalities come to visit this place and sometimes we can get quite funny and weird questions about the food.

A group of teenagers, who clearly aren’t from this country, are all standing in front of the ice cream, talking together in a language we don’t understand. One of them comes forward and starts asking me about the ice creams.

Customer: “Is there anything from pigs in your ice cream?”

Me: *Very confused* “Um… What? Pigs?”

Customer: “Yes! It’s very important. Is there anything from pigs in your ice cream?”

Me: “Well… no. We don’t use pigs in our ice cream.”

Customer: “Are you sure? Nothing from pigs? Are you totally sure?”

Me: “Yes, we don’t use pigs in our ice cream. In fact, there is a sign in front of this glass where it says what we make our ice cream of. There is nothing from pigs.”

The customer accepted this and most of the teenagers bought some ice cream, mostly without any kind of special flavours. It turned out that most of them were Muslims and didn’t know much about this country’s customs or food, so they wanted to be totally sure it didn’t break their rules.

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Við Tölum Ensku!

, , , | Right | June 9, 2020

I work in a cafeteria at a busy tourist place. All kinds of nationalities visit, and even if most of them speak good, okay, or bad English, we almost always manage to get them what they want.

There are two men in their mid-twenties standing a bit from us, talking in low voices together for a while, before one of them comes towards the counter, seemingly to order something. Before I manage to say anything, he starts speaking in a British accent, with a very sorry face.

Tourist: “I’m sorry, but I don’t speak Icelandic.”

I am totally dumbfounded for a second.

Me: “T— That’s okay. I speak English. In fact, almost everyone in this country speaks and understands English very well.”

He still looked sorry, as if it was his fault that he didn’t speak Icelandic, but he and his friend got their questions answered and orders made without any problems.

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