Always A Good Idea

, , , , , | Working | July 3, 2020

I work in an office. Yesterday, a client was trying to reply to an email sent by [Coworker #1], but it was never received. The next morning, we are both the first in the office.

Me: “Hey, did you ever get that email from [Client]?”

Coworker #1: “Yeah! It went to my junk folder for some reason.”

Me: “Huh, weird.”

Curious, I start to peruse the junk folder on my computer. I am absent-mindedly clicking through emails while other coworkers file into the office.

Me: “Wow! I need to clean my junk!”

There is a pause while I realize what I’ve just announced and look up to everyone staring at me.

Coworker #2: “Well, good morning to you, too.”

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A Mouthful Of Either Will Silence A Coworker

, , , , | Working | July 2, 2020

I work for a company which mostly deals with international clients, which means we mainly communicate with our clients via email or phone, but sometimes we have foreign visitors who don’t speak Czech.

[Coworker #1] is a serious gentleman in his sixties; [Coworker #2] is a quiet woman in her fifties. We have an open space office, and both of them sit in the row next to mine and neither of them speaks any foreign language.

There are two visiting Finnish engineers sitting right next to my table. The word “paska” in Czech means “duct tape,” while in Finnish it means “s***”. The whole conversation is in Czech.

Coworker #1: *Yelling* “Hey, does anybody know where the ‘paska’ is?!”

The Finnish engineers raise their heads and give him a deer-in-the-headlights stare.

Coworker #2: “I think there is ‘paska’ in the office kitchen.”

The Finnish engineers look shocked.

Coworker #1: “Is there a ‘paska’ in the kitchen?!”

Someone: *Yelling from the kitchen* “No, the ‘paska’ isn’t here! Have you checked the supply closet?!”

The Finnish engineers now look like two scared owls.

Me: “Guys, can you please stop yelling ‘paska’? Our guests seem to be shocked.”

Coworker #1: “Why?”

Me: “Because ‘paska’ in Finnish is ‘s***’. I’ll explain it to them. Please use ‘izolepa.’

“Izolepa” is another word for duct tape.

I explained to the engineers that my coworkers weren’t yelling, “S***!” at each other, just looking for duct tape. They were understanding and found it funny, especially when they looked at [Coworker #1], who gave them a sheepish smile and said, “Sorry?” with a very strong Czech accent.

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Do NOT Use Corndogs That Way!

, , , , | Right | July 2, 2020

A customer with a heavy foreign accent is looking for something while the store is under remodel. I’m working one side of a two-sided self-checkout.

Customer: “Excuse me. Where are the corndogs?”

The accent is heavy but I hear “corndogs.”

Me: “Corndogs?”

Customer: “Corndogs” 

I point to the frozen aisle.

Me: “They’re on aisle two. Straight that way on the right.”

Customer: “Okay. Thank you.”

The customer goes down to aisle two, looks, and shakes his head. He asks two more coworkers. He finally goes to my coworker on the other side of the self-checkout.

Customer: “Corndogs. I need corndogs.”

Coworker: “Corndogs? What are they used for?”

Customer: “For safe sex!”

Coworker: “Condoms! Condoms are over there. Let me show you.”

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The Money Is Fine, But The Karma Is The Real Bonus

, , , , , | Working | July 2, 2020

My boss, the CEO, calls me to his office. Our company has a policy that if you speak a foreign language, you get a bonus, but you have to have an official certificate to prove it. I can speak several languages, but since I don’t “have a paper” to prove it, no money for me.

CEO: “[My Name], on Monday there will be a meeting with one of our suppliers from Italy. We have some problems with late delivery of the material and I think they are bulls***ting us. I want you to attend the meeting and tell me what they say in Italian.”

Me: “Boss, you know I’m not paid to speak Italian. I don’t have a certificate to prove my language skills, and [Human Resources Director] said—”

CEO: “Don’t gimme that bulls***. You studied and worked in Italy for a year. But don’t worry; I spoke to [Human Resources Director] and you’ll get a one-time bonus for it, and another one if you find out something useful. [Human Resources Director] wasn’t very enthusiastic about it, but we really need some leverage; because of them our schedule is late and we may have to pay some fees to our customers.”

I give him a wicked smile.

Me: “As you wish, my lord.”

I attend the meetings as “a person responsible for writing the minutes of the meeting” and find out that while our supplier prepared our purchased material, right before the shipping they sold it to our competitor at double the price, but their official statement for us was that there were some problems at the forgery and they had to postpone the production because of a broken machine.

I send my findings to my boss by email and he is very pleased. He uses this information — packed in some fairy tale about how he found out about it — during two days of negotiations and the Italian side isn’t very happy that we know. They apologize a lot and pay some hefty fee for breaking the contract with us.

Also, because I stayed in the meeting room during the breaks, I heard that they did the same thing to us before and to our sister company, as well, and I heard about some other problems they have.

After the last meeting, the head of their delegation is in the corridor on his phone telling the results to his boss. Unknown to me, an agent from a different Italian supplier has come to visit us. He is an older man and very fond of me since he found out I could speak Italian — as the only person in the whole company. I’m passing by the Italian on his phone when I hear a familiar voice.

Agent: *In Italian* “Oh, my dear, how are you, sweetie?!” *Hugs me*

Me: *Also in Italian* “Hello, [Agent], I’m fine. How about you? How was the flight? Let’s go to my office and grab some coffee.”

The head of the delegation stares at me, completely shocked. 

Head Of Delegation: “F***.”

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Sorry, Sir, It All Sounds Like Greek To Me

, , , , , , | Right | July 1, 2020

I work in a deli with an elderly female coworker who is from Greece and has an obvious accent but is easy to understand as she has lived in the US for many years.

A customer approaches the counter and my coworker attempts to assist him.

Coworker: “Hello, sir, how can I help you?”

Customer: *Visibly irritated* “WHAT? WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? I CAN’T UNDERSTAND YOU! DON’T YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?!”

My coworker is taken aback. The rest of us behind the counter are staring at the customer in shock.

Coworker: “I’m sorry, I wasn’t very clear. What can I do for you?”

Customer: “THIS IS RIDICULOUS! You could at least have the decency to speak proper English when you come to America to work!”

The customer promptly storms off. Skip ahead two weeks later, and the same customer shows up. Both my coworker and I happen to be working again. The customer is glaring at my coworker.

Customer: “Have you learned more English? Can you take my order?!”

My coworker gives the sweetest smile she can but with a tone dripping with sarcasm.

Coworker: “Sorry, sir, I can’t understand what you’re saying!”

The rest of us there are doing our level best to stifle our laughter at this and the customer gets red-faced.

Customer: “I DEMAND TO SEE YOUR MANAGER!”

I go over to the phone and page one of our managers, explaining the situations including the previous incident with this “gentleman.” The manager stops me short in my explanation and says that this customer put in a complaint about two weeks ago and that he is aware of the situation and will be right over.

Manager: *To the customer* “Sir, what seems to be the problem?”

Customer: “Why do you insist on hiring these d*** Mexicans?”

Everyone is now looking at each other in disbelief.

Customer: “This country is being ruined by immigrants, and companies like yours are allowing this to happen by hiring them!”

Manager: “Let me stop you there, sir! We here at [Store] have a no-discrimination policy, regardless of creed, gender, ethnic origin, or personal preferences. And furthermore, this country was founded by immigrants, so if you don’t care for our policy, you can kindly take your business elsewhere!”

The manager gestures towards the front doors. With a huff, the customer leaves.

Me: *To my manager* “You, sir, just became hero of the day!”

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