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?”


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.


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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Let’s Hope They’re A Better Nurse Than A Communicator

, , , , , | Healthy | June 28, 2020

I work at a hospital in the central supply department. We carry just about everything: patient care items such as deodorant or slippers, first aid supplies like bandages or gauze, large items like crutches or commodes, and everything in between. Basically, if the nurses carry it in the supply closet, it probably came from us.

One night, I get a call from a nurse on the fourth floor.

Me: “Central Supply, this is [My Name].”

Nurse: “Yeah… is this Central Supply?”

I can feel my eye twitch.

Me: “Yes. Can I help you?”

Nurse: “I’m looking for… a… thing.”

Me: “Okay. What kind of thing?”

Nurse: “It’s plastic. It comes in a package.”

Me: *Putting on my best customer service voice* “That’s about 75% of our inventory. Can you tell me what it’s used for?”

Nurse: “It’s plaaaastic. It comes in a paaaackage.”

Me: “IV tubing?”

Nurse: “No.”

Me: “Catheter?”

Nurse: “No.”

Me: “Oxygen tubing?”

Nurse: “No. It’s plastic. It comes in a package.”

This goes on for a few minutes with me trying to guess the item or trying to get her to describe it to me. The nurse keeps giving me the same answer; only the pronunciation of the words “plastic” and “package” changes.

Me: “Do you have an empty package I could look at?”

Nurse: “No.”

Me: “Is there more than one in the package?”

Nurse: “It’s plastiiiiic. It comes in a packaaaaaage.”

Me: “I’m sorry. I don’t know what you’re asking for. You’re welcome to come down and look around. Or maybe you could ask one of the other nurses.”

Nurse: “I—”

Me: “I’m getting a call on the other line from the ER. I have to get it. Let me know if you find out what it’s called. Okay. Bye.”

Fortunately, the call from the ER is an easy one. But as soon as I get off the phone with them, I receive another call from the fourth floor.

Me: “Central Supply, this is [My Name].”

Charge Nurse: “Hi, this is [Charge Nurse] from [department].”

Me: “Hi. How can I help you?”

Charge Nurse: “Do you carry water pitcher liners?”

A light bulb goes off and my customer service filter vanishes.

Me: “Oh! Is that what she wanted?!”

Charge Nurse: *Chuckling* “Yeah.”

Me: “Yes. We have those; I’ll bring some right up.”

Not the strangest call I had while I worked there, but definitely the most frustrating.

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He Rolled A One On That Encounter

, , , , , , | Right | June 26, 2020

My parents ran a tabletop gaming store when I was in elementary school. My father hosted a “Dungeons and Dragons” campaign, which drew in a fair number of teenagers from the local high school. As I had to stay at the store after school, my mother brought in a “swear jar” and made sure everyone was aware of it beforehand.

In the middle of one session, one teen decides to ask before he uses one such word:

Teen: “Hey, [Mother], does ‘d*****bag’ count as a swear word?”

My mother looks him in the eye and says:

Mother: “No. But seeing as you’ve said that two feet away from my eight-year-old, you get to tell her what it means!”

The look on his face was priceless.

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Enunciation Is SO Important

, , , , , | Friendly | June 25, 2020

I’m at a large car boot sale with my family — think a market but it’s the general public that sells things they don’t want anymore, typically out the boot of their car. With us is my sister and her one- or two-year-old daughter who’s rather non-vocal. We are white. We’re not walking together and I’ve stopped at a black family’s stall to browse what they’ve got.

Niece: *Very loud and enthusiastic* “[Really derogatory term for black people]!”

I freeze and the black family freezes. People around us freeze.

Niece: *Just as loud and enthusiastic* “[Really derogatory term for black people]!”

I look over and my niece is pointing over at me and the black family. My sister has a look of horror and “Oh, f***, where did she learn that?!” on her face, which I imagine I do, too, and neither of us knows what to do.

My niece continues to be super happy and oblivious in the way only toddlers can manage.

Niece: “Hi, Aunty [really derogatory term for black people]!”

Realisation dawns.

Sister: “Do… Are you calling over to Aunty [My Name]?”

Niece: “Yeah, look, it’s Aunty [really derogatory term for black people]!”

I apologised to the black family, who thought it was hysterical, and I stayed with my sister and niece so as not to have a repeat. We later worked on the pronunciation of my name.

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Adject Horror

, , , , , | Right | June 25, 2020

I am an upperclassman running the freshman orientation. As an icebreaker, we’ve decided to play the adjective name game, where each person thinks of an adjective that starts with the first letter of their name.

Me: “Everyone think of an adjective that starts with the first letter of your name and share it when it’s your turn!”

Freshman: “What’s an adjective?”

Who knows how she got into college!

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