Synergist Of The Year

, , , , | Working | November 21, 2018

(I work for a company that has an external stakeholder who is incredibly high-maintenance. One of my colleagues has just been promoted to head of team, and has asked everyone to give her a short list of “pain points” that we have to deal with on a regular basis so she can raise it with the stakeholder. This conversation happens between her and me the following day.)

Me: “I’m trying to think of a subject line for this email that isn’t ‘Pain Points,’ as you know I’ll get pulled up on it.”

Colleague: *doesn’t even blink, pause, or take a breath* “Use ‘Opportunities for Improvement.'”

Me: *bursts out laughing* “Had to do this a few times, huh?”

Colleague: “Yeah, just a few.”

(Clichéd business language always makes me laugh.)

Forget Wine, We Can Turn Water Into Guacamole

, , , | Right | November 21, 2018

(My parents and I are on vacation in Mexico. We go to a local supermarket to get some groceries, and also to get back a deposit on a ten-liter jug of water my mom bought the week before I arrived. My mom drags me over to the desk to help with translations, as she doesn’t understand or speak Spanish at all.)

Mom: *returns jug to customer service cashier, speaking in English* “I’m here to collect my deposit on this jug.”

(I translate roughly.)

Cashier: *in Spanish* “There is no deposit on water. You don’t even need to return this jug.”

(I’m struggling with translating as we go.)

Mom: “What? But when I bought this jug of water, the man who sold it to me assured me there was a deposit that I could get back if I returned the jug!”

Cashier: “I don’t know who you talked to, but we don’t charge a deposit on water. If you wish to leave the jug with us, we’ll take it, but there’s no deposit to be returned.”

Mom: “Then tell me why I was charged 40 pesos for this water on top of what I paid!”

Cashier: “There is no deposit on water. You can’t have been charged 40 pesos for a deposit. The water is only about 20 pesos. That doesn’t make sense.”

Mom: “No, I know I paid that deposit! I looked at the receipt carefully. The man told me there was a deposit, and I want that deposit back now that I’ve returned the jug!”

Cashier: “We don’t charge deposit on water jugs here. I’m sorry, but we never have.”

(This goes on for a while. Finally, I just want to end it.)

Me: “Mom, can you just show her the receipt? Just to prove that you paid that deposit.”

(Mom fishes it out and gives it to me.)

Mom: “See?! There. Show her. It’s the second line item. Under the line item for the water!”

(I look at the receipt. At the top, it says, “[Brand] agua, 10L — 26 pesos,” and then the next line, “Aguacate – especiale — 40 pesos.” I lean over to show it to the cashier, and as I do, I remember what ‘aguacate’ means.)

Me: “Um, Mom? That says, ‘aguacate.’”

Mom: “Right! ‘Agua’ means water! I know that much. ‘Especiale’ means special! Special price for the deposit!”

Me: *feeling a headache coming on* “No, Mom. ‘Aguacate’ means ‘avocado.’ Did you buy a bunch of avocados when you shopped here last week? And were they on sale?”

Mom: “I…!” *she pauses* “Oh, yeah! So, ‘aguacate’ doesn’t have anything to do with that water?”

Me: “No.” *turns to the cashier* “Lo siento!” *I’m sorry.* “Muy, muy… Um… lo siento.”

(I walked away, leaving my mother there to sputter her own apologies to the tightly-smiling cashier.)

Will Never Look Back Again

, , , , | Right | November 20, 2018

(I work on the retail side of a pharmacy, usually stocking shelves or helping customers. One day a young lady, maybe 19 or 20, approaches me, clearly embarrassed.)

Customer: *whispering* “Do you have, um, like, douches, but, um, for, like, the…” *I can now barely hear her* “…butt?”

Me: *stifling laughter* “Enema. The word you’re looking for is ‘enema,’ and yes, over this way.”

(I will forever call them “butt douches” from now on.)

This Story Has Some Darker Connotations

, , , , | Right | November 19, 2018

(I’m the customer in this story. I am Caucasian, of Irish and Scottish descent, and have extremely pale skin.)

Me: “Hi. Do you have melanin?”

Pharmacy Worker: “Sorry?”

Me: “Melanin, do you guys carry it?”

Pharmacy Worker: “No, I don’t think so.”

Me: “Drat, are you sure? My doctor told me I should get some before I went on my trip.”

Pharmacy Worker: “I don’t think it works like that.”

Me: “With respect, I’m going to listen to my doctor about how to treat my jet lag.”

Pharmacy Worker: “Jet lag? OH! You mean melatonin!

Me: “Yes! Wait, did I say, ‘melanin’? Oh, my God, oops.”

(Melatonin is a sleep-related hormone you can buy over the counter in Canada; melanin is the compound that darkens your skin when you tan. I may be a bit short on melanin, but I wasn’t expecting to buy it at the pharmacy!)

What’s The Chinese Word For “Owned”?

, , , , , | Friendly | November 19, 2018

(My friend is a very attractive woman who likes to dress nicely, but when this happens she has been going through a rough patch. She’s not wearing nice clothes, nor wearing any jewellery or makeup. She also has red, swollen eyes from crying. I’m taking her to have dinner at her favourite restaurant to cheer her up, when a group of Chinese girls gets on the same bus we’re riding and stands right in front of where we’re sitting. I have been studying Chinese for four years. This takes place in Chinese.)

Chinese Girl #1: “Oh, God… Look at that girl in the black shirt. She looks awful.”

Chinese Girl #2: *laughs* “Yeah… Why did she go out like this? She’s so ugly.”

Chinese Girl #1: “Look at her friend, though. He looks nice.”

Chinese Girl #3: *to me* “Hey, handsome. Don’t pay attention to that ugly girl. Come with us.”

(They all begin to laugh, thinking no one has understood anything they’ve said.)

Me: *in Chinese* “No, thanks. Being with her, what would I need someone like any of you for?”

(The three girls stared at me before one of them asked if I understood all that they said. I nodded, and they all turned a bright red colour I never even knew people could get. They moved to the back of the bus and tried to avoid eye contact with me.)

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