Homophones Are Hard, Okay?

, , , , , | Working | July 10, 2020

My wife and I are on our honeymoon. It’s before many businesses are doing business on the Internet. We are taking a meandering drive home from our main honeymoon location.  

I’ve called ahead to make a reservation at a hotel in Pennsylvania. I chose it because the printed travel book said it had an in-room Jacuzzi and complementary breakfast. We arrive in the evening after a long drive. After checking in, we enjoy the Jacuzzi and a pay-per-view movie.

The next morning, my wife asks me to go check out the breakfast, as she has an aversion to egg dishes and wants to know if there are other options. So, I walk down to the lobby to look. I don’t see any typical hotel breakfast set up, so I walk to the front desk and address the clerk.

Me: “Hello. Where is the complimentary breakfast for guests?”

Clerk: “Just around the corner to the left, sir. In the restaurant.”

Confused, as complementary breakfasts are usually just set up in the lobby space, I walk over to the restaurant. At the entrance is a sign that reads, “Complimentary Breakfast $8.99”. Still confused, I talk to the hostess.

Me: “I’m looking for the complimentary breakfast for hotel guests.”

Hostess: “That’s here, sir. We have the breakfast buffet set up over there, and it’s all you can eat for $8.99.”

Me: “Umm… So, how do the guests get it for free, you know, complementary?”

Hostess: “Yes, sir, the breakfast is with our compliments.”

Me: “No. The term ‘complementary’ means you’re providing it for free.”

Hostess: “I’m sorry, sir. Our complimentary breakfast is $8.99.”

I glance over at the buffet, deciding if it’s worth the price. It’s got lots of eggs: scrambled, over-easy, boiled. I can smell the eggs from across the room, and I don’t think my bride would care for sitting in the room.

Me: “I think we’ll pass. Oh, and have your boss look up the word ‘complementary’.”

I told my wife the story of the “complimentary” breakfast. We decided to check out and try to find breakfast elsewhere before hitting the highway. We ended up finding a fantastic diner about two blocks away that had eggless options my wife loved.

When we got home, I looked up the word “complementary”. The second definition is “given free as a gift or courtesy”.

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An Exquisite Exercise In Patience

, , , | Right | July 8, 2020

I work on an American cruise ship selling very high-end jewellery up to around $300,000. I am English.

It is a full day at sea and two elderly women come into my store and start looking at the jewellery. I make small talk with them about their day and cruise and ask them if they want to see some of the jewellery.

Guest #1: “Oh, yes, we would love to look at the jew-ell-ery.”

They sound excited at this prospect. I get out a necklace and put it on [Guest #1].

Guest #2: “So, tell us about this jew-ell-ery.”

I proceed to tell them where it is made, who it is by, etc. They keep asking more and more questions, like the gold, the weight, the carat, etc. Then, they start to look at other collections, too, to which I oblige. 

They do this every day for about four days — without ever buying anything. I am getting a little frustrated as they seem really happy, and they smile at each other a lot and seem really keen, even repeating me to make sure they understand what I am saying.

It isn’t until I am on my break and overhear them on the way to my cabin:

Guest #1: “She can’t really be English; I am sure she is South African, maybe Australian. Do the English even say ‘exquisite’? Isn’t that French?! I bet that’s French. Maybe she is French! Just listen to her next time. I think I will pretend to buy pearls tomorrow and see if she says it again! I don’t care where she is from; I just love her accent! It is adorable! I don’t understand her, but I do like to listen to her talk! She sounds so funny!”

They did indeed come in the next day and ask to look at the pearls. They still never bought anything… and still asked me lots of questions about every piece.

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Who Couldn’t Use A Drink Right Now?

, , , , | Working | July 7, 2020

This is not my story but a coworker’s. The current health crisis is at its height — we hope. My coworker has to do an inspection at a house, and when he arrives there:

House Owner: “Would you like some alcohol?”

Coworker: “Oh, no, thank you. I’m working.”

House Owner: *Pause* “I meant to clean your hands.”

My coworker told me he felt very embarrassed about this, but at our office, we thought it was hilarious.

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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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