The Terrible Trilinguals

, , , , | Friendly | April 21, 2020

I’m babysitting two small children, a five-year-old and a three-year-old. These two children are trilingual, while I am not. By virtue of spending a lot of time with these kids, I can understand a moderate amount in German and a small amount in Russian but can’t speak in either language. 

Today on the agenda is swimming lessons, and when we finish, I herd them towards the elevators so we can head back to their house. As we get there, we approach a family who is speaking Russian. The five-year-old is always psyched to find other people who speak her languages, so she strikes up a conversation with the two little girls.

As happens with regularity, the mother turns to me and starts speaking to me in Russian. I explain that I’m their babysitter and I’m woefully monolingual. The five-year-old then launches into an explanation — in Russian — of who speaks what language in her family, since not everyone speaks all three.

She makes a mistake and I correct her in English, which leads to some weird looks from the mother of the other family. I explain that I can understand a little bit, but I don’t speak it. The mother asks why I don’t speak it or learn to speak it, and the five-year-old interjects with a bit of Russian I don’t understand. 

The mother starts laughing, while the five-year-old gives a cheeky grin. The mother tells me that the kid told her I’m a bad student, which is why I don’t speak it. I also laugh, because that assessment comes from her trying to teach me Russian words for months but giving up because she didn’t like my decidedly American pronunciation. Good thing she wasn’t grading me.

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To Be Fair, Edible Undies Are A Thing

, , , , | Right | April 20, 2020

I work in a popular lingerie store. We spray our store with fragrances to increase sales. I am working on the registers on a very busy and the noise level is high.

Manager: *To [Coworker]* “When you’re done ringing that customer, I need to you to go work on the cotton panty bar.”

The cotton panty bar is just a large table with panties.

Customer: *Excited* “You have a cotton candy bar here?!”

Me: “No, ma’am, it’s a cotton panty bar.”

She doesn’t hear me correctly.

Customer: “Yeah, yeah, where is it?!”

My coworker, thinking the customer is talking about the PANTY bar, points behind the customer.

Customer: “Mmm! No wonder it smells so good in here!” *To her daughter* “They have cotton candy here!”

Me: *speaking louder* “No, ma’am, It’s a cotton panty bar… for panties.”

Customer: “Oh, panties.” *Looks down, embarrassed*

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¿Cómo Se Dice, “You’re A Jerk”?

, , , , , , , , | Working | April 17, 2020

Coworker: *smug grin* “Whenever I see that some customer is struggling to understand me, like from a language barrier or whatever, I make sure to speak faster and quieter, and use more big words.”

Me: “No sé por qué eres hijo de p***.” *”I don’t know why you’re such a son of a b****.”*

Coworker: “Huh?”

Me: *faster, quieter* “No puedo empezar a comprender para cuál razón piensas es necesario ser p*****o a nuestros clientes maravillosas.” *”I can’t even begin to understand for what reason you think it’s necessary to be a d**khead to our marvelous customers.”*

Coworker: “God d*** it, I can’t understand you when you talk like that.”

Me: “Oh, sorry. I must be a terrible person.”

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Their Dialogue Is In Homie-ostasis

, , , , | Right | April 16, 2020

I go to the movies with a friend of mine and we stand in line to buy some food. As the cashier rings my friend up, she realizes she doesn’t have enough money, so I intervene.

Me: “Yo, dude, just put it all with my stuff. We’ll pay together.”

Mortified at my use of slang, I apologize.

Me: “I’m so sorry. I totally didn’t mean to say that.”

Cashier: “That’s all right, homegirl. Will that be cash or debit?”

Me: “Debit, bro.”

Cashier: “You want your receipt, homie?”

Me: “Naw, dog, you can keep it. Thanks.”

My interaction with the cashier was probably more entertaining than the movie ended up being.

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We Assume This Means Something Else In Dutch

, , , | Right | April 16, 2020

I’m installing a dishwasher at a customer’s house, and I’m trying to get the power cable up behind a wood board.

Customer: “Do you have trouble getting it up?”

Me: “Uh… no, ma’am, just trouble getting it in.”

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