Freight Fright

, , , , | Right | February 28, 2021

The furniture store I work in functions mainly as a showroom, as most of our pieces bigger than a dining chair need to be shipped to customers. We have signs everywhere explaining that and all the price tags mention that the price is [amount] plus a shipping and handling fee.

We have two promotions running: one that is the seasonal sale, and the other where several colours of product have been moved to clearance. A woman comes to the counter to ask about the colours a sofa bed comes in.

Me: “[Colour #1] and [Colour #2] you can see on the floor here, and it also comes in [Colour #3] but we only have a swatch of that one.”

Customer: “And they’re all that price?”

She gestures at a sign saying, “Double [amount], single [amount], and then shipping fee applies.”

Me: “Actually, [Colour #2] is on clearance at the moment so it’s actually [price almost $100 less than the sale price].”

Customer: “Well, I think that one’s mine! Gosh, that’s great.”

Me: “Awesome! Let’s get that sorted out for you, then!”

I take her back to the counter and make small talk as I check the stock and prepare to make an order.

Me: “There’s plenty in stock so it will be with you in five to ten working days. What suburb are you in? I’ll give you the freight cost.”

Customer: “I can pick it up.”

Me: “Okay, well, the sofa bed is too large to be delivered to the store due to health and safety, so you can pick it up from [Depot] for $20 or home delivery starts at $50.”

Customer: “But I can pick it up. Why should I have to pay extra for something that’s right there?”

Me: “Unfortunately, our warehouse is in [City on a different island] so there is a freight charge associated with any large items.”

The customer is talking to me like a child being naughty.

Customer: “So, you’re saying it’s not actually [amount], because I have to pay extra now.”

Me: “The item is [amount], but it does say on the tag that there is a shipping and handling fee associated with it.”

Customer: “No. Well, I think that’s actually quite unethical.”

Me: “I apologize but—”

Customer: *Cutting me off* “That’s just ridiculous. I won’t get it.” *Snaps her purse closed* “You’re morally questionable. This is just wrong.”

She turns on her heel and stalks out of the store.

Me: *Quietly* “Have a nice day?”

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Homo Defectus

, , , , | Right | February 15, 2021

I’m a customer in this story. I don’t live in the best part of town but I have a good relationship with many local store owners. I get to the counter just behind another customer. He has a four-pack of mixed drinks, which he holds in his hands instead of putting on the counter. The cashier reaches out to get them to scan, and the guy loses it.

Customer: “What the f***?! You touched my hand! Don’t touch me, you homo! I don’t want those; I’m not buying anything from this homo shop!”

The cashier thinks the guy is making some off-colour joke and gives a half-hearted laugh.

Customer: “Why are you laughing?! What is wrong with you, you homo?! Everyone in this shop is a f****** homo! I’m not buying s*** from this homo shop!”

The awesome owner comes out of the backroom:

Owner: “Good, get out! We don’t want your money! Piss off!” 

The customer stormed out, got in his car, and gunned it, screeching out of the carpark and screaming out his window about how no one should go to this shop because it’s a “homo shop.”

I turned to the cashier and both of us just had “What the f***?” expressions on our faces.

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“It Isn’t My Language; I Only Speak It” Is Such A Mood

, , , , , | Working | February 5, 2021

I live in New Zealand. Most of my work colleagues are Europeans aged eighteen to twenty and their standard of English varies. One colleague takes the cake. Her English is less than fluent, but she is enthusiastic about improving. She has asked our colleagues to correct her English.

I have Asperger’s Syndrome. I need good English with clear pronunciation to understand something, even if the context is obvious. I am the only colleague to pester [Colleague] for good English, per her request. We have become close friends. I am male.

On this occasion, we are hiking up a mountain on our day off. This is a new topic of conversation.

Colleague: “Do you have special force?”

Me: “Pardon?”

Colleague: “Special force, do you have?”

Me: “What are you talking about?”

Colleague: “Like, hostage, James Bond, bang gun bang?”

Me: “What is special force?”

Colleague: “My friend is in Spanish special force. He is very strong.”

Me: “Oh, the Special Forces! You mean, ‘Does the army have special forces?’! Yes, they do.”

Colleague: “Do you have special forces?”

Me: “Yes. Now I understand. In English, ‘special forces’ is always plural. We never say, ‘Special force.’”

I checked this later. Apparently, it makes more sense in Romance languages.

Colleague: “Are you taken?”

She has a boyfriend back home.

Me: *Without missing a beat* “That means, ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’”

Colleague: “No… Have you taken it? The food?”

I look at the picnic she made; I am eating a sandwich.

Me: “Oh! Do you mean ‘finish’?”

Colleague: “Yes, finish.”

Me: “Oh, no. I haven’t finished. You can say, ‘Have you finished eating?’”

Colleague: “Have you finished eating?”

That is the only time a woman accidentally propositioned me.

On another occasion:

Colleague: “Put out your headphone.”

Me: “Pardon?”

Colleague: “Put out your headphone!”

I wear bone-conduction earphones. I can still hear fine with them in my ears, but sometimes people aren’t comfortable because they think I am listening to music.

Me: “Yes, these are headphones?”

Colleague: “I think you listen music. Put them out!”

Me: “Oh! Like this?”

I take off my headphones.

Colleague: “Yes!”

Me: “Say this with me: ‘Take off your headphones.’”

Colleague: “Take off your headphone.”

Me: “Who taught you this?”

Colleague: “Me. You say, ‘Put on T-shirt.’ ‘Put out’ is the opposite. I am wrong?”

Me: “Hmm… Put on, put out… That’s difficult to argue with, but we actually say, ‘Take off your headphones.’”

Colleague: “English is stupid.”

Me: “Very.”

On another occasion:

Colleague: “What if you take a belly?”

In the name of all that is holy and unholy, what could this mean?

Me: “Huh?”

Colleague: “But what if you take a belly?!”

When [Colleague] misuses the verb “take,” it is usually unambiguous, like “Take a coffee.” This one sounds like it is dangerous or urgent.

Me: “I… What are you talking about?”

I consider the conversation so far. [Colleague] likes surfing. She wants to teach me how to surf, which involves a wetsuit.

Colleague: “You don’t have belly, but maybe you take one.”

Me: “A belly? What… Why is belly important?”

Colleague: “Because of the wetsuit. You do not buy a wetsuit. Because you have no belly now, but the future? Instead, hire!”

Me: “Oh! You mean I should hire a wetsuit instead of buying, because if I put on weight then a wetsuit I have bought might not fit me. Instead of ‘take a belly,’ we say, ‘Put on weight.’”

Colleague: “Put on weight! Like put on clothes!”

Me: “Yes!”

Colleague: “And don’t ‘put out weight’ like clothes, you ‘take off weight’!”

Me: “No, we ‘lose weight’.”

Colleague: “Confused!”

Me: “It isn’t my language; I only speak it.”

[Colleague]’s English has improved tremendously, thanks to some very hard work!

This story is part of our Best Of February 2021 roundup!

Read the next Best Of February 2021 roundup story!

Read the Best Of February 2021 roundup!

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Confusing The Bar Staff? Hold My Beer

, , , | Right | January 28, 2021

I am trying to order a drink.

Me: “Can I please have a Monteiths?”

That’s not what I intended to say. I’ve forgotten the name of the drink I want. It is actually a brand of beer, though. 

Bar Staff #1: “What?”

Me: “Monteiths. You know, the beer.”

Bar Staff #1: “I don’t know what that is.”

Me: “Oh. That’s not actually what I meant. I want that beer. The dark one.”

I click my fingers, trying to remember.

Me: “The one with the stuff on top.”

The bar staff give me blank looks.

Me: “The Irish one. You know…”

I wave my hand vaguely down the road in the direction of an Irish pub, which they don’t click to. A third barman arrives at the bar. His two colleagues look relieved to see him.

Bar Staff #3: “What are you after?”

Me: “That Irish beer.”

Bar Staff #3: “Guinness!”

Me: “Yes!”

Bar Staff #3: “Ah, sorry, we don’t have it.”

Me: “Oh, no. Do you have a similar one? A Porter?”

I’ve just done it again. A London Porter is a name of a beer, not a type of beer.

Bar Staff #3: “You mean a stout?”

I lay my head down on my arms on the bar.

Me: “Yes. Yes, please. Oh, my God. I’m sorry. I’ve just finished work and my brain has stopped working.”

The bar staff grinned and fetched me my drink. The best part? It was happy hour and I got a tap beer and two servings of fries for the table for $8! I love that place.

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That Is The Deep Fried Hill She Has Decided To Die On

, , | Right | January 28, 2021

We close at 10:00 pm every night. It’s on every window and door in the store as well as a giant sign next to our drive-thru that is impossible to miss. We are allowed to serve people after 10:00 pm that are in store before close as long as they leave as soon as they’re served.

This Friday, we are severely understaffed and it is the busiest night of the week. No one has breaks tonight and a cook teaches himself to use the till so we can use the drive-thru.

At 9:50 pm, I announce to the restaurant filled with people:

Me: “Hello, just reminding everyone we close in ten minutes. However, there is another store five minutes away if you take a right as you exit the car park; they close at midnight.”

A lot of people check their watch, some walk out, and some stay. One particular lady sits her family down with a full meal of food and rolls her eyes at me. I decide to ignore it due to us not being closed yet and deal with another customer being rude.

By 10:00 pm, everyone has been served or cleared out of the restaurant except the family. I approach their table to tell them they can’t be in the store.

Me: “Hey, guys, we’re closed now so I’m going to have to ask you to leave, sorry.”

Father: *Packing their things* “Sorry, we thought we would be finished by now.”

Me: “No problem, we’re just not allowed to have anyone in the store after closing due to staff safety and company policy.”

The mother takes the food from her partner and sits back down.

Mother: “Oh, f*** off. I’m going to sit here and enjoy my meal because it’s what I paid for and you can’t make me leave.”

Her family leaves her inside and goes to their car.

Me: “Ma’am, we are no longer open and you can’t be in here.”

Mother: “What are you going to do about it? You can’t do s***!”

Me: “Well, now that we are not open and providing a service, this is classed as trespassing and the police will now be called.”

I locked the front door and turned the signs and some lights off. She crossed her arms at me so I went into the back office and got the store phone. Before I could press a single number, she was running out the door without her food.

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