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A Jandal Vandal

, , , , , | Right | October 18, 2021

What Americans call “flip-flops,” we Australians call “thongs,” and New Zealanders call “jandals.” At the time of this story, I have never heard the word “jandal” before and have no idea what it means.

Customer: “Hi, do you sell jandals?”

Me: *Thinking I may have misheard* “I’m sorry, do we sell what?”

Customer: “Jandals.”

Me: “I’m really sorry, I have no idea what that is.”

Customer: *Getting angry* “Jandals! JAN-DALS! For your feet?”

I’m really confused, and now I’m getting nervous as she is raising her voice.

Me: “Um, are they like socks or something?”

Customer: “Ugh! I can’t believe you don’t know what jandals are! You know, like—” *slowly and loudly* “—FLIP. FLOPS!”

Me: “Oh! Flip-flops! As in thongs? Yes, we have those!”

I start to walk her over to the aisle, but she continues ranting.

Customer: “No, not thongs, jandals. Thongs go up your butt. Jandals go on your feet. Back in my country, they’re called jandals. If you said the word ‘thong’ to anyone, they would laugh at you!”

Me: “But… we’re not in your country. We’re in Australia.”

She glared at me but had no response and stormed off. I have no issue with people of different cultures having different names for items, but don’t tell me I’m wrong when you’re in my country.

So Fake It Becomes Hydronium Behind Your Back

, , , , | Right | May 6, 2021

A lady comes to my register with a pack of bottled water. It’s nothing fancy, just a twelve-pack of water bottles. The only remarkable thing about the bottles is that the plastic is blue.

Customer: “Is this real water?”

Me: “Yes.”

Customer: “Are you sure?”

Me: “Yes.”

Customer: “But it’s blue!”

Me: “Oh, that’s just the packaging! It’s just spring water in a blue bottle.”

Customer: “Well, last time I was here, I bought some water and it was fake! I don’t want fake water; I can’t drink it!”

I’ve worked at this store since it opened nearly seven years ago. We’ve always had this bottled water, and this brand only. The only difference is that the company changed the bottles to blue plastic from clear at least a year ago.

Me: “I’ve had that water. I promise you, it’s fine, honestly!”

Customer: “Okay, then.”

She purchases three twelve-packs and leaves.

Coworker: “Did she say fake water? How on earth do you make fake water?!”

I’ve Had Worse Nicknames

, , , , , | Working | April 13, 2021

I work in a busy restaurant in Australia which has a popular high tea service on weekend afternoons. We have one new guy who is French and occasionally has some difficulty understanding broader Aussie accents.

The new guy comes up to me, quite confused, while I am stacking plates in the kitchen. 

New Guy: “A customer asked me for German cream. Where do I find it?”

I am initially a bit confused myself, as there is a huge tray of jam and cream sitting on the pass in front of him.

Me: *Pointing* “It’s just there.”

He looks at it.

New Guy: “But this is just normal cream.”

I realised what he had said initially and couldn’t help but burst out laughing. I stuttered out, “JAM and cream.” He went bright red and grabbed some to take out to the customer. 

Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one in the kitchen at the time and the chefs gave him the nickname “German,” which was his moniker until I stopped working there.

She’s Not Playing When It Comes To The Sand

, , , , | Right | April 7, 2021

I work at a pet store. I’ve only been working there for about a month when this happens. A lady, probably in her fifties or sixties walks in one day and comes straight up to me.

Customer: “Hi, I was wondering if you sold play sand for birds?”

Me: “I’m not sure if we do, but we can go to the bird section and check if you’d like?”

We walk to the bird section, which is right at the back of the store, and the whole way there she keeps asking:

Customer: “It’s play sand, for birds! Play sand. [Popular Hardware Store] sells it. It’s called play sand. It’s for birds. It’s called play sand.”

We quickly establish that we do not sell play sand for birds, only sand substrate for reptiles, crabs, and fish, so I apologise to the lady and we begin to walk back up to the front.

Customer: “I thought you guys would sell play sand! [Popular Hardware Store] sells it; they call it play sand. I just wanted some play sand, for my bird! It’s called play sand. They sell it at [Popular Hardware Store].”

She bought a few other things and kept repeating “play sand!” the whole time. By the end of it, I was ready to pull my ears off if I had to hear the words “play sand” one more time, and I was just thinking to myself, “Why did she not just get it at [Popular Hardware Store]?”

It’s Not Our Fault You Were Waiting Before We Opened

, , , , , , | Right | March 8, 2021

My store manager opens the store while I man the registers. A few customers enter straight away. I am serving a customer who is almost finished, literally about to pay, when two more customers queue up. I can see that my next customer only has three items, so I know that this will be a fast transaction.

Me: *To my current customer* “Here’s your receipt and have a nice day!” *To the queue* “Next, please!”

The third customer in line suddenly speaks up.

Customer #3: “Oh, my God, isn’t there anyone else in this d*** store that can help serve? I’m in a rush and I’ve been waiting forever!

Me: “I’m sorry, but the only other person in the store is my store manager, and he’s on the phone right now.”

That’s not technically a lie; he did mention having to make a phone call after opening the store.

Customer #3: “This is ridiculous! I’m in a rush to get to work, and I have been waiting for ten minutes!

Me: “Ma’am, it is currently 8:37 am. We have only been open for seven minutes.”

Customer #3: “Oh.”

The customer is quiet during her whole transaction and practically snatches the receipt out of my hand when I offer it to her. As she rushes out, I put on my fakest polite voice I can muster.

Me: “You have a lovely day!”