Putting Your Stamp On The Language

| Yellowknife, NWT, Canada | Language & Words

(A family friend is visiting from Quebec. His English is mostly good but suffers from occasional lapses.)

Clerk: “How may I help you today?”

Friend: “Yes, hello. I need to buy some timbers.”

Clerk: “Some what?”

Friend: “Timbers.”

Clerk: “Sir, this is a post office. Perhaps you want the hardware store?”

Friend: “No, no, timbers. To mail the letters with. The little pictures? They are, um, gluey on the back?”

Clerk: *light-bulb moment* STAMPS. You want stamps.”

Friend: “Yes! Stamps.”

(The French word for “stamp” is “timbre”, pronounced like “TAM-bruh”.)

Friend: *to me, in French* “Why didn’t you help me?”

Me: *in French* “I thought it was funny.”

Friend: *in French* “What’s a ‘timber,’ then?”

Me: *in French* “It’s another word for wood.”

Friend: *in French* “Well, that makes NO sense. English is a crazy language.” *in English* “Yes, I will have a book of stampings, please.”

Their Poetry Isn’t Priceless Yet

| Tallahassee, FL, USA | Language & Words, Transportation

(I’m a customer in a post office, mailing a submission for a national poetry contest (the name of which is stated on the envelope). The employee helping me has been entering information into the system.)

Employee: “So. how much is this poetry worth if lost?”

Me: “Only my heart and soul!”

Employee: “I’m just gonna go with a hundred dollars…”

Trying To Remember Without A Dismember

| BC, Canada | Crazy Requests, Food & Drink, Theme Of The Month

(I work at the customer service desk of a member-owned co-op store.)

Me: “Thanks for calling [Store]. How can I help you?”

Member: “This is [Name]. I need to phone [Local Celebrity] but I don’t have his phone number and he’s not on the phone book.”

Me: “I’m sorry. We can’t give out the phone numbers of our members.”

Member: “But you don’t understand! This is very important! He is coming over for dinner, and I was planning to serve chicken, but now I’m thinking he may be a vegetarian! I have to ask him!”

Me: “I’m sorry. I still can’t give you his phone number.”

Member: “But I’m a member! I own the store! You have to do what I say!”

Me: “I’m sorry. I can’t just give other member’s information from their file.”

Member: “Fine! Can you call him instead, ask him if he eats chicken, and then call me back?”

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