French Disconnection

| Quebec City, QC, Canada | Bigotry, Geography, History, Language & Words, Top

(I’m a customer in a very small boutique that specializes in selling Quebec-made items. It is a slow day and I am alone with the shop owner who helps me choose a gift. A man storms in and goes straight to the owner with a really angry face. The owner sees him and welcomes him in French.)

Owner: “Bonjour, Monsieur. Comment puis-je vous aider?” *Hi, sir. How can I help you?*

Customer: *loud and angrily* “ENGLISH! Do you even speak it?”

Owner: “Of course, sir! How are you today and how can I help you?”

Customer: “Finally! Someone who’s speaking English! I don’t know what the h*** is going on but everyone in this f***** town is speaking some kind of weird gibberish!”

Owner: “Actually, they are speaking French, sir, as do most people in the province of Quebec.”

Customer: “What the h***?! We are not in f***** France! This is America and people speaks god d*** American! I don’t understand what the fuss is about! Is this some kind of a weird hipster thing? Young people trying to be cool or whatever?!”

Owner: “I’m sorry, sir. Is there anything I can do to help you today?”

Customer: “Yeah, I’m looking for a poutine recipe book. Do you have any?”

Owner: “Of course! Right this way, sir.”

Customer: “Why do people want to speak French anyway? It is a dead language like Latin or Greek. We are in America and America is for American speakers! We don’t need no foreigners to come here and bring their weird language. And you shouldn’t encourage them by greeting American customers, in America, with any other language than American!”

Owner: “I’m sorry, sir, but I can no longer pretend that what you are saying is not wrong. Just so you know, people are speaking in French because Quebec was colonized by France more than 400 years ago. Quebec City is actually the oldest city in North America and has always been French. That is why everything from the street names to the billboards are in French! The Canadian dollar you’re holding is in both languages. Even the name poutine is French! Did you do any research before coming here?”

Customer: *hesitating* “Well, yeah! But the brochure was in English! How was I supposed to know that poutine was a French word. We have that in New York!”

Owner: “First of all, you can find pretzels in New York and those are German, or gelato which is Italian! It just proves that languages get mixed and influenced with time. That is also why there are cities in the United States that have French names, such as Baton Rouge or Des Moines! Those are all proofs that the French were present in North America hundreds of years ago! H***! Even the term ‘brochure’ is French!”

Customer: “That is irrelevant! You are all just lazy for not learning American! You live in the past, holding to some old bull-s*** language!”

Owner: “Well, I AM speaking English! And, by the way, it is ‘English’ and not ‘American’ because that language originated from England and not America. But I am also speaking French. How many languages do you speak?”

Customer: “I speak English and English only! I don’t need to know any other language!”

Owner: “Who’s being lazy, then?”

The Situation Is Unraveling And Unwrapping

| Gulf Shores, AL, USA | Crazy Requests, Theme Of The Month, Wild & Unruly

(We offer gift wrapping where I work. Customer #1 has had her gifts wrapped BEFORE she purchases them, so I have no idea what she’s buying. She goes to get one of each item from the shelves. Instead of bringing all her items up at once, she proceeds to get them one piece at a time and insist that each one is ringing up wrong, even when they aren’t. Meanwhile, a customer comes up behind her.)

Me: “Sorry, we’re just waiting a bit.”

Customer #2: “Oh, it’s fine.”

(Customer #1 comes up with another shirt. I ring it up and, again, she argues about the price. It’s only a dollar difference so I just give it to her.)

Customer #1: “Wait! How the h*** am I supposed to know what I bought? How do I know what is in each box?”

Me: “I have no idea, Ma’am.”

Customer #1: “Well, you’re just useless, aren’t you? Void me out! I’m going to unwrap all of these, have them rewrapped, and then buy them!” *turning to Customer #2* “God, can you believe the people they hire here?””

Customer #2: “Honestly, I can’t.”

(Satisfied, Customer #1 moves down the counter and starts angrily unwrapping presents. Customer #2 puts her stuff on the counter, and in the process drops a candle.)

Me: “Oh! Did that break? You can get another one.”

(Customer #1 mutters something about me giving her a hard time and being too nice to Customer #2.)

Customer #2: “Oh, no. It’s fine.”

(Customer #2 places her candle on the counter, and I continue ringing her things up. As I start to ring up her jacket, I pull out the coat hanger and accidentally drop it. It hits Customer #2 in the chest.)

Me: “Oh, my God. I am SO sorry!”

Customer #2: *laughing* “Oh, I see how you are! I drop something in your floor, and you assault me!”

Customer #1: “Oh, my God! I saw everything! I’ll be a witness if you want, and you can sue her for all she’s worth.”

Customer #2: “Are you serious?”

Customer #1: “Absolutely. You can HAVE her job.”

Customer #2: “And have to deal with jerks like you all the time? Uh, no thanks!”

(Customer #1 storms off.)

Customer #2: “Thank God, eh? As I was saying, I can’t believe that [Retail Store] managed to find such a patient employee!”

Didn’t See The Kicker

| Pensacola, FL, USA | At The Checkout, Money, Wild & Unruly

(My girlfriend is a cashier, and I am a customer in her line. There’s a customer in front of me, giving her a hard time. He writes a check and hands it to her.)

Girlfriend: “I’m sorry, sir, but our system has declined your check.”

Customer: “What? I’m a millionaire! That’s not possible!”

Girlfriend: “Well, actually, I think it’s because the license and check are from different states. It’s to prevent identity theft.”

Customer: “Well, thank you for nothing, worthless b****! I know you did this on purpose!”

Girlfriend: “Sir, I can assure you I didn’t. Now. Do you have another form of payment?”

Customer: “No! You d*** b****! You’re just being totally worthless! Why don’t we take this out to the parking lot?”

Me: “Oh, can I film that?”

Girlfriend: *smiling* “Absolutely.”

Customer: “What the h*** are you talking about?”

Me: “Oh, didn’t you know? She’s a championship kickboxer. I just want to film her kicking your a**.”

(The customer huffs and stomps away.)

Girlfriend: “Aw, why did you scare him off? I was looking forward to that.”

Where There Are Smokers, There Is Fire

| IL, USA | Criminal & Illegal, Extra Stupid

(I am the manager of a store that sells hookahs, among many other things. Since there are very strict laws in the area I tend to cut people off before incriminating themselves too much. The phone rings and I answer.)

Me: “[Store Name]. This is [Name]. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Hi. You guys sell hookahs? I want to know how these things work. I need to know what order to put things in. I’ve got the coal ready. I put that in the bowl on top, then the tobacco and weed right?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we don’t sell hookahs for anything illegal. Just tobacco.”

Caller: “Oh right… Where do I put the tobacco then?”

Me: *sighs* “The tobacco goes in the bowl, then either a screen or tin foil with some holes on top of the bowl, and the lit coal on top.”

Caller: “Oh… I would have burned my house down again! Thanks!” *hangs up*

Me: “Again?”

Anything Could Spark Him Off

| QC, Canada | Crazy Requests, Transportation, Wild & Unruly

(A woman is looking at the spark plug we have on the floor. She seems confused about what she needs, so I go to her to help her pick the right one.)

Me: “Are you having trouble finding the spark plugs you need?”

Woman: “Yes! My husband sent me to pick new spark plugs for his car. He gave me an old one to make sure I get the right one, but they all look the same!”

Me: “Well, just come to the counter and I’ll help you find the right one. I’ll just need some information about the car. Which year, make, model, and engine size is it?”

Woman: “I think it’s a Ford. It’s a car for sure, not a truck. Pretty sure it’s a Ford. I’m not sure of the year. I think he got it in 2008. Or 2009. But I don’t know if it was new or not. And for the model, it’s the one with 4 doors. It’s grey, too!”

Me: “Okay. Well, I need more precise info. But it’s all right. I can usually do a cross-reference with the old spark plug you have to see what I have in stock.”

Woman: “Oh! That’s great. I really don’t know anything about cars, as you can see. My husband sent me because he hates dealing with you people. He thinks you are all incompetent jerks.”

(I take the spark plug and start checking for cross-reference numbers. However, I can soon sense this will turn bad because the spark plug I hold is made by a company I’ve never heard of. It looks like a cheap Chinese knockoff. To make sure, I ask my coworkers if they’ve ever seen this brand. None have, and it is not listed in our cross-reference book.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. It appears that this brand of spark plug is not listed in our cross-reference books. I’ll have to make a couple of calls to the manufacturers to see if they can match it.”

Woman: “It’s okay. I’ll wait. My husband will be really pissed off if I don’t come back with the spark plugs.”

(While I’m waiting on the phone for a manufacturer hotline to answer, her cell phone rings. I can clearly hear her conversation.)

Woman: “They are looking if they can do cross-reference to find the good one.”

Husband: “Why the f*** were not able to find one by yourself? Now you’ll have to deal with those f***** morons that work there. It’s not too f****** hard to find one d*** spark plug. F****** useless woman! You’re all the same. Don’t make me come there. They’ll f****** regret it!”

(By this time, the manufacturer have told me they cannot cross reference this spark plug, and they’ve never heard of this brand before.)

Me: “I’m very sorry, ma’am. I’ll absolutely need the car information. I cannot do a cross-reference on this plug. Nobody’s seem to have heard of this brand before.”

Woman: “I was sure this would happen. My husband likes to buy stuff on the internet because he says your store is ripping off people. He says you’re all thieves. His cheap spark plug stopped working and he’s having all sort of problem with the car ever since. But I really don’t know what car he has.”

Me: “Can you call him and ask him?”

Woman: “He’ll be pissed off. Too bad for him. He should have come here by himself.”

(She calls her husband on my phone and tells him I need some info on his car.)

Husband: “What do you f****** need to know?”

Me: “Just basic information, sir. Year, make, model, and engine size.”

Husband: “It’s a f****** Ford. Now gave my wife the spark plugs.”

Me: “Sorry. I still need the year and engine size.”

Husband: “I ain’t giving that to you. You’ll know what I’ll drive and you’ll try to rip me off.”

Me: “Look. If you don’t want to tell me what kind of car you have, it’s fine. But don’t expect to get spark plugs.”

Husband: YOU F****** B****! YOU’LL GET YOUR SORRY A** ON THE FLOOR AND LOOK AT EACH AND EVERY F****** SPARK PLUG YOU HAVE AND FIND THE ONES I NEED, AND GAVE THEM TO MY ME SO I CAN FINISH MY F****** CAR.

Me: “Like I said, I’m sorry, but there is nothing I can do in this situation. I will not go on the floor and look at the hundreds of different spark plugs models and lose countless hours because you are too lazy to come up here and buy them yourself, and too paranoid to give me the basic information I need. So I cannot help you and I will terminate this call right now.”

(The woman told me to not worry; she’d go to her friend’s place for a couple of hours, like she always did when he’s angry at something. She warned me that he would probably come and make all kinds of trouble. As she said, a couple of hours later a guy came in the store with a handful of old spark plugs. He started throwing them at the employees, all the time yelling about how we are thieves and that women are useless pieces of meat. We had to call the police to have him removed from the store. His case went to court and, thankfully, he was sent to anger management class!)

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