Taking Stock(holm) Of The Language

, , , , | Right | January 31, 2019

(I’m Canadian, currently doing a study-abroad semester in Stockholm. It’s just before Christmas, when I’m set to head home, so I’m browsing a well-known department store for some gifts. I’m looking at a display of scarves when an elderly woman comes up to me with an armful of items.)

Customer: *speaks Swedish*

(Although I’ve tried to learn the basics, I’m nowhere near fluent in Swedish and have no idea what this lady is saying.)

Me: “Um… Jag kan inte… pratar svenska. Um… sorry.” *I can’t speak Swedish.*

Customer: *scoffs and rolls her eyes, and keeps speaking Swedish*

Me: “I don’t speak Swedish. Um, I’m sorry. I can’t help you.”

(I turn back to the display of scarves, but she forcefully grabs my arm and tries to pull me back. I can’t stand random people touching me, so I give her hand a brisk slap.)

Me: “Please don’t touch me! I have no idea what you’re saying and I can’t help you. I’m very sorry! Now, please leave me alone!”

Customer: *starts screaming at me in Swedish*

(Her expression makes her look like she wants to claw my eyes out. Thankfully, an employee comes over and tries to defuse the situation. It doesn’t help much, and eventually, the lady has to be escorted out by security.)

Employee: “I’m so sorry. She thought you worked here and was trying to get you to give her a discount. She’s actually done this to so many people that she’s not supposed to be in the store, but we have so many entrances it’s hard to keep her out. But you’re American, right? No one from here would’ve stood up for themselves and caused a scene.” *pauses* “Not that it’s a bad thing. We Swedes just don’t like drawing attention to ourselves.”

Me: “Canadian, actually. But thanks, I think?”

Employee: “Aha! Well, that explains how you can stand up for yourself and be polite at the same time. Good for you!”

(He went back to work, and I was left there thinking, “What the heck just happened?”)

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A Book Of Lies

, | Right | January 29, 2019

(Some variation of this happens regularly, but this user really tried EVERYTHING.)

User: “Hi, I think there’s been some mistake. You sent me a bill for an overdue book, but I don’t have any books at home.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. Let me just check your account.” *I pull up his account* “It says here you have several books at home, but only [Title] is overdue. Since it should have been returned two months ago and we sent you several reminders, we’ve sent you a bill for it.”

User: “Well, yeah, I have a few books at home, but not [Title]. I’ve never even heard of that book, and I certainly didn’t borrow it.”

Me: “Are you sure?”

User: “100%.”

Me: “Because it was borrowed using your library card—“

User: “Then someone must have stolen it.”

Me: “—and I see here you called twice to extend the loan as well.”

User: “Oh… Can I see a picture of the cover? Hmmm. Well, maybe I did borrow that one. But I know I returned it.”

Me: “Well, we have no record of it being returned, but let me check the shelf just to be sure.”

(I walk away and check the shelf. The book’s not there.)

Me: “No, sorry. Do you know when and where you returned it?”

User: “Weeks ago. I dropped it through the overnight slot.”

Me: “That’s strange; books in the overnight slot are always recorded as returned the next morning. Tell you what, I’ll keep an eye out for it in case something went wrong with the return, but if you could check once more at home? If the book is returned, obviously we’ll waive the bill.”

User: “Okay…”

(He walks off. Two minutes later, he comes back.)

User: “I just remembered, it wasn’t me who returned it, but my wife. So you must have returned it from her account.”

Me: “That shouldn’t matter. We don’t check ID when people return books, and anyway, didn’t you say she dropped it in the overnight slot? When we record a return, it’s always returned from the account that borrowed it.”

User: “But maybe you wrote in the wrong user name?”

Me: “We don’t write anything in manually when we return a book. We just scan the chip in the book.”

User: “Okay…”

(He walks off. Two minutes later, he comes back.)

User: “Oh, I just remembered. This book comes with a CD, and I’m sure that when you recorded the return, you forgot to write in that the CD was returned as well, so the system doesn’t show the book as returned. But we returned both.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I don’t know how that would even happen. If that was what happened, the system would still show the book as returned.”

User: “But maybe you simply wrote in the wrong title?”

Me: “As I said, we don’t write anything when a book is returned. It’s all done with scanners.”

User: “Okay…”

(He walks off. Two minutes later, he comes back with a book.)

User: “Here, look, it was on the shelf the whole time.”

Me: “That’s strange, I couldn’t find it earlier.” *I check the barcode* “No, I’m afraid this isn’t the book you borrowed. This is a different copy of the same book.”

User: “But it’s the same book!”

Me: “No, it’s the same title, but a different book. We have several copies of the book, since it’s very popular. The one you borrowed is still unaccounted for.”

User: “Okay…”

(He walks off. Two minutes later, he comes back.)

User: “Look, I really don’t believe that you have more than one copy of this book, it’s not even very good. This is clearly the one I borrowed.”

Me: “We actually have four copies.” *I pull up the catalogue and turn the screen for him to see* “See? Two are checked out by other users, one is here, and one is checked out by you and two months overdue.”

User: “Who are the other users?”

Me: “I’m sorry, I really can’t tell you that. But like I said, I’ll check to see if I can find it here, and if you could check at home as well?”

User: “Okay…”

(He walked off. The next morning, the book was in the overnight slot.)

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Was That Drunk Driving Or Drunk Calling?

, , , , | Legal Right | January 11, 2019

(It is my first day as a part-time telephone operator at our district court. I have been given a list of the names of the employees and their respective positions so I know where to transfer the calls, but certainly have not had the time or authorization to know each and every single case they have been working on.)

Me: “[District Court], how can I help you?”

Caller: *obviously irate* “I need to speak to my lawyer!”

Me: “No problem. What’s his or her name?”

Caller: “I just need to speak to him!”

Me: “I apologize, but there are several different lawyers in this building. I need his name so I can transfer—“

Caller: “I need my lawyer! He’s supposed to be handling my case! I was driving drunk two months ago and the f****** police got for me for the third time!”

Me: *sighing, thinking that is way more information than I needed* “Sir, I’d be happy to assist you, but I still need the name of your lawyer to be able to transfer this call to him. As I said, there are more than one—“

Caller: “Just do it! How hard can it be? Is this even [District Court] I’m talking to?!”

(At this point I’m not really sure what to do, so I start guessing from the list of names.)

Me: “Is [Lawyer #1] your lawyer? Or possibly [Lawyer #2]?”

Caller: “Nooo! F*****g incompetent people in this city! This is my taxpayers’ money at work!” *hangs up*

(I was left stunned, just staring at the phone. Had this guy not been driving drunk so often, “his” tax money would not have to be spent on the police investigation or the trial in the first place.)

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Unfiltered Story #135386

, | Unfiltered | January 1, 2019

I start by saying that I have worked in a grocery store but I’m a customer in this story.

This happened during the summer in one of the stores I frequent for groceris.
I’m wearing a plain, lightly blue T-shirt which is somewhat similar to what the staff wears but my shirt lacks the name of the store printed on it.
I’m browsing an aisle when I hear a pair of customers trying to find the soft drinks and lemonades. I decide to speak up:
Me: “The aisle your looking for is 180 degreeds in your current direction”.
They turn around and looks in the right direction and spots the aisle.
1st customers: “Thank you”
Directly after the 1st customers have left me I’m approached by another pair of shoppers.
2nd customer: “Hello, where can we find the cleaning products aisle?”
Me: “It’s over here.”
2nd customer: “Thank you”
When they leave I can hear them giggle and realise I’m not working in this store.

Unfiltered Story #135047

, , | Unfiltered | December 25, 2018

(I work as a sales rep for a large online retailer of IT prodcts. We sell mostly to other business. This call comes in)

Me: [Company Name], [My Name].

Customer: Hi, this is [Name], from [Company], I have a questions about a computer.

Me: Okay, let’s take a look, what’s the articlenumber for the computer? (customer gives me the articlenumber) Okay, great, I have it here, what was your question?

Customer: Yeah, what does it mean when it says that the computer comes pre-installed with Windows 7? Like, will it look like Windows 7? Because I don’t like Windows 8.

Me: Well, it means that the computer comes pre-installed with Windows 7 as the operating system.

Customer: Oh great! Thank you, that’s all I wanted to know! Bye! (hangs up).

Me (to the group I’m sitting with): Guys, you are not gonna belive my first call of the day!