The Meanest Animal Is Not In The Zoo

, , , | Related | June 28, 2018

(I live in the Netherlands. I’m about nine, and my family — uncle, aunt, and cousins — from the USA are visiting. Around their visit, the rest of the family has planned some activities, one of them being a day at the zoo. We agree to arrive at our other aunt and uncle’s place in the morning, so we can go to the zoo from there on together, and ride along with them since we don’t have a car. My aunt answers the door in her bathrobe. Apparently, my uncle is still in bed, too.)

Aunt: “Oh, you guys are here already? What time did we agree on, again?”

Mom: “Around ten in the morning, which it is now.”

Aunt: “Oh, silly us! Don’t worry; we’ll get ready. Why don’t you come in and have a coffee in the meantime?”

(Two hours later, both aunt and uncle seem ready to go; they’ve showered, had breakfast, and all. We kids are getting excited to finally go… but the morning rolls by, turning into afternoon, and all of us are still sitting in their backyard, having coffee, and making no attempt at all to leave. As you can imagine, we kids are bored to tears. My mom and my other aunt and uncle drop some hints to our hosts what the idea of the day was, but my aunt waves it away with “still having plenty of time.” My uncle doesn’t dare to disagree with his wife, and just meekly lets it happen. Three pm rolls by.)

Me: *to my mom* “I thought we were going to the zoo. What time are we leaving?”

Mom: *gritting teeth* “Not anytime soon, most likely.”

(The day was spent at their place, not going to the zoo. My aunt behaved like this with every single plan we made for the rest of the week that my USA family was there. My USA family didn’t speak to that aunt for several years. When my uncle did finally divorce her, we all cheered.)

No Vocation For Location, Part 21

, , , , | Working | June 22, 2018

(As a receptionist, I welcome visitors and call the person they have their meeting with.)

Guest: “I have an appointment with [Manager].”

Me: “Sure thing. I’ll call him right away!”

(I dial the number, and in the corner of my eye I see someone waving at me. I look at the person and nod; I’ll be right with him. The phone then gives me a busy signal and things click with me. The one who waved at me, who was having a phone conversation himself… is the manager I am trying to reach. A bit embarrassed, I turn back to the guest.)

Me: “I am currently unable to reach [Manager], as he’s on the phone… and standing right next to you. So… I’m pretty sure he’s aware of your arrival.”

No Vocation For Location, Part 20
No Vocation For Location, Part 19
No Vocation For Location, Part 18

Obeying The Rules To The Letter

, , , | Working | June 22, 2018

(I go to the post office to mail an envelope. One side is quite long — 90 centimeters — but every other side is within the limits, so it can still go through a Dutch mailbox opening, making it a letter. I used to be a mail deliverer myself, so I’m quite aware of all the rules.)

Clerk: “I’m sorry, but the envelope is larger than a mailbox.”

Me: “Eh… It fits through a normal mailbox.”

Clerk: “No, it does not! Look!” *shows the letter next to a mailbox sample display they use to prevent discussions* “It doesn’t fit.”

Me: “Ah, I see… and if you put it in this way?”

(I turned the envelope 90 degrees and “posted” the letter through the sample. The clerk fell silent and turned red, finishing the transaction in silence.)

It All Sounds Like Not-Dutch To Me

, , , | Working | June 17, 2018

(I bring a pair of pants to the tailor to get the legs shortened. The lady at the counter is clearly foreign, but I’ve been to this shop a year or so before and have seen her there, so I know she’s been in the country for a while already. I therefore assume she knows enough Dutch to at least communicate well with customers.)

Me: “Hi! I’ve got these pants I need shortened. “

Tailor: *blank stare*

Me: “So, yeah, uh, just a few centimetres off the bottom, I guess. Can you tell me what it is going to cost?”

Tailor: *unintelligible mumbling*

Me: “I’m sorry, could you say that again? Didn’t quite catch that.”

(She takes out an appointment note and writes a figure on it, before handing it to me. I see she wrote down the costs.)

Me: “Okay, so [amount]? That works for me.”

(Cue another round of blank stares, while I’m hoping she picks up a professional demeanour somewhere.)

Me: “I assume you need to know how much you have to trim off, right?”

Tailor: *blank stare, then silently nods*

Me: “Okay, so, I go to the dressing room now, so can put it on and you can measure how much you need to trim, all right?”

(I do so, and once I emerge from the dressing room she almost jumps on me, taking the measurements and marking where she needs to trim. When she’s done, she gives me another stare, which tells me I can go change into my own pants again. Once I’m done:)

Me: “So, when can I pick it up?”

Tailor: *slides appointment note at me, still only with the costs scribbled there*

Me: “Tomorrow?”

Tailor: “Wednesday.”

Me: “Today is Thursday. So… almost a week? That can’t be right, can it?”

Tailor: *points at Friday on the appointment note* “Wednesday.”

Me: “That’s Friday. So, tomorrow then?”

Tailor: “Yes, Fri-desday.” *or something else resembling a Dutch mix of Wednesday and Friday*

Me: “Cool, see you tomorrow, then!”

(I hope that everything goes all right, and come back the next day. I show her my appointment card, which also contains a reference number. She says nothing but proceeds to get a pair of jeans from the rack that is clearly not mine.)

Me: “I believe you have the wrong one.” *spots my jeans on another rack* “I see it! The one with [number] is mine.”

Tailor: “[Different number]?”

Me: “No, [right number], the black jeans, third from the front on that rack there.”

(She gets it right and folds up the jeans.)

Tailor: “[Higher amount than we agreed upon], please.”

Me: “Hold on. You said [lower amount] yesterday. It’s even on the appointment card, see?” *I hand her the card*

Tailor: “Oh, silly!” *taps in amount on register* “[Incorrect, higher amount], please.”

Me: “I don’t think so.”

Tailor: *huffs* “[Correct amount], please.”

Me: “That’s more like it!”

(Surprisingly, my jeans were done just fine. But I swore I’m not going back there if I don’t have to! The other day I did have to, though, and she was still there — two years after the described incident — and her Dutch hasn’t improved in the slightest.)

They’ll Be Indebted To You

, , , | Related | June 8, 2018

(My mother has recently divorced my step-father.)

Man: “Hello, this is [Debt Collector Office]. I’m looking for Mr. [Ex-Stepdad].”

Me: *tired of explaining to every single caller* “Sorry, there is no one here by that name.”

Man: “Oh, isn’t this [my phone number]?”

Me: *sighs* “Yes, it is, but the man you are looking for doesn’t live here… anymore.”

Man: “Do you happen to have his contact details? I really need to get a hold of him. You know, he really is in huge debt, and it can cause a lot of problems if I can’t find him.”

Me: *now intrigued, as we never knew in how much financial s*** he actually was in* “Huge debt, you say?”

Man: “Yes, it really needs to be handled! Do you have any idea how to get a hold of him?”

Me: “Well, I don’t know his exact address, but he lives in [City] now. There are two under that name over there, as his father lives there, too, and he has the same first and last name, so you need to have [Ex-Stepdad] Junior. And do me one favour: make sure you find him. I’ll be laughing my a** off if he goes bankrupt.”

Man: “Don’t worry about that. Trust me, this debt is huuuuuge. Thanks a lot for the help! We might be able to find him now!”

Me: “My pleasure!”

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