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Will Never Eat Quiche The Same Way

, , , , , , | Right | October 6, 2021

I work in a grocery store that loves a good food pun. This particular season we have a display of gift cards at every register that feature various cutesy food puns: “You’re a really big dill!” or, “Lettuce taco ’bout love,” etc.

A customer comes to my register and casually sifts through the gift cards as I ring up her purchase. Suddenly, her face goes from neutral to outraged. She grabs a gift card from the rack and shoves it in my face.

Customer: “I can’t believe you would put this out here for people to see!”

Me: “That gift card? What’s wrong with it?”

Customer: “Well, call me old-fashioned, but this saying is very suggestive and inappropriate. What if a child were to see this and ask what it means?”

Me: “I thought it was kind of cute. I don’t think the idea of hugging and kissing is too taboo, even for children.”

Customer: “…wait, how do you pronounce this?”

The gift card she was holding said, “Hugs and quiches,” which most people would interpret to mean, “Hugs and kisses.” Unfamiliar with how to pronounce “quiche,” she had understood it to mean, “Hugs and quickies.”

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This Is The Wrong Place For A Meltdown

, , , , , , | Working | September 30, 2021

I’m an intern at a nuclear power plant. The group I’m with is about to start some work.

Group Leader: “All right, guys! Let’s go make history!”

Group Member: “Uh… no. That’s the opposite of what we want to do.”

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Not Great With English, But Excellent With Cars!

, , , , , , | Working | September 28, 2021

Recently, I have had a number of halogen headlights blow far sooner than they should. I go to a chain of motor factors and ask them for LED headlights instead, which are more durable. They assure me they are compatible and legal.

A car needs a safety inspection — “MOT test” — by the government every year. Some weeks later, mine is due.

Inspector: “I’m afraid your car will fail. Your headlights are too dim.”

Me: “Huh? It was only installed a month ago at [Motor Factors].”

Inspector: “My equipment says they aren’t bright enough.”

Me: “There’s a [Motor Factors] up the road. My bicycle is on the back of my car. I can cycle up, buy new bulbs, and be back in five minutes.”

Inspector: “You’ve already failed. Sorry, mate, there is nothing I can do. Fix it and book a new test.”

After the inspection…

Inspector: “I’m going to pass you, with an advisory on one condition. I am ordering you to have these lights sorted. Immediately. Like you say, there’s a [Motor Factors] up the road.”

Me: “Thanks, buddy. I’ll do that.”

I go direct to [Branch #1]. I had the headlights changed at [Branch #2], but they’re the same chain, right? I explain to the cashier.

Me: “Hey, fellas. I had my headlights changed at [Branch #2] three weeks ago. I’ve just come from the MOT, but they are too dim.”

Employee #1: “Really? I’ll get a colleague. Hey, [Employee #2] help…?” *Points to me*

Me: “[My Name].”

Employee #2: *In a foreign accent* “Hello, Mr. [My Name]. Where car?”

I take him to my car in the car park.

Employee #2: “What is problem happened? How help?”

Me: “It failed the MOT because the headlights your colleagues installed at [Branch #2] are too dim.”

Employee #2: “Really, MOT fail?”

Me: *Thinking carefully* “Yes, it failed the MOT.”

Employee #2: “Open front, please Mr. [My Name].”

I open the bonnet and he examines the headlights. [Employee #3] arrives.

Employee #2: “Oh, dear. That reverse light.”

Me: “Huh? No, buddy, that’s a headlight. The reverse light is at the back.”

Employee #2: “Is reverse. I sure. Very ‘oh, dear.’”

Me: “But we’re at the front of the car?” *To [Employee #3]* “What’s going on here? Why is he telling me I have reverse lights in the front of my car?”

[Employee #3] looks at the car and then responds in a local accent.

Employee #3: “He means they’re supposed to be headlights, but the bulbs are reverse lights.”

Employee #2: “Also is LED. Is wrong. Must be halogen. Maybe Lambo Maserati Xenon LED. Or Mercedes.”

Me: “Maserati… What? This is a cheap car. What is going on?”

Employee #3: “I think he means you have reverse lightbulbs for headlights, which if true, would explain why they are dim. I haven’t seen for myself, but [Employee #2] has never been wrong. He doesn’t understand why you have LEDs on a car like this.”

Me: “Car… like this? Pardon?”

Employee #3: “I’m sorry, that’s badly phrased. Normally, only luxury cars have LED headlights. For example—”

Me: “A Maserati?”

Employee #3: “Yes. [Employee #2] thinks that your car should have cheaper halogen bulbs because, erm, it’s a value brand. That’s what it would have been sold with.”

Employee #2: “Yes, a value cheap like this car.”

Me: “Now I understand… but your colleagues at [Branch #2] installed it. I told them halogen bulbs weren’t lasting me, so I wanted LED headlights, instead.”

Employee #2: “No LED! Need halogen. [Employee #3], I get halogen for the Mr. [My Name]. I think half price.”

Employee #3: “No. Please, [Employee #2], get the boss? Because this is [Motor Factors]’s mistake, it is his responsibility.”

Employee #2: “I get big boss!”

Employee #3: *To me* “Don’t mind [Employee #2]. He has trouble expressing himself, but he understands everything. He’s an automotive electrician.”

A manager arrives.

Employee #3: “Hey, boss. What happened — I think — is this gentleman had problems with halogen headlights blowing, so he asked [Branch #2] to install LED headlights. They did that and now he’s failed his MOT because they are too dim.”

Manager: “Well, yes. Headlights are brighter than a reverse light. So, obviously. Hey, [Employee #2], can you swap a headlight and reverse light?”

Employee #2: “Now you want me to swap reverse light with headlight? Silly idea with a crazy man!”

Manager: “No, I mean ‘is possible to swap’.”

Employee #2: “Yes, is possible. Swap easy. Same size, voltage, everything. For this cheap car, headlight is halogen, reverse is LED. Maybe why the mister have wrong LED headlight dim. Our computer, it no can research LED headlight for cheap car like this. So instead, [Branch #2] they fit headlight because also fits. Silly people. They no understand reverse light too dim for headlight.”

Manager: “Right, I’m sorry for your trouble. What has happened, I think, is when you asked [Branch #2] for an LED headlight, they couldn’t find one for your car. Our system is programmed to only offer LED headlights to cars originally sold with LED headlights. Yours would have been halogen. To satisfy you, they used a reverse light. They thought that they would get away with it because it fits, but maybe they didn’t understand that it is too dim to be a headlight.”

Me: “Now I understand… but I failed my MOT? And I need new headlights?”

Manager: “We’ll pay for the re-test. I’m sorry this has happened; I’ll feed it back to Head Office as a learning point. Hey, [Employee #2]?”

Employee #2: “I halogen headlight get for the mister?”

Manager: “Yes, please, for… the customer. Please, can you install them?”

Employee #2: “Charge free discount fifty?”

Manager: “Pardon?”

Employee #2: “Yes! Do I charge the mister, or is free? Or I discount?”

Manager: “No, it’s free. Because our friends at [branch #2] made a mistake.”

Employee #2: *To me* “I free your lightbulbs! Please open bonnet? Or… hood, is American? I give you will have good brand, not [Motor Factors] trash.”

Manager: *Cracking up* “That’s fine. Give him a good brand. This customer is a regular here. I believe him without the receipt.”

[Employee #2] arrives with two lightbulbs. He removes both old bulbs — one per hand — and installs the new ones — one per hand — all in about five seconds flat.

Employee #2: “Okay, you Mr. [My Name], please enter car, and turn on lights because test.”

I start the engine and turn on the lights.

Employee #2: “Very nice. Like Nicole Scherzinger, your pretty girlfriend.”

Manager: *Cracking up again* “[Employee #2], we don’t make presumptions!”

Employee #2: “Tom Cruise? Maybe you like men. So then I can have Nicole.”

The manager looks horrified. I nearly fall over laughing and the boss relaxes.

Employee #2: “Now you pass MOT! Please, you go to [Government Agency] Internet website. Make new test. Anything new, Mr. [My Name]? No? Nice weekend, pleasure meet!”

[Employee #2] went back inside the store, followed by the boss and [Employee #3] in fits of laughter. I just felt guilty for saying it failed instead of passed with an advisory.

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You Don’t Want To Be In Her Limelight

, , , , , | Right | September 28, 2021

Some years ago, I worked at a garden center in the annuals/perennial section. A woman came up to me.

Customer: “Where can I find a limelight?”

Me: “That’s actually a color descriptor, not a plant name; quite a few different plants have that color name attached, shrubs right through to annuals.Is what you’re looking for an annual or a perennial? Maybe a bush, a tree?”

Customer: “It’s called limelight!”

And she just kept repeating this. I finally moved to where we could see all the sections and asked what part of the center she had bought it from. She refused to even look and repeatedly stomped her foot at me.

Customer: “It’s called limelight!”

She was the only customer I walked away from in nearly ten years of working at the garden center. I heard later that someone was able to find her plant — I have no idea how— and it turned out to be a perennial that was about fifteen feet away from where we had been standing.

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Better Use It Carefully Or It Could Change Your Life!

, , , , , , | Learning | September 28, 2021

In university, my minor is in Translation. At the start of the first seminar of one of the courses, the teacher has us fill out a questionnaire. Some of the questions are straightforward and their purpose is clear, like, “Why are you interested in translation?” or, “What are your source and target languages?” (These are, respectively, the language you’ll be translating from and the one you’ll be translating into — in my case, English and Dutch.)

Other questions are less straightforward, like, “What is your favorite word in your source language?” (For the record, it’s “defenestrate”.) And then there’s this question:

Question: “Which words from your source language do you think native speakers would find hard to spell?”

Um… what? How am I supposed to know what words native English speakers find hard to spell, not being a native speaker of English myself? I ponder this question a bit, and all I can come up with is “knowledge” because it is spelled differently from its pronunciation, but again, I don’t know! The questionnaire is asking for multiple words, though, so I continue thinking, but I’m stuck.

All that’s going through my mind is the commercial I saw right before I went to class, for “Mary Poppins,” the musical. I start tapping along to “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” trying to think of difficult English words. And then it hits me. THAT is a word that would be difficult to spell! Feeling a little mischievous, thoroughly done with this weird question, and also wondering what my teacher will make of it, I write Mary Poppins’ magical word down and hand in my questionnaire.

At the next seminar, the teacher returns our questionnaires with feedback. Next to my musically inspired answer is a question mark.

Teacher: “If you have any questions about my feedback, please ask them now.”

Me: “I have one, ma’am. What does this question mark next to question fourteen mean?”

Teacher: “Oh, yes, that. You know, you weren’t supposed to make up words for that question, [My Name].”

I’m puzzled that the teacher, who has kids, is apparently unfamiliar with this movie.

Me: “I didn’t? It’s from Mary Poppins.”

Before the teacher can respond, one of my classmates groans.

Classmate #1: “Did you seriously write down ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’?”

Me: “Yep!”

Now the teacher is the puzzled one.

Teacher: “This is really a word?”

Classmate #2: “It’s a song, ma’am.” *Starts singing* “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious…”

I and several other classmates fall in and sing the chorus and others start laughing and clapping along, until most of the class ends up singing,

Class: “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”

We’re all laughing, while the teacher is looking at us like we’ve all turned purple.

Teacher: *Bewildered* “Okay, I guess it’s a word. You can ignore that question mark, [My Name].”

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