If You Wouldn’t Say It To Their Face, Don’t Say It Near Their Ears

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: fuzzyone06 | June 13, 2021

In 2008, I was a young, intrepid stock person at a big box all-purpose store. I had a working knowledge of where pretty much everything was in the store because I was all over the place, but the grocery department had its own stock team specifically, so I wasn’t as knowledgeable there.

I am of Lebanese descent, and I was working in south Florida at the time. For those that don’t know, south Florida has a significant Cuban population, but not so much Middle Eastern folks. I got confused for Cuban all the time because I had the darker skin tone similar to a lot of Cuban folks. I also speak fluent English, Arabic, and French, but I was born and raised in the Midwest, so my accent gives no indication that I might be of Middle Eastern heritage.

On this fine afternoon, I was wheeling an empty tub back to the stock room after having emptied out one department over. Walking through the main aisle next to grocery, I heard an “EXCUSE ME!” It was not rude but definitely not polite, either. I turned to find a woman in a really fancy hijab and jewelry standing there with her husband.

Me: “How can I help you, miss?”

Customer: “I’m looking for [specific item] but I can’t find it.”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m not as familiar with the grocery section so I’m not sure where that is. Let me grab one of my colleagues for you. One moment.”

I could see one of the other customer service guys in the grocery section, so I radioed him to come over and help her out.

Me: “He’ll be with you shortly, miss.”

Customer: *Tersely* “Thank you, but I’m in a hurry. I thought you worked here and knew your store.”

Me: “I’m sorry, miss, I don’t really work in this section. [Colleague] is coming right down the aisle now.”

Customer: *To her husband, in Arabic* “They always get these stupid kids to work in these places, but they don’t know how to do their job. This fatso doesn’t know his head from his a**.”

The husband gave the woman a look, probably because he saw my expression turn from my customer service smile to a frown. I was having an internal debate about what to do next when her husband spoke.

Customer’s Husband: *In Arabic* “Stop talking. I think he understood what you said.”

Customer: *In Arabic* “Of course he didn’t. He’s an idiot. He doesn’t know his hands from his feet.”

It’s an Arabic idiom that doesn’t translate well.

Me: *In Arabic* “Actually, I understood every word you said. I don’t appreciate being called fat and stupid. An older lady like you should know better than to insult people trying to help you. Worse, you wear your hijab like a hypocrite, pretending to be devout, yet you abuse your perceived social lessers? You should have some respect for yourself.”

The woman looked like she had been hit by a truck. Her olive skin turned ghost white, and she sputtered at me.

Customer: “You… you speak Arabic?”

Me: *In Arabic* “Obviously, I do. Maybe next time you’ll think before you insult people who help you when you think they can’t understand.”

The woman grabbed her husband’s arm and dragged him out of the store, completely mortified. I could hear her husband yelling at her in Arabic that he’d warned her not to be a b**** all the time, especially when she doesn’t know who understands her. I wasn’t personally that offended, but I won’t deny that it was satisfying to scare some sense into her.


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Spanish And Portuguese Have A Few Very Important Differences

, , , , | Learning | June 12, 2021

I am learning Portuguese as a second language. To help me improve, I do some crosswords with my boyfriend, but as we are apart for now, I have to read out the clues for him. As I am mostly self-taught at this point, I never did learn the names of the letters. I come to the clue “antes de Q” — “before Q.” I am fairly sure I have understood the clue, but I have no idea how to say the letter Q and I make a guess, saying, “Coo.”

My boyfriend gets very confused, asking what am I saying, and so I repeat”

Me: “‘Coo.’ P, ‘Coo,’ R, S…”

At this, he laughs loudly.

Boyfriend: “Ah, ‘Que.’ ‘Coo’ means ‘a***hole.’”

I still haven’t heard the end of this.

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Very Fishy Financials

, , , , , | Right | June 10, 2021

A woman walks up to my desk. She is wearing the required mask and has a slight, possibly Australian, accent. She says something to me that I can’t quite make out, and that sounds completely ludicrous. After a moment, I realize that what she was actually saying was:

Customer: “Is it all right if I pay with a card?”

I assure her that it is, then laugh and tell her:

Me: “For a moment there, I thought you said, ‘Is it all right if I play with a cod?”

Customer: *With a straight face* “Do you have one?”

We both cracked up.

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A Red-Letter Day

, , , | Healthy | June 10, 2021

I work in medical reception. Recently, we had to reschedule some patients from one doctor, and we had a nurse practitioner available that day to take the patients that the doctor couldn’t. I was on the phone with a patient, who was very (understandably) upset because there were no other medical doctors with immediate openings to see them.

Patient: *Frustrated* “I don’t care if it’s an MD or a PhD; I just need to see a doctor!”

While this situation in itself was far from funny, I had a hard time keeping myself from laughter. A couple of days before, my English teacher had gone on quite a tangent about how he doesn’t like being called “Doctor,” because, obviously, having a PhD in English, he is not medically qualified.

Teacher: “If you’re sick, I’m probably going to just let you die.”

Personally, no matter how bad my medical condition was, I’d take that NP over that PhD any day.

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That Country Road Is Different From How I Remember

, , , , , | Right | June 9, 2021

I am checking out a mother and her young daughter, likely kindergarten age. The mother is distracted with a young baby in a stroller but the daughter is diligently passing the items to me.

I am surprised when I hear the daughter humming “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver!

Me: “Oh, that’s one of my favorite tunes!”

Young Girl: “Me, too! We learned it in school today! Look, I even made a picture!”

The young girl then magically produces a piece of paper with bright marker stick people and the name of the song on top. Immediately, I notice a couple of things: the word “Home” is missing an M, and more importantly, the word “Country” is missing an O.

Me: “Oh… that’s… lovely.”

The mother realizes what is happening and snatches the artwork from her daughter.

Mother: “No, [Young Girl]! This is special art for Mommy’s eyes only, remember!”

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