The Reason They Are Suddenly Embarrassed Doesn’t Make It Any Better

, , | Right | December 15, 2020

I speak German fluently, but as I am not a native speaker, sometimes I need to ask customers to repeat themselves, especially if they mumble or speak quietly.

Me: “Hello, sir, how can I help you?”

The customer mumbles something.

Me: “I’m sorry?”

The customer gets annoyed and raises his voice.

Customer: “I said, I want 500 grams of espresso beans, ground!”

Me: “Okay, and for what type of coffee machine?”

We ask this because generally, we have customers asking for several different kinds of grounds for different machines: filter, French-press, percolator, etc. He responds in a tone as if this is the dumbest question he’s ever heard.

Customer: “Just a normal coffee machine!”

Me: “Okay, so a filter machine, then?”

Customer: “Yes, that’s what I just said!”

Me: “Okay, sir, that will be €13.”

The customer mumbles something again.

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Customer: “I want to pay with a card!” *With a condescending tone* “I guess we’re having a problem with understanding today!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I am not a native speaker.”

Customer: *In a mocking tone* “Yeah, I know, Spanish?”

Me: “Um, no. English, actually.”

The customer suddenly looks embarrassed, pays, and leaves without saying anything else.

This actually happens a lot. Many customers will assume that I am from Southern or Eastern Europe and will be extremely rude to me, and then once they find out that I am from the US, they will suddenly be very polite and/or apologize for their previous comments. In retrospect, I should have called the customer out on his double standards.

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