When Numbers Lie

, , , | Right | April 26, 2018

(I’m the employee who screws up here. This museum gets a fair number of international visitors. Whenever we have guests from France and Canada, I do my best to switch to French so I can sell them tickets and give them a brief orientation to the museum, telling them where things are and what exhibits are currently open. It draws a fair amount of admiration from my coworkers, and the guests are very appreciative. Note that full-price tickets to this museum are good for two days, but if people come in at the last hour, tickets are half-price and just good for that afternoon. Here’s a transaction from my VERY LAST DAY. This whole exchange is in French.)

Me: *noticing that the two gentlemen approaching my ticket gate were speaking French* “Hello, can I help you?”

Guest #1: “Yes, thank you. We would like two tickets.”

Me: “All right, it’s the last hour of the day, so if you wish to return tomorrow, you can purchase full-price tickets, at $25, or if you just have about an hour, tickets are $12.50.”

Guest #2: “Ah, yes, we leave tomorrow, so we would like two half-price tickets. By the way, your French is perfect!”

Me: “Oh, thank you, but it’s definitely not perfect. Okay, so, two half-price, that will be—”

(I mean to say $25, but I definitely don’t! [Guest #1] hands me $80.)

Me: “Oh, no, that’s too much!”

Guest #2: “But you said it was $80!”

Me: “Oh, my gosh. I am so sorry! I switched the numbers in my head! I meant to say vingt-cinq (25), and I said quatre-vingt (80)!”

Guest #1: *laughing* “We thought it had to be a pretty amazing museum to be that much!”

(Just after he had told me my French was perfect…)

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