When The Person You’re Insulting In A Foreign Language Isn’t Foreign To The Language

, , , , | Right | November 21, 2018

(On a particularly busy day, a group of Arab women come into the store keen on getting some tea. I’m excited because I actually speak fluent Arabic.)

Customer #1: “We want tea; what are the discounts?”

Me: “We currently don’t have any discounts on, unfortunately! Is there a specific tea you are looking for?”

Customer #2: “We want the one that’s like the one at [Restaurant In Town].”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I’ve never been there. Could you describe it?”

(This continues for about thirty minutes; they want teas from random places, and I bring down what I think will work, and they seem pleased. It’s at this point they start bickering in Arabic to each other.)

Customer #1: *in Arabic* “She is so stupid; she doesn’t even know what she’s talking about.”

Customer #2: “She’s probably going to overcharge us.”

Customer #3: “Could she go any slower?”

Me: *smiling, still pretending I don’t understand* “Your total today will be $127.83.”

Customer #3: *in Arabic* “OH, MY GOD, IT’S JUST TEA! I COULD GROW THIS IN MY BACKYARD FOR TWO DOLLARS!”

Customer #2: *in English* “How can this be? You have to give us a discount; it’s way too much!”

Me: “I’m sorry. I can’t apply any discounts, but I’d be happy to make you a tea on the house.”

Customer #1: *very angry* “No, just let us pay so we can get out of here.”

(I ring them through,and before I reach for a bag, I decide to make this whole transaction worth my while.)

Me: *in Arabic* “Would you like a bag?”

(I had never seen anyone turn so white in my life; I thought they were going to pass out. They said nothing as I handed them their bag and wished them a wonderful day again in Arabic, just to hit the point home. Most satisfying feeling ever!)

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