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  • Swearing You Into A Job
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  • Category: Language & Words

    Their Custom Is Sai-Gone

    | USA | Bigotry, Employees, Geography, Language & Words

    (My girlfriend and I are on a trip to the south of the US and decide to stop at a sandwich shop for lunch. I am a white Canadian and she is Vietnamese, both born and raised in Canada.)

    Me: “Hello! I’ll take a 12-inch [sub] meal.”

    Girlfriend: “I’ll t—”

    Server: “I’m sorry, I don’t speak Chinese.” *turns to me* “To save time, can you just order for her, please?”

    Me: “Well, first of all, she’s not Chinese. She’s Vietnamese—”

    Server: “Same thing. I don’t speak the language!”

    Me: “Second, she does speak English if you let her.”

    (My girlfriend is shy and always tries to avoid conflict, so I have to nudge her to order. After we both do and I have my sub extensively customized, with added items, extra cheese, and toasted. We get to the register.)

    Server: “That will be [total].”

    Me: “You know what? Naaah, I changed my mind. Have a nice day. Bye.”

    (We left the server holding the wrapped subs and walked out without a word.)

    The One That Can Hear Is Not Listening

    | UK | Bosses & Owners, Employees, Health & Body, Language & Words, Religion

    (A friend of mine is deaf, and has conversations with people by reading their lips. The bank teller is a woman wearing a burka which covers her mouth.)

    Teller: *begins talking*

    Friend: “I’m sorry; I can’t understand you. I’m deaf.”

    Teller: *keeps talking*

    Friend: *louder* “I can’t understand you without seeing your lips. Can I talk to someone else please?”

    Teller: *shouts for manager*

    Manager: “My employee tells me you wish not to make contact with her because of her burka. We do not tolerate racism in this bank.”

    Friend: “I have nothing against this lady’s choice of religion, it’s just that I need to read her lips. I’m deaf.”

    Manager: “This is your final warning! One more racist slur and I am closing your account.”

    Friend: *nearly in tears* “Please, I can’t understand her. I’m deaf!”

    Manager: “That’s it. Get out of this bank or I’m calling the police.”

    (My friend had to run out crying. Amazingly, she was more upset about feeling like she’d insulted someone than how she was treated!)

    A Good Reason To Study Languages

    | RI, USA | Employees, Language & Words

    (I have close stepfamily from Guatemala, and I am in the middle of taking a basic Japanese language class in my first year of college. I know extremely basic Spanish, and a fair amount of Japanese.)

    Telemarketer #1: *starts speaking before I can say ‘hello’* “Hello! I have a great offer that you are eligible for as a computer owner. If you could just answer some simple questions for me?”

    Me: “¡Lo siento! ¡No hablo Inglés!”

    Telemarketer #1: “Oh, hold on one minute, ma’am! ¡Uno momento!” *call transfers*

    Telemarketer #2: *starts speaking in fast and complicated Spanish*

    Me: “Wakarimasen! Supeingo o hanashimasen.” *very basic/broken Japanese for ‘I don’t understand, I don’t speak Spanish*

    (The call transfers back to the first telemarketer.)

    Telemarketer #1: “I’m sorry, ma’am. WHAT LANGUAGE do you speak? HOW. CAN. WE. HELP. YOU?”

    Me: “¡Lo siento, lo siento! ¡No hablo Inglés!” *transfers*

    Telemarketer #2: *starts talking in complicated Spanish*

    Me: “Wakarimasen. Supeingo o hanashimasen.”

    (I get transferred back to Telemarketer #1. They sent me back and forth in three more cycles, trying to speak to me.)

    Telemarketer #1: “Just… just have a good day, ma’am.” *click*

    What Is French For Bigot?

    | USA | Bigotry, Employees, Language & Words, Top

    (My wife and I are shopping for a gift for her best friend’s baby shower, in an area where French is commonly spoken. She is mixed race, but looks South Asian like her mother. We both have large, visible tattoos and a lot of piercings. My wife approaches one of the employees, who is chatting with another employee in French.)

    Wife: “Excuse me. Where would I find [Brand]?”

    Employee #1: *irritated, in English* “In aisle [number].”

    Wife: “Thank you.”

    (The aisle isn’t very far from where the employees are standing, so we can hear everything they’re saying. I don’t speak French, but my wife’s father is from France and therefore she speaks it fluently. She relays their conversation to me after we leave.)

    Employee #1: *in French, to Employee #2* “Ugh, what’s a whore like her doing in here! They shouldn’t even be allowed to have kids.”

    Employee #2: *in French* “A white man with an [ethnic slur] like her. It’s a disgrace.”

    Employee #1: *in French* “We should charge them double for everything. That’ll teach them.”

    (My wife finds the product she is looking for and takes it up to the counter. Employee #1 starts to ring her up.)

    Employee #1: *in English* “Did you find everything alright?”

    Wife: *in French* “I did, thank you. [Brand] is my favorite. I hope my best friend will get as much use out of this as I got out of mine.”

    Employee #1: *stunned, speechless*

    Wife: *in French* “Now, make sure you get the proper price on that. Oh, and I’ll be calling your manager.”

    (She did call the manager later, and it turned out that that wasn’t the first time the employees had done something like that. They were fired, and my wife was given a coupon for future visits.)

    Sign Me Up For A Laugh

    | USA | Coworkers, Language & Words

    (My coworkers, Coworker #1 and #2, work together in the restaurant making the guest breakfast. Coworker #1 knows English but no Spanish, and Coworker #2 knows Spanish but very little English. They talk by signing with their hands. I’m watching their conversation.)

    Coworker #1: *signing* “[Coworker #2], um… you no… washing… today? Today?”

    Coworker #2: *signing* “Um… No. No.”

    Coworker #1: *signing* “Um… what… you make… yesterday?”

    Coworker #2: “Um… eggs. Ham.”

    (They continue with me watching; and I’m very amused and amazed at how well they can ‘talk’ with signs. Another coworker approaches me.)

    Coworker #3: “[My Name], don’t you know Spanish?”

    Me: “A little bit…”

    Coworker #3: “Well, why don’t you help translate between them?”

    Me: “I would but… they are much funnier this way!”


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