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Category: Language & Words

Cheering Up And Dumbing Down

| Sydney, NSW, Australia | Coworkers, Language & Words, Top

(I work with a woman whose first language isn’t English. She speaks with a strong accent and has good skills but doesn’t realise that customers don’t always get the grasp of what she is saying. I often find myself butting in to translate for customers. Another staff member has let me know that it’s upsetting her because she thinks I think she is stupid. She definitely isn’t. After one such incident, she’s walked off and I can see she is upset so follow her to explain.)

Me: “[Coworker], I am sorry if I upset you by butting in on your customer.”

Coworker: “It’s okay.”

Me: “No, I realise I upset you by doing it and need to explain. I know you are very smart and while I understand what you have said perfectly, sometimes the customers don’t.”

Coworker: “Huh?”

Me: “Yes, You explain things to them like they are intelligent adults, but need to realise that most of them are actually dumb. You often can’t work out how to dumb it down. I speak perfect dumb which is why I butt in.”

(My coworker burst out laughing and hugged me.)

I’ll Go With Option Number Two

, | Kitchener, ON, Canada | Employees, Food & Drink, Language & Words

(We have recently gotten a new dessert: a pop tart ice cream sandwich. We are supposed to suggest it at the end of the order.)

Coworker: “Will that be everything today?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Coworker: “Would you like an apple pie or our new poop tart— pop tart ice cream sandwich?”

Tiring Hitting The Books And The Bookstores

| KY, USA | Employees, Language & Words

(I’m a student, and to put myself through college I work two jobs: one at a popular local bookstore, and the other for the university opera department as a receptionist, usually answering questions about upcoming productions and taking messages for faculty who are either teaching or giving private lessons. One day I’m at the opera office, after working a closing shift at the bookstore the previous night. The phone rings.)

Me: “Thanks you for calling [Bookstore]. How can I help you?”

(Long pause.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [University opera department]. How can I help you?”

Caller: “It’s been a long day for you, hasn’t it?”

That Age-Old Problem

| PA, USA | At The Checkout, Language & Words, New Hires

(I am training a new employee on how to run the cash register. A trainer is expected to cover every topic in the store. After around six hours of babbling, my mouth is running on automatic. A woman in her 30s enters the line and asks for cigarettes.)

Me: “Okay, [New Cashier]. Whenever you’re running on a normal register, you need to page customer service to get cigarettes. Remember, you’re also responsible to check IDs. You really don’t have to now, but—”

(The new cashier turns and gives me a look of horror while the customer scoffs.)

Customer: *sounding offended* “Thanks a lot!”

Me: “What?” *the realization of what I said then sinks in* “OH! Oh, no I didn’t mean anything by that! I meant that, uhm… I’m sorry?”

(The customer refused to look at or listen to me, and I lost my train of thought and fell silent. She paid for her cigarettes and left without another word. Sorry, Customer! I really didn’t mean to imply that you looked old!)

Siamese Cats

| MA, USA | Bosses & Owners, Extra Stupid, Language & Words

(An older couple who cannot speak any English come into my store. They are on the phone with their daughter, who can speak English, and hand my manager the phone.)

Manager: “How do you say hello in their language so I can say hi to them?”

Caller: “Ni-hao.”

Manager: *to customers* “Meeeoww.”

(I turned six different shades of red, tried not to laugh, and corrected her. This is NOT the first time she’s done something like this. When we have an extra percent off clearance she tells people ‘venti cinco percent’ or she tries to speak Portuguese.)


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