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  • Category: Language & Words

    Land Of The Rising Expectations

    | San Jose, CA, USA | Bosses & Owners, Crazy Requests, Food & Drink, Language & Words

    (I’ve been working in the Japanese restaurant business for a year, but I have started at a new restaurant. I’m still getting used to their ways. Once the manager finds out I’m also Japanese, she finds every opportunity to verbally abuse me since it’s culturally unacceptable to talk back, no matter how ridiculous. A couple sits down at my table. The wife is Korean and the husband is Caucasian. They open the menu and when they put it down, I approach them.)

    Me: “Hi. May I take your order?”

    Husband: “I have a question. I looked at your menu and I don’t see kimchi on here.”

    (I am puzzled, because kimchi is Korean spicy pickled vegetables, but there are some Japanese dishes that use kimchi so I’m not 100 percent sure.)

    Me: “I don’t think we have kimchi here.”

    (The husband looks at his wife, who has a clearly disappointed expression.)

    Me: “I can double check for you. I’ll be right back.”

    (I go into the kitchen and ask the chefs.)

    Me: “We don’t serve kimchi here, right?”

    Chefs: “No. There is a Japanese restaurant down the street run by a Korean couple that has it, but we don’t.”

    Me: “Right, thanks.” *goes back to table*

    Me: “I’m very sorry, we don’t have kimchi here. Would you be interested in tsukemono instead? They’re Japanese non-spicy pickled vegetables.”

    Husband: “No, that’s okay. Thank you.”

    (The couple then just get up and leave the restaurant. I’m rather confused because if they only wanted kimchi, I don’t know why they bothered to come to a Japanese restaurant, but I set up the table to be used by other customers.)

    Manager: “What happened?! Why did they leave? What did you do?!”

    (I explain.)

    Manager: “Are you sure? Did you offend them? What did you say?”

    Me: “No. I just said we don’t serve kimchi and I asked if they perhaps wanted tsukemono instead.”

    Manager: “They came here for only kimchi? That’s ridiculous. We’re a Japanese restaurant.”

    Me: “I understand. I asked the chefs just to make sure and they confirmed that we don’t have it. But they weren’t interested in anything else.”

    Manager: “You need to think more about the customer! This restaurant values service and the owners are always emphasizing that we need to give better service! You’re not doing your part for the customers! How long do you think you’ve been working here?”

    (I had only been there for a month, but there was nothing I could do but bow and apologize profusely. Later on I became really good friends with the owners and discovered that when they were talking about customer service, they mean it as a personal criticism to the manager because she’s so terrible at it!)

    Not Speaking The Same Language About The Same Language

    | Adelaide, SA, Australia | Coworkers, Extra Stupid, Language & Words

    (I only overhear a consultant’s advice to a customer, and not the customer’s responses.)

    Consultant: “No, I am sorry we don’t have any Chinese translators.”

    Entire Center: *stands up and stares at the consultant, bug eyed*

    Consultant: “No, really. We don’t have any Chinese translators. We’ve got Cantonese and Mandarin translators, but that is probably not going to help…”

    Trash Talking The Trash

    | Fargo, ND, USA | Employees, Food & Drink, Language & Words

    (My dad and I walk into a diner. It has easily the worst food and service we’ve ever had. It comes time to pay the bill.)

    Dad: “So how much do you want for this garbage?”

    Waitress: “Don’t call our s***, garbage!”

    Me: “We stand corrected!”

    (She didn’t get it.)

    Holding On To Your Clients

    | Portland, OR, USA | Employees, Health & Body, Language & Words

    (I am the employee in this story. I work in a telephone-based office, answering calls from patients. Note: I am male, and currently on a call.)

    Coworker: “Hey, [My Name]. Mrs. [Patient] is holding for you on line two.”

    (I would normally answer the second call by saying, ‘Hi, Mrs. [Patient]. Thanks for holding. May I help you?’ Instead, I say this:)

    Me: “Hi, Mrs. [Patient]. May I hold you?”

    Patient: “…”

    Me: *hoping the patient thinks she misheard me*

    Patient: “Um, right. Well, the reason I called is…”

    (Neither one of us mentioned it to the other. My coworkers, on the other hand, were dying of laughter in the background!)

    Bear That In Mind If You Have One

    | Winnipeg, MB, Canada | Coworkers, Extra Stupid, Language & Words, Pets & Animals

    (I have just returned to work after a camping trip and am telling some coworkers about it at lunch.)

    Me: “In the middle of the night, I woke up to hear a bear shuffling around right outside the tent! I was glad I’d thought to put the food in the car. We heard in the morning they’d caught a bear in one of the humane bear traps. We had seen the signs up for the traps, but we didn’t think the bears were so close.”

    Coworker: *rolling eyes* “That’s stupid.”

    Me: “What? What’s stupid?”

    Coworker: “Well, the bears are just going to read the signs and know the bear traps are up and avoid the traps.”

    (Everyone stares at this coworker for a moment.)

    Me: “Uh… Bears can’t read.”

    Coworker: *genuinely surprised* “Really?!”


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