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    Category: Language & Words

    Failed The Name Game

    | Newcastle, England, UK | Bosses & Owners, Coworkers, Language & Words

    (I work in a clothing outlet store, where we regularly get department reps in to check on their stock. My manager is German and she goes by a shortened version of her name.)

    Representative: “Hi, could you tell me where [Manager’s Full Name] is?”

    Coworker: “That name doesn’t ring a bell; is it a person or a department?”

    Representative: “It should be a person.”

    Coworker: “Hey, [My Name], do you know who [Manager’s Full Name] is?”

    Me: *laughing* “Yeah, it’s [Manager].”

    Coworker: “Well that’s not a very German name!”

    Me: “She’s married to a Brit.”

    Coworker: *to rep* “So, yeah, it’s my manager that you’re looking for.”

    Representative: “I won’t tell her that you didn’t know who she was.”

    Erase That Last Comment

    | Asia | Coworkers, Language & Words, Rude & Risque

    (I’m working at a summer job which teaches local students English as a second language. Although I and other local teachers use British English, I’m currently working on a poster with an older, higher ranking male colleague from America. I’m female.)

    Me: *I make a mistake on the poster* “Ugh. Hey, pass me a rubber, would you?”

    (The male colleague just stares at me, uncomfortable, until I repeat the question.)

    Colleague: “Er, no.”

    Me: “…why not?”

    Colleague: “I can’t do that!”

    Me: “What are you talking about? You have one right there… oh.”

    (I pause, horrified, as I remember some crucial differences between American and British vocabulary.)

    Me: “Oh, God, no! I meant an eraser! An eraser, to rub something out! I made a mistake, so I need an eraser!”

    Colleague: “Phew. Fine then. I thought I was going to have to give a lecture on workplace boundaries.”

    Either Way They’re Having A Ball

    | Sydney, NSW, Australia | Bizarre/Silly, Bosses & Owners, Coworkers, Language & Words

    Boss: “Is ‘ballroom’ one word or two?”

    Me: “One word. Two words makes me think of those ball pits at McDonald’s.”

    Coworker: “Or very roomy underwear…”

    Weathering Bad Comments

    | MN, USA | Bizarre/Silly, Language & Words

    (It’s February and it is well known that I am going to be gone on vacation for a week. The patient in question is an older lady.)

    Patient: *smiling* “It’ll be really nice when you’re gone!”

    Me: *wondering what on earth I ever did to her!* “Uhm… okay?”

    Patient: “You know, how it’ll be nice when you’re gone, then really cruddy when you come back!”

    Me: “Oh, uh, sure. Okay.”

    Patient: *getting flustered* “You know! The weather! It’s like that, nice when you’re gone then gets cold again when you come back!”

    Me: *getting it* “Oh! Yes, probably.”

    (The patient left red-faced and I laughed about it the whole time I was gone!)

    Going Through A Spell Of Spelling

    | Austin, TX, USA | Coworkers, Language & Words, Rude & Risque

    (I work at a popular home improvement store. The following conversation occurs between me and three coworkers. Note: I’m 21 and female, Coworker #1 is 25 and a new mom, Coworker #2 is female and 60, and Coworker #3 is male and in his 50s. Coworker #1 is explaining about ‘fajas’ which are like Mexican Spanx.)

    Coworker #1: “So, my friend makes them specifically for each person. It really works. It’s breathable and comfortable.”

    Coworker #2: “How much does it cover?”

    Coworker #1: “Depends. Usually from your shoulders to about mid-thigh.”

    Me: “How much do they usually cost?”

    Coworker #1: “Eh… around $120, but it really, really works.”

    Coworker #2: “Is it like tank top straps? How thick are they?”

    Coworker #1: “Oh, they’re pretty thin. Like an inch or so thick.”

    Coworker #2: “And do you wear your…” *glances at Coworker #3 nervously* “…B-R-A over it?”

    Me & Coworker #1: *bursts out laughing*

    Coworker #3: *fake confused frown* “B-R-A? Jeez, I wonder what that could be. Let me Google it.”

    Coworker #2: *blushes* “Oh, I can’t believe I just did that.”

    Me: “I can’t believe either. You really thought [Coworker #3] wouldn’t know what B-R-A spells?”

    Coworker #2: “Well, it’s just like when I used to do C-A-N-D-Y when my boys were little… but then they’d tell me they knew how to spell.”

    Coworker #3: “Still trying to Google B-R-A over here.”


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