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    Category: Language & Words

    I Say Tomato, You Say…

    , | ON, Canada | At The Checkout, Food & Drink, Language & Words

    (I am working as the backup order taker at the drive thru one night. The woman working drive thru was busy with a customer at the window, so I took the next customer’s order.)

    Me: “Welcome to [Store]. Can I take your order?”

    Customer: “Yes, I’d like a [Signature Burger] combo with no tomato and no pickle, and a diet coke.”

    Me: “Okay, a [Signature Burger] combo with no pomato, no tickle.”

    (I pause, realizing what I just said. The customer chuckles.)

    Me: “Sorry. That’s no pomato, no tickle.”

    (Again I pause, realizing I did it again. Customer chuckles again.)

    Me: “One more time. No pomato, no tickle.”

    (Another pause. More chuckling.)

    Me: “Okay. So a [Signature Burger] meal with special toppings and a diet [Soda]. Is there anything else?”

    Customer: “No, that’s everything.”

    Me: “Okay, that’ll be [cost]. Please drive to the window.”

    (The customer pulls up to the window, pays, and my coworker turns to get the change. I go to the window to talk to the customer.)

    Me: “I’m really sorry about that. I don’t know why I can’t say no pomato, no tickle. I just did it again.”

    Customer: *laughing* “Yes, I don’t mind, really.”

    (My coworker gets the food while I think about how the words should sound. I ask to hand the food to the customer.)

    Me: “Here’s your [Signature Burger] combo with no tomato, no pickle. Have a good night.”

    Customer: “Thanks, and you got it this time. Bye.”

    An Acrimonious Acronym

    | USA | Coworkers, Ignoring/Inattentive, Language & Words

    (I manage a retail boutique. I have been looking to hire a replacement for a keyholder who is leaving, and I have to be fairly picky about who I hire in those positions, as they’re responsible for opening and closing the store by themselves when my assistant or I are off, as well as handling deposits, taking $1000 custom orders, etc. Meanwhile, I have a seasonal associate who has no interest in talking with customers and has difficulty following instructions on tasks.)

    Seasonal Associate: “What’s a [acronym for sales performance goals]?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, what?”

    Seasonal Associate: “A [acronym for sales performance goals]. What is that?”

    Me: “You’re joking, right?”

    Seasonal Associate: “…no? [District manager] just sent an email about that and I didn’t know what it meant.”

    Me: “[Seasonal Associate], I know for a fact that [Assistant Manager] and I both explained it to you when we interviewed you for the job, as well as during it your first couple shifts. It was explained in the orientation video that I witnessed you watch and take a quiz on. We’ve used that term every single day, multiple times a day, since you started five months ago. There’s a huge chart, at eye level, on the door to the sales floor that tracks everyone’s [acronym for sales performance goals] each week. How do you not know this?”

    Seasonal Associate: *shrug*

    Me: “You do realize that [acronym for sales performance goals] is literally the only way the company judges how our store is performing, right?”

    Seasonal Associate: “I didn’t realize that. By the way, if you can’t find another key-holder, I can do it!”

    Spun Out A New Color

    | Chandler, AZ, USA | Employees, Language & Words

    (I am a customer at this paint store waiting to have some paint mixed. Another customer enters the store and requests two cans of the color ‘spun sugar.’ The employee enters the product in his computer.)

    Employee: “Sorry, sir, it doesn’t look like we carry that one.”

    Customer: “Are you sure? I’m positive this is where we saw it.”

    Employee: “Nope. I don’t see that in our system at all.”

    Customer: “Let me check over on your sample wall.”

    Employee: “I’ll be impressed if you can find it. If it’s on our wall but not in our system then something is wrong with my computer.”

    (The customer comes back after about five minutes of searching.)

    Customer: “Look, I found it! Spun Sugar!”

    (The employee peers at the paint can and then chuckles in an embarrassed way.)

    Employee: “That explains it! Here I just spent the last 10 minutes searching our system for ‘SPONGE Sugar.'”

    (Very) Bad Translation

    | Singapore | Bosses & Owners, Coworkers, Language & Words, Rude & Risque

    (I have a new colleague who can only speak English and Korean. She wants, very much, to get along with everyone at the front office, including the chief concierge, who is a middle-aged, very proper Malay gentleman. She enlists the bellhops to teach her greetings in Malay. They oblige, not knowing that she was going to use what she would learn on their boss, the chief concierge. Unbeknownst to her, all they taught her were curse words. This happens one morning when she is assured that she is fluent in the language.)

    Colleague: “Mr [Chief Concierge], [swear word]!”

    Chief Concierge: *shocked* “Who taught you that?!”

    Colleague: *innocently* “[Bellhop #1] and [Bellhop #2]. I asked them to teach me how to say ‘Good Morning’ in Malay. Did I pronounce it wrongly?”

    Chief Concierge: *angrily* “What else did they teach you?”

    Colleague: *taken aback by his reaction* “Well, some other greetings, like [lots of foul language].”

    Chief Concierge: “Nice girls like you shouldn’t know such bad words! How dare [Bellhop #1] and [Bellhop #2] teach you such nasty stuff? Don’t ever say all that again!”

    Colleague: “What?! They taught me bad words?! I might have said it to a guest!”

    (The two bellhops were standing nearby, horrified, when this incident happened. They were reprimanded severely by the chief concierge.)

    Something Fishy With The Language

    | NC, USA | Bosses & Owners, Employees, Language & Words

    (My mom immigrated to the USA from Africa about 20 years ago. She has an accent but is fluent in English. She was works at a doctor’s office. A well-dressed doctor walks up to my mom when she is filing paperwork.)

    Doctor: “Ugh, I am so exhausted. I can’t wait to go home and relax!”

    Mom: “Yeah, I know. When I get off work I am going to cook some fish for my family”

    Doctor: “It’s fishes.”

    Mom: “Excuse me?”

    Doctor: “It’s pronounced fishes. It is plural so we say fishes, not fish.”

    Mom: “Actually, I am certain it is pronounced fish…”

    Doctor: *getting irritated and huffing* “Well, I understand you are from Africa and didn’t get a proper education in English, but in America we say fishes. I would know; I went to school long enough. But it’s ok. You’re new here so I understand it’s going to take time to learn our language”

    Mom: *trying to keep calm* “I am pretty sure it’s fish. Just like we say deer and not ‘deers.’”

    (My mom’s boss comes into the room and the doctor immediately becomes smug and full of confidence.)

    Doctor: “[Boss], do we say fishes or fish when we are talking about multiple fish?”

    Boss: “We say fish.”

    (The doctor angrily huffs and rolls her eyes before she proceeded to walk out of the room.)

    Boss: “What was that all about?”


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