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    Category: Language & Words

    Watch Your Tongues

    | Brazil | Employees, Language & Words, Top, Tourists & Travel

    (In this story I am the employee. I’m currently working a football stadium in Brazil, and I’m the only multi-lingual employee in my area, as it is not a huge game. I’m waiting, in a food area that has a phone, to escort a disabled English fan to their seat, and I am making conversation with the Portuguese manager and employee.)

    Manager: *in Portuguese* “When are you expecting the call?”

    Me: “In a couple of minutes. Then I’ll head down and take them up.”

    Employee: “Do you need anything?”

    Me: “Nah, I’ve got a key.”

    (Suddenly a group of obviously Spanish speaking fans show up and start working through the menu together.)

    Manager: “I hate to ask, but our Spanish speaking server is on a break. Could you…?”

    Me: “Oh! No problem!” *switching to Spanish to take the group’s orders* “How can I help you all?”

    Fan #1: *in Spanish* “Thank you! Yes, I think we have it all figured out. We’ll need two [sodas] and three [other type of sodas], and…”

    (Just then, the phone rings. I explain to them I’ll need a second as I’m supposed to be escorting a disabled fan up. They’re very understanding and tell me to take my time.)

    Me: *in English* “Hello?”

    Caller: “Hello! Yes, I’m down here with my daughter. We requested disabled seating.”

    Me: “Oh! Yes, I’ll be there to escort you. Give me a minute to walk down.”

    Caller: “No, no, no! Sorry, see, we’re having trouble finding our way, and instead of bothering another employee we hoped you would help us with directions? We’re at the red entrance.”

    Me: “Yes, I know where you are. See, first… Uh, I just remembered I’m working with someone right now.”

    Caller: “Oh, we’ll wait.”

    Me: *to the fans, in Spanish* “All right, sorry. What else do you need?”

    (He starts to list off his order, but I continue returning to the phone. Finally I get the disabled group to the meeting point.)

    Manager: *in Portuguese* “Do you need to go now?”

    Me: *in Spanish, which he does not understand* “Let me finish their order.” *to fans, in English* “Okay, so let me finish you off and we’ll get your food.”

    Fan #1: *in English, struggling slightly* “Uh… three bag of chips. Please.”

    Me: “Why are you speaking English?”

    Fan #1: *laughing* “Because you are!”

    (The phone rings from security that I need to go escort the group now.)

    Me: *on phone, in Portuguese* “You’re ready? Good. I’ll be down momentarily.”

    (I finally notice what I’ve just done.)

    Me: *in English* “You understood none of that.”

    Caller: *laughing* “Absolutely none!”

    (We all had a good laugh about it and I quickly finished the group’s orders and escorted the disabled fan to her seat. My coworkers still joke about my ‘two language limit.’)

    Misconceiving The Point, Part 3

    | Lake Louise, AB, Canada | At The Checkout, Employees, Health & Body, Language & Words

    (A customer is buying a pregnancy test, which is very expensive at our store.)

    Customer: “This is so expensive, but better safe than sorry!”

    Me: “Yeah, sorry about how expensive it is. But next time try the store across the road.”

    Customer: “The next time?” *eyebrows raised*

    Me: “Oh, my god. I am so sorry. That’s not what I meant!”

    (Luckily she had a sense of humour!)

    Related:
    Misconceiving The Point, Part 2
    Misconceiving The Point

    Delta Uniform Mike Bravo

    | Kent, England, UK | Coworkers, Language & Words

    (Two of my coworkers have decided to learn the phonetic alphabet and are looking at a website with a list on it.)

    Coworker #1: “Why is Z ‘zulu’? It doesn’t make sense!”

    Coworker #2: “Yeah, it would be better if it was zebra.”

    Coworker #1: “Or xylophone!”

    Me: “… Xylophone starts with an ‘X.’”

    Coworker #1: “Oh, yeah…”

    A Labor-Force Of Love

    | FL, USA | Bizarre/Silly, Bosses & Owners, Language & Words

    (I am in Boss #2′s office, participating in a call between Boss #2 and Boss #1, who is in the next office. Both are middle-aged males.)

    Boss #2: *explaining a process* “Will that work?”

    Boss #1: “Yes, that’s fine. I love you!” *hangs up*

    (Boss #2 and I look at each other and burst out laughing, Boss #1 hears us.)

    Boss #1: “What, what’d I say?” *we tell him* “Oh, sorry, I was just talking to my wife. Nothing personal. I promise!”

    A Tired Basket Case

    | Australia | At The Checkout, Language & Words

    (It has been a long day, and I am not feeling great. I have been serving between a register and the separate cigarette kiosk. A customer walks up to my counter with a basket of shopping.)

    Me: “Hi. What can I get for you today?”

    Customer: “Umm… just what’s in my basket?”

    (The customer and I burst out laughing, realizing my mistake.)


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