Category: Geography

A Bad (Den)Mark Against Your Name

| New York City, NY, USA | Bosses & Owners, Coworkers, Extra Stupid, Geography

(I used to work at this location before I was transferred to a new location that I am much happier with. Every summer, we offer a tourist discount to any tourists who shows proof, like an ID or passport. An older couple and their adult son enter the store.)

Me: “Hi! Welcome to [Store]. Where are you visiting from?”

Adult Son: “We are from Denmark.”

Me: “Nice! We offer a 10% discount to tourists with passport.”

Adult Son: “Okay, great! I’ll look around to see what I would like.”

(I proceed to help him with questions about our products. He ends up spending a large amount, even with the discount.)

Me: “Thanks for shopping. Hope you have a safe trip back home!”

Adult Son: “Thanks! Have a good day.”

(With any promotion going on, corporate has us fill a tracking form to see the progress. I enter how much the tourist spent, and which country the person was from. It was until my former coworker stopped me to ask me this:)

Coworker: “How are you going to tell corporate that Denmark is a country?”

Me: “Because Denmark is a country in Europe…”

Coworker: “No, it’s not! It doesn’t sound like it.”

Me: “Denmark is a country in Europe! Do you want me to show you on a map?”

(I proceeded to pull up an image of the European map, and pointed to where Denmark is. She didn’t say anything, but shrugged her shoulders. I also showed her an article to show additional proof of Denmark’s European validity, which said “Kingdom of Denmark.”)

Coworker: “Oh look, it says ‘Kingdom of Denmark,’ so Denmark is part of England.”

Me: “No, Denmark is not part of the UK.”

Coworker: “But it says right there: ‘Kingdom of Denmark.’”

Me: “Yes, it says ‘Kingdom of Denmark,’ but they aren’t part of the UK. They are their own kingdom.”

Coworker: “Why would they call themselves a kingdom if they aren’t part of England? It sounded like Denmark is somewhere in America. It sounded very American.”

Me: “If I told you I am from York, would you think that I’m from York, Pennsylvania or York, England?”

Coworker: “I don’t know. I would think you’re from Pennsylvania because you speak like an American.”

(At times, my former manager calls the store to check any sales progress if she isn’t working. I answer the phone, and tell her the confusion my coworker had.)

Manager: “It’s okay, corporate doesn’t have to know YOU made a mistake. Just change the country to Italy, and they don’t have to know that you gave the discount to Denmark.”

Me: “But Denmark is a country in Europe!”

Manager: “No, it’s not. Just change it, and you’ll be fine.”

(Needless to say, I didn’t change it, and I didn’t get into trouble. The company opened a new location, of which I made the wise decision to transfer. I now work with a more intelligent crowd that definitely knows where Denmark is!)

A Different State Of English

| USA | At The Checkout, Employees, Geography, Language & Words

(I’ve just moved across the country, and my boyfriend’s driving me home from the airport. Since it’s a three-hour drive, we make a stop at a gas station to refuel and grab something to hold us over until we can get to town. We bring everything to the cashier.)

Cashier: “Find everything okay?”

Boyfriend: “Yeah, just needed stuff to stop us from getting hungry for a bit.”

Cashier: “Long drive?”

Boyfriend: “Yeah, I’m from [Town]. She’s just moved here from Ohio.”

Cashier: “That’s in Europe, right? How good is her English?”

(I hold back a laugh.)

Boyfriend: “…Sure.”

(He then kept telling me over the next week that I had really good English.)

Ice From The North

| GA, USA | Employees, Food & Drink, Geography

(I am from California, attending a conference in Georgia, and friends take me out for lunch…)

Me: *to waitress* “Is your ice tea fresh-brewed or instant?”

Waitress: “Oh, we make it fresh every morning!”

Me: “Great! I’d like an ice tea then, no sugar, no lemon.”

Waitress: *deer-in-the-headlights look on her face* “I’m sorry; they put in sugar and lemon when they make it. I’ve never had anybody ask for it without.”

Me: *laughing* “Yeah, we Northerners are weird. Okay, then, bring me a cup of hot tea and a glass of ice.”

Waitress: “Okay! That’ll work. And I’ll remember that for the next time I get a weird Northerner in here!”

Money Talks

| Italy | Employees, Geography, Ignoring/Inattentive, Money

(I spend several months abroad for work. During that period, because of a lack of communication between the tellers and the management of the first bank, I am considered “unreachable” and my account is frozen. On the account I have a standing order for my car’s monthly payments, so I promptly call their customer service…)

Operator: “[Car Brand] financial service. How can I help you?”

Me: “Hello, this is [My Name]. I have a problem with my bank account and now it’s frozen, but I’m abroad. Is there a way, like a bank transfer, to send my payments?”

Operator: “Certainly, sir. I need your account number, then we need to activate an automatic charge—”

Me: “I’m afraid it will not work. As I told you before, I’m now abroad and in this moment I don’t have any active bank accounts in Italy. I believe I can do an international transfer every month. Will that be good for you?”

Operator: “No, sir, the only way is via an automatic charge on a national bank account.”

Me: “Listen, the problem is that I have no bank account in Italy, I’m abroad, the car is abroad, and I won’t be back for at least eight months. So, you won’t have neither the money or a car to repossess.”

Supervisor: “Hello, Mr [My Name]. I’m the shift supervisor of [Car Brand] Financial Services. International transfer, you said? No problem, sir. You can send your monthly payment to…”

(Funny that when they risk losing money there’s always a solution!)

This Conversation Is Going South

| Catonsville, MD, USA | Employees, Extra Stupid, Geography

(This takes place before ordering items over the Internet was popular. I am about to travel abroad and need an outlet adapter to plug in electronic devices and, given that each country has its own wiring system, I’m unsure of what to order. This happens when I am on the phone with a popular electronics store.)

Me: “I’m traveling to Africa and I need to know which outlet adapter I should buy.”

Salesperson: “Which country in Africa?”

Me: “South Africa.”

Salesperson: “Yes, but which country in South Africa?”

Me: “South Africa.”

Salesperson: “What’s the name of the country you’re going to?”

Me: “The name of the country is South Africa.”

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