Go Native Or Go Home

| Oklahoma City, OK, USA | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Hall of Fame

(I’m in line at a popular discount retail store, with two people ahead of me. The women at the head of the line is clearly new to English, and while she has a thick accent and struggles, she does her best to speak to the cashier in English, even though he rolls his eyes and makes her repeat everything several times. Finally, she is able to leave. As soon as she’s out of earshot:)

Cashier: “Ugh, they shouldn’t be allowed in our stores until they learn our language.”

(The man ahead of me says several things in another language.)

Cashier: “Oh, man, not another one. This is America. Learn the language.”

Customer: “Oh, I’m sorry. I just assumed you’d learned Cherokee, since you’re so big on people learning the local language. My mistake.”

(The cashier turned bright red and didn’t say another word through the transaction.)

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Not Always Right Is Never Wrong

| Anchorage, AK, USA | Hall of Fame

(As an eager young 16 year old, I get my first job, as a busboy for a local pizzeria. While training me on my responsibilities, the manager tries to impart some timeless wisdom to me.)

Manager: “Customer service is important. You’ve heard the saying, I’m sure: ‘The Customer Is Always Right.'”

Me: “Yes, I’ve heard that.”

Manager: “Well, don’t believe it. Nine times out of ten, the customer is a f****** moron.”

Me: “…”

Manager: “But here’s the thing: the customer may be the biggest g****** sack of s*** douchebag idiot out there, but we want to take his money from him. So we let him THINK he’s right. If he says he’s the f****** king of France, what do you say to him?”

Me: “May I clear those plates, your majesty?”

Manager: “You’re going to do fine.”

(Thus began my cynical career in customer service…)

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Fit For The Job

| Sweden | Hall of Fame

(I’m the owner of a gym that is open 24/7. We get a new member who seems to be there all day. I think nothing of it until I show up one day at 8 am and the man is sleeping in the male locker room.)

Me: “Hey, you all right there?”

Man: *wakes up* “Huh?! Oh, sorry! I’m usually up before anyone gets here. Um… is there a problem?”

Me: “Did you just fall asleep in the gym?”

Man: “Sorry. See, the thing is, I’m homeless. I spent what little money I had left on a membership here so that I had roof above my head at all times.”

Me: “Ooookay, but, how do you eat?”

Man: “I’d… rather not answer that.”

Me: “What, you steal our cash or something?”

Man: “What? No! No, I don’t! I just ask the other members to treat me. I feel

horrible as I can’t pay them back.”

Me: “I see. Hey, are you good with the equipment we use here at the gym?”

Man: “Uh… yeah. Why?”

Me: “You’ll get half salary until you’ve treated all members who treated you to food. For the time being, you’re a janitor; you’re in charge of making sure everything works properly. All right?”

Man: “Y-you mean to tell me you’re hiring me?!”

Me: “Have you done drugs or do you have an alcohol problem?”

Man: “No! I hate both things! I was fired because my now ex-wife slept with my ex-boss and he had me fired when I found out!”

Me: “… oh.”

(Four years later and he’s now my most trusted employee!)

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Delivering Some Stupidity

| Calgary, AB, Canada | Hall of Fame

(My sister is visiting from Edmonton, so she, her son, and our mother are all spending the weekend at my mother’s house. After a rough time getting my nephew to sleep, no one wants to risk waking the kid. We order pizza, and to ensure nothing goes wrong, I elect to wait on the front step with the money so the doorbell or the dogs flipping out won’t wake him. Finally, the car arrives.)

Me: “Ah, excellent. If you could just—”

Delivery Driver: “Excuse me. I need to deliver this.”

Me: “I know; I’m picking it up. I’ve got a baby that just went to sleep and two dogs who flip at anything with a pulse inside, so I’m here to pay and take the pizza.”

Delivery Driver: “I have no proof you live here. You could just take the pizza and leave.” *continues to push past me*

Me: “Dude, wait! Seriously, you make any noise and you’ll wake the baby!”

Delivery Driver: “I can’t trust you.”

Me: “I’ll prove I live here. I’ll let myself in.” *gets up, opens the door, and steps in*

Delivery Driver: *rings the doorbell*

(On cue, I now have two energetic dogs at the front door barking their heads off, but not loud enough to drown out the sound of my nephew, awake and cranky, seconds later.)

Me: “The pizza will be cold before we get to eat it now. Thanks.”

Delivery Driver: “I didn’t know! If you had said something!”

Me: “I did. Twice.”

(I proceed to pay for the pizza.)

Delivery Driver: “Where is my tip?”

Me: “Sorry, I can’t hear you. Someone woke the baby.” *closes the door*

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Speaking Up For Those Who Can’t

| London, UK | Hall of Fame

(I work in the IT office for a small distribution warehouse. Normally there’s a manager and two staff to answer calls in regards to shipping. We have a third person who does a lot of our picking and heavy lifting. He’s autistic and does not speak, instead communicating via sign language. He’s worked with the company for about seven years. We have a new manager who has taken a rather strong dislike to him because he does not speak. He never answers phones because he doesn’t talk, but is a lovely chap with whom I have the occasional conversation in broken sign. One day the phone rings.)

Manager: *eyes the phone and then the picker* “[Picker], you answer the phone. Now!”

(The picker looks confused and begins to sign ‘No.’ However, the manager interrupts.)

Manager: “I don’t give a s***! It’s about time you did some work around here! Now answer that phone before I sack you on the spot!”

(The picker looks distraught and continues to attempt to explain via sign that he cannot speak, but the manager ignores him. After a few rings, he very slowly and reluctantly picks up the phone, nearly in tears. He puts it to his ear and someone starts speaking. However, as soon as they do, he starts to press one of the numbers on the phone-pad.)

Manager: “What the h*** do you think you’re doing!?”

(The picker ignores her and continues to press the button over and over. After a short time he puts the phone down, turns around, and walks off.)


(At this point the picker has walked away, and my coworker and I both feel bad for not interjecting. About half an hour later, the picker walks back into the room, followed by a man in a Hawaiian shirt. The picker says something in sign to the new man before pointing to the manager. The new man turns to the manager.)

Man: “You must be [Manager]. I had hoped to meet you under better circumstances, but instead it appears I will be meeting you under the guise of giving you your P45. My name is [Company CEO] and this is my brother, [Picker]. What you just did counts as discrimination against a worker. It was just cruel and completely out of line. I expect you to be out of this building within the next ten minutes; otherwise I’m going to call the police and have you forcefully ejected.”

(The manager’s face goes sheet white and she begins to stammer an apology, but the CEO has none of it and turfs her out. He double-checks with us as to what happened and checks the CCTV. Turns out he had been ringing into the office on his day off to make sure everything was all right and ended up having a conversation in Morse code over the telephone!)

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