Category: Language & Words

Making Blanket Statements

| NV, USA | Employees, Language & Words

(My husband is Italian-Spanish, born and raised in Italy. He didn’t learn English until after he graduated high school; it is his third language, as Italian and Spanish precede it. His accent is pretty thick, but not impossible to understand, as long you’re paying attention. One night we are staying in a hotel for a convention, and my husband calls the front desk for some extra blankets.)

Husband: “I’d like a few extra blankets, in room [number].”

(Pause.)

Husband: “I said, I would like some extra blankets. We are in room [number].”

(Pause. I can see that he is growing frustrated.)

Husband: “Blankets! I am asking for extra blankets. Can you send some up, or do we have to come get them ourselves?”

(Pause. He turns and thrusts the phone at me.)

Husband: “Will you please—”

(I take the phone.)

Me: “Hi, we need some extra blankets for room [number].”

Employee: “Oh! Okay, I thought maybe that’s what he wanted, but I wasn’t sure. I could barely understand what he was saying.” *laughs* “I was like, ‘Is he even speaking English?’ It sounded like gibberish.”

Me: “Yes, well, he was definitely speaking English. He worked very hard to be able to do so, and every time someone like you makes fun of his accent, all it does is show everyone else how narrow-minded you are. Why don’t you try learning a third language, and see if your accent is perfect?”

Employee: “I—”

Me: “Anyway, two more blankets will be fine. Good night.” *hangs up*

Steal A Feed While They’re Hot!

| Gladstone, QLD, Australia | Bizarre/Silly, Language & Words

(I’m working in a deli at a popular store. We have roughly fourteen items in the hot box still waiting to be bought. I’m the only one there and so I go to make a call over the PA to the customers in the store. I end up saying the following instead of my original plan.)

Me: “Good Evening, [Store], and welcome to customers. If you’re wanting a nice late night feed, head over to the the hotter box for some great meals for a late night feed. All items up to 80% off, so why not steal a feed and feel good about it. Thanks for shopping at customers, the fresh food people!”

(A coworker has returned back to the deli without me knowing. I turn around, and he looks at me and states:)

Coworker: “What the heck did you just say?”

Me: “That we had food in the hot box to go?”

Coworker: “Not quite, [My Name]. Not quite exactly.”

(Meanwhile, a customer has come over to the hot box and approaches us.)

Customer: “Is this where I can steal a feed tonight?”

(Needless to say, no one has let it go with me yet.)

Your Knowledge Of English Is Ballin’

| SD, USA | Health & Body, Language & Words, Pets & Animals

(I own two horses, one of whom just turned a year old. He has been having some problems with his hoof so we had the vet out to look at it. The vet works with his wife, who is a very nice Asian lady who doesn’t have very good English. A couple months earlier we had the baby horse gelded, which is the horse equivalent of being neutered. This exchange happened while the vet’s wife and I are petting the year-old horse.)

Vet’s Wife: “What’s his name?”

Me: “[Horse].”

Vet’s Wife: “OH, HE THE ONE WE CHOP BALL!”

Me: *trying not to die of laughter*

Below Standard Greeting

| USA | Employees, Language & Words

(I have a coworker who is really pretty but also ditzy, and not too bright. Our standard greeting is to welcome the guests, and tell them our hotel information. We have done it so often that we’ve become quite good, except for my coworker.)

Coworker: “Welcometoourhotelwehavebreakfastincludedfromsixtonine–”

Guest: “Huh?”

Coworker: *repeats it in exactly the same way*

(The guest was utterly confused, and I told her to say it more slowly, but she looked confused and said it even FASTER. So, I did the greeting instead. Later, the guest complained to our general manager about it, and instead of disciplining my coworker, she got promoted to front desk manager! Much later after that, I left the company and saw her — since I knew the front desk manager did it — put out an ad for a new employee. The ad was full of grammar and spelling errors. I laughed.)

Specifically About Things

| WA, USA | Coworkers, Language & Words

(I’m a reporter at a newspaper. The following conversation happens between me and another reporter within minutes of me getting to the office. Note: As reporters, it’s essential we know how to ask questions to get information we want and need. Seems pretty obvious, right?)

Coworker: “Have you spoken to [Our Editor]?”

Me: “Today? Yesterday? When?”

Coworker: “Whenever.”

Me: “About?”

Coworker: “Anything.”

(Pause.)

Me: “Yes, I have spoken to [Our Editor] at various points in the past about things.”

Coworker: “That’s not helpful.”

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