Category: Language & Words

What A Tool

| Vancouver, BC, Canada | Employees, Language & Words

(I’m the bad employee here. I’m sitting at my desk in the front office of the storage facility when one of my long-time customers comes through the front door. He’s carrying a tool box.)

Customer: *holding toolbox up* “I’m here to fix what is broken!”

Me: *blinks; he’s not one of my usual workers; in fact, he’s a real estate agent, so I know he’s not actually here to fix anything, but Monday brain has me wondering what’s going on*

Customer: *after the lengthy silence of me not knowing what to say* “Are you broken?”

Me: “Well, I’m certainly not working!”

(He was just taking the tools through to his locker and thought he’d make a joke, but I was so tired that I didn’t understand at first…)

Didn’t Hear It, I Swear

| UK | Coworkers, Language & Words

(The phone rings, and one of our field workers’ names flashes on my screen. I take the call.)

Me: “Hello.”

Colleague: *talking to someone else* “…doing f*** all. [My Name]! Sorry! Can I speak to [Office Worker]?”

Me: *laughing* “Sure, one second.”

(I transfer the call and hang up. He calls back ten minutes later to speak to someone else.)

Me: “Hello.”

Colleague: “Hi, [My Name]. I won’t swear at you this time. Did you hear that?”

Me: “Yes, just the curse. Nothing else.” *laughs again* “Hasn’t been the first time: won’t be the last!”

Colleague: “I do apologise!”

(I transferred him again, but he sounded so embarrassed that it brightened up my Friday afternoon!)

Breast You Just Walk Away

| Naperville, IL, USA | Coworkers, Language & Words

(A new, high school aged, male employee, eager to help out a customer, sees me gathering stray carts from around the store. Behind him stands a blonde young lady, but I don’t really look at her. They are both standing next to the area where the nursing supplies are.)

Coworker: “Do you know where the breastfeed boxes are?”

Me: “Breastfeed boxes?”

Coworker: “Yes, she needs to find the breastfeed boxes.”

(I’m very confused. I’m also a guy, just out of high school at the time. I don’t know too much about nursing supplies, but I am certain that I’ve never heard of such a thing. I also can’t help but wonder why she’s asked a young man about this, since the average teenage boy wouldn’t be knowledgeable on the subject either. So many different things are flashing through my mind trying to figure out how boxes would relate to breastfeeding.)

Me: “I’m not sure what that is. I mean, I know we have breast pumps; they come in boxes… Privacy blankets… We have bottles, but those aren’t box like at all…” *I make eye contact with the customer* “What exactly is it that you’re looking for?

Customer: “Recipe boxes.”

Me: *realizes my coworker has quite spectacularly misheard what she’d said* “RECIPE boxes! Are you looking for a product that has pre-made recipes on cards?”

Customer: *looking confused, and slightly disturbed* “A box with a lid where I can place recipe cards in. You know, cards I’ve written up or gotten from—”

(Her face lights up as she finally has realized what the other employee had heard. She turns her cart around and starts making her way towards housewares.)

Customer: “It’s oookay! I’ll find it myself!”

Me: *holding back laughter* “Are you sure you don’t want help? They might be in—”

Customer: “Oh, nope! I’m fine!” *shaking her head, holds her hand up in the air in an over exaggerated dismissive gesture* “I’ve got it from here!”

(I glanced at my coworker, who was so embarrassed that he was blushing a deep, deep red. I couldn’t think of anything to say, so I continue gathering stray carts, but choose to avoid the housewares section.)

Carry Yourself Out

| Sacramento, CA, USA | Food & Drink, Language & Words

(My husband and I decide to call and order pizza for dinner, from a franchise a few blocks away. I’m sitting next to him when he makes the call, so I can hear both sides of the conversation.)

Husband: “Hello? I’d like to place an order for carry-out, please.”

Employee: “For… what?”

Husband: “Carry-out. I want to order pizza for carry-out?”

Employee: “Uh… Is that pick-up or delivery?”

(My husband doesn’t handle dumb questions well, and I can tell he’s determined to get his point through to this employee, maybe in an attempt to educate them.)

Husband: “You don’t know what carry-out means? It means I want to order a pizza, and you make it, and then I go over there and CARRY IT OUT of the store myself. Hence the term ‘carry-out.’ It’s self explanatory.”

Employee: “So… pick-up, then?”

(We both roll our eyes.)

Husband: *silently mouthing to me* “Oh, my god.” *to the employee* “YES.”

(Unsurprisingly, the rest of the order went in a similar fashion, with my husband asking for items off their menu and the employee on the phone having no idea what he was talking about. For example, when he asked for a pepperoni pizza with “double the pepperoni,” the employee was completely lost. Finally he completes his order and hangs up.)

Me: “You can’t expect everyone to have common sense, [Husband].”

Falling ‘Behind’ In Spelling

| Sydney, NSW, Australia | Funny Names, Language & Words

I am a receptionist at a medical centre and a patient has called in to book an appointment. I have asked them to spell out their long, foreign-sounding surname so I can find them in the system. Unfortunately, the call quality is very poor and the patient is not using phonetic spelling, so I just type whatever letter I think I hear, intending to correct it afterwards.

Partway through, I glance up at my computer screen to find that I have typed “FATBUTTS”.

It takes me everything I have to not burst out laughing over the phone, even muting my microphone briefly while composing myself. I ended up looking the patient up by birth date.

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