Category: Language & Words

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Employing New Tactics

| Edmonton, AB, Canada | Employees, Language & Words

(I work as a courtesy clerk, and despite wearing the uniform, I am constantly asked if I worked there. I start getting creative.)

Customer: “Do you work here?”

Me: “Nope, but I’m employed here.”

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Will Be In The Desk Job Forever

| Lancaster, PA, USA | Language & Words

(I studied Spanish for five years in school, but I am by no means fluent. One day while working the service desk, I get a Spanish-speaking customer. I decide to practice a little by chatting with him in the language. I want to be a writer, so I tell him this.)

Me: “Quiero ser escritorio.”

(As I say this, I make a writing gesture in the air. The customer smiles and seems to understand. We finish his transaction, and he goes on his way. A few minutes later, I realize that I should have said quiero ser escritor. What I did say actually meant I want to be a desk. I’m sure the customer understood me anyway, but it was embarrassing nonetheless!)

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Man, You Bring Me Down

| KS, USA | Coworkers, Language & Words

(This conversation takes place over our headsets. I am answering phones, my coworker is at the cash register, and the manager is somewhere on the sales floor.)

Coworker: “I’ve got a customer up here who says there’s a man down.”

Manager: “[Coworker], where are you? Does someone need help?”

Coworker: “No, I don’t think anyone needs help. There’s just a man down, in the men’s department.”

Me: “[Coworker], is this a real person, or a mannequin?”

Coworker: “What’s a mannequin? There’s a man down in men’s.”

Me: “Are we talking about the men we display clothes on?”

Coworker: “Yes! There’s a man down in men’s!”

Manager: “So, this isn’t an emergency?”

Coworker: “No. There’s just a man down.”

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How To Order Disorder

| England, UK | Language & Words

(After a rough night and only a few hours sleep I decide to pick up a snack from a fast food chain at lunch, and order a box of fries and chicken bits. I then discover they’ve implemented this new system where you are handed a number, when it’s called you show your receipt and get your food. For this relatively small restaurant this is surprising as it’s only really efficient in big busy chains. I am handed my number and step to the side. A few moments later a box is dropped in from the kitchen, which I assume is mine, but before I can move a second server picks it up and sets it in front of someone who has just walked into the restaurant and up to the counter, offering him condiments and putting in a sachet of barbecue sauce.)

Server #1: *calling over* “That’s not his!”

(Again I assume it is mine, as it’s not busy and it’s a simple order, so I go to step forward until.)

Server #2: “Taih-un taitair? Taihun taitair?”

(I stand there bewildered for a few seconds as she repeats the phrase, until I realise she’s calling the number on my receipt ‘3133’ – finally I walk up and receive my order.)

Server #2: *in perfect English* “Sorry, he stepped forward so I assumed it was his.”

(I walked out a bit dazed by the experience.)

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You Have It All In Español

| USA | Coworkers, Language & Words

(I used to work as a front desk clerk in a hotel before switching to housekeeping. My coworkers hate their jobs, but I prefer it rather than dealing with crazy, demanding customers. I’m also bilingual, and this conversation is in Spanish.)

Coworker: “Why would you want to work as a housekeeper? You know English very well! This country discriminates against us Spanish speakers. If you don’t know English here, you can forget about getting a good job.”

Me: “Because I like this job.”

Coworker: “But why? If I knew English well, I’d be out of here so fast…”

Me: “Doing what?”

Coworker: “Huh?”

Me: “What kind of job would you do once you know English?”

Coworker: “I don’t know… A bank teller, I guess…”

(I tried to tell her how crazy the customers are, but she ignored me and demanded I teach her English! If she only knew…the grass as always greener on the other side, I suppose.)

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