Tales of Idiocy and Woe...But Now I'm CRAZY in California!

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Golden Gong!

Okay. It's been a while since I handed out a Golden Gong. I should have several times, but I either forgot or was ringing it myself with my sloth. Either way, today was a keeper:

At 7:59pm on my watch (as I was unplugging the "open" sign on the store), a man rode his bicycle up to the shop and wandered in. I greeted him and he smiled, but said nothing. He proceeded to look at laptops and I put away the cash drawer that I was counting. I asked him how he was doing and he smiled again. I asked him if he was looking for something specific and he then said, in as much as I could figure, if I spoke French. ("Tu parle francais?")

I said "non, je ne parle pas francais toujours".

He then proceeded to attempt what seemed to be 2 or 3 other languages, but I amazingly was unable to understand him. So, he started making hand gestures and speaking in what sounded like a middle-eastern language. I couldn't make out a thing. He was pointing at computers, and pointing at the floor, and making circular gestures...none of which I could follow for the life of me. I tried a few things, like establishing if he was shopping or needing some information/advice, but nothing. He eventually went back to speaking French, and I caught enough to figure that his brother likes eating ham sandwiches. Either way, after a few minutes of that, I pointed at the sign and then at my watch, saying "closed!". He was totally confused, so I pointed at the door and held out the key, locking it. I think he understood, seeing that he left...but I hope I didn't offend him.

That only left me with one question:

WHY ARE YOU SHOPPING ALONE IF YOU DON'T SPEAK A LICK OF ENGLISH?

Sheesh. I felt sorry for him, but I was also kinda really frustrated that he somehow thought he'd be able to evaluate and purchase product without the benefit of linguistic communication. I understand his struggle, but wouldn't common sense think to bring along a translating friend? I guess I'm venting because he also came in at 7:59. Murphy one, Armchair zippo. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Translator

3 Comments:

  • Sure says the guy on that end. I could write story after story of how rude and non understanding sales people are to foreigners. Many foreigners don't have a friend who can translate and are desperate to get basic products and can't find anyone with enough patience and kindness to help them. He probably went home to cry himself to sleep in a room where he can't read the labals on the breaker to figure out how to get his lights on.

    Until next time the Armchair Yo' momma!

    By Anonymous You know who!, at 6:49 AM  

  • You should cry yourself to sleep because you cannot spell!

    "Labals"

    When you get back from Korea, you need to take the English refresher course.

    And what kinda third world country do you come from where the lights are turned on and off by the breaker? Sheesh man! Even Haiti has lightswitches! Move out of the cave and invest in 'above ground' property.

    Tonight, you're "my little pony" diary entry will start with:

    "Dear Diary, I got TOTALLY owned by the Armchair Geek today and...(blah blah blah)"

    By Blogger The Armchair Geek, at 3:23 PM  

  • Still waiting for a witty comeback...

    By Blogger The Armchair Geek, at 9:52 PM  

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