Pardon Her French!

I started working at the phone company as a long distance operator in Montreal. One of the requirements for the job was to be bilingual. We all were, but some more so  than the others, and this is when a conversation with a customer could prove to be hazardous.

One day the girl sitting next to me had to handle a complicated call which required her to stay on line with her customer longer than usual. Now this poor girl had come in to work sick because in those days we were not paid when we took off sick. Her customer noticed her raspy voice and to be polite and make small talk he asked her if she was suffering from a bad cold. The girl, wanting to be as polite and remembering that the word for what ailed her was very similar in English as in French, informed her customer that yes, she was suffering from a big brown sh*t. In her defense, the word for bronchitis in French is bronchite. A supervisor immediately ran to her station(they were never far) and took over the call, while the poor bewildered girl had no idea what she had just said that was so bad. Apparantly the customer was still laughing when the supervisor came on the line and the rest of us near enough to have heard the exchange had to be told to muffle our own laughter.

The customer not only got his call, but he also got a very funny story to go with it!!

jojewel jojewel
56-60, F
7 Responses Mar 10, 2010

Sappy, don't let that stop you. Just understanding another language opens the door to new cultures. It is very enriching.

After hearing this story, I think it's probably in everyone's best interests if I DON'T try to learn a foreign language ... lol.

Oh Enna, she must have found it very frustrating. I also find the France French accent very charming. The Quebec French accent sounds harsher.

JJ, I have a really close French friend and we worked together for some years. . . . It used to drive her crazy when people "couldn't understand her" because of her French accent. She would often roll her eyes, whisper "Merde!" and pass me the phone!<br />
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But the funniest episode was one day when a prospective client (PC) visited and she (my friend) took over 1/2 hour to conduct the PC through the work place and explain in detail what was involved. She patiently answered all the PC's questions. The next day the PC came back - and started asking me the same questions. . .! WTF?<br />
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I politely asked if she was not happy with what she was told by my friend. "Oh no!" it wasn't that - it was simply that PC had not understood "one word" but didn't like to say so - so PC had spent over 1/2 hour politely listening without understanding a word. . . !<br />
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The crazy part is that my friend is VERY fluent in English and her accent (IMO) is charming and not at ALL hard to understand. . . !

That's right, Destry, it was funny. That French accent made for some very funny moments. I also remember how countless American tourists, who having lost their change in a phone booth, were asked if they had checked the **** instead of the slot!

Yes she did, right after she got over her big .........! LOL!!!!

Well sounds like a good laugh was had by all....except maybe the operator who said it...hope she was able to eventually have some fun with it too. :)