ESL Fun

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but down the street from me there is a convenience store. This convenience store is run by a bunch of people, duh. They’re nice, aside from the fact that things that cost you maybe a foot at most convenience stores cost the whole arm and leg here. But one thing they all share is they’re either Indian or Pakistani, and English is not one of their strong suits. They don’t like to answer their phone if you call them, and instead of “How may I help you?” all some of them can manage is “what?!”

Don’t get me wrong, they try to help me when I ask for stuff, and they know when they’re beaten and ask some random customer to point them in the right direction when they can’t understand me. But I’m just trying to paint a picture for you for the next part of the story.

So I come into the store and want to buy some margarine. Simple enough, right? I go up and ask for some. This is the response I get. “We have…hmmm…becel, and…imperial…and…I don’t believe this is, um, not, um butter?”

I had to suppress a laugh, because if I didn’t, I would have been laughing for a good minute straight, and that would have been embarrassing for all involved. That is the most entertaining way to say I can’t believe it’s not butter I’ve heard, and especially coming from people who can barely speak the language. it was like she was going out of her way to make it more complicated for herself. Maybe that is what I’ve been doing all along, making things too simple. Maybe I have to take the long way around to get what I want. Next time I go in there, I’ll ask for intelligenties and see if I get smarties the first time out. Wish me luck.

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