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View Full Version : That was just overly mean


ShoresKoC
09-18-2006, 11:01 AM
About a week ago, I moved. Very very far from home. I moved from Virginia, USA to this little town in Holland. So, yeah, its been a crazy week, but I'm trying to adjust to this completely different culture, language, etc. I dont speak Dutch yet, but I am working on it and luckily, about 90% of the Dutch population speaks English. Anyway, after sitting at home, scared to go out alone for the first 4 days, I decided to venture to the local supermarket while BF was at work the other day.

So I walk.. and walk... (damn, I miss Americans and their need to drive everywhere :P) and finally get to the store, where I realize that while I was smart enough to make a shopping list... I was NOT smart enough to make the list in DUTCH. So I have a list that say "bacon".. and nothing in sight that says "bacon". So, it takes me about an hour to find the 6 items I need, the store is crowded as hell, people are bumping into me, glaring that I'm wandering around, reading every item on the shelf (While the people around here not RUDE, they def arent as friendly as southerners :S) I finally get everything I need and get up to a cashier.

At this point, I'm pretty darn proud of myself. I get everything on the belt, smile at the cashier and say "hallo". She's a young girl, prolly slightly younger than me, maybe 18-21. As soon as I say "hallo", she starts speaking very quickly and angrily in Dutch while glaring at me. I stutter out "sorry, nein nedarlands. Engles Alstublieft" (No dutch, english please.) She just shakes her head and continues ranting at me in dutch, at this point shaking the lemon that I had selected earlier and put into a bag. At this point, I just keep saying "sorry", not knowing why. Finally, she turns to a coworker, tosses him the lemon and starts scanning the rest of my stuff. At this point, I have NO idea whats going on or if I'm going to be getting my lemon back. :P As she's finishing scanning the rest of my stuff, the co-worker comes back with my lemon. Ahhhh! There was a scale somewhere, I was supposed to weigh it myself and get this little sticker thingy on the bag. We dont do that back home :S. Anyway, fine, crisis averted, I'm embarassed and little upset that she yelled at me, but none the worse of wear. I mean, its not her fault she doesnt speak English, right? .... yeah. right.

So there I am, stuffing my groceries into my bookbag for the walk back and I see another cashier come up to the yelling girl. She asks her what she wants for dinner.... in english. And my cashier replies.... in english. Extremely fluent English, I might add. So here we are, the 3 of us, me loading and the 2 of them having a coversation in English. She knew I was still there.. not a bit of shame on her face for having lied to me like that.

A bit of fun at the expense of the foreigner I'm guessing? Who knows, maybe she wasnt talking about the lemon at all when she was yelling at me. :P

Gurndigarn
09-18-2006, 11:57 AM
A bit of fun at the expense of the foreigner I'm guessing? Who knows, maybe she wasnt talking about the lemon at all when she was yelling at me. :P

It sounds like the local equivalent of "You come to America, you learn English, capish?" Don't sweat it too much. Learning the language can be tough, but it's worth the effort.

trunks2k
09-18-2006, 01:39 PM
I dont speak Dutch yet, but I am working on it and luckily, about 90% of the Dutch population speaks English.

<Eddie Izzard>
I asked the Dutch clerk if he spoke English, and he looked at me and said, "Of course!". Then I realized that that was like asking an Englishman, "Can you count to three?"
</Eddie Izzard>

Rapscallion
09-18-2006, 08:15 PM
Oh, the Dutch can be some of your best friends and worst enemies. Less than one percent of the world's land surface and they are the third largest exporter of (quality, I might add) vegetables. They're also the only nation I've heard of to sail up the Thames, blow the crap out of areas of London, and sail away unscathed.

Problem is, they may have thought you were English instead of American. We have a bad reputation over there. Our tourists and the quatre chaud, you know.

The only people they hate more are the French. I kid you not.

Rapscallion

One-Fang
09-18-2006, 10:03 PM
Regardless of the concept of "if you come to the country, learn the language" (which I agree with), she was really rude. Shores had learnt enough Dutch to be able to at least say that she didn't speak Dutch. At least this is a start.

The cashier should have either found someone who spoke English, spoke it herself since she clearly could, or just made reassuring gestures rather than yell at the now confused and probably scared foreigner. If they don't speak your language, yelling "you gotta weigh this yourself before coming here, dumbass" at them doesn't do anyone any good.

Antisocial_Worker
09-18-2006, 10:14 PM
As you learn the language, make it a point to keep shopping there. If you see that one cashier again, engage her in pleasant conversation. Mention, casually, in Dutch, "You really were in a foul mood that day, weren't you? Happens to the best of us."

That way, you're acknowledging that she was a (beep), she knows you knew she was a (boop), and you haven't forgotten that she was a (beep), and might even tell your friends about the rude (boop) at that one particular store, now that you've learned the language and can chat about such things with your new Dutch friends.

I did something kind of similar when I heard two clerks at the bookstore going on and on (and on and on and on) about how much most of the local authors sucked. I was looking for a couple of books by a local author, asked them to order them, and then asked, pleasant as you please, if this author was one of the few local ones who didn't suck. They looked chagrined when I asked, which was the point.

Daria
09-25-2006, 07:12 AM
So there I am, stuffing my groceries into my bookbag for the walk back and I see another cashier come up to the yelling girl. She asks her what she wants for dinner.... in english. And my cashier replies.... in english. Extremely fluent English, I might add. So here we are, the 3 of us, me loading and the 2 of them having a coversation in English. She knew I was still there.. not a bit of shame on her face for having lied to me like that.

A bit of fun at the expense of the foreigner I'm guessing? Who knows, maybe she wasnt talking about the lemon at all when she was yelling at me. :PWow, that's just sadistic. :(

Becks
09-25-2006, 04:19 PM
As you learn the language, make it a point to keep shopping there. If you see that one cashier again, engage her in pleasant conversation. Mention, casually, in Dutch, "You really were in a foul mood that day, weren't you? Happens to the best of us."

That way, you're acknowledging that she was a (beep), she knows you knew she was a (boop), and you haven't forgotten that she was a (beep), and might even tell your friends about the rude (boop) at that one particular store, now that you've learned the language and can chat about such things with your new Dutch friends.

Great advice!!!!!! :D

repsac
09-28-2006, 12:55 AM
I actually tried to learn dutch at one point, then figured out that I knew enough german to fake it.

Still, I remember enough of it to have some fun with those people out front of stores begging for money. I'd pick a language and basically say "Sorry, I don't speak english. <language> please?"

Here's some of my favorite ones:

Dutch:
Droevig, Ik spreek het geen Engels. Het Nederlands alstublieft?

German:
Traurig, Ich spreche nicht Englisch. Deutscher bitte?

French:
Désolé, Je ne parle pas anglais. Français svp ?

Swedish
Ledset, Jag talar inte engelska. Svensken behar?

Italian
Spiacente, Non parlo inglese. Italiano
per favore?

You can have a ton of fun, if you pick two languages. Say one coming in, like Italian, and then Swedish coming out.

Seanette
09-28-2006, 11:08 AM
I actually tried to learn dutch at one point, then figured out that I knew enough german to fake it.
Reminds me of an indirect debate (I was the relay) between a (now former) friend of German descent and DH's sister's husband, who is Dutch.

German participant claimed Dutch is badly spelled German, Dutch participant insisted that German is badly spelled Dutch. Since I have virtually no knowledge of either language, I found the whole thing quite amusing. :D

dispatch
09-30-2006, 02:19 AM
I have had the blessing of being born in the US and the curse of the lack of exposure to the rest of the world, while working on a cruise ship I loved comparing differences in cultures with my ship-mates from abroad, but I think Henry Rollins explained it well.

The US is unique because it's one of the few countries in the world where you can drive for 5 hours in any direction and still be in the same country, in europe, things are different; the countries are as big as we're used to our states being, you drive for a few hours in any direction and you're in a different country with a different language and a different culture, because they're so close, most of the people speak multiple languages and, from what I've been told, most of the decent people will be cool with you if you're at least trying.
my advice; brush it off and keep working on your dutch, it's just like being a freshman in highschool, they'll pick on you until you've learned your way around and the local customs, the crappy ones will be assholes, but in the end you'll get through it and laugh about how clueless you were at first

Rapscallion
09-30-2006, 04:44 AM
you can drive for 5 hours in any direction and still be in the same country,

I used to have a car like that as well.

Rapscallion