Many of you know I work for Whirlpool in their French Canadian department. Quebecois is very, very different than the French I learned at university and not even remotely the same as the Frolof I spoke in Senegal. Needless to say, talking to customers all day long in what I feel like is a third language makes for some interesting times. Here are a few of my favorite embarrassing moments from work! Enjoy!
Do you know the exact date of purchase?
I ask this question on EVERY call. And for the first month, no one said anything to me about this. Instead of saying, “la dah-t da sha” I was saying, “La dah-t da shaat.” The first means, “the date of purchase,” where the latter means, “the date of the cat.” Yup. Oh Lord. Check out a French video of a cat wiping out below to see my sentiments on the issue. PS- I’m the cat.
The payments are monthly.
[THIS MIGHT BE A LADIES ONLY ONE…] Let me preface this with, I have not said this to a customer. Sophia, a girl from Haiti, was practicing a script with me and helping me learn some new vocab. She just told me the French word for monthly. It is mensuell. Don’t confuse it with another word that sounds just like it, menstrual otherwise you’ll be telling your clients their payments are in menstrual cycles.
[NO PIC NECESSARY]
My name is Mary Lou.
This is another pronunciation issue. In my defense, in Senegal we always said, “Je m’appelle” or “Mon Mary laa toodo.” We never said it this way. So, there’s my defense. Here’s the case: Yawo, a friend from the Togo, was listening to calls with me helping me if I didn’t understand or was confused on some vocab. He stopped me and said, “Mary Lou, stop saying the “m” at the end of ‘Mon nom est Marie Lou.'” I looked at him and realized what I had been saying:: My man is Mary Lou. Bless it.
And lastly and most embarrassingly…
You can find your model and serial number on the back.
It all happened so fast that I can’t remember which definitive article or possessive article I used before the word back, but I am maybe 50% certain I used the word “votre” meaning “your” or “la” meaning “the.” I want to say that I used the word “la” because I would have a better defense, but I am pretty sure it was possessive.
You know that little French word, derriere? You know how us lil’ old Americans think its so funny to pretend like it means your butt? Well, mixed with the right articles, it does mean that in French. It also means behind, as in “My Chapstick fell behind my purse.” I was trying to tell the woman, that she would have to look behind the appliance to find her model and serial number. Instead? I either told her that her model and serial numbers were located on the butt -OR- on her butt.
Here’s to another day at Whirlpool hoping I don’t get fired! Please enjoy this video below that will show you my French isn’t all that terrible…. ;)