A Tumblr post from several years ago recently resurfaced and went viral.
The post chronicles one cashier's experience of hearing customers talk badly about her without realizing that she understood every word they said.
The story was originally posted on the Tumblr thread, "Fuck-Customers".
The narrator described a day when a Chinese couple came in and bad-mouthed her to her face, but while speaking Mandarin.
Because she is a white woman, the couple assumed their words would not be understood, but little did they know she was fluent in Mandarin.
The storyteller finished the story by describing how she revealed her bilingualism to the couple.
"So I'm a white Caucasian female, but I am fluent in Mandarin Chinese and English. Now, looking at me, you wouldn't know I can speak Mandarin, which is why I find it absolutely hysterical to mess with people when they come through my line speaking Chinese, and I understand every word their saying. My co workers find it especially hysterical."
"Okay, so the other day this Chinese couple came through my line, and I asked them (in english) all of the questions about the bags and if they had their rewards cards, all of that fun stuff."
"Anyway, I started ringing up their stuff, and the wife said to her husband 'Tell her not to bruise the bananas' in Chinese, and i didn't say anything. The wife said 'tell the stupid girl to go faster' in mandarin. I smiled at her and pretended like I had no idea what she was saying."
"She kept commenting on how my hair was like a boys (I have short hair, its honestly not even that short) and how her grandfather would have gone faster than I was going, all of this in chinese."
"And then, she said 'make sure she doesn't forget the water' in chinese, and I replied in English, 'I won't forget the water'."
"And i watched with enjoyment as a look of sheer terror spread across her face, as she realized I understood everything she had said before. She just stood there with her mouth open and her husband said (in chinese) 'This is why you shouldn't trash talk employees while their standing right in front of you' And i replied (in english) 'He's right'."
"They paid, the husband apologized, and left. After they walked out the door my manager and co-worker and I were laughing so hard, even though being a cashier sucks, it sometimes makes my day a little brighter when something like that happens."
The story has since been shared across the internet and this cashier is not alone in her experience.
"Some customer actually ask me once if I spoke English (I am a Asian American) because I wasn't coming to help her fast enough and I guess she thought I didn't understand when she called me over." - summonhope
"I actually did this once myself. I worked at a cafe, and two women came in speaking French and talking smack about the merchandise and whatnot. After they made a loop of the store (it wasn't a 'Bucks, we sold a lot of knick-knacky crap), I said, "Bonjour! Qu'est-ce que vous desirez?"
It was pretty awesome." - AmyinIndiana
Ive been there..🤣 https://t.co/LYBeM0WH5X— Natália (@Natália)1542143074.0
"As a white guy who is fluent in Spanish, I feel this." - timesawastininkc
"I know exactly how you feel. As a very white Dutch woman I am fluent in Indonesian. I surprised a lot of native speakers" - Batikashawl
Some people experienced the opposite.
"I had the reverse thing happen kind of yesterday. A new employee who seems like 40 started singing "ni hao" mockingly around these Asian students that came in. Just bc they don't speak English that well doesn't mean they're stupid and ignorant to your racism!!" - yamgrove
"I have the opposite problem. People think I speak Spanish because of how I look. Usually I wind up just staring with a blank look on my face" - Italipino
Others are applauding the cashier for the way she handled the experience.
MIC DROP BITCHES https://t.co/nMDnY5IdKz— Angie 🤓 (@Angie 🤓)1542166140.0
"I would love to be friends with this person at a nail salon" - sjdubblebubbleyo
"This is the only reason I want to learn another language" - Dougiefreshwater
This story is just a reminder of the fact that how a person looks is not always an accurate reflection of who they are or what they know.