All Europeans Speak The Same, You Know.

Yesterday at the grocery store – the conversation I overheard while waiting in line to buy my groceries:

Very Young Male Cashier: So. Uh. Your accent. Are you from Europe? Or…the other one?
Australian Customer: I’m Australian.
Cashier: Yeah. I knew it was one of those two.
Customer: Mmmm.
Cashier: Some people try to say you can’t tell the difference but I always say you can!
Customer: Yes. You’re right. You can.

SERIOUSLY. This happened. I SWEAR.

In the cashier’s defense, he was very young. Possibly 16 even. And when I was 16 I might have used the words “England” and “Europe” interchangeably. I’d like to think I didn’t, but I don’t know. Maybe I did. Geography wasn’t a strong point of mine.

But how hard do you think it had to be for that woman not to set him straight? Or at least be really sarcastic. I mean…I would have probably answered, “The other one.” Just to screw with him. Or I would have said something like, “The other what? The other continent? There are six others…which one are you referring to?” But she was waaay nicer than I would have been and just interpreted the small talk he was trying to start up and responded in the simplest way possible so he would not feel like a dumbass.

Pretty nice for a lady from That Place Other Than Europe.


17 thoughts on “All Europeans Speak The Same, You Know.”

  1. Hey, I’m from “the other one” — and so are you. In fact, I’m guessing that the cashier is also from “the other one.”

    And yes, I would have been all mean had that happened to me….just like when people ask where I’ve from (with my southern accent and all) and I say “brooklyn”

  2. She did him a kindness, true, but missed a great teaching moment.

    I would have made him guess, or tell me the capital or something. But i’m mean like that.

  3. My parents are from Austria, but we lived in DC during my entire childhood and people would constantly mix it up with Australia. We’d get replies like “Wow, I LOVE the beaches there.” Hmmm, we’ve got mountains, lakes, rivers…nope, no beaches. At least we could tell ourselves that they just misheard us and not that they’ve never heard of this tiny little European country. Although I’ve also gotten questions like “That’s in Germany, right?” and “They speak French there, don’t they?” ….

  4. My husband is british and we are constantly amazed at the ignorance of the general public. We were at a pizza place a few days ago and my husband asked for “water”. Well, it of course comes out sounding like “wota” and this stupid waitress laughed – laughed!! and said “wota?! wota?! where are YOU from?! I’ve never heard anybody talk like THAT!!”

    I really wanted to punch her.

  5. I can’t stop laughing. She should have said “the other one” and then made the poor kid guess. “England?” “No.” “Ireland?” “No” “China?” “WTF??”

  6. I wanted to laugh but unfortunately it is all too true. Being an Aussie who lived very briefly in the States we were often asked where we were from. After saying Australia, we were regularly asked ‘So what is it like in Europe at this time of the year?’. Initially we tried to educate the misinformed, eventually when we discovered that this was a common response so it was just easier to make up ridiculous stories about life in Europe. Some things are just way too hard!

  7. I lived in Belgium as a child and moved to Minnesota in 6th grade. When I told them I moved from Belgium they asked what beach it was near…..YAY American public school system!!!!

  8. On several occasions (more than, say, six or seven times?) I’ve heard Oregonians inform “outsiders” that “We don’t really have accents in Oregon.”

  9. Oh, us Aussies are used to keeping it simple for the U.S. :P

    Seriously though, I hope the poor kid didn’t realise what he had said, or how it sounded.
    Our accents are nothing like European, maybe he had the Australia/Austria thing confused.

  10. Ha, ha, ha, ha, :) I guess that could happen quite easily as the Australian accent can sometimes sound a bit cockney. Europe or the other one, love it.

    Actually a lot of Brit’s seem to have a hard time distingushing the UK as part of Europe, we kind of are, but on the other hand were separate too. Weird.

  11. I think that woman was probably used to questions like that from stupid Americans. (Uh … before anybody blasts me, I AM American.) If you get asked something like that often enough, you learn to be either really nice about it … or really mean.

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