Thou Shalt Not Doubt: Overheard While Picking Up Chinese Carry-out

Zen-Den overheard this conversation and it was funny so naturally I have to share it here.Β 

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Our local Chinese restaurant does a decent carry-out. Β The food is hot, fresh, and vaguely Chinese. Β Z-D sometimes stops there to get us dinner.

The owner of this restaurant is Chinese and is not one to mince words. Β He has a business to run, and his grasp of the English language is exactly what he needs to know so that he can communicate directly and loudly with his suburban patrons.

In other words, no chit-chat.

In fact, when you call in your order instead of the traditional time-consuming “hello” that you might expect to hear, the owner answers the phone with a snappy: “WHAT YOU WANT?”

At this point you, the caller, tell him your order. Β He then shouts at you what time your order will be ready for pick-up and hangs up the phone.

There are no further social pleasantries like “good-bye” or “thank you.” Β The call is over, your order is in process. Β And now it’s up to you to show up on time and get it.

So last night Z-D was waiting in line to pick up our order when he overheard this conversation between the restaurant owner and the guy in front of Z-D in line who was there to pick up his family’s dinner. Β It went like this:

Restaurant Owner: “HERE YOUR FOOD.”

Guy Picking Up Dinner: “That’s mine?”

Restaurant Owner: “YES.”

Guy Picking Up Dinner: “Are you sure? My wife ordered all that?”

Restaurant Owner: “SHE TALK. I WRITE. THAT HOW IT WORK.”

Guy Picking Up Dinner: “Hmmm… seems like a lot… I dunno…”

Restaurant Owner: “NOW YOU PAY.”

Guy Picking Up Dinner: “Well, ‘ya, that sounds about right. How much?”

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Question of the Day
What’s the best | funniest | weirdest thing you’ve overheard someone say? Everyone has overheard something so ‘Fess up in the comments below. Β 
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Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Pleasantly crazy. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Wordy.

102 thoughts on “Thou Shalt Not Doubt: Overheard While Picking Up Chinese Carry-out”

  1. What’s the best | funniest | weirdest thing you’ve overheard someone say? I have to offer the oven mitt conversation: wife looking to buy new oven mitts – asks husband for opinion – he says “yea, we used the snot out of those old oven mitts.” That pretty used, I reckon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Zen-Den, you’re right that was the funniest overheard conversation we heard together. I have yet to figure out exactly when one has USED THE SNOT OUT OF AN OVEN MITT, but apparently that couple knew the answer to this.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. LA, it’s one of those questions that lends itself to remembering absurdities. Zen-Den and I have a whole running list of funny things we’ve overheard– and we often say to each other in the course of our conversations just to make each other laugh. If you think of something, add it in here.

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      1. Almost Iowa, I never thought of that TV quote until it was mentioned here. Reflecting on it, I figure that some writer must have heard something like that somewhere and put it into the show. That’s why overheard comments in real life are so great, as a writer you never know where they might take you. πŸ€”

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Can’t think of anything clever right now, but that conversation is much like one I’ve encountered at a local place as well. Right to the point, no fluff, in & out… what more do you need!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb, I agree, you don’t need more. This Chinese restaurant is a no nonsense establishment, but the first time you call to place an order and hear “what you want?” instead of “hello!” is a confusing moment. πŸ˜•

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Eilene, I didn’t mean to put anyone on the spot here. Z-D and I just kind of remember overheard conversations and then repeat them to each other for laughs. We’re weird like that. If you think of something I’d love to read it. The more absurd overheard conversations the better, I say.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sure I’ve overheard some real dandy conversations… especially since so many shoppers at work enjoy talking very loudly on their hands free phones as they stroll down the aisles. Twenty years ago, you would have just assumed people like that were having a conversation with themselves and needed some help. Being technologically impaired (and not wanting to get caught staring at someone’s ear looking for the Bluetooth), I tend to still assume that…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. evilsquirrel13, I bet you have overheard lots of wacko conversations courtesy of cell phones. I adore things like that so I’d listen to them all, come home and write them down for future blog topics.

      In fact a few months ago while shopping in Target I overheard a woman on her cell phone loudly talking about, get this, her job in marketing which was creating content for blogs. But here’s the thing, she didn’t understand how to post to a WP blog and didn’t want to tell her client that she was stumped by it. Really, I thought to myself. And she’s getting paid for this… πŸ™„

      Liked by 1 person

      1. She sounds like one of those people who like to constantly email me about wanting to advertise on my blog by writing a few guest posts. In fact, maybe she’s the one who once wanted me to link to her article on “music” that was…. well, it did have an article about music on it, but the site was very clearly intended for online sports betting. Oh, those awful people who don’t realize that nobody wants to deal with their monetized blogs….

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This is hilarious! While it’s true I’m quite wordy – at least in my internal dialogues, I do love directness and clarity and the shop owner has it in spades. And apparently it’s always good when instructions are offered firmly and loudly – it helps move things along doesn’t it? I have to say, if I were in your community, I’d likely be patronizing that restaurant quite a bit just for the sheer delight of the interactions. And hopefully they serve pithy fortune cookies as well – another one of my favorites.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Deborah, this restaurant is a bare bones place that is clean and fast and has decent parking. These are all important variables when I think about carry-out, the actual food is secondary. I, too, am a wordy girl when chatting with myself or friends, but when it comes to ordering or picking up dinner, I’m all about getting to the point. And that is what this Chinese restaurant owner does well. He makes me laugh every time he yells: “WHAT YOU WANT?” 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. We were on a shuttle bus in Vancouver, WA, headed back to our cruise ship. The woman next to us was on her cell. Suddenly, I heard her say, “I couldn’t call before. We were in enemy territory. I said Enemy Territory! Yes, Canada. But now we crossed over to the States. So how is the kitchen remodel?”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. nance, THAT’S HILARIOUS. Oh my goodness, Canada is Enemy Territory?!! I don’t care if that woman was serious or not, because what a funny line. And this is why a like to eavesdrop… just a little… because I can. πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb, the food isn’t half bad there [within the midwest definition of Chinese food] and the owner is a hardworking, sincere person… with no time to waste on idle talk. Such a hoot, he is.

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  6. I had a Chinese friend who had good English skills but also talked minimally. No fanciful social comments. Just the facts. She was perceived as rude by a lot of people but she didn’t believe in wasting time on nonsense. If she really cared how you are she would ask specifically, The general “how are you” is really useless.

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    1. Kate, that’s fascinating. It’s a cultural thing then to not waste time on what we’d call pleasantries. I get that, and as an introvert it doesn’t offend me. But I’ll admit that the “what you want?” instead of “hello!” was a new one on me. Now, of course, we don’t think a thing of it and look forward to whatever few words this owner says.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You do get used to it and get beyond it although every once in a while she did embarrass me like when she asked how much the slice of cheese was at a Burger King. It was 16 cents and she didn’t think it was worth that so she got a regular burger while I was scratching my head.

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            1. I can imagine that it would. On the surface of it it’s easy to want to laugh at her behavior, but so often things like that have serious underpinnings in a person’s psyche. You just never know, do you?

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  7. Excellent exchange. I wonder what you call a Soup Nazi in Mandarin Chinese? πŸ˜€

    In Colonial Williamsburg, we spied a cranky little boy wilting in the heat and getting ready to implode. His parents, also hot under the collar, said, “I think we better head back to the room so that someone can take a nap!”

    He stopped dead in his tracks, looked them dead in the eye, and said, “I’m NOT cranky and irritable because I’m TIRED. I’m cranky and irritable because I’m SWEATIN.’

    To prove his point, he swiped his hand across his fevered brow, shook off the perspiration onto the dirt road beneath his feet, and then suggested they “get cool in the pool.”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. nancy, THAT’S WONDERFUL! Oh what a great comeback from that little boy. He was smarter than you’d think about himself. I’m laughing here and will be all day over that one. Thank you. πŸ˜‚

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  8. Great story! No funny conversations pop into my mind, although my plane ride back from New York last year with a group of New Jersey residents was pretty hilarious. They were outrageous, loud and had that stereotypical NJ accent. One of the guys looked like an Elvis impersonator and the women all had BIG hair and lots of makeup. Everything they said sounded funny to me. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Margaret, I know what you mean about that Jersey accent. We were on a boat ride in Hawaii and a woman got onto it. She had that loud [dare I say wonderful?] accent. She looked around at everything then without missing a beat announced for all of us to hear: ABSOLUTELY SHANGRI-LA! It was hilarious and perfect.

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      1. Exactly! They were on their way to Seattle, then onto an Alaskan cruise ship. They were sure that Mt. Rainier was Mt. St. Helens and loudly proclaimed their opinions(about EVERYTHING) so that the whole plane(many of us Seattleites) could hear them.

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        1. Yes, that’s how this woman and her daughter were. They kept Z-D and I in stitches saying whatever came into their minds. It was a loudness and openness that polite midwesterners don’t indulge in. I wonder what your group thought of Alaska?

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            1. Yes, I do know. It’s one thing to be on a plane or boat for a short while, a whole different thing to be on a cruise ship for days. People need to come with volume controls so that you can mute them when necessary. πŸ˜‰

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  9. Sounds like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld. I hope that guy’s wife really did order all that food. Overheard: two men talking, one to the other said, “Sorry, man. I was just trying to have a battle of wits with you. I didn’t realize you were unarmed.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Betsy, I’m guessing that the man’s wife did order all that food because it would be totally out of character for this restaurant owner to make a mistake. We’ve been going there for about 10 years and never once has anything in our order been wrong.

      I like your battle of the wits story. It’s so totally believable, isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Having lived in China for fourteen years, I can totally relate to this guy. Soooo funny — and so real!
    Now on to your question about the strangest thing I’ve overheard recently. I live in a small, amiable community where everyone walks a great deal…especially with a dog or two. Almost everyone offers a friendly ‘hello’ when you pass them by except for one obnoxious cranky-pants –with two adorable dogs. CP never replies and never smiles. As a matter of fact, he purposely crosses to the other side of the street whenever I pass. Last week, I was determined to make this guy acknowledge my greeting. I flashed my warmest smile, gave a cheery ‘hello’ and unfortunately made eye-contact with one of his dogs who then pulled hard on his leash to great me. As CP harshly dragged the dog away, he yelled at it saying “Fred — you (insert prime expletive here). Sadly, it appears CP cannot be converted!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Donna, why in the world does CP not want to acknowledge your existence? Usually people who walk dogs are more sociable than the average person. And to yell at poor Fred for being friendly– honestly what a cranky pants… although it is a funny story for you to tell… so the joke’s on CP.

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  11. Haha! Despite the fact that I hear funny things most days from other half, at the moment, none of them spring to mind. When something does, I’ll let you know! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Val, I get what you’re saying. I often think of what to say after the fact, so should you think of a story to share this post will be here for you. I didn’t know what to expect when I wrote this post + question, but I have to admit that I’m getting a kick out of the comments. People are funny.

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  12. LOL – you’ve described our local Chinese (almost) restaurant too! The funniest thing…not really funny to tell, but an experience none the less. Last fall we were eating at a local pub with a couple of friends and we wanted to soak up the beer with onion rings, normally you get a huge plate full of them here. We’re polite, don’t worry, we’ll take whatever you give us for serving size plates’ Midwesterners. The server brought out a small basket with 8 tiny rings, set it in the middle of the table and we all laughed out loud at the same time. The guy we were with, laughed at her and said, “Take that back to the kitchen, that’s a pathetic excuse for an order of onion rings – tell the chef to try again.” We got a new serving. It was appropriately heaping and hot too. The picture of the basket was fun to post on social media. (I hope my comment doesn’t go to spam ;-)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shelley, well that’s an experience that makes you wonder, doesn’t it? In a pub I expect large servings of food, so right there it doesn’t make sense. I’m glad that you sent them back and got a heaping helping of them. Experiences like that are just meant for social media mockery.

      [And no, you’re here & not in spam… which I take as a good omen.]

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I was waiting outside the lines at WM for my mother to finish shopping and saw a little girl in a shopping cart next to her mother. Another woman came up and said hello to the little girl. The little one said, “My mother says it isn’t safe to talk to strangers.” The woman said, “You’re mother is right. She wants to keep you safe.” The little girl gave her an exasperated look and said, “I’M a stranger!” What was wrong with that lady’s mother, not warning HER, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Haha! Excellent!
    Our local Mexican joint is similar. They’re so smiley and polite in person, but… not on the phone. For a long time, no one believed me about the phone manner there, but then, speakerphone. πŸ™‚

    My best overheard was years ago, I used it on a One-Liner Wednesday — my old neighbor the single mommy nurse, hurried her kids to the car in the morning, shouting “Mommy’s got to go go go or people will die die die!”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. joey, I’ve never called in an order to our local Mexican place, and now I want to just to see how they answer the phone.

      Your overheard is hilarious and delightful. A pure Momism if I ever heard one. Thanks for sharing it here.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I wish I could think of something to add – estate agents (or realtors as I think you call them) rang the bell for the 10 a.m. appt this morning. I answered on the intercom thing. He said: Knock knock. Who’s there I asked. Armageddon he said. I asked: Armageddon who I asked. Armageddon outta here … now, did I let him in – or not?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have to confess – no it’s an old joke about Armageddon – didn’t really happen – but with the estate agent here, I was thinking those thoughts wanting him out of here –

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  16. HA HA – that sounds exactly like a hole in the wall Chinese place near our first house (2 tiny metal wobbly tables and a counter…they liked it better if you didn’t sit: call in – yell at each other, walk in at designated time (or face unintelligible yelling), pay and LEAVE. NOW. We loved the place – never found Chinese food the equal.
    Good to have a place like that near.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. philmouse, yes, you’ve nailed the vibe of this restaurant. It’s not a place in which one wants to dawdle but you can eat in there. They even allow you to bring in a mixed drink from the bar next door while you wait for your dinner to be served [by you, of course] at one of their few tables.

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  17. πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„
    I wish I could recall the exact comment I overheard, but years ago two girls on the bus conducted a conversation in Spanish. They disliked what I had on and said so to each other. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I said to them, “Hablo espaΓ±ol.” Oh I wish I had had a camera to capture their expressions. I grinned at them, then got off at my stop.

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  18. Lol that exchange between the guy in front of Z-D and the restaurant owner. He means business, and I think his passion for his restaurant shows in his attitude. I’ve been to Chinese restaurants here in Australia where the owner or waiter speaks minimal English. I’d rattle off what I want and they wordlessly punch in my order at the cashier and demand money straight away. And when my order is ready they just hand it to me without a word πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mabel, I agree that this restaurant owner has a passion for his restaurant. He does a steady good business with the place, so his direct communication approach is working just fine. And can be humorous. I’ve been to Mexican restaurants here like the Chinese restaurant you mention. If the place is clean and the food is good, no one need speak with me and I won’t be offended. I’m not looking for a new BFF, I’m looking for dinner.

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      1. ‘I’m not looking for a new BFF, I’m looking for dinner.’ Such a great way to put it, Ally. Sometimes we’re there only for the food, and only want to enjoy the food, no distractions thank you πŸ˜€

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  19. I got nothing to add to the store of funny stories. But thank you! This story put a smile on my face which my own particular version of sucky February had removed. I’m sat at my desk, chortling to myself, mutting “What You Want?” to myself, all the while Himself sits with wounded foot up on a chair, having to pull the earplugs out of his ear to say “what?” each time he spots my lips move. Yes, I was mean and insisted I’d had enough of his daytime TV pap. I should stop muttering, I know I should, but … somehow, I don’t seem to be able to do so. Thanks for the belly laugh πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. deb, the way this restaurant owner answers the phone startled me the first time I heard it. But now I’d be shocked if there a more traditionally polite “hello” at the other end of the line. I’m glad you got a chuckle out of this, anything that helps keep your spirits up at this time of year is a good thing.

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