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Old 04.10.2011, 11:05
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Playing the foreign card - stories?

Having had an interesting opportunity to play the foreign card last night, it got me thinking about how others might also take advantage of being an outsider.

Although it might earn me some groans, I think it's only fair that I start off by sharing my own story.

Riding on city transport last night, without a ticket , TPG staff suddenly stormed the tram. To get out of the 120 chuffs, I took advantage of my great ability to massacre the French language with a thick US accent (despite being fluent in French....well, Quebecois French ). Anyway, they soon became frustrated with the slow pace of our conversation and decided to let me off by buying a valid transport ticket for 3chf.

I'm sure some readers are shaking their heads, but in my defense, wouldn't you try to get out of a 120chf fine if you could?

I know, I'm terrible...

What are your foreign card stories?
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Old 04.10.2011, 11:07
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Re: Playing the foreign card - stories?

Any and all cold calls.
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Old 04.10.2011, 11:09
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Re: Playing the foreign card - stories?

I get impeccable service in the shops especially those on Bahnhofstrasse. I am Asian and they automatically speak to me in English because they think I am a tourist with spending power.

I am happy not to correct them by responding in English

And oh, I love winding telemarketers up.
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Old 04.10.2011, 11:39
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Re: Playing the foreign card - stories?

I know of a swiss lady that played the foreign card when she was caught leaving her trash in the public trash bin, being scolded and then pretending not to understand German.
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Old 04.10.2011, 12:05
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Re: Playing the foreign card - stories?

And if anyone cares enough to do a drive-by groan (*cough* ISHA *cough*), by all means I'd love to hear what exactly you are groaning.
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Old 04.10.2011, 12:11
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Re: Playing the foreign card - stories?

I've not had to do this since I follow the rules

Okay okay I did exactly the same thing with my best dirty Scottish accent once.
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Old 04.10.2011, 12:11
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Re: Playing the foreign card - stories?

Trying to fluff by in English is pointless because even the conductor-chappies on the trains and trams seem to be fluent in it. Plus my face isn't as fast as my brain at trying to cover up my understanding of their German.

I often thought about learning "I don't speak German" in Hungarian to give me a nice get-out from all the clipboard-clutching politicians that seem to line our street looking for my opinion or signature when I am flying about on my Saturday morning errands.
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Old 04.10.2011, 12:16
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Re: Playing the foreign card - stories?

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And if anyone cares enough to do a drive-by groan (*cough* ISHA *cough*), by all means I'd love to hear what exactly you are groaning.
Please read this thread... Dodging train fares in Switzerland

I'm with Isha on this one, perfectly justfied.
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Old 04.10.2011, 12:23
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Re: Playing the foreign card - stories?

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And if anyone cares enough to do a drive-by groan (*cough* ISHA *cough*), by all means I'd love to hear what exactly you are groaning.
Well I think that's why:
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[dodges fare, chickens out of the consequences] I know, I'm terrible...
Yours wasn't even a honest mistake. You cheated and got off lightly because you sounded foreign. Thus making life a lot harder for those who actually make honest mistakes. And you have the gall to complain about drive-by groans?!

Come on then big boy, try the same in Zurich, spend some time at the police station, and then you can complain on here about ZVV staff not speaking English or Québecois French and not providing translators.
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Old 04.10.2011, 12:23
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Re: Playing the foreign card - stories?

In case of a religious or political leaflet hander-outer or suchlike, the only language I can speak is Greek. English is way too ubiquitous.
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Old 04.10.2011, 12:25
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Re: Playing the foreign card - stories?

Ok .. i always try to play by the book.. but last month i went to italy with my girlfriend and some friends .. for coming back to Zurich I needed to change trains only once .. and i bought them with 45 min between each train.. thinking (in a swiss timing way) that would be enough time.

When i saw the "mess" that is trenitalia .. i was scared that the 45 min wouldnt be enough and i would definitely will lose the second train...

so the morning we where coming back we jumped with the cheap ticket .. in an early more classy (expensive) train .. so we could get earlier and not missed our 2nd train.
I pulled this one off (and previously rehearsed) the dumb tourist who has no idea that he jumped in the wrong train .. "not knowing" that our train was later

I didnt want to do it ... but sometimes you have play outside the book
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Old 04.10.2011, 12:28
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Re: Playing the foreign card - stories?

I liek to play the foreign card when I have to deal with workers who are not friendly.
If the ticket inspector is rude or unfriendly, I will smile with a strong North American "Pardon??!!", then take my time to find my GA. and end with a big friendly, "Thank you, have a great day". Many here aren't use to politeness :P
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Old 04.10.2011, 12:33
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Re: Playing the foreign card - stories?

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In case of a religious or political leaflet hander-outer or suchlike, the only language I can speak is Greek. English is way too ubiquitous.
I do the same thing with Polish or I just say the following, very slowly with a dumb face expression: Mein Deutsch ist nicht sehr gut. Works on some obnoxious Casanovas as well, not that there have been so many
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Old 04.10.2011, 12:39
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Re: Playing the foreign card - stories?

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In case of a religious or political leaflet hander-outer or suchlike, the only language I can speak is Greek. English is way too ubiquitous.
I've managed to overcome my innate English politeness, so these days I just completely blank them. If they approach me closely, a cold stare but no words is all they'll get. That usually suffices, but even the more insistent ones get the message when you just walk past and away from them.
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Old 04.10.2011, 12:46
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Re: Playing the foreign card - stories?

Not here but I played the foreign card trying to cross a border a few years ago in Eastern Europe.

They wanted me to pay some ridiculous taxes, and a visa at the border in U.S dollars.

I stood up straight and told them sternly I was British and I would pay in pounds sterling or their own currency but not in some third party currency which had nothing to do with them, or with me.

They eventually let me in for nothing.

They turned other people away.

After that I always did my more interesting travelling with a wad of low-denomination U.S. dollars stuffed down a sock.
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Old 04.10.2011, 12:49
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Re: Playing the foreign card - stories?

Quote:
Trying to fluff by in English is pointless because even the conductor-chappies on the trains and trams seem to be fluent in it. Plus my face isn't as fast as my brain at trying to cover up my understanding of their German.

I often thought about learning "I don't speak German" in Hungarian to give me a nice get-out from all the clipboard-clutching politicians that seem to line our street looking for my opinion or signature when I am flying about on my Saturday morning errands.
"Nem beszélek németül" then louder "Nem érted? Nem beszélek németül"
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Old 04.10.2011, 12:56
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Re: Playing the foreign card - stories?

Back in '84, I was in the UK on business, and got pulled over late at night, several towns after I left the motorway.

Motorcycle cop asks for my license, gave him my US one.

Do you I have a UK one? Nope.

International one? Nope.

Do you know what the speed limit is here? Nope (lie, I did).

Well, it's 70, not 95-100 like you were doing, it took me two towns to catch up with you!

Please slow down!

Tom
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Old 04.10.2011, 13:00
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Re: Playing the foreign card - stories?

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Back in '84, I was in the UK on business, and got pulled over late at night, several towns after I left the motorway.

Motorcycle cop asks for my license, gave him my US one.

Do you I have a UK one? Nope.

International one? Nope.

Do you know what the speed limit is here? Nope (lie, I did).

Well, it's 70, not 95-100 like you were doing, it took me two towns to catch up with you!

Please slow down!

Tom

The world fastest indian comes to mind
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Old 04.10.2011, 14:17
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Re: Playing the foreign card - stories?

When it's one of those days that I feel like I am swimming in a muddy bank of a river, having long weeds grabbing my arms to stop me from reaching the place I'm desperately looking forward to reach (aka lunch place) I use my foreigner card. The long weeds being the teens that growl, bite and shout if people don't stop and drop money to each of the associations begging for money between my working place and the Migros Restaurant. Yesterday there was 5 associations. In 600 metres.

"Desculpe, năo falo alemăo!" is the regular saviour of my stomach.

In my defence, when I refer I help another association already (which I do) and my money is not enough to help everyone, they ask me to make sacrifices and give up on smoking/drinking/going to the cinema/driving my car. Since I don't do any of those, I get a bit angry at their mostly rude intrusion... I'm tired of people not getting the word NEIN.
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Old 04.10.2011, 14:22
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Re: Playing the foreign card - stories?

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Please read this thread... Dodging train fares in Switzerland

I'm with Isha on this one, perfectly justfied (sic).
Fair enough. I had read it before but I still hold my own opinion.

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Well I think that's why:

Yours wasn't even a honest mistake. You cheated and got off lightly because you sounded foreign. Thus making life a lot harder for those who actually make honest mistakes.
Not buying a ticket was actually was a somewhat honest mistake, but you didn't really care to ask, did you? The circumstances of last night were so that I could barely make the tram and the next one was an hour away. I had to jump on if I wanted a ride to catch my next train home. Getting out of the ticket was perhaps a bit less honest, but I gave it a shot and it worked. Yes, I pat my own back for avoiding the fine.

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And you have the gall to complain about drive-by groans?!
No one's complaining, relax! I just wanted to hear the reasoning behind the groan. I didn't demand it, I just asked. No need to get so uppity.

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Come on then big boy, try the same in Zurich, spend some time at the police station, and then you can complain on here about ZVV staff not speaking English or Québecois French and not providing translators.
Well, that's going off on a tangent if I've ever seen one. First off, you assume I'm a big boy. How did you know?! Second, nowhere did I state that I do this all the time. I do do it often, but you just assumed that. I don't get off by seeing how often I can do it, I'm financially constrained and see a gap where I can save myself some money, so I take the risk. In this case, I was able to escape but I do not suspect this will always be the case. I always pay the fare for longer trips. Thirdly, no one's complaining about them not being able to speak English or French, or even expecting them to do so. And again, you dangerously assume I don't speak any German if I were to travel to Zurich (wrong). So come on then, tiny tot...
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