A translation mix-up caused some hurt feelings in Sweden this week when a tourist was thrown out of a café for ordering illegal drugs because the waitress misunderstood her order for “hash browns.”
According to The Local, 35-year-old Bulgarian tourist Stella Ivanova was visiting her friend in Stockholm when she stopped at a local restaurant for some food. The restaurant had a handy English menu that listed a popular and traditional dish of fried, shredded potatoes called rårakor as “hash browns,” and Ivanova asked to try some. When she placed her order, however, the waitress was reportedly outraged and appalled.
“We don't do that kind of thing here, it's illegal in Sweden,” the waitress reportedly said, and she asked Ivanova to leave.
When Ivanova’s Swedish friend investigated later, it turned out the waitress thought Ivanova had asked for “hash brownies.”
The friends thought the confusion was funny, but they also say they were really angry about the way they were treated.
“We laughed but we were also really angry,” Ivanova’s friend said. “Tourism is one of Sweden's biggest sources of income and we're trying to attract more visitors, and then when somebody comes here you scare them off.”
The restaurant’s manager said it was an unfortunate misunderstanding and they would work to make sure all the employees knew what all the words on the English menu meant.