Monday, August 02, 2010


"These two T-shirts, please."


"Sorry, I didn't quite hear what you said."


Because I know what they always ask, I could translate this, which was just as well. And what she thought she was saying was,

"Would you like to keep the hangers for the two T-shirts?"

I could tell it wasn't going to get any easier. And I knew what she was going to say next, because they always say the same thing, and it is this:

"Cunintressu unuh storca nyuhcn save tenpercen tdae?"

Which is, in English, "Could I interest you in one of our storecards? If you are prepared to spend the next hour filling in an interminable form then you could save a magnificent ten percent on today's purchases."

"No thank you", I replied politely and was rewarded with a shrug and


So I inserted my card in the machine and she said nothing further to me until I said a very polite "Thank you for your help". Actually it was tinged with heavy irony but I could have dropped a stone of heavy irony on her foot and she wouldn't have noticed.

"Uh" she concluded, presumably in order to demonstrate her direct line of descent from Prehistoric Man.

Well, hey, I've been known to grumble about overseas doctors who can't speak clear English. But perhaps I should be targeting my first-line grumbling closer to home. This girl was undoubtedly Leeds-born. And I'm not objecting to Yorkshire accents at all - - just to lazy speech and a total lack of effort.


Anonymous Svig Torsquest said...

I came upon your blog as I thought you were posting about my hometown.
Still a funny blog and thank you for posting. I will visit regularly.

Svig Torsquest

6:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband nearly brained a shop assistant for asking someone if they wanted a storecard - when the queue to pay was almost out of the shop. This being in BHS where the tills are buried towards the back of the shop might explain his sense of homour failure. If the customer had replied 'Yes' she would probably have been at risk of a braining too. Lucy
Verification: husbr - what you plead when shop assistant and customer are dead on the floor.

7:28 pm  
Anonymous mumof4 said...

Oh classic. That is so funny. Is the Swedish guy for real?

8:39 pm  
Blogger Ailbhe said...

I get really annoyed when people object to perfectly clear (eg) Indian or African accents; compared to careless speech - the Estuary "accent" (dialect?) which almost entirely lacked consonants, for example - they are really not confusing at all. And Glaswegian speech is just as rapid as Indian, and can be understood with the same simple request - I often ask people to speak more slowly.

10:50 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

"Sercar"? Was the shop assistant calling you a "sucker" for not taking up the storecard offer? Personally, I despise all storecards and always feel most contented when they ask me if I've got one or want one. Negative. Negative. The way they look at me it's as if they think I'm mad - which of course I am.

9:44 am  

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