Post #405

At Safeway deli counter

10th June 2004, late at night | Comments (12)

Deli woman
Next Guest please!
Hello, can I have some of this Honey Roast Ham please?
Deli woman
Sure thing. How much do you want?
Um, all of it, please.
Deli woman
*Cuts a bit of ham off and gives it to me*
*Slightly confused*
Oh, thank you.
Deli woman
So, how much do you want?
Well, all of it, please.
Deli woman
*Cuts another bit of ham off and gives it to me*
Um, do you realise I’m saying All of it, and not something ending in the word ‘bit’, like Can I taste a bit or Let me try a bit?
Deli woman
*Looks at me blankly*
So, how much do you want?
*Mimes a big all-encompassing ball of everything*
*Mimes ‘everything’ again*

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Comments (12)

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  1. Markku:

    You must be pretty hungry. :)

    We're you speaking in Klingon or something? Or maybe she thought all of the slice... :)

    Posted 2 hours, 3 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Lee
  2. Lee:

    He didn't need to be speaking Klingon, if he had been he would have stood more chance of being understood. Most Americans, in my (and the rest of my family's) experience have trouble understanding plain old English.

    Just see the post over at The Sneeze concerning the pronounciation of Caramel (

    And we had particular trouble with simple words like Water: in the UK - WAR-TER in the US - WAAAHTER (has to be said fast, no slow change in the syllables) or Innovative: in the UK IN-O-VA-TIVE in the US - IN-O-VAAAH-TIVE and unless you get the pronounciation spot on there's no chance of being understood.

    Posted 5 hours, 57 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Markku
  3. ACJ:

    I don't know; it seems to be a common thing with "Deli people" worldwide. Perhaps they speak Klingon... or Delipeople... or something...

    Posted 6 hours, 6 minutes after the fact
  4. Rob Mientjes:

    America! Country without restrictions! Everything is possible!

    Too bad you can't get enough ham to even survive an afternoon with.

    Posted 7 hours, 22 minutes after the fact
  5. Josh:

    So how much did you want? ;-)

    Truthfully, you have to remember that deli people only understand two things: pounds and quarts. I'm sure that if you'd said 5 pounds of ham, things would've been just fine. Just be sure not to go all 'metric' on them, or you'll REALLY confuse the situation.

    Posted 14 hours, 56 minutes after the fact
  6. MaThIbUs:

    This woman should be stand-up comedian. And I love the way you succeed in staying polite — respect!

    P.S.: Thank you so much for lending me your great JavaScript; my site loves you.

    Posted 1 day, 12 hours after the fact
  7. Debbie: did she give it to you? On a toothpick or a piece of paper?? Or did she wrap it neatly for you? The more I think about it, the more I believe there is alien life on earth.

    Posted 2 days, 7 hours after the fact
  8. Mike:

    fwiw, sounds a lot like "a little bit", story of my life anyway, moving from 95% native iowa to silicon valley, you gain a new appreciation for clear annunciation

    Posted 2 days, 12 hours after the fact
  9. Jim:

    Been there too. Last time I was in Cleveland the wife and I went into Starbucks, I ordered two coffees and the guy made us three. I said "No, sorry, I only asked for two" and he said "You ordered three. I heard you, I already made you three!" getting quite irate. Then to make matters worse his collegue chimed in "yeah I heard him order three too".

    For the love of god, I almost paid for an extra coffee I didn't even want just because I was so embarrased. I even found myself trying to explain: "Look, I'm from England see, you must not have heard me right, and besides, there are only TWO of us standing here, why the hell would I order 3 coffees?". We were the only two customers in the entire store at the time. My wife thought I was going to start tearing up the place lol

    Oh, and I've had the whole caramel/carmel debate a hundred times already. You can't just ignore an 'A'!

    Posted 2 days, 18 hours after the fact
  10. Jonas Rabbe:

    Just wondering, did you end up getting the whole thing, or did you give up?

    Posted 3 days, 5 hours after the fact
  11. Mark Stevens:

    As a British ex-pat now living in the States, I've had no end of fun making myself understood by regular Americans.

    The first day I was here, my wife took me to an Applebee restaurant. When it came to ordering the drinks, the conversation went something like:

    Server: Can I get you guys any drinks?

    Wife: Yes, I'll have a Diet Coke.

    Server: Okay.

    Me: And I'll have a bottle of Budweiser.

    Server: Huh?

    Me: A bottle of Budweiser?

    Server: Erm...

    Wife: A bottle of Budweiser!

    Server: Oh! Hey, you've got a weird accent!

    Me: Thanks!

    Americans are typically expecting to hear "BO'LL". Of course, I was pronouncing it as "BOT-ALL", which confused the poor server no end.

    I've been living in the States for over a year now. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law swear my English accent is softening, but I think it's more a case of them being used to me now. I generally find that people have less problem understanding me if I raise my voice several decibels above the norm (British people tend to be, on average, more softly-spoken than the average American) and/or if I enunciate with some deliberation.

    That hasn't stopped at least one person thinking I'm Australian though.

    Posted 4 days, 2 hours after the fact
  12. Dianna:

    Heh, I've had similar problems when travelling and/or living abroad. I'm from Newfoundland and though my accent isn't particularly thick people have had trouble understanding me. I do speak proper English and even slow my speech so they can understand. Usually they think I am from England or Ireland and most have no idea where Newfoundland is.

    One thing I've discovered in my travels is that common sense is really not that common and stupid people are everywhere. Newfoundlanders are supposed to be goofy? Go figure.

    Posted 3 weeks, 3 days after the fact

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