For some reason I'm never able to make people understand what I’m saying.
It happens all the time, so much so that I’ve started to account for it. I’ll walk into a situation with a readily-prepared statement in my head – and consciously take my time when saying it; trying to allow for the inevitable confusion that follows in my wake.
Even all this forward-thinking doesn’t seem to help; more often than not, I still end up with conversational egg all over my face.
It occurs most frequently in bars and restaurants. A good example took place a couple of months ago. I’d met up with a friend in a local pub - and, as I’m generally not drinking alcohol at the moment, I decided to have a hot drink instead.
I walked up to the side of the bar where the coffee machine was situated. Behind it stood a big sign that said ‘Speciality Teas Available’. I’m a bit of a herbal tea nut, so this was right up my street.
A surly, monosyllabic barman loitered over. I didn’t know he was monosyllabic yet, admittedly, but from the looks of him the chance was high.
“Yeah?” he said (I was right.)
“Hi there. What teas do you do?”
He looked at me like I’d just shat in his mouth. “What?”
(Never had so much venom been concentrated in so few letters.)
“I just…wondered what teas you do”, I replied, losing faith. “The sign says you do different teas.”
His face screwed up with a mix of confusion and derision. “Just...TEA,” he spat.
All while the large sign behind him contradicted what he was saying, in big, jolly writing.
I guess part of the problem lies in asking for something that’s a little unexpected. This was definitely the case this morning, when I popped into my local garage to do some shopping.
A few days ago I bought a Kit Kat from the same garage - and, on opening the wrapper, I discovered that I’d instantly won another; an offer that can be redeemed at selected stores. I’d been carrying the wrapper around ever since. As I’d bought the Kit Kat from the same place, I thought I’d see if I could claim it while I was there.
“Hi there. I won a Kit Kat in a wrapper the other day," I said. "Can I claim them here?”
"I won another Kit-Kat in a wrapper I bought here the other day. Do you do that promotion here?"
Perhaps in future I’ll just do all my shopping on the internet.