The Accent is on the Accent

This embarrassing true story happened to me at work a few weeks ago.  Let me preface by saying that I have somewhat of a hearing difficulty…perhaps when I can afford insurance I’ll see a doctor and diagnose the level to which my hearing has deteriorated thanks to sirens, horns, trains, and midnight fireworks – but that’s a story for another time. 

Suffice to say, I have trouble hearing people clearly when they speak.  I’m always making them repeat themselves.  Just ask Eli.  And I’m especially bad at understanding accents.  I’m having a hell of a time understanding The IT Crowd on TV right now!

A customer at work approached me and asked me a question that I didn’t hear.  So I leaned my ear towards her, and asked her to repeat herself.

“Where are the mumble mumble please?”

“uh…I’m sorry, could you repeat that?”

“Do you have any mumble mumble?”

Beat.Now we have a crossroads.  I am torn.  I can ask them to repeat themselves a FOURTH time, and risk not understanding yet again.  I can admit that I have no idea what they’re saying.  Or, and guess which one I choose, I can make it someone else’s problem.

“I’m new here, and I’m not so sure.  Let me find a manager you can ask.”  <– because I’m a terrible person.

I grab the manager, pull them over, and prompt them to restate their question:  “Hi, this customer has a question for you…”  I hold out the palm of my hand towards them, so they can place their query on it.

“Yeah, hi, I was wondering, where are the toilets?”

DING DING DING!  Fourth time was the charm.  And PS, I may have been new, but I knew where the toilets were.  And my manager knows that I know where the toilets are.  Everybody knows where the toilets are.



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