The Accent Barrier

PhotobucketTrevor is terrified of drive-throughs.  He detests them.  Seriously, last time we went to one, he made us park and switch seats so that I had to talk.  Yesterday, I found out why.

We were picking up KFC to take to my mom’s store for lunch, and I begged him just to suck it up and do the ordering for us.  “Fine. ”

The girl (imagine late teens city girl, northeast Philly accent): Hi, welcome to KFC.  Can I take your order?

Him (speaking in perfect, beautiful Queen’s English): Yes, I’d like a variety bucket.

Her: Could you repeat that?

Him: Sorry?

Her: <silence>

Him: (continuing his order)  … with chicken strips, a family sized fries, and four pieces of chicken.

Her:  Could you repeat that?

Him: <looking at me, bewildered>

Me:  Repeat it!  Variety bucket.  She doesn’t know what you’re saying.

Him: A variety bucket please, with…

Her: A what?!?

Some co-worker guy behind her: A  VARIETY BUCKET!

Her: Oh, okay.  What would you like in that? You can have chicken strips, popcorn chicken, fries, chicken pieces, honey barbeque wings…

Him: I’d like chicken strips, fries, four pieces of chicken…

Her:  Popcorn chicken?

Him: <bewildered again>

Me: She thinks you said popcorn chicken.  Tell her four pieces of chicken.

Him: No, four pieces of chicken.

Her: Okay, okay.  Original or extra crispy.

Him: <giving me that look again>

Me: Tell her original.

Him: Original.

Her: Anything else?

Him: <pleading with me with his eyes that there be nothing else>

Me: (very apologetically) Drinks?  Two large diet cokes and whatever you want.

Him: Two large diet cokes and a… large Dr. Pepper.

Her: Could you repeat that?

Him: Two large diet cokes and a large Dr. Pepper.

Her: Okay. Anything else?

Me: Drinks for the… Nevermind, we can get them something at the store.  That’s fine.  Tell her that’s it.

Him: That’s it.

Her: Please pull around to the next window.

The whole car lets out a BIG SIGH…

At this point I’m stroking his back and apologizing, “I’m sorry.  I get it now.  I won’t make you do it again.  Are you okay?  You talk so much better than her.  It wasn’t you.  I’ll totally drive next time.  I promise.  I’m sorry.”

We paid our money, I leaned across him to ask for some cups and lids for the girls.  The poor girl was all embarrassed and giggly, and the guy behind her was just shaking his head.

Two people, divided by a common language.  Go figure.

8 thoughts on “The Accent Barrier

  1. Tell Trevor he’s not the only Brit to have trouble ordering food! When my BIL was new to the US we went out to an Italian restaurant and ordered Lasagna. The waitress said, “Don’t you want dinner first?” He had the most bewildered look on his face. She thought he had asked for a Sundae. I don’t think he ever ordered lasagna again.

  2. Michael doesn’t like to order from drive thru either, because he has a speech impedement. I just lean over from the passenger side & yell loud, lol. I’m sorry Trevor had such a hard time. HUGS!

  3. Jodi, this is too funny – I feel for Trevor. I don’t always have much better luck with those darn drive thru’s… How much sweat did you have wipe from his head?

  4. lol poor guy! tell him i’ve live in CA my whole life and i still have issues with drive thru people. its not him…drive thrus suck! lol

  5. Oh poor Trevor! Sort of funny, but – sheesh! In Australia we get a lot of different accents (both in real life and on TV) and I’d hope that Aussies were a LITTLE bit better at understanding Trevor’s Queen’s English!

    I understand about AmyG’s Michael having trouble with a speech impairment – I am a speech pathologist and I know that people with difficulties making themselves understood. It can be so tricky.

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