Friday, November 16, 2012

English Palava!

A middle aged man maybe in his thirties wanted to pay for a particular service in an organisation. He had just been from the scorching sun and had to trek a ridiculous distance because a truck full of goods had fallen across the road causing a major traffic jam. 

In order to get to the organisation before they shut their doors to customers, he came down from the bus, where he was sandwiched between two fat women, to get a bike. Unfortunately for him there were none, so put his tired legs into action till he got lucky. Well, not so lucky because the bike fee was double the usual price. This already agitated man tried to bargain his way out but to no avail. Having no other alternative, he took the bike and paid the hiked fees. 

When he arrived at his destination, he asked the security guard which floor he was to go to, to pay for that service since the building was a five-storey building. The tired security guard who had been very busy all day and couldn't wait end his shift just said, "go up!".

The man went into the building through the glass doors and immediately met a young man, a professional staff of the company, coming out. He said, "good afternoon my brother, please where do I pay for...?" The famished young man who was rushing to the canteen replied sharply, "second floor" and disappeared.
This young man took the  1st  storey they were on as the first floor-American English. However, the customer counted the 1st storey as the ground floor British English-our adopted lingua and went to the 3rd storey of the building. The customer was right based on the British interpretation of what the young man told him, although payment area was actually on the first floor-2nd storey. Ouch!


When he got there he walked up to a young lady, Tashia who was chatting away with her colleague and told her what he wanted. Immediately she heard the word 'pay', she said loudly, "all payments downstairs-first floor." The man tried to explain, "but ma, I was directed to the second floor by one of your staff". She apologized and told him it was first floor. Grumbling in a low voice, he made his way to the first floor where he met a serious looking lady, Raquel behind her desk typing on her computer. He asked her if she was the person he was to  pay to, but she replied in a flat tone without looking at the customer, "the link is down". 

The man screamed "DOWN! Do you know the stress I have been through to get here? You people should learn to pass correct information to your customers. What kind of nonsense is this? You just make things difficult for..." Before she could apologise and try to explain further, he was already on his way downstairs.

On getting to the ground floor, he met a pretty young woman, arranging some files on her desk and asked her in a harsh tone, "who is collecting payment for...?" The lady replied, "all payments are made upstairs Sir". She had no idea what came over this man when he started screaming at her and raining curses on the company. "Do you work here? Do you know what you are saying? How can you tell me to go upstairs when I was just directed down here? What is wrong with you people? Is this how you toss your customers around? Is that what you are paid to do? Where is your manager? I want to speak with your manager since none of you can attend to me...on and on he went" His voice was so loud that those on the first floor could hear him.

In frustration, worked up Gabby who thought she had been through for the day asked him, "Please Sir, who told you to come to this floor to make payments?" He told her it was a lady upstairs who was doing God knows what on her computer system and didn’t have the courtesy to even look at him. Out of sympathy for the man, she went with him to see who misdirected him and to put things straight.
As they went upstairs, he kept on lamenting loudly on how he suffered to get the company (the traffic, the scorching sun, the trekking, the hiked fees) only for a man to tell him he was to go to the second floor when it was actually the first floor; and  on getting to the first floor he was told the link was down. Then he went down and was directed back upstairs.

Everyone on the first floor could hear that he was coming and braced up to see what would happen next. When he saw Raquel, he screamed pointing his index fingers at her, "look at her, she is the one that told me to go downstairs." 

Gabby asked Raquel why she told the customer to go downstairs to pay for a service she handles. She replied that she didn't say so but told him the link was down. The man quickly interjected in a loud and angry tone, "you see, she cannot deny it. She told me the link was down and I went downstairs". Gabby not could hold it back; she burst into laughter, so did everyone on the second floor. 
"The link is down" meant there was no network service, implying he could not pay for the service that day...after all the stress. 

Only if the first man he met on the ground floor had just used the right phrase/English language i.e. first floor/British English, he could have saved the customer a lot of stress. Also the customer misinterpreted ‘the link is down’ to mean the link is downstairs instead of no service network.
Poor man, a victim of English palava...

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