Acting Cuckoo

, | Scotland, UK | Food & Drink, Language & Words, Tourists/Travel

(Our hotel is in a pretty popular tourist area and we frequently get customers who struggle with English, especially with the bar food menu. My colleagues have already had some trouble making themselves understood when I go over to take one table’s order.)

Me: “Hi, would you like to order some food?”

Customer: “Yes, we would like food please.”

(There is a long awkward pause, until I realise they are not going to order on their own.)

Me: “So… what food would you like?”

Customer: “Oh! I would like this. This is steak, yes?”

(The customer is pointing to lamb shank on the menu.)

Me: “Oh, no, that’s lamb. Lamb shank, it’s like a small leg. We have a steak just here, if you like?”

(The customer remains pointing at the lamb shank.)

Customer: “So this… this is steak?”

Me: “No, no, this is steak…” *I point* “…and that is lamb.”

Customer: “So this… what animal?”

Me: “Pardon?”

Customer: “What animal this?”

Me: “Oh! Sorry! That’s lamb. Uh, sheep.”

Customer: “Sheep?”

Me: “Yes, sheep. Erm…”

Customer:Maaaaaaaa?”

(I am puzzled for a second, and then realise he is making a sheep noise!)

Me: “Yes, baaaaa!”

Customer: “Oh! Yes! And this?”

(The customer points to the steak.)

Me: “Steak. Cow.”

Customer:Moooo?”

Me: “Yes, mooooo!”

(The customer points to each successive meat dish in turn, and eventually I begin to make the animal noises before he does, to save time. I manage to keep a straight face, because I don’t want him to feel patronised, but his impressions are very funny.)

Customer: “And this?”

(The customer points at the last menu item, which is a venison dish.)

Customer: “What animal, this?”

Me: “That’s venison, which means deer.”

Customer: “Deer? What is deer?”

Me: “Erm…”

(I stop dead as I realise that I haven’t the faintest idea what noise a deer makes, and am certainly not capable of reproducing it.)

Me: “It’s… ah… deer… well, it’s… stag. You know, stag?”

(In desperation, I hold my hands above my head in the shape of antlers. The man looks puzzled for a moment, then seemingly has an epiphany.)

Customer: “Ah! STAG! Stag…”

(The customer looks questioningly at his wife, and then at me, seemingly without getting the help he needs.)

Customer: “I… like… stag?”

(The customer did end up getting the venison dish, and was very pleased with it. His wife had ‘chicken cluck cluck’ and was likewise satisfied.)