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    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.)