Confusion over peas, pies and bubble and squeak gives Colin’s team food for thought this week. 

Oh, I’m so sorry, Mr Gillespie”, I overheard one of our agents say in apology – seconds after she’d asked to speak to ‘Mr Giles Pie’.

The unfortunate gap in the word had led to the embarrassing conversation for Megan, but thankfully the customer saw the funny side and from that day forward asked us to call him Giles!

I think we can all agree that in our busy environments, communication is vital in making sure we get things right. So, not being specific, leaving a space in the wrong place when writing a word, misunderstanding jargon and just out and out dizzyness can cause problems.

We’ve had some other examples in recent weeks too, so we had a conversation about how we can ensure that we are always clear and specific, and say what we really mean in order to communicate with our customers in the best way.

I asked the team for an example of when confusion could arise, and had a great example from Morgan: “When the dentist tells you to use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, does he mean garden or marrowfat?”

Jargon jokes

In recent weeks, we have had an increasing number of requests from customers wanting to try “one of them all-exclusive holidays”. Have they just misunderstood the all‑inclusive concept, or do they really want self-catering with no luggage and no transfers?

It can be funny how we take this jargon for granted, but if we’re honest we know it means nothing to some customers.

Joanne had a customer who, as part of their brief, had said that they didn’t want “any of that half-board rubbish”. “So what do you prefer?” asked Joanne. “Just bed and breakfast?” The reply: “Oh, and an evening meal as well.”

As for dizziness, we all know someone who has a knack of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time or who just gets things mixed up. In our branch in Washington, Tyne and Wear, we have a name for these situations, ‘Talia-isms’, named after our very own second‑year apprentice, Talia.

Here is a classic example of what we like to call a Talia-ism.

Squeaky fun time

During a discussion about good, old-fashioned food, bubble and squeak was mentioned.

Talia clapped her hands and said: “Oh, I love bubble and squeak.”

We all looked at her in some surprise as she continued excitedly: “That’s the one with the fish, isn’t it?”

Obviously, we pointed out her error and she went home that evening determined to find out the name of the dish she was thinking of.

Early the next morning, she burst into the shop to share her findings. “Guys! Guys! It’s not bubble and squeak that has the fish in it! I was thinking of toad in the hole!”

Needless to say, we have all declined her invite to have tea at her house!

This week’s dilemma

Melanie had a dilemma the other day. She had taken a phone enquiry and was busy working on it but was clearly struggling. “Are there any cruise ports in Wales?” she said. “Hmm, not sure,” I said. “But there are a few round-UK itineraries. Why?”

“Well,” said Mel, “this client wants a cruise to see Wales.”

You can probably see where this is going! “Did she say Wales or whales?” I asked, making wave actions. “Oh, I never thought of that!” said Mel. “What shall I do?

“Call the customer and fess up,” I suggested. “See what she really wanted.”

One call and much laughter later, Mel found the ideal whale-watching itinerary.
All booked and happy!