London Calling

When you call an 800 number in the UK

chances are that a person with a Scottish accent will answer the call. 

The reason for these helpful Scots on the phone was recently explained to me.

Apparently in a survey, the Scottish accent was chosen as “most trusted”.  It may be trustworthy, but I find it completely incomprehensible!

Perhaps this is the strategy. By confusing and frustrating the caller, the Brits discourage toll free calls.  Brilliant!

The good news is that rather than sit and listen to a lengthy recorded message and then navigate a labyrinth of useless options, I do find that 800 calls are promptly answered within the UK.  Trouble is, I cannot understand one word!

Though charming, the lilt and elongated sing-song vowels of the Scottish accent are difficult for me to decipher.  Without the benefit of watching a person’s lips move, I am completely lost.   Though of a different country of origin, I often feel like I am talking to the Swedish Chef from the Muppets. 

Completely exasperated, I often ask for the spelling.  Turns out this is equally impossible to understand as the pronunciation of letters and vowels is also completely incoherent over the phone.

Of course, I am perhaps more handicapped than most, as I still find the English accent difficult at times.  The other day I passed the London Zoo and noticed that there will be some festive programs for the holidays.  I asked the zoo attendant where I could go to get the schedule.

Here was our conversation:

Zoo guy: “Happy to help! Look up Zedesel on your computer”.

Me: “Ummm…Zedesel.  Can you spell it please?”

He looked at me like I was a complete idiot and did not even deign to give a verbal response.  Instead, he pointed to the badge on his shirt that read:  ZSL, the acronym for the Zoo Society London.

I forgot that Z = “zed” in England.  Hence, “Zed – S – L”.

I wonder with all the confusion if I should just call it a day, go to bed, and catch some “zeds”!


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