Sunday, 26 September 2010

You All Right There?


I approached the bar of the pub where I'd gone for a quiet drink with E after taking her to see her bereaved aunt. In a piece of deja vu, the barmaid asked me an identical question to the one I'd been asked at the same bar, by a different barmaid, exactly a week ago. The question was "You all right there?". Having responded to the same question last time by assuming my general well being was not being enquired about, but the question could be translated as saying in a roundabout way, "What would you like?" I decided to answer her question by having a little gentle fun with her. "Not so bad really" quoth I. She was nonplussed and there was an uneasy standoff for a brief second until I added (with a smile) "But I'd be even better with a pint and a half of bitter".

She still looked slightly puzzled. I know of course that an old git like me trying to have a joke with most young women is a nil sum game, but I reflected that one barmaid saying this rather odd question to a customer was, well odd; and two saying it odder. I suppose one copied the other.

What's wrong with "What would you like?" or "What can I get you?"

4 comments:

Curmudgeon said...

You know, I was thinking of making a post on exactly the same subject! I know it's just a modern mannerism, and nothing untoward is meant by it, but it does come across to me as rude and ill-mannered.

Paul Bailey said...

It's becoming an increasingly common phrase in shops as well. A friend and I were only commenting on this the other day. Whatever happened to "May I help you?", or "Can I be of assistance?"

Rabidbarfly said...

I have to say I've had to erase this phrase from my bar-running vocabulary.
Although I'm not as militant as Curmudgeon in thinking it's 'rude and ill-mannered'.
Her reaction to your remark possibly shows more of what's wrong with service standards though, unintelligent and lacking in banter, if she said 'just checking, you looked a bit peaky' or something similar, it would have at least shown promise.

HardKnott Dave said...

The problem with bar staff is that they are far to transitory, not giving bar managers, owners, licencees the chance to instill appropriate manners. I also believe the particular phrase comes from those nice people in that far away commonwealth country now known as Australia.

It is also interesting that people in the service industry that have English as their second language are far more likely to try harder to match our British customs.