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I’m afraid I don’t understand the meaning of “I’m afraid”…

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British people are, in their majority , very nice, despite all the media that reaches the world outside the Island about people not being helpful, the lack of sense of humour, plus the bad weather. All of that are lies: people have a very good sense of humour, the food is very tasteful, including all the steak and kidney pies. And the weather is not bad at all, it is horrible. 😉

Anyway, talking about British things, there are 2 companies that help making the bad name for the country: British Telecom and British Airways…

Let me start with British Airways, because British Telecom deserves a complete chapter later on this same blog.

I wrote this post some time ago inside of a BA Flight waiting to leave Heathrow Airport to Rome. Everything worked quite well before the flight: check in was made through the internet, I dropped my lugagge in 5 minutes, went through security very quickly (when compared to the American queues for the same thing) and voila’, I was on board of the aircraft. All organized, sorry, organised with “s” not “zed”, all very British: clean, fast and well done. The aircraft doors were closed, and then the Captain informed: “Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m afraid to inform you that we have a flat tyre on the aircraft and it will have to be changed. I’m also afraid we will not take-off on time. BA engineers” – that require another complete post only for them later on this blog – “will come and change the tyre (yep with “y”) in 30 minutes”.

Then a bunch of guys came to the airplane, they put the aircraft up with 200 people inside it plus tons of luggage, and changed the tyre…Myself plus 50 Italians complained out loud, in very bad mood. And all the 150 British Citizens were seating there, very calm and comfortable reading their newspapers as nothing had happened…no problem with the delay, with the message of the captain with the “I’m afraid”, or with the lack of planning of boarding a complete aircraft with 200 people to check the tyre status only after that!!!! I must learn to be more British and it will add at least 20 years on my life expectancy!!

Anyway, what I liked the most of all that was the use of “I’m afraid”, it is the way British people say “No” without saying it. It is impersonal: it is like someone else is saying “No” to you, but not the person who is talking to you… Strange huh? You have to live it to believe it.

My first experience with the “I’m afraid” was quite interesting. I was in a supermarket looking for a product, then I decided to ask about it to an employee:

– Excuse me (should have used Sorry), do you know if you have product X?

– I’m afraid not.

– Why are you afraid?

– I’m not afraid.

– But you said you were afraid.

– No, I said I was afraid not.

– So, do you have it?

– I’m afraid not!!


Back to BA, they really have a lot of sense of humour:


What a sense of humour...

We are flying to Sao Paulo tomorrow, and we are flying with BA…I’m afraid we cannot afford Virgin Airlines… ✈

Coming soon to this blog, new chapters on British Living including: Cheers (the unlimited uses of a single word), Rubbish, Driving and Going through the Driving Test in the UK, Health and Safety, Fire Drills, Fire Doors,Lifts, Engineers, BT, Flying from Manchester to London, Football, Holidays (travelling from the UK to Europe!?!!), Motorways, Police, Customer Service In Person and Via Telephone, Concierges and 0800 freephone numbers that are paid numbers.


Written by paulohala

November 11, 2009 at 9:53 pm

Posted in Memorias...

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