Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

May 6, 2009

I Don't Think It Means What You Think It Means

All right, something has been bothering me for a while and I just have to speak up. Everyone listening? Good. Please learn to speak clearly. Please, please, please, please. You have no idea how much grief you are causing me and everyone else who has to deal with your weirdly ambiguous statements. I know it takes a little more effort to word your thoughts in a precise manner, but you will save yourself so much grief down the road.

Why is this bothering me, you ask? Because part of my current job consists of asking people questions--the same questions over and over and over, usually--and so often I'm stuck with an answer that gives me no clue as to what I should do. Perhaps some examples are in order:

You: "Can you price check this for me?"
Me: *beep* "It's 3.49."
You: "Okay."


You: "Did you ring up this cereal?"
Me: "Yes, you said it was okay."
You: "I told you not to ring it up."

I love this selective amnesia you're having. For those lacking a grasp of elementary grammar, "Okay" != "No". "Okay" = "Okay", i.e. "Yes".

Or, to give an even worse example:

Me: "Would you like to donate to {sponsored charity}?"
You: "That's fine."

IS THAT A YES OR A NO?! Now, I usually assume it means "yes", but from what I can tell most of my customers think it means "no".

People, there are perfectly good words in the English language for expressing precisely what you would like me to do. They are called "Yes" and "No" respectively. They have one syllable. They are easy to pronounce. And they are completely, totally, unquestionably unambiguous.


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