Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Peppered ham

This is classic nonversation, combining 'not-listening' skills with the utterance of a slew of words that have obviously not been considered before spewing from the oral orifice.

I am in my local grocery store attempting to buy ham from the deli counter. It is the kind of ham where the outside has been smothered in peppercorns. The nonversation goes like this:

Me: I would like a pound of peppered ham please.

Her: Skewz me?

Me: I would like a pound of peppered ham please.

Her: Skewzzzzz me? (Sounding annoyed with me.)

Me: (Now blushing and pointing and totally clueless about how to rephrase my request) I would like a pound of the peppered ham you have here.

Her: Ohhhhhh! Yew mean PEPPER ham.

As I tell of this moment, I feel an internal explosion going on and my rage is mounting!

Let me break it down for you.

Number 1: Pepper ham and peppered ham are not so far apart in our language that it would have been impossible for her to work out what I meant.

Number 2: Grammatically speaking it is peppered ham.

Number 3: The label on the ham says 'PEPPERED HAM!'

Finally, I don't need to be told what I mean in this situation!

The scary thing? Weeks later, same store, different 'helper', the exact thing happens to me again! Verbatim! I stuck to my guns and announced I needed 'peppered ham', but this time I introduced the pointing action a bit sooner, to speed things along. I was struck dumb to hear again, 'Ohhhh! Yew mean PEPPER ham!'

Now this is does not end here. There is more!

Months later, we move house and I look forward to my first visit to a new grocery store. I waltz happily over to the deli counter with fresh hope in my heart.

When I heard the words, 'Yew mean pepper ham', I lost it!

I rarely buy peppered ham anymore. I just can't face it.


  1. Have you ever been asked what you mean when asking for a bottle of water?????

    It really is the most amazing dumb thing I have ever seen in my 12 years here.

  2. Yes! Classic!

    Funniest one was when a waitress came back to the table and asked me, 'What's in that?'

    She thought it was a cocktail!

  3. When I first moved there (NC) from California, I missed having brie cheese with French bread. I asked the grocery manager if he could order some in. I had to spell it for him.

    A few weeks later, I got a call from the store; "Sir? Your..ummm... "Bryyy-eeee" cheese'n". "What?", I asked. "Your Brrrryyyyy-eeee cheese'n".

    After a few moments of running it through my mind real slow, I realized what he was saying.
    "Oh, GREAT! I'll be in this evening to pick it up!" It was the wrong kind.

  4. and i thought i had problems living in england.
    normally when i ask a question at work the reply is invariably "half past two, taffy boy"