This episode's vocabulary
- Strike up (phrasal verb) - to start a relationship or conversation with someone.
- Sensation (noun) - a general feeling caused by something that happens to you.
- Spark (verb) - to cause the start of something, especially an argument or fighting.
- Flagrantly (adverb) - in a way that is shocking because of being so obvious or showing lack of respect.
- Disregard (verb) - to ignore something.
- Accustomed (adj.) - familiar with something.
- Good-natured (adj.) - pleasant or friendly.
- Agitated (adj.) - worried or angry.
- Disruption (noun) - an interruption in the usual way that a system, process, or event works.
- Consternation (noun) - a feeling of strong annoyance and anger, usually because of something bad that you cannot change or that is completely unexpected.
- Peeved (adj.) - annoyed.
- At the drop of a hat (idiom) - freely; immediately.
- Artificial intelligences (noun) - computer technology that allows something to be done in a way that is similar to the way a human would do it.
- Reliability (noun) - the quality of being able to be trusted or believed because of working or behaving well.
- Personalization (noun) - the process of making something suitable for the needs of a particular person.
- Tailored (adj.) - specially made for a particular purpose or situation.
- Cater to sb/sth (phrasal verb) - to satisfy a need or to provide what is wanted or needed by a particular person or group.
Questions and Answers
Maria: Rory, what can people do when waiting in a line?
Rory: Well, whatever they can to stay calm and entertained. Usually lines are just boring and long so it's not usually harmful to just wait. It becomes more of a question of what you can do with that time that you have. You could borrow social media or someone said it was actually better to learn a language with an app like Duolingo or something productive like that, or people could listen to our podcast. You could also strike up a conversation with the person next to you and make a new friend.
Maria: How can we manage our time better?
Rory: Well, advanced planning would benefit most people, I suppose. If you can plan ahead, you can see where there are dead periods of time. They can be used well, and then you can fill them with productive things like writing scripts or replying to emails or planning. Like the things I mentioned previously.
Maria: What do you think of those people who jump the queue?
Rory: They should be shot on sight. Sorry, I cannot begin to describe the sensation of annoyance that kind of behavior sparks in people, myself included. Like when people show so much disrespect for others by flagrantly disregarding the rules like that. And somehow, at least in the experiences I've had with this, no one stops them but people should. It's really unfair. And it is not really, it's entirely unfair. And it isn't like the world is ending. So nine times out of ten, there's simply no need to jump the queue like that.
Maria: Are people in your country accustomed to waiting?
Rory: There is this stereotype of the British people being good-natured about waiting in queues, but it seems we're just as likely to be annoyed by them as everyone else. If you look closely at any long queue, you'll see foot tapping and watch checking just like anywhere else as people get progressively more agitated. Given how slowly some things like public transport and the post move, though, I suppose you could say that we accept waiting, but I wouldn't say that we're big fans of it.
Maria: Are adults better at waiting than children?
Rory: I think adults are better at handling the consequences of waiting, by and large, because there's always something to be done. Children have less to do, so all they can really do is complain, unfortunately for them. Well, they could learn how to use their imagination. We talked about that before. I think someone said something like boredom is a driver of imagination. So if you think about it that way, then it might be better.
Maria: Are people more patient than they used to be?
Rory: Well, if anything, they're less so. Um, we have everything on demand in terms of information and entertainment. Even a slight disruption to the information flow is met with consternation. A few weeks ago, Google died for like 50 minutes and it was major world news. Even I was a little bit peeved, to be honest.
Maria: Do you think the development of technology has reduced the time people spend waiting?
Rory: Well, absolutely. Everything is available drop of a hat. So it's massively cut times in half. Like even waiting in queues on phones, you know, it's handled by automated services. So the biggest issue is making sure that there's enough, I don't know, artificial intelligences or algorithms on hand to handle the inflow of calls.
Maria: How can companies improve their customer service?
Rory: Well, probably in two words like reliability and personalization. First of all, if we talk about reliability, you should do what you say you're going to do, since people are usually paying for this and it should be tailored to the specific individuals since people like to feel special and catered to. Usually calms them down. You can see they're just using someone's name changes elements of their outlook on things. They're not a number, but they're recognized as a person. There are other aspects to it, but those are the two main ones that I would highlight.
M: Rory, thank you so much for your answers. Let's not make our listener wait and discuss the vocab. So what can we do while we're waiting in a queue or in a line? We stay calm and get entertained.
R: Mm hmm.
M: How? By browsing social media.
R: Well, you can browse social media, but alternatively, you can talk about doing something more productive.
M: Like what?
R: Like learning a language.
M: Yes, learning a language.
R: With an app, which is a very specific piece of vocabulary. Or you can strike up a conversation.
M: I love this. Strike up a conversation. Beautiful.
R: Yeah. Always strike up, never start.
M: Yes. Strike up a conversation. Just start a conversation, strike up a conversation with a stranger in a line. People sometimes jump the queue.
R: They do. And that is very disappointing.
M: So if you jump the queue, you don't want to wait. You just go up front and say like give it to me. And you can get annoyed by that.
R: You can get annoyed or you can have a sensation of annoyance. And the sensation of annoyance is sparked in you.
M: Oh god, this is so band 9. Yes, a sensation of annoyance, so annoying and annoyance. Sparks is like appears like is created.
R: And then people show disrespect.
M: For other people.
R: And they flagrantly disregard the rules.
R: Flagrantly. That's a great word to say.
M: Yes, so first of all disregard the rules. You don't follow the rules you break the rules.
R: You can flout the rules.
M: Flout the rules.
R: You can flagrantly flout the rules. Flagrantly just means that you do it and everybody sees you and it's like...
R: Yeah. It's really not nice behavior. It's really not courteous.
M: Yes. You can say...
R: Discourteous, if you will.
M: Some people are not courteous, so they flagrantly disregard the rules. Beautiful. Have you ever jumped the queue being British?
R: No, I maybe one time I've jump the queue. Maybe when I was late for a flight and I've said to people like, I'm really sorry, my flight's really soon and I don't want to miss it. Could I please go in front of you if you're also not in the same position as me? And I think that happened once when I was in Germany, but that's not jumping the queue. That is asking politely to move forward.
M: But if they say no?
R: If they say no, well, then that's life, unfortunately, like you have to live in a society where you cooperate with people, but that's never, at least not in my experience happened.
M: Yeah, true, people are understanding usually. OK. And British people are usually good-natured about waiting in queues because they have this culture of waiting in queues. Right?
M: Allegedly, yeah.
R: I don't know.
R: Apparently. There is a stereotype.
M: Yeah, but people get agitated. Well, some people can get agitated while waiting in a queue for a long time. When you get agitated, you start fidgeting, you start touching your hair, you start typing your feet, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap. And what else do people do? I dont't know.
R: Oh, everything. They say that they're like they blur their cheeks. For example like pfff, I have to wait.
M: Yeah, they roll their eyes like oh yeah really? I like your quote "Boredom is a driver of imagination".
R: Well it is. I think I can I'm just thinking about the number of things I've done to cope with being bored, like, it's OK.
M: There are a lot of things that you can do while waiting in the queue, you know. Use your imagination. Think of Rory as your inspiration angel.
R: You can access our podcast at the drop of a hat, which is something I said.
M: I love that.
R: It's like a it's like an idiom for meaning something happens very quickly.
M: Idiomatic language for a high score. Yes, everything is available at the drop of a hat. So you just drop your hat on the floor, right.? Like a drop your gun, drop your head and it's bam, it's available. So our podcast is available at the drop of a hat. Beautiful. And actually you can just agree like with yourself, that every time you have to wait in a line, you listen to our podcast. Or you check out Rory's Instagram or our Instagram and you just like write a message to us. You like our post. Rory, you said that I was a little peeved, to be honest. You were peeved?
R: Just means that you're annoyed. You're just like, I don't like that.
M: I was a bit peeved, to be honest, because I had to wait for two hours in a line and then I didn't get these shoes, for example. I was a bit peeved, annoyed. Waiting drives me up the wall, you can also say that.
R: It does.
M: Or, for example, customer service can drive you up the wall. You can say it does my head in, which is a bit British or more British.
R: But we deal with that by personalizing which is a word that I used.
M: You said personalization and reliability.
R: So reliability is just how reliable something is, how often it works properly. And personalization is how personal it is to the person. So, for example, if we speak about personalizing marketing, your name is used, it's relevant to you.
M: And customer service should be tailored to the individuals.
R: So this is like describing the process of making things so that they are close to what individuals want.
M: Yeah. So it should be tailored to our needs, to individual people's needs. The same as it should be catered. We should cater or different companies should cater to our needs.
R: And in order to do that, they have to recognize you as a person, which just means that you're treated like a human being, but recognition is a higher level word than treatment.
M: Wow. So they should recognize you as a person, as a personality, as an individual. Yeah.
R: We're all individuals.
M: Scotlaaand! I think that's all.
R: Yeah, I think we've queued up enough things for people to get to grips with.
M: Yep, yep. If you're waiting in a line, hope that your waiting is over as our podcast is over.
R: Imagine you have a lot to say in your part two speaking exam.
M: Part three.
R: Well, part 3 is coming up next.
M: This is part 3.
R: It is. Sometimes numbers are not my thing.
M: It's OK. We've been recording for a long time, so Rory is all confused. It was speaking part three and Rory has just given you very detailed answers. See you!
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