English at Work

Intermediate level

The smoker

Episode 161130 / 30 Nov 2016

Anna is off to meet Mr Ingle, the warehouse manager, to discuss stock management. But she finds him doing something dangerous and illegal! She needs to ask him to stop it politely. Find out how she makes this request.

Language for making polite requests

This episode focuses on politely asking a member of your team not to do something.

Phrases from the programme:

  • Would you mind not doing that please?
  • I'm afraid it's against company policy.
  • I'm afraid it’s not permitted.
  • Sorry to have to ask you this but…

Listening Challenge

What other word does Anna use to mean 'put out your cigarette'?

The answer is at the bottom of the transcript below:

Transcript

Narrator
Hello, welcome back to Tip Top Trading where Anna is going downstairs to speak to warehouse manager, Mr Ingle. You’re looking a bit nervous…

Anna
I am. Denise says if I speak to him in the wrong way, he might bite my head off!

Narrator
Relax Anna. It’s just an expression to mean he might be a bit aggressive.

Anna
Oh!

Narrator
You’ll be fine, just use the right polite phrases… oh, and smile!

Anna
OK, I will. Oh look here I am…

(Warehouse door opens)

Anna
Mr Ingle, are you there? I’d be most grateful if you could give me some… oh, what’s that smell… and smoke… Mr Ingle!

Mr Ingle
Oh, oh (coughs)

Anna
Mr Ingle. You’re smoking!

Mr Ingle
Well… it’s my lunch break… so I’m allowed to smoke a cigarette, aren’t I?

Anna
Really? Are you sure?

Narrator
No, he’s not Anna! Smoking inside a public building is illegal – it’s against the law. It’s dangerous too - you’ve got to do something about this.

Anna
Oh right. Mmm, er, Mr Ingle, you mustn’t smoke… it’s wrong.

Mr Ingle
Says who?

Anna
Err, Me?

Narrator
Anna. You’ll have to do better than that. Be polite, but be firm too. Try saying, ‘would you mind not doing that please?’

Anna
I’ll try. Mr Ingle, would you mind not doing that please?

Mr Ingle
Why’s that then?

Narrator
He’s not being very nice is he? You need to give your reasons. Say, ‘I’m afraid it’s against company policy’. Go on you can do it.

Anna
Mr Ingle… I’m afraid it’s against company policy. And… it is actually against the law to smoke here… and… it’s not a nice smell, is it?

Mr Ingle
Well, smells OK to me.

Anna
Well, I’m sorry to have to ask you this but you need to put it out.

Mr Ingle
Put what out – the cat?!

Anna
No. You need to extinguish your cigarette… please.

Mr Ingle
Says who?

Anna
Well, I’m sure your team wouldn’t like to see you breaking the law and besides, it could cause a fire. That would be awful.

Mr Ingle
Yeah, I suppose it would.

Anna
I could get you some nicotine gum if you like?

Mr Ingle
No, it’s OK. I’ll stub it out… as you asked so nicely.

Anna
Thank you Mr Ingle. We’ll keep it a secret this time, but please don’t do it again. I’m afraid it’s just not permitted on company premises.

Mr Ingle
Yeah, whatever!

Anna
Oh and Mr Ingle, I still really like your overalls. Bye!

Narrator
Nice one Anna. You dealt with Mr Ingle really well. You kept your cool and explained the reasons why he shouldn’t smoke. Let’s hope he doesn’t do it again Anna.

Anna
I hope not. I hate the smell of cigarette smoke. But I never got to ask him about stock management.

Narrator
Well, maybe it’s best to leave it for another time?

Anna’s had a tricky day so far dealing with Mr Ingle but she was firm and fair in the language she used. Here’s a reminder of the phrases she used:
Would you mind not doing that please?
I’m afraid it’s against company policy.
I’m afraid it’s not permitted.
Sorry to have to ask you this but…

Paul
Ah Anna, there you are…. (sniffing) Have you been smoking?

Anna
No!

Paul
You smell of cigarette smoke. Look, I know you’re under pressure – but smoking in the building is not permitted.

Anna
Bbbut…

Paul
We take this very seriously. You had better step in to my office and we’ll talk about this.

Narrator
Oh dear! Anna’s in trouble for no reason. Let’s hope she explains the mix-up, but that means telling Paul about Mr Ingle smoking. This is going to be difficult. Until next time, bye!

Listening challenge - answer

What other word does Anna use to mean 'put out your cigarette'?
To extinguish.

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