English at Work

Intermediate level

You cannot be serious!

Episode 161228 / 28 Dec 2016

Mr Socrates, the big boss from America, is in town and everything must be just right. Unfortunately the hotel room Anna booked for him isn't right so it's up to her to sort it out and that involves some complaining.

Language for complaining

This episode focuses on the language to use when things aren't right and you need to complain.

Phrases from the programme:

  • I'm very disappointed with your service.
  • The standard of service is not good enough.
  • The room I booked did not meet my expectations.
  • I would like this matter resolved as quickly as possible,
  • I would like to cancel my reservation and get a full refund.

Listening Challenge

What type of hotel room did Mr Socrates want?

The answer is at the bottom of the transcript below:

Transcript

Narrator
Welcome back to Tip Top Trading where everyone seems a bit flustered.

Paul
…and we really need the best biscuits there are.

Denise
Yes, and I’ve made sure there’s tea and coffee…

Paul
…and the carpets?

Denise
Uh?

Paul
…have they been cleaned.

Denise
Don’t panic Paul, all taken care of.

Narrator
You see, the big boss from America, Mr Socrates, is in town and everything must be just right. What’s he like Anna?

Anna
Well, so far he seems OK. A bit bossy, quite short and… a bit smelly!

Narrator
Well, he did just fly in from the States. But you booked him into a good hotel so hopefully he’s had a chance to clean up.

Anna
I hope so! Oh, I had better get that. Hello? Ah hello Mr Socrates, did you sleep well? Oh! I see… I see… erm… well… oh, I don’t know… Tom said it was five-star… well… OK… goodb- Oh, he’s hung up.

Paul
Everything OK Anna? You look a bit pale.

Anna
It was Mr Socrates. He’s not happy.

Paul
Golly gosh, oh dear. What’s the matter?

Anna
It’s his hotel room. He doesn’t like it. The bed’s too soft, too small and it’s a single room not a twin room.

Paul
Oh yes, he likes to have two beds in the room for some reason.

Anna
But Tom said he only likes a single bed in the room.

Paul
Really? Oh no, he insists on a twin – something to do with business partners he says. Anything else?

Anna
Yes. He says he wanted freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast, not the stuff out of a carton.

Denise
Anything else?! A view of Mount Everest perhaps?

Paul
Yes, thank you Denise. Well, we really must sort this out. We can’t afford to upset Mr Socrates. Now Anna, you chose this hotel, I really think you need to sort out this mess.

Anna
It was Tom’s suggestion…

Paul
Just sort it, quickly. Oh golly gosh, golly gosh.

Narrator
Uh oh Anna. Time to do some complaining. What are you going to say?

Anna
Oh... I don’t know. I’m not very good at complaining.

Narrator
Well, Anna. Keep your cool and politely tell the hotel why you’re not happy. You could say:
I’m very disappointed with your service.
The standard of service is not good enough.
The room I booked did not meet my expectations
Good luck Anna!

Anna
OK. Here goes. 

Receptionist
Hello. Royal Imperial Hotel.

Anna
Erm... hello… I want to… I want to complain.

Receptionist
Really? About what exactly?

Anna
Your hotel… Well, I mean, a room I booked for my boss. Room 101. I’m very disappointed with your service.

Receptionist
And why’s that then?

Anna
Well, the room isn’t like the one I booked. It’s just not good enough.

Receptionist
Hmm. Let’s have a look at the booking… well your boss got a bed… and breakfast too… a continental breakfast in fact.

Anna
But the room just didn’t meet his expectations… hello?

Denise
Give me the phone Anna, I’ll deal with this. Now hello Miss…?

Receptionist
Miss Fit.

Denise
Miss Fit? This is the office assis- I mean Manager here. This isn’t good enough. My colleague has made it quite clear that the room did not meet our requirements and I would like you to resolve this matter as quickly as possible or I will have to cancel our reservation.

Receptionist
Sadly, we have no other twin rooms available and anyway…

Denise
Alright, I’d like to speak to your manager please. Really!

Narrator
Good old Denise. I can tell she’s done this before but will talking to the manager really sort things out? Let’s remind ourselves of some of the phrases you can use when you need to complain:
I’m very disappointed with your service.
The standard of service is not good enough.
The room I booked did not meet my expectations.
And to get things sorted you could say:
I would like this matter resolved as quickly as possible.
Or:
I would like to cancel my reservation and get a full refund.
Let’s see if Denise has sorted things out?

Paul
So have you managed to sort out Mr Socrates?

Denise
Oh yes, Anna’s got him a new room.

Paul
Thanks Anna, I’ll let him know. And what about the orange juice?

Anna
Errr…

Denise
Freshly squeezed, every morning!

Paul
Oh golly gosh, that reminds me, we need some here in the office. He’s going to be here any minute and he says he’s got some important news for us.

Listening challenge - answer

What type of hotel room did Mr Socrates want?
A twin room.

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