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:


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

…and we really need the best biscuits there are.

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

…and the carpets?


…have they been cleaned.

Don’t panic Paul, all taken care of.

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

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

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.

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.

Everything OK Anna? You look a bit pale.

It was Mr Socrates. He’s not happy.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

Anything else?! A view of Mount Everest perhaps?

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.

It was Tom’s suggestion…

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

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

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

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!

OK. Here goes. 

Hello. Royal Imperial Hotel.

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

Really? About what exactly?

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

And why’s that then?

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

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

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

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

Miss Fit.

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.

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

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

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.
I would like to cancel my reservation and get a full refund.
Let’s see if Denise has sorted things out?

So have you managed to sort out Mr Socrates?

Oh yes, Anna’s got him a new room.

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


Freshly squeezed, every morning!

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.

Try Next

Alice in Wonderland inline pro...  Shakespeare Speaks inline prom...  The English We Speak inline pr...  

Latest English at Work

  • The show must go on

    The show must go on

    Episode 170816 / 16 Aug 2017

    Tip Top Trading finally launch the plastic aubergine. But will the presentation of their new product go according to plan?

  • Pulling out the stops

    Pulling out the stops

    Episode 170809 / 09 Aug 2017

    The team are getting ready to launch their new product and there's lots to do. Will they get things done on time?

  • A room with a view

    A room with a view

    Episode 170802 / 02 Aug 2017

    Anna's got to organise the launch of Tip Top Trading's newest product. Can she find a venue at such short notice?

  • Pushed to the limits

    Pushed to the limits

    Episode 170726 / 26 Jul 2017

    Denise is back at Tip Top Trading, but not everything is going smoothly! Will Anna be able to get everyone organised?

  • To show you the ropes

    To show you the ropes

    Episode 170719 / 19 Jul 2017

    Denise is back – and she's going to take on more responsibility. Will Anna be able to help her settle in and show her the ropes in her new role?

  • Eating humble pie

    Eating humble pie

    Episode 170712 / 12 Jul 2017

    Tip Top Trading is in chaos! The place is a mess and important messages are being lost. Paul may have to eat humble pie to make things better!

  • Help! We need somebody

    Help! We need somebody

    Episode 170705 / 05 Jul 2017

    Chaos at Tip Top Trading! Denise has left and things are getting busy! How will the team cope being one member down?

  • So long Denise!

    So long Denise!

    Episode 170628 / 28 Jun 2017

    It's Denise's last day at Tip Top Trading and she's worried about the future. Hopefully Anna can give her some good careers advice!

  • Taking shape

    Taking shape

    Episode 170621 / 21 Jun 2017

    Anna's consulting the development team about her plastic aubergines. Will they understand the project?

  • Reality bites

    Reality bites

    Episode 170614 / 14 Jun 2017

    Triumphant Tip Top Trading are back from the awards ceremony, but it's not all good news!

  • Award-winning!


    Episode 170607 / 07 Jun 2017

    It's award time at the International Plastics Convention! Will Anna and the Tip Top Trading team win the prize?

  • Face-to-face


    Episode 170531 / 31 May 2017

    The International Plastics Convention is here and the Tip Top Trading team are looking to promote their business. Will Anna be able to network effectively?

  • Talking sense

    Talking sense

    Episode 170524 / 24 May 2017

    Anna's in charge following Paul's biscuit-related accident, but things are about to take a turn for the worse. How will she and Tom deal with a mysterious note they find in the office?

  • Acting up

    Acting up

    Episode 170517 / 17 May 2017

    Paul's gone missing after he went to a biscuit convention. Anna and the others at Tip Top Trading have been left on their own – who will step up and take charge?

  • The plastic aubergine

    The plastic aubergine

    Episode 170510 / 10 May 2017

    It's time for Anna to pitch her idea for a new plastic vegetable product to her boss Paul. Will she be able to capture his attention and get her idea off the ground?

  • Computer crisis

    Computer crisis

    Episode 170503 / 03 May 2017

    Crisis at Tip Top Trading! Something's happened to the computers and everyone's work has disappeared! Anna needs tech support but can she say the right things to get them to help?

  • Doing your homework

    Doing your homework

    Episode 170426 / 26 Apr 2017

    Anna is developing her idea for a new plastic vegetable. But has she considered all the information before she pitches the idea to her boss Paul? She's going to have to do some proper research before she can!

  • The dinner date

    The dinner date

    Episode 170419 / 19 Apr 2017

    Anna and Tom are finally on their dinner date! Tom has romance on his mind but Anna is thinking about something else entirely – putting together a perfect business proposal!

  • Doing it by the book

    Doing it by the book

    Episode 170412 / 12 Apr 2017

    Tom's had an accident! Can Anna find the right language to use to sort out health and safety problems at work? Find out!

  • The Appraisal

    The Appraisal

    Episode 170405 / 05 Apr 2017

    It's time for Anna's appraisal - a chance to review how things are going and to set some challenges for the year ahead. But will Anna like what Paul has to say?

  • A step too far

    A step too far

    Episode 170329 / 29 Mar 2017

    New recruit Rachel has been making life difficult for Anna and she's been making some bad business decisions. It's time for discipline and someone to give her a warning!

  • Oranges and lemons

    Oranges and lemons

    Episode 170322 / 22 Mar 2017

    Tense times at Tip Top Trading! Anna is having trouble working with new employee Rachel, who's making some big mistakes. What can Anna do before Rachel goes too far?

  • Rachel the rabbit!

    Rachel the rabbit!

    Episode 170315 / 15 Mar 2017

    Anna's struggling to work with Rachel, the new member of staff at Tip Top Trading. She's becoming more and more difficult and Anna will have to deal with it soon!

  • The power struggle

    The power struggle

    Episode 170308 / 08 Mar 2017

    Anna's back from her French trip, so things should be going well at Tip Top Trading. But there's a new person coming in to work – will she and Anna get on with each other?

  • Lost in France

    Lost in France

    Episode 170301 / 01 Mar 2017

    Anna and Tom have managed to complete a lucrative deal selling their Imperial Lemons. But not everything is going so well – their flight back to London has been cancelled! What will they do?

  • The business trip

    The business trip

    Episode 170222 / 22 Feb 2017

    Anna and Tom are still in France trying clinch the deal with the French trader.Will they get him to sign the deal?

  • The deal is off!

    The deal is off!

    Episode 170215 / 15 Feb 2017

    Anna and Tom are off to France to finalise a business deal. Will Anna manage to book the flight with Denise's help?

  • The deal is off!

    The deal is off!

    Episode 170208 / 08 Feb 2017

    Can Anna renegotiate a deal with Tip Top Trading's customers in France?

  • Sign on the dotted line

    Sign on the dotted line

    Episode 170201 / 01 Feb 2017

    Last time we left Anna and Tom locked in the stationery cupboard – will they escape and will Anna be able to secure a deal with a French company?

  • Two heads are better than one

    Two heads are better than one

    Episode 170125 / 25 Jan 2017

    One of the companies Anna cold-called has got in touch! Will she get her negotiating hat on and get them to make an order?

  • Putting the feelers out

    Putting the feelers out

    Episode 170118 / 18 Jan 2017

    Anna's making some cold calls to find new clients for Tip Top Trading. But will they warm to her approach?

  • Home truths

    Home truths

    Episode 170111 / 11 Jan 2017

    After announcing a new strategy, Mr Socrates joins the team at the pub. But after a few beers he says some things he shouldn't!

  • Getting down to business

    Getting down to business

    Episode 170104 / 04 Jan 2017

    Big boss Mr Socrates is visiting the Tip Top Trading offices and he's got some bad news! What is he going to say?

  • You cannot be serious!

    You cannot be serious!

    Episode 161228 / 28 Dec 2016

    The big boss is visiting from America, and he's quite fussy about his hotel room. Looks like Anna has to do some complaining!

  • The big cheese

    The big cheese

    Episode 161221 / 21 Dec 2016

    The boss is in town! Can Anna use the right language to book him a hotel room?

  • No smoke without fire

    No smoke without fire

    Episode 161214 / 14 Dec 2016

    Emergency! There's a fire at Tip Top Trading! Will Anna be able to use the right phrases in this tricky situation?

  • Risky business

    Risky business

    Episode 161207 / 07 Dec 2016

    Anna's been accused of smoking! Paul decides it's time to give his team a health and safety update!

  • The smoker

    The smoker

    Episode 161130 / 30 Nov 2016

    Anna's down in the warehouse talking to Mr Ingle about stock, but she finds him doing something dangerous! How can she ask him to stop doing it?

  • Don't panic!

    Don't panic!

    Episode 161123 / 23 Nov 2016

    Ann's been chosen to head up the company's stock management. But she needs help! Who will come to the rescue?

  • The Team Meeting

    The Team Meeting

    Episode 161116 / 16 Nov 2016

    The team are having a meeting, but the boss is late! Will Anna be able to take charge and set the agenda correctly?

  • The open window

    The open window

    Episode 161109 / 09 Nov 2016

    An open window leads to a mix-up in the office. Will Anna be able to explain this misunderstanding?

  • The email

    The email

    Episode 161102 / 02 Nov 2016

    Anna's having some problems with writing an email. Luckily, Tom has some words of wisdom.

  • Lemon-sized luxury boxes

    Lemon-sized luxury boxes

    Episode 161026 / 26 Oct 2016

    Mr Lime calls again to order some boxes for his Imperial Lemons. How will Anna handle the order?

  • Slimy Limey!

    Slimy Limey!

    Episode 161019 / 19 Oct 2016

    Following Mr Lime's proposition, Anna needs to say no. How is she going to refuse his offer politely?

  • Seb Lime

    Seb Lime

    Episode 161012 / 12 Oct 2016

    Anna's been told to improve her telephone manner. What tips will Denise give her?

  • Telephone tell-tale

    Telephone tell-tale

    Episode 161005 / 05 Oct 2016

    Anna's making her pitch to Mr Lime, but it's going wrong! How will she cope?

  • The Imperial Lemon

    The Imperial Lemon

    Episode 160928 / 28 Sep 2016

    Anna's making her pitch to Mr Lime, but it's going wrong! How will she cope?

  • The big day

    The big day

    Episode 160921 / 21 Sep 2016

    Presentation time! It's a big day for Anna as she presents Tip Top Trading's new product

  • Overtime


    Episode 160914 / 14 Sep 2016

    Anna's been burning the candle at both ends. But will her efforts pay off?

  • The brainstorm

    The brainstorm

    Episode 160907 / 07 Sep 2016

    The team get together to share ideas about the launch of a new product, but they can't agree!

  • The warehouse

    The warehouse

    Episode 160831 / 31 Aug 2016

    Tip Top Trading's big boss has ordered a re-check of every order this month. How will Anna get on checking information with the warehouse staff?

  • Room 301

    Room 301

    Episode 160824 / 24 Aug 2016

    Tom and Anna have a meeting with their boss Paul, but who's getting praised and who's in trouble?

  • Mr Lime's grapefruits

    Mr Lime's grapefruits

    Episode 160817 / 17 Aug 2016

    Anna's got some apologising to do. Will she be able to deal with Mr Lime's grapefruit mix-up?

  • Double-booked


    Episode 160810 / 10 Aug 2016

    Tom is in a panic and needs help! Luckily Anna steps in and offers to help with his meeting crisis!

  • The Queen of Sheba

    The Queen of Sheba

    Episode 160803 / 03 Aug 2016

    Denise explains why she's in such a state of panic - and Paul is not pleased. Will Anna be able to help resolve the crisis?

  • Doing lunch

    Doing lunch

    Episode 160727 / 27 Jul 2016

    Anna is determined to be friendly with her new colleagues and to make a good impression. Unfortunately, a slight misunderstanding leads her to make an embarrassing mistake.

  • The Crisis

    The Crisis

    Episode 160720 / 20 Jul 2016

    Denise explains why she's in such a state of panic and Paul is not pleased. Will Anna be able to help resolve the crisis?

  • The Interruption

    The Interruption

    Episode 160713 / 13 Jul 2016

    Anna's job interview continues. But with all the pressure and stress, she has frozen mid-sentence, unable to find the right word in English for what she wants to say.

  • The Interview

    The Interview

    Episode 160706 / 06 Jul 2016

    Tip Top Trading is the fastest-growing company in the plastic fruit sector, and Anna desperately wants to be a part of it. Her job interview for a position in sales is going to be a challenge. How will she cope?

  • An Introduction

    An Introduction

    Episode 160701 / 01 Jul 2016

    Meet Anna, Paul, Denise and Tom. English at Work focuses on English communication in the office. Join Neil in this special introductory programme as he finds out about the characters who work in the offices of Tip Top Trading.