Just the other day, I was at Wal-Mart buying some peanut butter ice cream (my favorite!) and 25 Mississippi postcards to send to future students.
The conversation with the cashier went like this:
Cashier: “Hi, how are you doing?”
Me: “Just fine, thanks, and you?”
Cashier: “Good, good.” (She starts counting the postcards, and it takes a few seconds.) “Hey, how are you… Oh I already asked that. Didn’t want you to think I was just ignoring you! Sorry ‘bout that!”
Me: “Oh that’s ok, I saw you were concentrating, didn’t want to mess you up!”
Cashier: “So how was your day today? Been a good one?”
…and we continued the conversation. Of course I kept a positive tone, because it’s what people expect (as you learned last week!).
When you travel, there are lots of these “little” conversations that give you big opportunities to practice your English. If you know what to say, you feel like the king of the world!
Here are 4 everyday situations that you can master this week:
How to order food in a restaurant
Going to a restaurant in English, to discover the local cuisine is one of the best parts of traveling! But going to a restaurant means speaking English to the server. You want to order your steak and eggs like an American? Here’s how!
How to understand the cashier at the supermarket
When you’re at the cash register of a store, those cashiers talk fast! These conversations are full of little “formulas”, regular questions and answers you need to understand or use. And this conversation is quick! No hesitations! Here’s help.
How to Avoid Traps When You Rent a Car
With this lesson, we’re taking a road trip across the USA! Well, almost. You’re going to learn how to rent a car in the USA and how to avoid paying for all those extra options the agent tries to sell you. Save your money for a big burger at a diner on Route 66!
How Much to Tip in Different Situations
Knowing how to tip is an essential skill if you live in or travel to the USA. Tipping is a big part of American service culture, and not just at restaurants. How much should you tip? What situations require tipping? Why so many tips??!! That’s what you’ll learn in this lesson!
My best advice for enjoying your trip to the USA?
Don’t be afraid to initiate a small talk conversation! It can be scary, but the worst that can happen is the other person politely exits the conversation.
In the US, we make small talk all the time: at the cash register, with the restaurant server, at the Starbucks counter, at the breakfast buffet at the Best Western…
Just give it a try! You’ll see that it can be fun, and the more you try, the better you’ll become.