Can you be helped?

The other day I went into a shop in downtown Amsterdam to buy shoes. As I was trying on the shoes, one of the saleswomen went up to a tourist and said “Can you help me?”. The tourist quickly left the shop. As I paid for my shoes, I explained very nicely in Dutch to the young saleswoman and her manager that she should have said “Can I help you?” or “May I help you?”, which is almost the same in Dutch. The manager’s answer was “ah, but she’s only been working here for two weeks”.

(Amsterdam gets about 1.5 million tourists a year, while the population of the city is about 730.000. They all go shopping downtown.)

More pictures are coming up! The very last batch of non digital Dunglish is not yet ready.

18 Responses to “Can you be helped?”

  1. Jurjen says:

    You wrote a.o. “I explained very nicely in Dutch”.
    Now that’s what I call wasting an opportunity 🙂

  2. Natashka says:

    You’re mean 😉

  3. GJ says:

    >> The very last batch of non digital Dunglish is not yet ready.

    The very LAST? Natashka, why do I get this feeling you’ve been Dunglishing for too long?

  4. Anonymous says:

    As in ‘this is the very last time I will say this’. You’re barking up the wrong Dunglish tree today I’m afraid!

  5. Larry says:

    Jurjen, wat is ‘a.o.’? Die afkorting ken ik niet in het Engels.

  6. Natashka says:

    He was trying to say ‘among others’ and yes, it’s not used in English. Leave them be 🙂

  7. GJ says:

    You mean it’s really not the latest and greatest, but actually the last and the best? Okay, I’ll stop barking and start gnawing on a bone or something. Gee, too much time spent editing can turn a man into a paranoiac.

  8. Natashka says:

    I mean I bought a digital camera and it is the VERY LAST TIME that I will be scanning photos if I can help it. Too much editing drives me bonkers too. Ga maar buiten spelen!

  9. Jurjen says:

    >He was trying to say ‘among others’ and yes, it’s not used in English.

    Indeed. Still trying to figure out where I picked it up… Thought it could be American but The Merriam Webster doesn’t mention this explanation.

    Gee, puzzled

  10. GJ says:

    >> I mean I bought a digital camera and it is the VERY LAST TIME that I will be scanning photos if I can help it. Too much editing drives me bonkers too. Ga maar buiten spelen!

    This comment after I’d already admitted I had it wrong? How immature.

  11. Natashka says:

    Huh? Go play outside meant it’s nice outside, go and enjoy it instead of editing. If I used the Dutch expression incorrectly, I’m sorry, but you should give people the benefit of the doubt 🙂

  12. GJ says:

    OK, more apologies and no offense taken if none intended. FYI, “Ga buiten spelen” is actually the Dutch equivalent of “Go fly a kite”–another nice weather outdoor activity. 🙂

  13. Milo says:

    See also: “Ga fietsen!”
    Also a fun activity but usually not meant in a nice way.

  14. Natashka says:

    As for the not nice ones, there’s “go play in traffic”, “go see if I’m over there” (=get lost), and “go play somewhere else” (I say this to my cat). If you say “weg!” with a hard ‘g’, it scares the cat pretty good 🙂

  15. Eric says:

    How about “Niet nu. Ik heb hoofdpijn” ? 😛

  16. Nanook says:

    “Go fly a kite” does not generally denote a fair-weather activity in American slang. It’s generally used to tell somebody to “leave me alone”. Anotheer (my personal fave, from Rodney Dangerfield (R.I.P.)) “Go outside and play Hide and Go Fuck Yourself”

  17. GJ says:

    >> “Go fly a kite” does not generally denote a fair-weather activity in American slang

    Well have I evuh!

  18. William says:

    Shades here of the chirpy British “What can I do you for, Sir?”, only without the humerous humorous humourous intention.

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