Aug 7, 2010

Dialogue during my last visit to a Beijing KFC

I stopped by the neighborhood KFC to pick up some of their delicious KFC McNuggets and mashed potatoes for lunch one day this week. (I don't think those McNuggets are even on the menu in the US. We just have popcorn chicken and chicken strips if you want something boneless.)

This is the conversation I had with the cashier girl.

Cashier: [举者手] 这边点菜!(Raises hand. "I'm open over here")

[I walk over to the cashier]

Me: 你好! 一个上校鸡块,一份土豆泥,一个玉米玉棒,中杯可乐。在这儿吃。("Hi. One thing of KFC McNuggets, one thing of mashed potatoes and gravy, a corn on the cob, and a medium Coke. For here.")

Cashier: 在这儿吃吗您? ("Sir, is that for here or to go?")

Me: 在这儿吃。 ("For here.")

[The cashier pulls out a color brochure from behind the counter with some new chicken sandwiches that KFC just came out with. She starts to point at the pictures.]

Cashier: 要不要尝一下新出的汉堡? ("Are you interested in trying our new hamburger?")

Me: 汉堡!肯德基现在有汉堡吗?! (Feigning surprise: "Hamburgers! KFC is selling hamburgers now?!")

Cashier: 恩,对。尝一下吗? ("Yes, would you like to try one?")

Me: 那个不是汉堡。里面是牛肉吗? ("That's not a hamburger. Is there beef in it?")

Cashier: 牛肉,是吗? ("So you want beef?")

[This last sentence kind of annoyed me. In Mandarin, it's sort of a passive aggressive way to make fun of a non-native speaker's language ability. She's basically pretending that she's not following my thought process due to the word "beef". This, of course, encourages me to go a little further. ]

Me: 那个不是汉堡,是个鸡肉三明治。 ("That's not a hamburger. It's a chicken sandwich.")

[The cashier looks confused and can't think of what to say next.]

Me: 上面写的是"鸡腿堡"。它不是汉堡。 ("On the menu they've written 'Chicken leg sandwich. It ain't a hamburger.")

Cashier: 哦。 ("Oh.")

[The cashier rings up my total]

Frequent readers of my blog my recall my entry on the misuse of the English words "poker", "hamburger", and "play".

I get just as irritated by the misuse of loan words from English in Mandarin.

A hamburger contains beef. Chicken meat and a bun is a chicken sandwich. Very simple. Irritates me almost as much as people littering and taxi drivers hacking loogies. The funniest thing is that my feedback went completely over the head of the KFC cashier. It was a fun talk though, anyway.


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