The Most Annoying Common Expression in England

You walk up to a shop till or a bar, and the employee behind it says, "Can I help?"

So far, I (barely) have resisted the urge to ask, "Can you help what? Ending world hunger? Halting global warming? Picking up the rubbish in the neighborhood? Driving me from the shop?"

If someone can't be bothered to add the single-syllable word 'you' at the end of that question, I feel less than confident that they are all that interested in 'helping.'


  1. Anonymous8:27 PM

    Hah! That reminds me of the first time I visted Ireland.

    Walk up to a bar, newsagent, dry cleaner, etc and they'll ask, "Are y'ok?"

    Umm...yeah, Im fine but I'd be better if you poured me a drink!

    Steve -

  2. Yeah, well, I was tending to some plants at the garden shop and one of the guys from the furniture side of the store says "Do you need any help?" So I said "Yes, but where should I start? My parents? Childhood? Or should we start with more recent issues?" He quickly made his way off and I suppose found something else to do.

  3. In Barbados, the expressions "Are you safe?" and "We will keep you safe" don't mean what you think. Being "safe" means having enough to drink. A bartender kept asking me if I was safe, and I got more and more paranoid.

  4. Anonymous10:58 AM

    Not half as annoying as being asked by the check-out assistant in the supermarket "How are you?", which is increasingly common.

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