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In this podcast you will hear two dialogues on ordering drinks, the final dialogue is on “corkage fees” for those of you that work in a hotel or resort. The Crate & Barrel Shop is an American store that carries all kinds of home furnishings. For extra practice, refer to the earlier podcast on Wines & Spirits (Scroll down to the bottom of this podcast page to find those lessons) for help on pronunciation or to substitute drinks mentioned in this dialogue for ones you usually need to sell.

Dialogue 1

Waitress: Good evening, what can I get for you?
Guest: May I see the wine menu?
Waitress: Certainly, here it is. Would you like a few minutes to look it over?
Guest: Yes, thanks.

(A little later)

Waitress: Have you decided?
Guest: I think so. Do these come by the glass?
Waitress: Yes, except for the Champagne.
Guest: Ok. I’ll have a glass of the Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio and my companion here, would like a glass of the Beringer Pinot Noir.
Waitress: Perfect. I’ll bring them right to you.
Guest: Thank you.

(Guests are getting ready to go to the hotel restaurant)

Waitress: Would you like to charge this to your room?
Guest: Uh, should we pay now before we go to the restaurant or can we put it on that bill?
Waitress: It’s completely up to you.
Guest: Hmmm, ok. Why don’t you charge our drinks to my room now.
Waitress: Very good.

Dialogue 2

Guest 1: Wasn’t the play wonderful?
Guest 2: I just loved the Phantom. His voice was amazing.
Waitress: Good evening, would you like to see the bar menu?
Guest 1: No, I don’t think so. I know what I want, a gin and tonic. Do you have Ketel One?
Waitress: Yes, and for you, Ma’am?
Guest 2: I’d like a Kahlua and coffee and do you have a dessert menu?
Waitress: Yes, here it is. The pecan tart is terrific.
Guest 2: Oh, that sounds great. Bring us one of those to share.
Waitress: Certainly.
Guest 2: Thank you.

Dialogue 3 - Corkage Fees

Guest: Hello. I’m calling from room 2346. A friend gave me a beautiful bottle of wine this afternoon and I was wondering if you could send someone up to open it.
Room Service: Certainly. The corkage fee is $25.00.
Guest: Oh wow. That’s a lot to open a bottle.
Room Service: It includes glasses and waiter service. There is a Crate & Barrel shop two blocks down if you prefer. They carry everything you’ll need.
Guest: Hmmm. Ok. This is a special occasion. Send someone up in ten minutes. We’ll go for it.
Room Service: Absolutely. You won’t be disappointed.
Guest: Thank you.


Audio for Unit 1: May I Help You?
By Heide Spruck Wrigley.
(The textbook is out of print and this recording was done with her permission. You’ll notice from the price of coffee and donuts that times have definitely changed!)

In this episode, “Understanding What the Customer Wants,” you will hear two dialogues that take place in a Donut Shop. When you go to buy your coffee and breakfast at a new place, you may not know where things are located or what the establishment expects. For example, I am often confused if the clerk will add sugar for me or if I have to do it myself. I also don’t know if they will give me a napkin or if I have to get them at the counter.

Listen to Dialogue 1 and think about what the clerk could do to improve her service so the customer doesn’t get so annoyed.

Dialogue 1
Clerk: May I help you?
Customer: Yes, I’d like half a dozen of the strawberry-filled donuts and five of the (mumble) buttermilk bars.
Clerk: Okay.
Customer: No, no you are giving me the blueberry donuts, I wanted strawberry jelly. What are you getting now? I wanted the glazed bars, not the plain.
Clerk: I’m sorry. What else do you want?
Customer: I’ll take three large coffees to go.
Clerk: Okay.
Customer: I said, I wanted those to go.
Clerk: Okay, the lids are over there.
Customer: Over where? There?
Clerk: Yes.
Customer: How about cream and sugar?
Clerk: That’s over there too.
Customer: Okay, how much is that?
Clerk: Three seventy five.
Customer: Here’s a five. Could I have all my change in quarters please? I need to go to the Laundromat.
Clerk: No. I am sorry.
Customer: Well, thanks a lot.
Clerk: You’re welcome. Have a nice day.

In Dialogue 2, you will hear clarifying questions, repeating information and confirming questions. Don’t worry about repeating information. Most customers will be happy to have you repeat their order back to them so they know you are getting the correct items. I know it makes me happy when people repeat back my information instead of just saying, Okay, okay, okay or yes, yes, yes!

What did the clerk ask or say to the customer to avoid making any mistakes with the order? (Scroll down for answers)

Dialogue 2

Clerk: May I help you?
Customer: Yes, I would like half a dozen strawberry-filled donuts…
Clerk: Six strawberry donuts
Customer: Five (mumble) buttermilk bars.
Clerk: I’m sorry. Five what?
Customer: (mumble) buttermilk bars.
Clerk: I’m really sorry. Could you show me what you want?
Customer: Right here, the glazed buttermilk bars.
Clerk: Oh, okay. That’s five right?
Customer: Yeah.
Clerk: They’re very good, aren’t they?
Customer: Yeah, I really like them.
Clerk: Can I get you anything else?
Customer: Yeah, three cups of coffee.
Clerk: Would you like those for here or to go?
Customer: Well, I don’t think I ‘m gonna drink all that coffee by myself.
Clerk: Yeah, that would be a bit much. The lids for your coffee are on the counter behind you and the sugar and milk are right next to them. Is that all for you then?
Customer: Yeah. That’ll do it.
Clerk: That’s six strawberry jelly, five glazed buttermilk bars, and three large coffees. Right?
Customer: Here’s a five. Could you give me the rest in quarters, please? I need them for the laundromat.
Clerk: Oh, I’m really sorry. I’d like to give you quarters, but I don’t have any extra. I need to keep what I have for change. I’m sorry.
Customer: That’s okay.
Clerk: One twenty five is your change. Thank you very much.

1) She repeated the order, “Six strawberry donuts”
2) She asked for clarification, “I’m sorry. Five what?”
3) She asked for more clarification when she didn’t understand the customer, “I’m really sorry. Could you show me what you want?”
4) She asks for confirmation, “Oh, ok. That’s five, right?
5) She asked for more information, “Would you like those for her or to go?”
6) She asked for confirmation before check out, “That’s six strawberry jelly, five glazed buttermilk bars, and three large coffees. Right?”


(This video may take a while to run. It is better to download it to your desk top and play it from there. Right click on the download button and click on "save target as." Thanks for your patience.)

In this video, you will see a class practice their "telephone basics." They will enact a bad customer service phone call and then the correct way to answer the telephone. Below you will find the script for the dialogue and of course, sit back, relax and.... ENJOY the Show!!

June 14, 2007 - Annual Celebration Presentation
Good evening everybody! This is the ESL for Retail Class!

Ring, Ring, Ring….

Macy’s (yawn!)
Hello? I have a problem..
Hold on….
Hello? Hello? I HATE this!!

Has this ever happened to you? (audience responds)

This is the correct way!

First: Use a greeting, the store name and your name

Second: Use the customer’s name

Third: Ask permission to put a customer on hold.

OK! Try it again!!

Ring, Ring!

Good evening, Macy’s Department Store, this is Jenny

Hi! My name is Mireya I have a problem with my last statement. Can you help me please?

Certainly, Mireya. I’ll transfer you to Accounting. Are you able to hold?


Do you have a pen and paper handy? Take this number in case we get cut off, xxx-xxx-xxxx.

Ok. I got it.

I’m going to transfer you. Thank you for calling Macy’s.

Thank you Jenny.


This podcast is to encourage you to talk about your day at work in a very detailed way. It is a first step in constructing a resume. You must be able to express all the work you do so you can write up a complete resume. The lesson also focuses on verbs in present and past that you can then use in your resume. Challenge yourself to be specific as Charlene did in this episode.... Enjoy!

This lesson is called Charlene’s Typical Day.

Activity #1
Charlene is going to talk about a typical day at her work. Listen to the recording. Do you do some of these activities during your day? Listen again and write down some of the verbs you hear. Finally, read the transcript to check your work.


What do you do everyday?

Well, I get up at 6:30 in the morning and at 8 o’clock, I catch the four train then transfer to the seven train. I arrive at work at 9:30 am and I drink my coffee and check my email at the same time. After that, I review my “To-do” list and calendar. Next I check the news and while I eat breakfast, I start working on my first project on my list. When I finish the first project, I do the next budget. I eat lunch at 2pm. After lunch, I go back to work and complete the next project. I talk to vendors, place orders and sometimes negotiate contracts. I leave between five thirty and six o’clock and I pick up my daughter. When I arrive home, I help her with her homework, then I prepare dinner. After dinner, I give my daughter a bath and put her to bed. Then I have time for myself. I go to bed between 12 and 1am.

Activity #2
Using this as a model, write down what you do every day. You want to be as specific as possible. Try to list all the work related tasks you do in a typical day.

Activity #3
Now, try to put Charlene’s typical day into the Past Tense. How many verbs do you know in the past without looking them up?

Activity #4
Last activity! It’s your turn. Ask a partner about their day at work. What did they do yesterday? Tell them what you did at your job. Are your jobs similar?


You will listen to two answering machine messages. You may do this as a dictation. Play the message and write down as much as you can. Please make sure to listen for important information such as:
1) What is the caller's name?
2) What company is she calling from?
3) What number does she leave?
4) Why is she calling?

When you have finished look down here for the transcript.

1) Call from Whole Foods Market

This is Georgina Wilson calling from the Whole Foods Market on Houston Street and I’m calling for Rosanna Zuniga. It’s 4:30 on Monday, March 12th. Could Rossana please call me back? We received her application and I’d like to set up an appointment for an interview. She can reach me at 212-650-7588. The number again is 212-650-7588 and I am in my office until 7:00 today. Thank you.

2) Call from the New York City Parks Department

Hello, this is Charlotte Dawson and I am calling from the New York City Parks Department and this message is for Shu Fang Xian. Would you please call me back at 718-932-0451 at your earliest convenience? I received your resume and I would like to set up an interview for a position in Brooklyn. Again, my name is Charlotte Dawson and the number is 718-932-0451. Thank you.


This episode includes two dialogues and questions. Here is what you need to keep in mind...
1)Identify yourself : This is Maria Gomez. If you work for a large company, give your department name. For example, Maria Gomez, I work in shipping.

2)Ask to speak to your supervisor: May I speak to Priscilla Chang?

3)Give a reason for not coming in: I can’t come in today because I have the flu and need to go to the doctor.

4)Give a reason for being late and an estimated time of arrival: The subways are not running because of police activity, I should be there by 10am.


Listen first then look.

Mark has a problem. His car is not working. He calls the manager.

Receptionist: Rite Aide, How can I help you?
Mark: Hi this is Mark. Can I speak to the manager please?
Receptionist: Sure.
Manager: Hi, this is Erica.
Mark: Hi Erica. This is Mark. I am running late to work today. My car is not working.
Manager: I’m sorry to hear that. I hope that everything works out.
Mark: Thanks for understanding. I’ll be there as soon as I can.
Manager: Okay. I’ll see you soon.


It’s 6:00AM. Alice wakes up with a headache, runny nose and stomach ache. She has the flu. She doesn’t feel well. She can’t work today. She calls her boss.

Supervisor: This is Tricia. How can I help you?
Alice: Hi Tricia. This is Alice. I can’t come to work today. I don’t feel well. I have the flu.
Supervisor: Oh, I am sorry to hear that. I hope you feel better soon.
Alice: Thank you. Bye.
Supervisor: Bye.


Three dialogues to practice politely interrupting in person or over the phone.

In this lesson you will review the different ways people interrupt supervisors, guests and co-workers.
First, listen for the expressions that they use to interrupt.

Write down the expressions you hear.

Then look at the answers below.....don't peek!

Did you hear the expressions?
In dialogue 1 it was:

Excuse me, I’m sorry to bother you but I have a quick question

Dialogue 2
Excuse me, I couldn’t help overhearing you.

Dialogue 3
Do you have a minute to talk about banquet set up for Thursday?

In what dialogue was the interruption refused? That’s right. In dialogue 3, John was running out to a meeting and asked if he could call Margarita back in an hour.

That completes the exercise. Listen to the dialogues again then record yourself politely interrupting a guest, supervisor or coworker.


1) "Interrupting a Supervisor at the Office"

Jose: (Knocks) Excuse me, I’m sorry to bother you but I have a quick question.

Fatiha: (Typing) Yes, umm, just a minute. Let me finish this email. Ok, what’s up?

Jose: We just got our order in for eggshell gloss paint but they didn’t send us the correct amount. I called them to ask about it and they said the purchase order listed 80 gallons and not 100. Could you approve this additional P.O. for 20 more gallons? They said they’d give it to us at the agreed upon price.

Fatiha: Fine, ah give it to me. Here. Ok, yes.

Jose: Thanks

Fatiha: No Problem.

2) "Interrupting a Guest"

Husband: Honey, where is the pool?

Wife: I think they said the pool was on the 6th floor. We can go there to check it out first before we go down to breakfast.

Elizabeth: Excuse me, I couldn’t help overhearing you. The pool is on the fifth floor and when you get off the elevator it’s to your right.

Husband: Oh, thank you.

Wife: Yes, thank you Miss.

3) "Interrupting a Supervisor on the phone"

John: Guest Services. This is John.

Margarita: Hi John, this is Margarita. Do you have a minute to talk about banquet set up for Thursday?

John: I’m just running out to a meeting. Can I call you back in an hour?

Margarita: Sure, thanks.

John: Ok, bye.

Margarita: bye.


Listen to all the names and spell them! Repeat as necessary. Try to do it also by typing on a MWord document. Have fun!

Here are the answers....

1. Wallington
2. Aaronson
3. Schiffer
4. Quinton
5. Feinstein
6. Posonby
7. Charlotte Laughton
8. Palmer
9. Sikorsky
10. Marriner
11. Norbury
12. Eaglestone
13. Whitman
14. Hazlett
15. Knightley
16. Akirma
17. Polansky
18. Harishyma
19. Karltonova
20. Bashnikov


This is the dialogue from class. More information on the ASAP method for diffusing the situation and satisfying the guest will be coming. For now, listen to the dialogue for the following expressions:

A - Apologize : How is this said?
S - Sympathize or empathize - What does Juanita say to empathize with the guest?
A - Accept responsibility - What does Juanita say to indicate she's accepted responsiblitiy?
P - Prepare to act - How does Juanita prepare to act and resolve the situation?

Also, how does Juanita satisfy the guest and make her feel much better?

Listen first, then read for answers to the above questions.
As usual, no peeking!

Conversation #1 - Transcript for Listening “Irate Caller #1”

Front Desk: Good afternoon, Sheraton New York, this is Juanita. How may I help you?

Guest: Your people are so incredibly rude! All I wanted was a little extra sleep this morning because my daughter got married last night. But at 9am there was all this vacuuming outside my room. I went outside to ask the housekeeper to stop vacuuming. The woman, I don’t know what her name was, said, “Sorry, lady but I have to vacuum this area now. Relax, I’ll be done soon.” I couldn’t believe it. I asked her again if she could vacuum later but she said “No, it has to be done now.”

Front Desk: I am terribly sorry! You must be so tired especially after the wedding. I apologize that the attendant didn’t understand that vacuuming would be so disturbing. I will call up there now and have her stop. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I see you are calling from room 924, Mrs. Aaronson, is that correct?

Guest: Yes that’s me. Thanks for taking care of this.

Front Desk: We want to make sure you have a good stay here and you must be exhausted. Would you like me to tell the front desk to take phone messages for you this morning so you can rest for a couple of more hours? We can also move your check out time to 2pm, if you’d like.

Guest: Yes, that would help. Could you call me for a wake up call at 12:30? I’ll check out by 2pm that would be good. Thank you.

Front Desk: I would be happy to, please call me if you need anything further, again, my name is Juanita.

Guest: Thank you Juanita, you’ve been great.


In this episode, you will hear two phone dialogues. In each one, there will be clarifying questions and confirming statements. See if you can hear some of them. The first dialogue is followed by a slower version so you can listen and repeat. Below you will find the transcripts. Enjoy!

Taking Messages Transcripts:
Confirming Information for Message Taking
Dialogue 1

Housekeeping: Hello, Housekeeping, this is Chris.
Call Center: Hello, This is Debbie from the call center. Ms. Montehue Room 545 needs extra pillows sent up. Could you send someone up there?
Housekeeping: Sure, what’s the guest’s name again?
Call Center: Montehue.
Housekeeping: How do you spell that?
Call Center: M-O-N-T-E-H-U-E
Housekeeping: Thank you. So that’s Montehue in Room 454.
Call Center: No, It’s room 5-4-5, Montehue.
Housekeeping: Got it. Room 545, Montehue,
Call Center: That’s right.
Housekeeping: How many pillows again?
Call Center: 2 pillows, please.
Housekeeping: No problem.
Call Center: Thank you!

Commentary Points:

Notice the clarifying questions:

• “What’s the guest’s name again?”
• “How do you spell that?”
• “How many pillows again?”

Notice the confirming statements:

• “So that’s Montehue in Room 454.”
• “Got it. Room 545, Montehue.”

Taking Messages Transcripts:
Dialogue 2

Room Service: Room Service, this is Fiona, how can I help you?
Guest: Yes, hi! I’d like to order some food.
Room Service: Alright, do you know what you would like to order?
Guest: I’m not sure. I don’t see a menu here in my room.
Room Service: If you look on the table next to the television in your room, you should see a menu there. Do you see it?
Guest: Oh yes! Now I see it. Ok, let’s see… I’d like a hamburger with a side order of fries instead of onion rings – no cheese whatsoever on the burger. And no onions…
Room Service: Alright…
Guest: And I’ll also have a Cesar Salad. What’s the difference between traditional or light?
Room Service: Light means the dressing is non-fat and traditional is regular dressing.
Guest: I’ll take light. Can you put the dressing on the side?
Room Service: Yes, we can put it on the side.
Guest: Ok, that’s all.
Room Service: Would you like anything to drink?
Guest: Oh, yes. Just a second. Two bottles of water…Whoa! Wait a minute - It’s $7.00 for a bottle of water?! Nevermind.
Room Service: Alright, ma’am, so that’s a hamburger with French fries instead of onion rings, no cheese, no onions on the burger. How would you like your burger cooked?
Guest: Medium – Rare is fine.
Room Service: Medium – rare on the burger. Light Cesar Salad, with dressing on the side, and nothing to drink. Is that correct?
Guest: Yes, that’s right.
Room Service: Could you tell me your room number, please?
Guest: We’re in room 1014.
Room Service: 1014, thanks, and could you tell me your name, please?
Guest: Melissa Waterworth.
Room Service: Thank you. Could you spell the last name for me, please?
Guest: Sure, it’s W-A-T-E-R-W-O-R-T-H
Room Service: Thank you, Ms. Waterworth. Your total will be $28. Your order should arrive within the next 20 minutes.
Guest: Thank you! Bye-bye.
Room Service: You’re welcome, goodbye.


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