One of the many cultural things I notice in the UK is the amount people say “sorry”. I remember hearing Michael Palin talk about this, and its effect on the Monty Python comedy ideas – someone would stand on your foot and you’d say “Oh I’m so sorry [that you happened to stand on my foot thereby causing me pain]“.

In the client meetings earlier this week there was a fair bit of this (saying sorry, not standing on each others’ feet), and at least one of my brothers often starts sentences with sorry. For example “Sorry Andrew, would you like some tea?”

A spectacular example of this happened yesterday. To give some context, on the first day here I had set an alarm call for 7:20 to give me enough time to get up and ready and to the client meeting for 9am. I woke at 9:30 – it seemed the alarm call hadn’t worked and I had to do the first morning of the client stuff in a big rush with no breakfast or caffeine. I tested it the next day, setting my mobile phone alarm for five minutes before the room alarm call, and still no alarm call. Anyway, the first morning my mother was here (she came down from Aberdeen for a couple of days and is staying at the same hotel as me which is fun) she got an alarm call to her room at 6:30am, which needless to say she hadn’t ordered. She told me that she said to the guy on the phone “I’m terribly sorry but I didn’t order an alarm call.” I think it’s fantastic that someone would be woken up and apologize to the person who had woken you by mistake.

Leave a Reply