In this The English We Speak podcast: A passenger is not happy with his airline food. He says he has a ‘beef’ with the menu, which confuses the stewardess.
(Sounds from inside aircraft)
Li: Chicken or beef?
Male customer: Chicken please.
Li: There you go, sir. And madam? Chicken or beef?
Female customer: Oooh, beef please.
Li: There you are.
Female customer: Thanks.
Li: (whispering) Hello and welcome to the programme… and the flight. I’m Li and I’m doing a bit of extra work as a flight stewardess. Lunchtime has just started so I’d better get back to work – lots of hungry customers.
Chicken or beef sir?
Familiar customer:(irritated) Actually, I have a beef with you.
Li: Beef? Ok, there you go.
Familiar customer: No, no – I don’t want beef. I have a beef with you about this menu.
Li: You want some beef… with me? Sorry sir, I don’t think we can provide that service.
Familiar customer: Listen. My beef is you don’t have vegetarian food.
Li: Er… I’m not quite sure I understand.
Familiar customer:(genuinely willing to help) Oh, I’m very sorry, do let me explain. In English, we can use the word ‘beef’ to mean ‘complaint’ or ‘disagreement’.
Li: Oh I see…
Familiar customer: Yes – we say ‘I have a beef with someone or something over or about something else’ – a disagreement about something. Let me see if the other passengers can help give us some examples. Would you mind, sir?
Male customer: Not at all. How about: I had a beef with my teacher about the amount of homework we were getting.
Familiar customer: Yes – if you felt you were getting too much homework you might say that! Thank you.
Male customer: Welcome.
Familiar customer: Anyone else?
Female customer: Oh, I can think of one: Mark had a beef with his wife.
Familiar customer: Very good. He had a disagreement with his wife. What was the reason? A full sentence please.
Female customer: Mark had a beef with his wife over… over… parking their car. He thought she always parked it very badly.
Familiar customer: Great. Well I hope she’s better at parking now. Is that clear, Li?
Li: Yes, it is now thank you teacher, I mean sir… I mean… you look a bit familiar! A bit like our presenter Finn.
Familiar customer: Shhhh… yes it is me. But I’m on holiday – not working, well only working a bit. After explaining this phrase I’m done!
Li: Well, have a nice holiday!
Familiar customer: Thanks. And I do still have a beef with this menu – why don’t you have a vegetarian option?
Li: We do – but you need to reserve it online first, Finn, I mean sir. And while you’re online, why not check out our website bbclearningenglish.com for more phrases like this one!
Familiar customer: Yes, it’s a wonderful site. Back to holidays now. Bye.
The English We Speak – Beef Transcript Video
Source: BBC Learning EnglishMore Series for You: