He Left NYC at Age 3 but I could still hear his accent …

Some of you may know a woman’s clothing store called Coldwater Creek. It’s a little pricey, but every now and then there’s a good coupon offer and they really do have some nice clothes.  I prefer to call stores because I can ask them not to share, sell or rent my info, which you can’t do online.  I placed my order and then gave the promo code from RetailMeNot, a coupon center, for a $30 discount.  The sales clerk tried the code, then said no coupons from RMN were accepted by C.C.  I begged to differ, but it was no use.  Needing time to think what I wanted to do, I canceled the order.

A few minutes later I decided to try placing the order online instead and the coupon code was accepted. However there was some other glitch — the order could not go through.  Doubly frustrated and annoyed, I called C.C. customer service…and got Glenn F.  We hit it off. He had a Queens accent (one of NYC’s 5 boroughs) and Queens working folks can often be (prepare for sweeping generalization) very down-to-earth, efficient, nice. Anyone remember the Liza Minelli character in the movie “Arthur?” She lived in Queens.

He worked with me while we chatted and laughed.  He said that because I was so nice he would help me out with a little extra saving, so I got not just the $30 off but free shipping as well, which brought the whole order into a more affordable zone.  As he was getting off the phone, I said: “Glenn, may I just ask you, did you ever live in Queens, in NYC?”  There was a pause. “I was born there,” he said. “But we moved to Florida when I was 3.  I go back to visit family,” he added.  “Well,” I said, you still have the accent!”  We laughed again.

I asked to speak to his manager so I could thank him or her for Glenn’s good service.  The manager was one of those (prepare for next sweeping generalization) efficient, pleasant-sounding African-American southerners (I’m a musician — I detect accents and this was Georgia) who took my compliment and then asked for my name.  I gave my first name, and then she said in the same efficient voice:  “and your last is the same as Glenn’s, I assume.”

My turn to pause, and then burst into laughter. In general, managers don’t usually indulge in humor over the phone; the surprise element added charm.  I will chuckle about Glenn and his manager all day.  My faith in the working people of Queens has    been validated!

4 thoughts on “He Left NYC at Age 3 but I could still hear his accent …

  1. Even in a country as small as Kenya, we have different accents – i dont know if it’s right to call them ‘accents’, they’re more of dialects – even though we all speak one language in social settings (Swahili). When you’re in one part of the country away from home for a while, I can tell you it’s a great joy to meet someone from home who speaks the language the same as you. So i can really relate to how that phone must have made you feel!


    1. Hi, Imran. Thanks for reading my latest post and commenting!!! I re-read it and am a little sheepish about my phone voice type-casting! Generalities are a tricky business and can lead to harmful statements and conclusions. In both my private and work lives, I spent a great deal of time on the phone with strangers, so there is some validity to some of my generalities, but I think I will edit my post and see if I can sound less … conclusive!


      1. haha, I guess writers have a bit of liberty with that where no harm can result from it. Personally I saw nothing untoward in any part of your article but I can understand you feeling the need to fix it. I always tinker so much with what I write I sometimes never get to publish some of them.


  2. ELLEN!!! OMG – I’m so sorry that I’ve been missing your posts! I’m so happy to see you writing again! :-)! I love the Arthur movie and I love reading your posts! xx


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