john lydon gobsmacked


Last month I was supposed to go to Amsterdam, but a bug bit me, my leg blew up and I couldn’t walk. I called the airline and they told me that I could have my money back if I sent in a note from my doctor. My doctor sent a note to them by email on the same day.

Four days later I wrote an email asking them if they would need anything else from me in order to process my refund. I received no answer.

So three weeks after that I wrote an email to the communications director of the airline. All of my communication, whether by phone or email, has been in English. Aside from the phone call, all of their communication has been non-existent.

Until today. Today, 11 days after I had sent my last email, I received an email in Slovak to which I immediately replied.

Dear Ms Hovnová,

Can you please write to me in English? I wrote to *** Airlines in English with a complaint about your airline’s communication and you have just answered me in a language I do not speak. I am gobsmacked.

Yours sincerely,

But really I was happy because it’s not often you get to use the word ‘gobsmacked’ in a letter of complaint.

And oddly enough, this time I got an answer within a half hour.


8 Responses to Gobsmacked

  1. Slovak Dave says:

    Nor is it often that you get to address a complaint to “Pani Hovnova.” But my dear, if you’d like lessons in Slovak, I’d be glad to oblige…. It’s just like Czech, only easier, more regular, less f@%ing baroque. Perhaps less interesting as a result, I don’t know.

    What’s a good Czech equivalent for “gobsmacked”? Ohromenej? There must be something better…

  2. Evil da Pig says:

    On a completely unrelated note, the Sex Pistols (the surviving members at least) are re-uniting to record Anarchy in the UK…for a freakin’ video game.

  3. Rip Taylor says:

    Hovnova, jo?
    Srdečne vám dakujem za chichotat sa, zlatička.


  4. Max says:

    Obviously Hovnová isn’t her real name, and neither is the airline called ***. For those uninitiated in the ways of the Slavs, “pani Hovnová” translates as “Ms Shit”.

    Slovak Dave, of course I understood the letter in Slovak, but that is hardly the point. And yes, ohromený is probably the closest Czech equivalent for gobsmacked.

    Pigman, even the anarchists sell out eventually. Not that John Lydon hadn’t already sold out – anyone see him on UK Celebrity Big Brother or Survivor or whatever the hell it was?

    Rip – xx.

  5. Mata Hara Kiri says:

    Gobsmacked? Off the top of my head – “Jsem [úplně] paf”, “jsem z toho jelen”, “jsem z toho hin”… doesn’t have the same “feel” as gobsmacking, but it’s not something one would normally use in a letter of complaint, either.

    Also, Max, I understand you are a foreigner and had to go to great lengths to learn Czech, but surely understanding ordinary business correspondence in Slovak can’t be completely impossible? At any rate, I think it’s generally common (and not entirely unreasonable) for people who know you can speak Czech fluently to expect you to understand (some) Slovak. Maybe the lady had her eyes full of poo and didn’t notice your name…

  6. Max says:

    Well, yes, Mata Hara Kiri, in fact I do understand Slovak. I also read Polish without a problem. But as I said to Slovak Dave in my comment above, that is not the point. The point is that I am the customer and I wrote to them in English. The airline in question is a multi-national company (Slovak-Hungarian-Austrian) and their own language of operation is English. It’s not like I walked into a local mom and pop corner store and demanded that they speak English to me. And please keep in mind that the airline was already dicking me around and I am not a patient person. In every situation, the reason one would prefer to keep conversation or correspondence in one’s own language is in order to maintain the upper hand and as much control as possible.

  7. niquemg says:

    Most importantly, did you get the money back?

  8. Max says:

    Still working on it.

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