Going shopping: Clothes

Welcome

Hello and welcome to Learn English Vocabulary. My name is Jack and I’m making this podcast for you to learn or revise English vocabulary. You can find a transcript of this podcast on LearnEnglishVocabulary.co.uk. There’s a page for this podcast with the transcript, an activity and a task for you to complete in the comments section.

Today, the topic is shopping for clothes. I’m going to roleplay a shop assistant in a high street fashion shop. I did actually work in a shop for a while when I was a student. I’m going to talk to some customers and see if they need any help. 

Roleplay – Shopping for clothes

Jack: Good afternoon, do you need any help?

Customer 1: I’m just looking.

Jack: Hello, can I help you with anything?

Customer 2: I’m just browsing.

Jack: Hello, are you OK there? 

Customer 3: I’m being served, thanks.

Jack: Good afternoon, can I help you?

Customer: Yes, please. I’m looking for a shirt. 

Jack: OK. Are you looking for something smart or casual?

Customer: Erm, something smart-casual

Jack: We have some shirts over here in the menswear section if you want to take a look. Let me know if you want to try anything on.

Customer: Thanks

Customer: Excuse me

Jack: Yes? 

Customer: Have you got this in my size

Jack: What size do you normally wear? Large or Extra Large?

Customer: I’m usually an extra-large. 

Jack: Let me have a look. I’ll be right back.

Jack: Here you are. Do you want to try it on?

Customer: Yes please. Where are your changing rooms?

Jack: They are at the back there. Follow me. 

Customer: Thanks

Jack: How does it feel? 

Customer: It’s actually a bit baggy and loose around my shoulders. 

Jack: Would you like to try on a large?

Customer: Yes, please.

Jack: Wait here and I’ll be back in a minute.

Jack: How about that one? Was that any better?

Customer: It’s perfect. I’ll take it.

Jack: Follow me this way to the cash desk and I’ll ring that up for you. 

Jack: That will be £25, please. How do you want to pay? Cash or card?

Customer: I’ll pay by card, please.

Jack: Contactless?

Customer: Yes, please. 

Jack: Here you are and here’s your receipt. If you have any problems just bring it back with the receipt.

Customer: Thank you.

Jack: Thanks.  

Language focus

Now I am going to go through the Intermediate vocabulary from the roleplay. At the beginning of the roleplay, I was looking for customers to help, but I wasn’t having a lot of luck. The first person I asked said, I’m just looking and the second said I’m just browsing. These are both expressions that mean I am not shopping for anything special, I’m looking around and if I see something I like, I might buy it. But the main thing is, they don’t want any help. To be honest, I usually say this to shop assistants when I am looking for something special because I prefer to shop on my own. I’m just looking, thanks. Technically, it means you’re looking, but really it means: go away and leave me alone to do my shopping in peace. A very important bit of shopping vocabulary.

Are you being served?

The next person I asked said they were being served. This is nice because it’s a continuous passive form you will meet in the real world. It’s more common if you are in a busy bar waiting for a drink. Most people in the UK drink beer in pubs, but my wife normally asks for a cup of tea. This takes the barman or barmaid a long time to prepare so I might be waiting at the bar for a long time and the other staff ask: are you being served? Yes, I’m being served, thanks. 

Smart or casual

When I found a customer who needed help, I asked them if they wanted something smart or casual. We wear smart clothes to work and to very special occasions like job interviews and fancy parties. Casual clothes are more comfortable clothes that you might wear around the house or if you are going to the supermarket. They are not very smart. There is a category in between smart-casual which means shirts for men, but not ties. Trousers not jeans and shoes not trainers or sandals, but still not the sorts of clothes that you would wear to work. 

Menswear

Menswear means clothes for men. You can have womenswear as well, but that’s not used as much. Many shops seem to be mostly for women but have a menswear section. Actually, I really don’t know about this. This might just be the shops I visit with my wife.

Try it on

If you wish to test something to make sure it fits you, you will have to try it on. And you can try something on in the changing rooms or in some shops the fitting rooms. A changing room is also the place you get changed at a gym or swimming pool, not a fitting room but in shops, you could ask to try something on in a changing room or a fitting room.

Sizes

Sizes in clothes are quite straight forward for men. Small, medium, large, extra-large. For jeans, you need to know your measurements, but it’s always a good idea to try things on because different shops measure their own clothes differently. I buy my jeans in a shop that is very generous in its sizing. Women’s clothes are also quite straight forward. In the UK there’s a number system that normally starts at size 6 which is very small, then 8 which is small, then 10 which is medium… actually, I’m not sure the sizes correspond. The numbers keep going up in 2s, but as with menswear, you’re really going to have to try things on. 

When clothes don’t fit, they can be too small. They can be too tight or too large or too loose or baggy. In the 90s, it was fashionable to wear baggy clothes, but for a long time now, everything seems to be skinny or slim fit. 

I’ll take it

If you find something that you want to buy, you can tell the assistant that you will take it. This does mean buy and not simply take. The assistant will then take you to the cash desk where the till is, that is the computer with the scanner that processes your payment and they will ring up the sale for you. To ring something up means to scan the thing or somehow enter the item into the till so that you can pay. 

Card or cash?

I asked the customer if he wanted to pay by cash or by card and he opted to pay by card. To pay by cash means to pay using money or currency. I never pay for anything by cash these days as it’s much easier and cleaner to pay by card, especially if you can pay by contactless. This is the technology that lets you hover your card over a terminal or little machine connected to the till and then by some kind of wireless magic, the payment is processed. In the UK, you can make purchases up to £45 using contactless. 

Keep the receipt

The final piece of vocabulary is receipt. This is the little paper statement that is printed by the till that shows what you spent. You have to hold onto your receipt in case you have a problem with the item you have bought and want to take it back or return it. 

I’m going to replay the roleplay so you can hear the language once more in context. And then at the end, I’ve got a challenge for you.

Roleplay – Shopping for clothes

Jack: Good afternoon, do you need any help?

Customer 1 : I’m just looking.

Jack: Hello, can I help you with anything?

Customer 2 : I’m just browsing.

Jack: Hello, are you OK there? 

Customer 3: I’m being served, thanks.

Jack: Good afternoon, can I help you?

Customer: Yes, please. I’m looking for a shirt. 

Jack: OK. Are you looking for something smart or casual?

Customer: Erm, something smart-casual

Jack:We have some shirts over here in the menswear section if you want to take a look. Let me know if you want to try anything on.

Customer: Thanks

Customer: Excuse me

Jack: Yes? 

Customer: Have you got this in my size

Jack: What size do you normally wear? Large or Extra Large?

Customer: I’m usually an extra-large. 

Jack: Let me have a look. I’ll be right back.

Jack: Here you are. Do you want to try it on?

Customer: Yes please. Where are your changing rooms?

Jack: They are at the back there. Follow me. 

Customer: Thanks

Jack: How does it feel? 

Customer: It’s actually a bit baggy and loose around my shoulders. 

Jack: Would you like to try on a large?

Customer: Yes, please.

Jack: Wait here and I’ll be back in a minute.

Jack: How about that one? Was that any better?

Customer: It’s perfect. I’ll take it.

Jack: Follow me this way to the cash desk and I’ll ring that up for you. 

Jack: That will be £25, please. How do you want to pay? Cash or card?

Customer: I’ll pay by card, please.

Jack: Contactless?

Customer: Yes, please. 

Jack: Here you are and here’s your receipt. If you have any problems just bring it back with the receipt.

Customer: Thank you.

Jack: Thanks.

I hope you enjoyed the roleplay and will feel more confident the next time you have to buy a shirt in a clothes shop in England. 

Challenge

OK. Now it’s time for a challenge. I have three questions for you that I’d like you to answer in the comments section of the Learn English Vocabulary website. You are also welcome to leave them in the review section on Apple podcasts. I do read through all the reviews and really appreciate some of the kind messages of support you have left for me. 

  • Question 1. Do you like to go window shopping? This means to go to shops just to look at and perhaps just browse for things that you might want to buy, even when you don’t have any money. 
  • Question 2: What was the last item of clothing that you bought and where did you buy it?
  • Question 3: Have you ever bought something in a shop and then later returned it? If you have, why did you do it? Was it because the clothes didn’t fit or did you change your mind for another reason? 

Remember you can read the podcast transcript on LearnEnglishVocabulary.co.uk and there are also some activities to complete. 

Thanks for listening.

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2 Comments

  • Minh Hieu
    Posted 28/09/2020 at 5:11 am 0Likes

    1. Respond to Question 1. Do you like to go window shopping?
    Yes, I do, but not much. Sometimes I like to go window shopping while I do not have enough money. Especially auto showroom. There are a lot of cars in the showroom which attract me much. I just go and see just for satisfying my passion.

    2. Respond to Question 2: What was the last item of clothing that you bought and where did you buy it?
    It was a shirt – but a long time ago – bought in a local brand of Vietnam. In size system in Vietnam, size 41 fits me. Clothes for trying on were hung at a separate area of the shop. I tried it on and it fitted me. Because it was just the sample for trying on so I took the new one. But, when I bought and then wore it at my home, it did not fit me – although I got the same size as what I had took to try on. And I returned it then took another one that fitted me. So, I took the shirt which I tried it on.

    Minh Hieu
    From Vietnam

    • Jack
      Posted 02/10/2020 at 8:17 am 0Likes

      Hi Minh Hieu

      Well done – that’s a great comment.

      I’m like you. I don’t like window shopping for most things, but I love music shops and seeing and trying out different guitars.

      Jack

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