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0750 After Christmas Sales

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 750: After Christmas Sales.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 750. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Our website is eslpod.com. Support us by going to the website and becoming a member. If you don’t want to become a member you can also donate to ESL Podcast. Any donation, however small, is always appreciated.

This episode is called “After Christmas Sales,” when you go to the store and they reduce or lower the price to get rid of the things that people didn’t buy for the Christmas holidays. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Roxana: Get up! We’re going to miss out on the best deals if we don’t get to the stores when they open.

Kurt: What? I’m sleeping. Leave me alone.

Roxana: You need to get up now and come with me to the store for the after Christmas sales. You know that they slash prices and everything is on sale.

Kurt: We just spent the past few weeks shopping for Christmas presents and now you want to shop some more?

Roxana: We can stock up for next year. There’ll be deep discounts on all of the Christmas decorations and supplies, not to mention all of the winter clothing and seasonal toys. Let’s go!

Kurt: You go. What do you need me for?

Roxana: I need you to run interference while I go for the best bargains and to hold all of the bags and packages while I shop. What else?

Kurt: When I agreed to “for better or for worse,” I didn’t anticipate this!

[end of dialogue]

Roxana begins by saying to Kurt, “Get up!” “Get up” means usually to stand up from sitting or from lying down. Normally we use this when we’re talking to someone who is lying in bed. They may not be sleeping, but they are not yet out of the bed, so we say “get up.” You may ask someone, “What time did you get up this morning?” They may reply, “Well, I woke up (meaning I went from sleeping to not sleeping) at 6:00, but I got up at 6:30; I laid in bed for a half an hour.”

So, Roxana is telling Kurt to get up. She says, “We’re going to miss out on the best deals if we don’t get to the stores when they open.” “To miss out on (something)” is a phrasal verb meaning to not be able to participate in something, usually something good; to not be able to have a good opportunity to get something, usually because you didn’t know about it or perhaps it wasn’t possible for you to be there. “Did you go to Bill’s birthday party yesterday?” “No, I missed out on that. I had to work.” I didn’t have the opportunity to go – besides I don’t really like Bill. Well, you don’t have to say that.

Roxanne doesn’t want to miss out on the best deals. A “deal” (deal) is another term for a “bargain” (bargain), that’s when the price of something is lower than it is normally. I was telling my wife the other day that they had the Mercedes Benz car – automobile – that I like on sale. It was a deal; instead of being 100,000 dollars it was only 80,000 dollars. She laughed at me, of course, that would be crazy. But, it is a deal, and that’s what I told her!

Well, Roxana wants to get the best deals, and she needs to go to the stores as soon as they open, because what happens here, as I guess in many places, when the stores are selling things cheap people will go to the store as early as possible, often waiting outside of the store until it opens. Kurt says, “What? I’m sleeping. Leave me alone.” Stop bothering me. Roxana – I guess she has an “a” at the end of her name – says, “You need to get up now and come with me to the store for the after Christmas sales.” The “after Christmas sales” are the sales that stores have after December 25th, which is Christmas Day; they try to sell the things that people didn’t buy for Christmas. She says, “You know that they slash prices and everything is on sale.” “To slash” (slash) means to cut; “to slash prices” means to cut or lower prices. From 100,000 to 80,000 they slashed the price. What a deal! “Everything,” Roxana says, “is on sale.” “To be on sale” means to be sold at a price that is lower than what you normally sell it at.

Well, Kurt isn’t happy. He says, “We just spent the past few weeks shopping for Christmas presents and now you want to shop some more?” He’s incredulous; that is, he can’t believe that is what Roxana wants to do. But Roxana has an answer. She says, “We can stock up for next year.” “To stock (stock) up” is a two-word phrasal verb meaning to go to the store and buy a lot of something for the future. You don’t need it right now, but you’re getting a lot of it in case there’s a problem in the future, or perhaps because the price is good now; it’s on sale, you can buy it cheaply. People sometimes go and stock up on toilet paper and perhaps bottled water, or anything that they know that they can use in the future, and that you can keep for a long time – you can store it, you can put it in a closet and not worry about it. Roxana wants to stock up for next year – next Christmas. She says, “There’ll be deep discounts on all of the Christmas decorations and supplies.” A “discount” is when you lower the price. A “deep discount” is when you lower the price a lot; it’s the same as “slashing prices,” you go from a dollar to 25 cents, that’s a “deep discount,” a big discount.

The discounts will be on Christmas decorations. “Decorations” are things that you use, you put up in a room to remind someone of the holiday. Christmas decorations would include in the United States a Christmas tree perhaps, though that usually isn’t something that would go on sale after Christmas – well, I guess it would, but it won’t keep until next year, unless you buy an artificial tree, a tree that isn’t real. We had one of those when I was growing up; never had a real Christmas tree, actually. Anyway, “decorations” are things that people put up, maybe little Santa Clauses or other things associated with the Christmas holiday that people put in their homes and outside of their homes. Here in the United States, a lot of people put lights on the outside of their house during Christmas. My neighbor just put lights on his house. I have never done that; I’m a little too lazy to do that, I think. Anyway, these are examples of Christmas decorations. She says, “not to mention all of the winter clothing and seasonal toys. Let’s go!” Something that is “seasonal” is related to a specific season or time of the year. We talk about the four seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall. But, “seasonal” can also refer to a time or a period of time related to some event; in this case, it would be the Christmas season, which in the United States begins in late November and ends in late December. These are the toys that Roxana wants to buy – seasonal toys. I’m not sure exactly what they would be.

Kurt says, “You go. What do you need me for?” Roxana says, “I need you to run interference while I go for the best bargains and to hold all of the bags and packages while I shop. What else?” “To run interference” is to help another person by protecting him or her from other people, or perhaps from criticism by other people. It’s a term that we sometimes use in American football to talk about the people who are stopping the opposing team from tackling or putting to the ground one of your players. “To run interference” here means, I think, that Kurt would go and prevent other people, perhaps, from getting to the things that Roxana wants to buy. It’s something of a joke, I guess. She says she is going to go for the best bargains. A “bargain” (bargain), we mentioned already, is a deal, when you have a good price on something – a low price on something. So again, Roxana says to Kurt, “I need you to run interference while I go for the best bargains and to hold all of the bags and packages while I shop. What else?” This expression “What else?” is an informal one used when you think that what you are explaining to someone is very obvious; it’s as though you shouldn’t have even asked the question, it’s so obvious you should know the answer already. Of course, Roxana wants Kurt to hold all of the bags and packages while she goes and buys some more.

Kurt says, “When I agreed to ‘for better or for worse,’ I didn’t anticipate this!” The expression “for better or for worse” is often used at a wedding ceremony. When two people are getting married they make promises to each other; these are formally called “vows” (vows), and part of the traditional vow in English that is said at a wedding is that you will stay with your husband or wife “for richer or for poorer.” The “for” is sort of poetic; it means even if you are rich or poor. “For richer or for poorer, for better or for worse,” meaning if things go well or if things go badly you’re still going to stay with that person, and at the end you say, “till death do us part,” meaning till both of us die or, well, one of us dies. That doesn’t happen in a lot of marriages, but that’s what people promise, they just don’t keep their promises. Kurt says, “I didn’t anticipate this!” “To anticipate” means to predict, to believe something will happen in a certain way in the future. Kurt is saying that when he got married to Roxana he didn’t think that he would have to get up early for the after Christmas sales. And, well, I guess he wasn’t thinking very clearly when he got married!

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Roxana: Get up! We’re going to miss out on the best deals if we don’t get to the stores when they open.

Kurt: What? I’m sleeping. Leave me alone.

Roxana: You need to get up now and come with me to the store for the after Christmas sales. You know that they slash prices and everything is on sale.

Kurt: We just spent the past few weeks shopping for Christmas presents and now you want to shop some more?

Roxana: We can stock up for next year. There’ll be deep discounts on all of the Christmas decorations and supplies, not to mention all of the winter clothing and seasonal toys. Let’s go!

Kurt: You go. What do you need me for?

Roxana: I need you to run interference while I go for the best bargains and to hold all of the bags and packages while I shop. What else?

Kurt: When I agreed to “for better or for worse,” I didn’t anticipate this!

[end of dialogue]

Be sure to listen to all of our ESL Podcast episodes. We don’t what you to miss out on the wonderful scripts by our own Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan, copyright 2011 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
to get up – to stand up from a sitting or lying position, especially to wake up and get out of bed

* Vince wants to find a job where he won’t have to get up until at least noon.

to miss out on – to not be able to have or participate in something, usually because one missed an opportunity and was not aware of something or did not act on it

* How did we miss out on the grand opening? I thought the restaurant wasn’t going to open until next month?

deal – bargain; a price that is lower than usual for something that has great value

* Wow, are those computers really only $300? That seems like a great deal!

after Christmas sale – one or more days immediately following Christmas (December 25th) when a store sells things at prices that are lower than usual

* Ruth likes to plan ahead, so she uses the after Christmas sales to buy Christmas gifts for next year.

to slash prices – to greatly reduce or lower the price of something; to sell something for much less money than usual

* Apparently, the dealership ordered too many cars, so the managers are slashing prices on last year’s models.

on sale – being sold at a price that is lower than usual for a short period of time

* Stores put a few items on sale to bring in more customers, because they know that most of those customers will buy other things, too.

to stock up – to buy and store a lot of something for future use

* Luther found a great price on toilet paper, so he stocked up and now he has enough for an entire year!

deep discount – a large reduction in the price of something that is for sale

* Sometimes students can get deep discounts at museums by showing their student identification card.

decoration – something used to add color and beauty to a room or an object, especially for a special event or holiday

* Each October, the Thorpes put pumpkins by their front door as a decoration for Halloween.

seasonal – related to a certain period of time in the year, especially winter, spring, summer, or fall

* Chef Ramon cooks only with seasonal vegetables from local farmers.

to run interference – to help another person by protecting him or her from other people or defending him or her from criticism

* As a public relations officer, Kari spends most of her time running interference for the company’s top executives when they make unpopular decisions.

bargain – a deal; a price that is lower than usual for something that has great value

* If you’re patient, you can find great bargains by buying gently used furniture instead of buying new furniture.

What else? – an informal phrase used when one believes that the concept one just explained was very obvious and the other person should have known it without asking about it

* - What are you going to do with all that paint?

* - I’m going to become a world-famous artist, of course. What else?

for better or for worse – a phrase often included in the promises a husband and wife make to each other during their wedding ceremony, meaning that they will continue to love and support each other in their marriage, whether good things or bad things happen

* During the wedding ceremony, Dan and Christine each said to the other: “I promise to love, honor, and respect you for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”

to anticipate – to predict; to believe that something may or will happen in the future

* Why didn’t more economists anticipate the economic downturn?

Comprehension Questions
1. What does Roxana want Kurt to do?
a) She wants Kurt to buy her a Christmas present.
b) She wants Kurt to get out of bed.
c) She wants Kurt to go shopping for her.

2. What will Kurt do at the store?
a) He’ll run as quickly as he can to the best bargains.
b) He’ll help Roxana do whatever she needs to do.
c) He’ll compare prices to see what’s better and what’s worse.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to get up

The phrase “to get up,” in this podcast, means to stand up from a sitting or lying position, especially to wake up and get out of bed: “The teacher asked his students to get up from their desks and stand in a straight line. The phrase “to get down” can be used in a funny way to mean to dance: “Let’s get down and boogie all night long!” The phrase “to get over (someone)” means to no longer feel sad about a failed relationship, or to no longer feel love for someone who does not feel the same way: “Ingrid broke up with you four months ago. You need to get over her!” Finally, the phrase “to get in” can mean to be accepted to participate in a program or to study at a school: “James applied to Harvard, and he got in!”

what else

In this podcast, the informal phrase, “What else?” is used when one believes that the concept one just explained was very obvious and the other person should have known it without asking about it: “What do you plan to do when you sell the business?” “I’ll retire. What else?” The phrase “or else” is used as a threat, to indicate that something bad will happen if someone does not do what one recommends: “Clean your room now, or else….” The phrase “above all else” means more than anything else: “Above all else, she wants her children to be happy.” Finally, the phrase “if nothing else” is used to talk about a good characteristic, especially if one wants to emphasize that someone or something has very few good characteristics: “Yes, it’s weird that he calls you so often. But if nothing else, he’s persistent.”

Culture Note
The Biggest Shopping Days of the Year

Most Americans think that “Black Friday” (the day after Thanksgiving, in late November) is the “biggest shopping day” (the day with the greatest sales) of the year, but that is a “myth” (something that most people believe, but actually is not true). Stores “promote” (advertise; market) “incredible” (difficult or impossible to believe) sales on Black Friday and some people spend the night in front of the stores to “snag” (get; obtain) the best deals. But although Black Friday might be the “busiest shopping day” (with the greatest number of people going to stores) of the year, it actually is not the biggest shopping day.

The biggest shopping day “in terms of” (as measured by) total sales is usually the Saturday before Christmas, when many Americans do their “last-minute” (having waiting until it is almost too late to do something) shopping for gifts, decorations, and other things they will need for the “big” (important) holiday. In fact, the two weekends before Christmas are usually bigger shopping days than Black Friday, which is usually the 4th-8th biggest shopping day of the year.

The Monday that follows the Thanksgiving “holiday weekend” (a three- or four-day weekend, when many people don’t have to work in recognition of a holiday) is also an important shopping day. “In recent years” (in the past few years), “online retailers” (companies that sell things through a website) have offered deep discounts on that day, called “Cyber Monday.” Cyber Monday isn’t the biggest shopping day yet, but online sales do “spike” (peak; increase sharply; reach a high point) that day each year.

Comprehension Answers
1 - b

2 - b