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0982 Home Shopping

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 982 – Home Shopping.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 982. 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. Go there and become a member of ESL Podcast and download a Learning Guide for this episode.

This episode is a dialogue between Victor and Julia about buying things – not by going to a store, but by watching television and using your telephone. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Victor: Turn off the TV and put down that phone. I know what you’re about to do.

Julia: I wasn’t going to do anything.

Victor: You’re watching the home shopping channel and you have the phone in your hand, which means you’re about to call them and order something. Admit it.

Julia: I just wanted to ask some questions about this amazing item that’s on-screen right now. It’s 30 percent off if I call within the next eight minutes. Look how nice it looks on the model. It’s a limited edition necklace. If I don’t call soon, they’ll be sold out!

Victor: That’s why I have to keep you from calling. You don’t need another piece of second-rate jewelry from the home shopping channel.

Julia: Oh, look what you’ve done! They’re sold out. But hey, look at that machine they’re demonstrating. It’s amazing what it can do.

Victor: You don’t need another ridiculous gadget that you buy after watching some rigged demonstration. You know that they never work the same way at home as they do on TV.

Julia: Some of them do. Remember that machine I bought for washing nuts? That worked well.

Victor: Yeah, and how much use did we get out of that? We have an entire garage full of steals you just couldn’t resist. That’s why I need to do something drastic.

Julia: What?

Victor: I’m confiscating that remote!

[end of dialogue]

Victor begins our dialogue by saying to Julia, “Turn off the TV and put down that phone. I know what you’re about to do.” Victor tells Julia to stop watching the television and to “put down that phone.” Julia is holding the phone in her hand. Victor is telling her to put it down, to return it back to the table or the desk where it was sitting before. Victor says, “I know what you’re about to do” – I know what you are going to do. That’s what “about to” means here.

Julia says, “I wasn’t going to do anything.” Victor says, “You’re watching the home shopping channel and you have the phone in your hand, which means you’re about to call them and order something. Admit it.” “Home shopping” is the practice of purchasing, or buying, things at home – watching your television and using your telephone to call in and order whatever it is you are buying.

Nowadays in the United States, you can watch your television and they have programs where they are selling things, all sorts of things – perfume, jewelry, clothing – almost anything you can think of that can be sold. They sell it on these “home shopping channels,” these home shopping programs. You watch the program and they give you a telephone number to call. You call a number, you say, “I want this,” and you give them your credit card information, and then they send it to you. That’s what Julia is “about to do.” That is what she was getting ready to do, what she was going to do.

Victor says, “Admit it.” “Admit (admit) it” is a phrase we use to force someone to agree with what we have just said, especially when the person doesn’t want to say that it’s true. But you know it’s true, and you’re trying to get the person to say, “Yes, that is true.” So, for example, you might say, “You are afraid to ask Julie on a date, aren’t you? Admit it.” You could say that to your friend who is maybe scared of asking a woman out on a date: “Admit it. You don’t want to ask her, because you’re scared.”

You could use “admit it” in lots of different circumstances, but it always refers to a case where the person you are talking to doesn’t want to tell the truth, or is embarrassed or perhaps afraid to tell the truth. Julia is not admitting that she was about to call and order something, however. She says, “I just wanted to ask some questions about this amazing item that’s on-screen right now.” “Amazing” means wonderful, great. An “item” (item) is just a thing that is being, in this case, sold. “On-screen” means on the television – showing on the television right now.

Julia says this item that is on-screen right now – we don’t know what it is – is 30 percent off “if I call within the next eight minutes.” Home shopping channels motivate you to pick up the phone and buy by giving you a deadline – by saying well, you can get a discount if you buy this item in the next eight minutes or ten minutes or thirty minutes. That time pressure forces you to make a decision, and it is very effective in getting people to buy. “30 percent off” (off) means a 30 percent discount. That’s what you will get if you buy this item within the next eight minutes.

Julia says, “Look how nice it looks on the model.” A “model” (model) is a person who is used to show how nice a piece of clothing looks, or perhaps a piece of jewelry looks. These home shopping channels are very popular with women who are buying clothing and jewelry, or at least it would seem that way based on the kinds of shows that you see there. Julia then tells us what she’s talking about – she’s talking about a “limited edition necklace.”

A “necklace” is something that you wear around your neck. Women, especially, often wear necklaces. “Limited edition” means that there are only a small number of these items that have been made and that we are selling. Something that is “limited edition” is something that is not going to be made in large numbers, in large quantities. Julia says, “If I don’t call soon, they’ll be sold out!” “Sold out” means there are no more left to buy. When an item is “sold out,” it is no longer available because the storesold all of the items that it had.

Victor says, “That’s why I have to keep you from calling.” That’s why I have to prevent you from calling. “You don’t need another piece of second-rate jewelry from the home shopping channel.” “Second-rate” (rate) means inferior in quality – not a very good quality. To call something “second-rate” is to say it’s not very good. If you say something is “first-rate,” then you’re saying that it is high quality, it is very good quality. But this jewelry is not very good quality, according to Victor.

Julia says, “Oh, look what you’ve done!” She uses this expression as a way of blaming Victor for something that happened. He’s done something wrong. That’s why she says, “Look what you’ve done. They’re sold out” – there aren’t any more available to buy. Then she says, “But hey, look at that machine they’re demonstrating” (they’re showing you how to use). “It’s amazing what it can do.” Victor says, “You don’t need another ridiculous gadget that you buy after watching some rigged demonstration.”

A “gadget” (gadget) is a small device, a small tool or machine that usually has one limited use. I remember it used to be very popular for people to buy a little machine that you would use to make hamburgers. That’s all really it did. It made hamburgers. It was like a hot plate. It was like two hot pieces of metal that you put on either side of the beef and you would use it to make a hamburger. These were very popular 20, 30 years ago.

Also very popular were special machines that made popcorn. When I was growing up, in the ‘70s and ‘80s, everybody had these machines that only made popcorn. That’s really all you could do with it. Of course, you could make popcorn in other ways with a regular pan, but these machines were very popular because, I guess, everyone needed to eat popcorn in the ‘70’s. I don’t know.

Well, these home shopping networks, these home shopping channels, sell a lot of these machines – these small tools or gadgets that make things that aren’t always the most useful. Victor doesn’t want Julia to buy one of these. He says that the demonstration that she is watching on television is rigged. When something is “rigged” (rigged), it has somehow been made to look better than it is. It’s not authentic. It’s not real.

If A contest has been rigged, the results of the contest cannot be trusted because someone has done something to make it unfair, to make it so that it’s not a real contest. If you pay a boxer a million dollars to lose his next fight, that would be rigging the competition. That would be rigging the contest so that it’s not a real contest. That’s what Victor is saying is happening with these demonstrations on television – they’re not real. They’re not legitimate demonstrations.

Victor says, “You know that they never work the same way at home as they do on TV.” He’s saying these gadgets never work as well when you get them in your own house as they do when you are watching them on television. Julia says, “Some of them do.” She disagrees with Victor. “Remember that machine I bought for washing nuts? That worked well.” Julie apparently bought a machine that did nothing but washed nuts, a kind of food. Julia says that machine worked well.

Victor says, “Yeah,” meaning yes, “and how much use did we get out of that?” meaning how much did we actually use it? Victor goes on and says, “We have an entire garage full of steals you just couldn’t resist. That’s why I need to do something drastic.” A “steal” (steal) here means a bargain, something that you bought for a very low price. “To resist” means to avoid doing something, to stop yourself from doing something. “Drastic” (drastic) is extreme or severe.

Victor says that Julia cannot “resist,” cannot stop herself from buying things she thinks are “steals,” or good deals. That’s why he has to do something extreme, something that he wouldn’t normally have to do in order to stop Julia from buying more things. Julia says, “What?” Victor says, “I’m confiscating that remote!” “To confiscate” (confiscate) means to take something away so that another person can no longer use it or have it. It’s a verb normally used when we’re talking about the police taking illegal drugs from someone, or perhaps the teacher taking something away from a student that the student shouldn’t have.

Victor is going to confiscate the “remote” (remote). The “remote” is the remote control. It’s that small device that you use to change the channels on your television or to turn the volume up and down. Many years ago, of course, we didn’t have remote controls. You actually had to get out of your chair and walk over to the television and turn the channel or turn the volume up or down. Oh, the good old days.

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

[start of dialogue]

Victor: Turn off the TV and put down that phone. I know what you’re about to do.

Julia: I wasn’t going to do anything.

Victor: You’re watching the home shopping channel and you have the phone in your hand, which means you’re about to call them and order something. Admit it.

Julia: I just wanted to ask some questions about this amazing item that’s on-screen right now. It’s 30 percent off if I call within the next eight minutes. Look how nice it looks on the model. It’s a limited edition necklace. If I don’t call soon, they’ll be sold out!

Victor: That’s why I have to keep you from calling. You don’t need another piece of second-rate jewelry from the home shopping channel.

Julia: Oh, look what you’ve done! They’re sold out. But hey, look at that machine they’re demonstrating. It’s amazing what it can do.

Victor: You don’t need another ridiculous gadget that you buy after watching some rigged demonstration. You know that they never work the same way at home as they do on TV.

Julia: Some of them do. Remember that machine I bought for washing nuts? That worked well.

Victor: Yeah, and how much use did we get out of that? We have an entire garage full of steals you just couldn’t resist. That’s why I need to do something drastic.

Julia: What?

Victor: I’m confiscating that remote!

[end of dialogue]

We’d like to thank our first-rate scriptwriter, Dr. Lucy Tse, for her first-rate scripts.

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

English as a Second Language Podcast was written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2014 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
home shopping – the practice of purchasing items from home by learning about them on a TV program and paying for them by providing a credit card number over the phone

* Mariah enjoys home shopping because it lets her avoid the crowds at the mall.

admit it – a phrase used to force someone to agree with what one has just said, when that person knows it is true, but likes to pretend that it isn’t true, especially if the truth is embarrassing or uncomfortable

* You want to ask Jenna for a date but are too afraid to, right? Admit it.

on screen – shown on TV or a computer; visible on an electronic display

* The toy seemed much larger and more interesting on screen than in real life.

off – with a particular discount or temporary reduction in price

* Everything in the store is half off the day after Christmas.

model – a person whose body is used to show how clothing or jewelry appears, making it seem as attractive as possible

* Did you hear that Piotr is dating a runway model?

limited edition – offered for only a short period of time and with only a small number of something, intended to make something seem more desirable

* The post office issues limited edition stamps in the hopes that collectors will want to buy more of them.

sold out – with all items sold and nothing left for customers to buy; with no items remaining for sale

* In the days before the hurricane, all the local stores were sold out of flashlights, bottled water, and canned food.

second-rate – with inferior quality; not as good as other items

* They’re saving their money to buy a really nice car instead of settling for a second-rate truck.

to demonstrate – to show to people, especially so that they can see how something works and how good it is

* The lab instructor demonstrated the correct use of the new research equipment.

gadget – a small device or tool that serves a single purpose, especially if it seems silly or unimportant

* Who needs a special gadget for removing the bones from a fish filet?

rigged – artificial and somehow changed to give someone or something an advantage or a better appearance

* The fight was rigged to make the guy in the blue shirt win.

steal – a bargain; something that was purchased very inexpensively, or at least for much less than the normal price

* Shelly went to the used clothing store and found a designer handbag for just $10. What a steal!

to resist – to avoid doing something that one wants to do; to not give into temptation; to demonstrate a lot of willpower

* William couldn’t resist buying a container of ice cream when he was at the grocery store even though he is on a diet.

drastic – extreme; severe; radical

* Surgery is a drastic way to lose weight. Wouldn’t diet and exercise be better?

to confiscate – to take something away so that another person cannot have or use it

* The police confiscated more than 40 pounds of illegal drugs.

remote – remote control; a small device with many buttons, used to control a TV, radio, stereo, or a similar device from a short distance, without connecting cables or wires

* The Hendersons bought a universal remote that lets them control their TV, cable box, and DVD player more easily.

Comprehension Questions
1. Why doesn’t Victor want Julia to buy the necklace?
a) Because he thinks it’s too expensive.
b) Because he thinks she’ll be a victim of credit card fraud.
c) Because he thinks it’s poor quality.

2. Why does Victor think the gadgets are ridiculous?
a) Because they’re overpriced.
b) Because they’re made from cheap materials.
c) Because they don’t perform well.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
off

The word “off,” in this podcast, means with a particular discount or temporary reduction in price: “The preschool gives parents 10% off tuition if they pay for the entire year upfront.” The phrase “(one) is off” means that one has started a trip or journey: “We just need to finish loading the car with these suitcases, and then we’re off!” If something “smells off” or “tastes off” it seems spoiled or unsafe to eat: “If the milk smells off, don’t drink it!” The word “off” can mean not as good as before, or not as good as usual: “Normally, Giorgio is a great presenter, but his speeches have been off for the past few weeks.” Finally, the phrase “to go off (something)” means to stop taking or using something: “Did you get a lot of headaches when you went off coffee?”

steal

In this podcast, the word “steal” means a bargain, or something that was purchased very inexpensively, or at least for much less than the normal price: “These bottles of wine are only $2.49 each. That’s a steal!” When talking about sports and especially basketball, a “steal” happens when a player takes control of the ball from the other team: “Wow, that was a great steal! Let’s watch it again in slow-motion.” As a verb, “to steal” means to take something from another person illegally: “They were furious when they found out that their accountant had been stealing from the company.” Finally, the phrase “to steal the show” means to do something that attracts a lot of attention that would normally be given to others: “The little girl stole the show with her beautiful costume and incredible singing.”

Culture Note
Celebrity Product Lines

Many “celebrities” (people who are famous for acting, singing, sports or other things) “lend” (allow someone to use) their name to a product or use the product “in public” (where it can be seen by other people) to help promote sales of that product. This “celebrity branding” can be very “lucrative” (profitable) for the celebrity and for the companies that “manufacture” (make) and sell the products. For example, when golfer Tiger Woods agreed to a “sponsorship” (support) deal with Nike, sales of related “footwear” (shoes) and “apparel” (clothes) “doubled” (increased by 100%).

But some celebrities “take it a step further” (do something that is more extreme) by “launching” (starting) their own celebrity product lines. Most of the products are directly related to fashion, “perfume” (scented liquids placed on one’s body to smell good), and jewelry. For example, twin child actresses Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson and singer Justin Timberlake have launched successful fashion brands.

Other celebrities “align themselves with” (become connected to or affiliated with) particular stores. For example, Jennifer Lopez has a line of clothing at the Kohl’s department store, and the reality show Kardashian sisters have a line of clothing at the Sears department store. It is becoming increasingly common for a high-fashion celebrity to attach his or her name to clothing sold for low prices at a “mass retailer” (a store that sells to many people at low prices).

Other celebrities launch products related to their areas of “expertise” (what one knows a lot about). For example, Wolfgang Puck, a celebrity “chef” (professional cook) sells a line of cooking appliances, such as an electric “grill” (a hot, flat surface used to cook foods) and many “utensils” (spoons, spatulas, and similar tools used to handle food).

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - c