Exercise 1

UK shoppers are some of the biggest complainers in Europe

A recent survey has found that British people complain more than any other European nation. 96% of British people said that they would complain if they received poor service in a shop. The top four complaining nations also included the Germans, the Italians and the Swedish.

In the survey, shoppers across Europe were asked how often, why and when they complain. Shoppers who don’t complain were asked why not?

What do the British complain about?

The most common reason British shoppers give for a complaint is that the service is not good enough. If there aren’t enough shop assistants or the queue isn’t moving quickly enough, the British get angry. The British love a well-organised queue. When asked how long they queue before they get annoyed, they said more than five minutes was too long. Poor-quality products, rude staff and delivery problems are also common reasons. 76% of British shoppers feel ‘If customers don’t complain, companies can’t improve.’

Why do some choose not to complain?

For the few British people who don’t complain, 42% don’t have time, 37% feel it doesn’t help and 31% feel too embarrassed.


A recent survey has revealed the countries where people like to complain the most. 30,000 people in 30 different countries were asked the question, ‘Have you made a complaint in the last 12 months?’

Top of the list was the UK, with Sweden second and Australia third. At the bottom of the list were Saudi Arabia, China and Poland.



1 UK

30 Saudi Arabia

2 Sweden

29 China

3 Australia

28 Poland

4 Canada

27 Russia


26 Turkey

6 Brazil

25 Spain

7 Argentina

24 Egypt

8 South Africa

23 Thailand

9 Fance

22 Indonesia

10 Venezuela

21 Japan

A. What are these people complaining about? Match the complaints (1—4) with the words in the box.

service  –  quality  –  price  –  delivery

1   This pizza is much cheaper in the other shop.

2   I bought this watch last week and it’s already broken.

3   I ordered the rug two weeks ago, but it hasn’t arrived yet.

4   I’ve been in this queue for 20 minutes now – they’re so slow.

B. Read the text quickly and underline:

1   the top four nations of complainers in Europe

2   the survey questions

3   what the British complain about most

4   the maximum time British people are happy to queue

5   the most common reason not to complain



1 price   2 quality   3 delivery   4 service


1   Britain (the British), Germany (the Germans), Italy (the Italians), Sweden (the Swedish).

2   What do the British complain about? Why do some choose not to complain?

3   the service is not good enough

4   five minutes

5   don’t have time

Exercise 2


Hi Jack and Brenda,

A quick message to say we’re really sorry we had to leave early last Saturday. The dinner was terrific and we had a great time. It’s a shame the woman looking after the kids felt unwell and we had to go home. You must come round to our house for dinner.

We’ll be in touch soon.

All the best,



Dear Mrs Palmer,

Thank you for your email of 22 May about the delivery problem you had. We are writing to apologise about the long delivery time you experienced. Recently, we have had a few problems and we are working hard to reduce these times for our customers.

We hope you will shop with us again, so we are offering you a 10% discount on the next book you buy from us. This is our way of saying sorry about the problems you have had.

Yours sincerely,

Keith Hughes

Customer Services Manager


Dear Celia,

I’m writing to let you know that we need to rearrange tomorrow’s meeting. I’m very sorry about that.

Unfortunately, Garry has just asked me to prepare a report on the staff we have here in our London office – he says it’s urgent. Could we meet next Monday afternoon instead? I’m very sorry to put our meeting off, but I have to finish this report by end of the day tomorrow. Let me know if next Monday afternoon is possible for you.

Best wishes,


A. Read the three apology emails. Which email is about …?

 customer service


 a social situation

B. Read the emails and answer the questions.

 What is each person apologising for?

 What offer or suggestion does each person make?



1 b   2 c   3 a



a   leaving early

b   long delivery time

c   rearranging tomorrow’s meeting


a   come round (to our house) for dinner

b   offering 10% discount (on next book she buys)

c   meet next Monday afternoon

Exercise 3

Please turn off your phones

In the world today, over 1 billion (1,000,000,000) people own a smartphone, and over 80% of them say that they never switch it off. We use smartphones for everything, from making phone calls to being personal fitness trainers, and with over 9,000,000 apps available, it seems that there isn’t too much that they can’t do.

But imagine if you had to live without your smartphone for a week, what would you do?

We asked three users to try.


If I didn’t have my phone for a week, I wouldn’t be able to live. It’s too important to be without. That’s what I thought. When I feel like chatting to my friends, I’ll use my phone. I even broke up with my last boyfriend using my phone. Without it I wouldn’t be able to join in with everything that’s happening. But this week I actually enjoyed not having it. I could concentrate better, I wasn’t too worried about what everyone was saying or doing and I spent more time actually talking to my friends.


I’m on my smartphone all day. If I couldn’t use it for a week, I wouldn’t be able to take care of my business. It would be a disaster. But it wasn’t. I worked more effectively when I was in the of­fice, I had more time to think about everything and in the evenings I was a lot more relaxed. I realised that I could put off making decisions until I was in the of­fice. It’s really changed how I work and I think the business is actually doing better now.


I write a fashion blog. If I couldn’t use my phone, I wouldn’t have a job. It’s what I do and who I am. When I ­find out something, I need to pass it on, quickly. That’s why people read my blog. I tried it for a day. But it was too dif­ficult. I couldn’t take any photos of cool people on the streets or quickly add something to my blog when I was out at a party. I just wasn’t doing enough. It was horrible.

A. Read the magazine article. Match the people 1–3 with the phrases a–c.

1   Isabella


3   Caitlin

a   too difficult

b   concentrate better

c   more relaxed

B. Read the article again and tick (✓) the correct endings to the sentences.

1   In the magazine article, three people were asked …

      a   what they thought about smartphones and technology.

      b   not to use their smartphone for a week.   ✓

      c   to imagine a world without technology.

2   Isabella thought that she would …

      a   not be involved with other people if she didn’t have her phone.

      b   break up with her boyfriend if she didn’t have her phone.

      c   enjoy not having to use her phone.

3   Isabella realised that …

      a   she didn’t have enough time to spend with her friends.

      b   she thought less about what other people were doing when she didn’t have her phone.

      c   she wasn’t talking to her friends enough.

4   If Jung-ho didn’t have his phone, …

      a   he thought there would be serious problems with his business.

      b   he thought he would have to work in the evenings more.

      c   he wouldn’t be able to make decisions.

5   Caitlin didn’t want to stop using her phone because …

      a   she liked to use it to read about fashion.

      b   she needed it for her job.

      c   she was worried that people wouldn’t call her.

C. Read the article again and tick (✓) the correct people. Sometimes there is more than one possible answer.

1   Who had a better private life without a smartphone?

      a Isabella   b Jung-ho   c Caitlin

2   Who thought they wouldn’t be able to look after something properly without their phone?

      a Isabella   b Jung-ho   c Caitlin

3   Who realised that they didn’t have to do things immediately?

      a Isabella   b Jung-ho   c Caitlin

4   Who was right to be worried about not having a phone?

      a Isabella   b Jung-ho   c Caitlin

5   Who realised that their social life would continue without a phone?

      a Isabella   b Jung-ho   c Caitlin

6   Who learned something positive from the experiment?

      a Isabella   b Jung-ho   c Caitlin

7   Who didn’t complete the experiment?

      a Isabella   b Jung-ho   c Caitlin

8   Who found not communicating was a problem for their work?

      a Isabella   b Jung-ho   c Caitlin

D. Write about what you would do if you couldn’t use your phone for a week.

•   How would you communicate with friends?

•   How would you feel?

•   What would the advantages and disadvantages be?



1 b   2 c   3 a


2 a   3 4 a   5 b


1 a, b   2 b   3 b   4 c   5 a   6 a, b   7 c   8 c

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