What does this question mean? Why did the official ask it?
I considered for a moment. ‘Sure, why not?’ I said. ‘I’ll have four pounds of potatoes and some mangoes, if they are fresh.’
Instantly, I could see that I had misjudged my audience. He looked at me with one of those slow, dark expressions that you never want to see in a uniformed official, but especially in a US Customs and Immigration officer.
Why did the customs official begin to get angry?
Luckily he appeared to conclude that I was just incredibly stupid. ‘Sir,’ he enquired more specifically. ‘Are you carrying any items of fruit or vegetable?’ ‘No, sir, I’m not,’ I answered at once, and gave him the most respectable look I believe I have given anybody in my life. I left him shaking his head. I am sure that for the rest of his career he will always be telling people about the idiot who thought he was a greengrocer.
Why do you think the author gave the customs official a very respectful look?
The same thing happened another time when I was talking to my neighbor about a disastrous airline trip which had left me stranded overnight in Denver. ‘Who did you fly with?’ he asked.
What does the question really mean?
‘I don’t know,’ I replied. ‘They were all strangers.’ He looked at me with an expression of panic.
‘No, I meant which airline you had flown with,’ he said. Soon after this my wife ordered me to stop making jokes with him, as our conversations were giving him migraine.
Why didn’t his neighbor understand his answers?
b) Make a glossary. Choose seven words to remember.
c) Answer the questions:
1. What do you think these people’s problem was?
2. What should people do to avoid misunderstanding?
3. Can you remember any situations like that which happened to you?
Vocabulary and Grammar
Task 11.Make as many word combinations as you can:
Task 12.Put the following nouns into the correct column:
news, luggage, goods, money, belongings, progress, clothes,
advice, headquarters, resources, cash, valuables, furniture,
equipment, premises, police
Task 13.Find the word with the most general meaning in each line:
1) contract, certificate, license, document, declaration
2) computer, telephone, equipment, fax-machine, Xerox
3) control, examine, inspect, check
4) terminal, station, port of entry, airport
5) suitcase, rucksack, handbag, box, baggage
6) camera, X-ray machine, technology, metal detector, fiberscope
7) transport, aircraft, train, truck, ship
8) duty, payment, penalty, fine, tax
9) passenger, customer, broker, trader
10) ask, answer, explain, consult, inform, communicate
Task 14. Put the words in the correct order.
1) they/ uniform/ always/ wear.
2) don’t/ English/ speak/ at work/ I.
3) he/ abroad/ on business trips/ goes/ often.
4) passenger’s baggage/ customs/examine/ officers.
5) contraband/ find/ we/ sometimes.
6) with/am/ polite/ customers/ I/ always.
7) you/ do/ computer/ special/ use/ programs?
8) like/ outdoors/ doesn’t/ to work/ she.
9) on the night shift/ do/ work/ you/ often?
10) work/ machine/ doesn’t/ X-ray/ this.
11) passengers/ customs/ through/ pass/ always/ control.
12) help/ to detect/ drugs/ dogs.
13) check-point/ modern/ our/ got/ computers/ has.
14) department/ that/ duties/ and/ collects.
15) business/ customs officers/ health/ protect/ public/ and.
Task 15.Find as many words from the topic as you can.
Task 16.Make a written translation of the text and think about the title for it.
“I saw an advertisement for *HM Revenue and Excise and thought that it sounded really interesting. I joined HM Revenue and Excise as an administrative assistant doing general support work. I did that job for three years. When I got my promotion to administrative officer, I worked on the project which involved the simplification of the paperwork for the import and export of goods. I had to handle telephone enquiries. It was very challenging work and there was never a dull moment. After two years I applied for the Investigation division and was fortunate enough to get the job. It was a good opportunity to broaden my experience. My current job as a control officer is tough, but very interesting. The main part of my job is to help traders to understand the regulations and to ensure if they are following the correct procedures. I feel that I am part of the Team and that what I am doing is worthwhile.
*Before 2005 the department was called HM Customs and Excise.
Task 17.Think of a profession. Try to guess what professions your partners have in mind. The following YES/NO questions may help you:
1. Do you work indoors / outdoors?
2. Do you work in shifts?
3. Do you wear uniform?
4. Do you deal with …?
5. Do you use any special tools?
6. Do you meet a lot of people?
7. Do you have to speak foreign languages?
8. Do you have to go on business trips?
9. Do you need any special skills/education?
10. Is your profession prestigious / well-paid?
Task 18.Complete the sentences.
1. The Customs is the state body which …
2. The duties of the customs officer include …
3. If you want to be a customs officer you should …
4. A person can’t be a customs officer if …
Task 19.Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of being a customs officer. Make a list:
Task 20.Get ready to speak on the topic. Use the vocabulary ofthe unit.
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