Can I have my money back? The 20 questions we’re most embarrassed to ask

We don't like taking goods back to the shops...
We don't like taking goods back to the shops...
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Can you pay me back the money you owe me?, Would you like to go out with me? and Can I have your phone number? have been revealed among the questions Brits feel the most uncomfortable asking.

In a pointer to our renowned national self-reserve, “Can I have a pay rise?”, “Can I get a further discount?” and “Can you offer me a better deal” come top of the list.

Elements of British travel etiquette made the list, as asking someone to move their bag on a busy train or bus emerged as a request we find prickly. Those of us who may be body conscious find it embarrassing to ask a shop assistant for “the next size up”, and our love for ketchup feels like a foodie faux pas when it comes to asking for a jar of Heinz 57 in a posh restaurant.

Rob Temple, author of Very British Problems, said the findings by Carphone Warehouse indicated that the stiff upper-lipped British reserve meant we were depriving ourselves of the best deals when out shopping.

He said: “While there’s little difference between Southerners and Northerners, it’s Londoners who seem to be the most reticent to ask potentially awkward questions. It’s also a relief to see that this reticence, across the whole of the UK, fades away as we get older… just in time for retirement.”


Would you like to go out with me? – 11%

Can you pay me back please? – 10%

Please can you control your child? – 9%

Can I have your phone number? – 7%

Can I have a pay-rise? – 6%

Can I have my money back? – 5%

Can I have a promotion? – 5%

Could you please move your bag so I can sit down? (on a train / bus) – 4%

Will you marry me? – 4%

Could you give me a further discount? – 3%

Do you have that in a bigger size? (in a clothes shop) – 3%

Could I please get a new meal? – 3%

Can you offer me a better discount / deal? – 3%

Would you mind moving your car back so I can get into this parking space? – 2%

Please can you repeat that? (In a business environment) – 2%

Can you explain what this word means please? (In a posh restaurant) – 2%

How much does this item cost? – 2%

Could my parents come on holiday with us this year? 1%

Do you have any ketchup? (in a posh restaurant) – 1%

Can you walk faster please? – 1%

Leeds, Sweet street, 28th March 1979'LIGHTING'Mr. Eddie Mullan, a lift engineer at the City of Leeds Public Works Department, Sweet Street, gives a last polish to one of the four old gas lamps that are to be sent to Germany.

Leeds nostalgia: Bits of old Leeds sent to Germany... in 1979