More Speak English Like an American Lesson 24 Idioms and Expressions MCQ Test
Lesson 24: Madame Chu – Round Two
MADAME CHU: ROUND TWO
Mark and Sara returned to Madame Chu’s dumpling stand to talk to her about their business proposal. Madame Chu asks them not to waste her time. But when she hears their offer, she grows interested and asks them to return later in the day.
Sara: I think you should do the talking. I’m afraid I’ll get tongue-tied.
Mark: Right. From what I remember, Madame Chu can be a little scary.
Sara: But hopefully she’ll warm up to us!
(at Madame Chu’s stand)
Mark: Hello, Madame Chu. How are you today?
Mme Chu: What can I get for you?
Mark: I’d like to make you an offer. Let me start by saying that your dumplings are the best in Beijing.
Mme Chu: That’s why I don’t have time to stand here shooting the breeze with you. I’m expecting more customers any minute now.
Mark: We have a proposal for you. Instead of slaving away here day in, day out, you could cash in on your delicious dumplings.
Mme Chu: Listen, I’ve been around the block a few times. Don’t try to sell me a bill of goods.
Mark: Let me put my cards on the table. We’re from a food company in the United States, and we’ve come with a great offer.
Mme Chu: Oh, yeah? What are you offering?
Mark: We’d like to sell Madame Chu dumplings in the United States. We’d like to hire you.
Mme Chu: The last time we talked, I was under the impression you just wanted my recipes.
Mark: Right, but now I’ve got an offer you can’t refuse.
Mme Chu: I’ve got customers now. Come back at 5 o’clock, and we can get down to brass tacks.
→ unable to speak clearly because one is nervous or embarrassed
Example: When Beth’s boss asked her why she was gone for three hours for lunch, she became tongue-tied.
- (to) warm up to someone
→ to get comfortable with someone; to be nicer to someone after a period of time
Example: At first I thought our new neighbors were strange, but I’m starting to warm up to them.
- (to) shoot the breeze
→ to waste time talking; to chat
Example: The postal clerk was shooting the breeze with one of the customers as the line got longer and longer.
- any minute now
→ very soon
Example: I need to hang up. I’m expecting a phone call from my doctor any minute now.
- (to) slave away
→ to work very hard for not much reward
Example: Jennifer slaved away at a big law firm for 10 years before finally deciding she’d rather work as a teacher.
- day in, day out
→ every day, over a long period of time
Example: Kendra lives right near the airport, so day in, day out, she hears airplanes taking off and landing.
- (to) cash in on
→ to make money from; to profit from
Example: The mall is open until midnight the entire week before Christmas to cash in on the holiday shopping rush.
- been around the block a few times
→ has a lot of experience
Example: We’re looking for an experienced money manager to manage the new fund – somebody who’s been around the block a few times.
- (to) sell someone a bill of goods
→ to deceive someone; to cheat someone; to tell someone something that is not true
Example: When you buy your new house, be careful what kind of mortgage you take. Your mortgage lender may try to sell you a bill of goods!
- (to) put one’s cards on the table
→ to be honest with someone; to say openly what one is thinking about or planning
Example: Let me put my cards on the table. If I don’t get promoted this year, I’m going to leave the company.
Note: You will also see the variation “to lay one’s cards on the table.”
- under the impression
→ believing; convinced
Example: Jill is under the impression that if she does 100 sit-ups a day, she’ll flatten her stomach.
- an offer one can’t refuse
→ a great offer (note: sometimes also used to mean a bad offer one is forced to take)
Example: The car salesman said, “I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse!”
- (to) get down to brass tacks
→ to start discussing business; to come to the point
Example: With just a few months to go before the presidential election, the candidates are finally getting down to brass tacks.