Stock Phrases

It’s much easier to say something if you’ve practiced it beforehand, and that’s never truer than when you’re struggling with overload. I’m posting my favourite stock-phrases below. Use these, or think up your own, but I encourage you to have a handful of responses to standard situations, you can use when you can’t think of how to explain why you can’t cope. Please add your own in the comments!

When mutism looms
I’m autistic, and I’m losing my words.

When people jabber instructions at you, and expect you to just remember.
I’m just going to write that down and read it back to check I’ve got it right.

*When the person on the check-out puts everything through so quickly it all piles up.
Please stop for a moment and let me catch up.
If they don’t stop, or claim they can’t stop because they have to get x-items through per minute (see tweets below)
You have to stop. I’m autistic and you’re overwhelming me.
(I usually start the encounter by asking them to go slowly, which often avoids this problem altogether.)

When a server is trying to get you to change your order, because there’s a deal on:
Could you say all that again (much) more slowly please?!
or
You’re confusing me. I just want what I asked for please.

When you’re being given too many choices at once, e.g. for an appointment or in a shop
I need to slow down and go through these one at a time. Please bear with me.

If you don’t want to mention autism, you could say you’ve had no sleep – people usually respond very sympathetically to that.


*In the past I’ve been told by checkout staff in both Sainsbury’s and Tesco that they weren’t allowed to slow down, because they had to get a certain number of items through the till per minute. In the Sainsbury’s case a supervisor later said this wasn’t true, and that they should slow down if asked.

To be sure, I tweeted various UK supermarkets to ask about this issue. My question was “What’s your policy on number of items through till per minute?” or (for Tesco and Sainsbury’s) “What’s your policy on staff insisting they must put x-items through till per min?” Below are the replies:

Sainsbury’s were a little harder to pin down:

Lidl didn’t read the question.


©2010 Life on the Spectrum

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