I was put rather firmly in my place recently while buying a couple of cinnamon buns at a well-known mass outlet bakery operation that begins with a G. On entering, I noticed cinnamon buns placed in the display incorrectly identified on the card as Belgian buns.

In a moment of madness, as I now realise, the words ‘two Belgian buns, please’ tripped off my tongue, to which the shop assistant replied ‘we haven’t got any today’. Undeterred, I walked to the cinnamon/Belgian buns and pointed, at the same time asking for ‘two of those’. Sensing the need to educate, the assistant looked quizzically at me and then enunciated slowly and deliberately ‘those are cinnamon buns’ – with added emphasis on the last two words.

Suitably chastened, I paid and left the shop with the cinnamon buns in a paper bag. But then I remembered a similar incident many years ago in a Birmingham confectioners. I was attracted to a rectangular cake with cherries and a dusting of icing sugar, my request for ‘one of those, please’ was met with the decidedly superior reply ‘that, is a paradise slice‘.

Are confectioners trained in the overarching need to teach customers the correct name for each and every one of their products?

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