I've talked before about Spellchecking.
I'm not going to go into that mess again, because I've come to realize that there are just people out there who don't realize how horribly they spell. I'm not a bad speller per say, it's more my offbeat style of typing that seems to add the extra consonant to any random word. Since I know this, I Spellcheck religiously, and preach the wonders of it anytime I'm on- or offline. (Ask the Sidekick, he should know.)
But the thing that frustrates me even more than having to plow through someones unintelligable mire on the Internet is to try and understand the way some people talk.
I'm not talking about regional dialects or anything. I understand that in the south it's "Soda", not "Pop", and that some areas of the States and even Canada the use of the word "aiight" is acceptable. (Thank the Lord the closest I ever come to these areas is walking by a crowd of gangsta wannabes.)
The affliction I'm referring to is the inability of some people to properly form words and pronounce them when speaking to any other person. They slur, mumble, change volume, stop halfway through a sentence, or generally make it almost impossible to understand and communicate with them. How they even order food at the Drive-Thru is beyond me.
Being in customer service, I find it very frustrating when I can't understand what someone is trying to say. Having to ask them to repeat themselves (sometimes more than once,) is embarrassing. Nine out of ten times the accent has nothing to do with it, it's just that they sound like they are talking through a paper bag, to someone other than me, possibly in another room, who only understands The Language That Time Forgot. Then they get upset with me because I have no clue as to what they are saying.
How can we help these people? You can't hire a Professor Henry Higgins for everyone. (That's right people, I just referenced My Fair Lady. How's that for obscure?) Positive reinforcement? It'll take too long. I think that if you can't understand what they are saying, you should be able to just slap them once, really hard. Sure, eventually everyone will get slapped, especially drunks, but the repeat offenders would soon get the hint. On a plus side, drunks wouldn't bother you as much.
The only negative would be the instinctual bob-and-weave when initiating any conversation.