ty versus teen

I was in a popular coffee establishment the other day buying, well, you can probably guess. Because I’m a good little consumer, I use their in-house payment card to pay for it, and the card had no money left on it, so I asked Steve The Mediocre Barista to top it up for me.

“How much do you want to add to the card?”, he asks.

“Fifteen please”, I reply, because my usual spend there is about a fiver.

“No worries, enter your PIN”.

I type my PIN in, grab the receipt, get my coffee from the bar when it’s ready and walk out. Later in the day I’m emptying my pockets and I come across the receipt again. I glance at it before screwing it up and throwing it in the bin and notice I wasn’t charged fifteen pounds at all, but fifty.


Living in the south of England, my semi-Scottish accent gets people asking for clarification on certain words all the time, but I thought I was pretty clear on ty versus teen.

So I propose we drop teen entirely and replace it with something far less ambiguous. You know, something with a hard consonant at the start like teen but with a secondary part that’s nothing like y or een. Like piss.

“How much do you want to add to the card?”

“Fif piss”.

“No worries, enter your PIN”.

Now I’ve got thirty five less pounds locked up on coffee company’s loyalty card. Oh, and I got to say piss out loud, which is always a winner.