The BBC has published a list of the U.K.'s least favorite Americanisms.
It's a good list, since it includes "deliverables", "deplane", and "I could care less". ("I could care less" was once a sarcastic statement, but is now meaningless).
The most vile phrase mentioned is "reach out to" instead of "ask" or "call". It's number 35 on the list, and was suggested by a Londoner named Nerina.
"Reach out to" when the correct word is "ask". For example: "I will reach out to Kevin and let you know if that timing is convenient". Reach out? Is Kevin stuck in quicksand? Is he teetering on the edge of a cliff? Can't we just ask him?
Well said, Nerina. Well said. I get it all the time from salespeople who call my warehouses. "Whited, should I reach out to Aaron in your purchasing department about your need for fastening solutions?" (Fastening solutions are what we used to call nuts and bolts.)
"Whited, I'll reach out to Darin at your office about this."
"Do me a favor and reach out to Bentonville about the Wal-Mart shipment."
It makes the speaker sound as if he's a freakin' televangelist, reaching out to those who are lost without his product line. The next salesman to disturb my slumber at work, daring to say he wanted to reach out to me, I'm going to reach out to him with an email containing a link to this post.
Sir, evangelists reach out. First basemen reach out. Grocery stock clerks reach out, as do roofers, peanut salemen at ball games, firemen trying to get cats out of a tree, and politicians working rope lines.
Salesmen either call, ask, or contact. They are not God reaching out to Adam to give him the divine spark of life, their product line of fastening solutions, or low, low rates for shipments going to North Dakota on Thursdays.
Most of the other Americanisms on the list don't bother me as much. I could care less.
A Fresh Coat Of Whitening to Radley Balko for the link.