The 1963 Broadway musical "She loves me" is set in a Budapest parfumerie in 1934.

In the play, every time a customer leaves the shop, the employees sing a short jingle:

Thank you madam, please call again. Do call again, madam.

I was wondering why the verb "call" is used, considering that the business serves casual customers that don't book appointments.

Does "call" have a special meaning in this historical, geographical or gergal context?

  • 2
    See Oxford sense 6. – Andrew Leach Feb 8 at 21:43
  • You don't see it as much of late, but 20-30 years ago it would not be unusual to see, in the US, a sign hanging near the exit that said "Thank you -- Please call again". – Hot Licks Feb 9 at 1:40

One common, but older, usage of the word "call" is to "pay a visit." Usage is typically in a phrase like "Shall we call on Fred?" which would me "Shall we pay Fred a visit?"

In the case of "Do call again, madam." the shop is simply expressing their wish that madam returns to visit the shop again.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.