Thread: words we need
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Old 05-28-2010, 08:56 AM   #145
Marcus Bales
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Originally Posted by YsaPur EsChomuw View Post
In Slovak there's a phrase 'You can go complain at the lamp house', in Hungarian '... at the salt office' which means there's no one to turn to, complain to, every complaint would be in vain.

Is there an English phrase for such a situation?
There's a military-ism "Tell it to the chaplain" or "Here's a chit for the chaplain" (a chit is a piece of paper), that's very close to meaning what you're talking about, but I'm not sure what kind of currency it has in the vastness of civilian life.

A phrase from romantic entanglements has gained some traction in other situations, though: "Here's a quarter, call someone who cares."

But probably "Well, you can't fight City Hall" has more of the "salt office" tone -- a sympathetic nod and an acknowldegement that nothing can be done, but it's not a "go tell it to ..." phrase.

It's not quite the same, in that there's no specifically useless person or department recommended, and since it started out as a blow-off for unfaithful lovers, it still has that blow-off flavor, instead of the faint whiff of sympathy that "Tell it to the chaplain" has.
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Last edited by Marcus Bales : 05-28-2010 at 08:59 AM.
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