A worker spoke to me entirely in Spanish (Opinion)
I needed to pick up a quick lunch for the kids because we were in between errands on the weekend. So I went through a popular fast food chain's drive-thru. As always, the person who took my order spoke English, and I ordered in English. Since I'm here in the United States I thought this would be practical.
Then I got to that second window after paying where a different person hands you the food. It was taking some time so I thought there was a chance I might be sent to no-man's land; those parking spaces where you have to get out of line to not hold things up because there was something too complicated about your order.
Sure enough it happened. But not in the way I would have expected. A woman appeared in the window and and began speaking to me in Spanish.
Entirely. In. Spanish.
For a moment I just stared at her. Then I said, politely, "I don't speak Spanish." This seemed to irritate her. She then repeated the same Spanish words more loudly (as if my hearing were the issue) and looked towards those loser parking spaces and pointed. Okay, now I got it. But not through a single word she said.
I drove over there, waited five minutes for my order to be brought out by someone who, mercifully, spoke English.
Now the question is, how should I feel? Should I be so agitated that I call the restaurant and speak to their manager to complain? Should I write a letter to corporate? Should I let the matter go? What would you do?
First let me say I'm not naive. I was born and raised in Jersey and I've seen the demographic changes over the years. But even as a very young child in the 70's I remember all the Spanish speaking people on West Cherry Street in Rahway where my grandmother lived. I've heard foreign languages all my life. I'm not being hateful here. To come to America for a better life is great, but it would help us all get along if you learned the de facto language along the way. Before you do, if you want to speak Spanish with friends and relatives who speak Spanish, I get it. If you want to speak it at work to each other, I get it.
But if you want to speak Spanish to a customer you have no reason to assume knows Spanish, you're being an arrogant ass. How someone who speaks no English is put in charge of a fast food window in a predominately English speaking nation is beyond me.
Yet what did I choose to do? I did nothing. I got my kid's food, which is what I came for. While I didn't appreciate the incredulous tone over my not knowing her language, what was really to be gained by complaining to management? They clearly know their hire cannot speak English and yet they put her in that position anyway. They clearly don't care how the customer feels. I just will not keep going back to that particular location if it continues to be a problem. Over time, if enough people feel that way, the business owner will learn the hard way what makes sense and what doesn't.
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