You all know exactly what I’m talking about. You’ve been there. After a long, stressful day at work, all you can think about is scarfing down a ginormous order of golden goodness from your favorite fast-food joint. You pull up to the drive-thru window because you just can’t face the thought of taking one more unnecessary step in those 9 West heels. You kindly request the largest order of fries possible only to be met with the response “You lie. The soup her flies closed?”
Ummm… what? You try to be polite because, despite being a Yankee, that is actually how you were raised. “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that”, you say.
“You riled the suit for five hoes?”
Yeah. Clear as mud. Okay, in all fairness, those stupid drive-thru speakers suck. Let’s admit it, Kmart walkie-talkies have better clarity. But this is ridiculous. And all your advanced skills with deductive reasoning still aren’t helping you decipher what message this Burger World employee is trying to convey regarding your French fries. You sit in your car with that blank stare, hoping someone will come to your rescue, while a line of angry soccer moms lay on their horns behind you and a trucker signals to you that he thinks you’re “number 1”.
Finally, after you’ve just about decided that this must be God’s way of condescendingly suggesting you don’t really need the stupid fries after all, the nineteen year-old manager whom your sister taught in her English class 2 years ago comes onto the speaker and says “Would you like to super-size those?”
Oh. “Yes, please,” you say, as you slump down as far as possible while still being able to see over the steering wheel. You drive around, smile sheepishly at the woman in the window – who has probably been speaking English for about as long as you’ve had the color on your nails – pay for your fries, and drive home, cursing between each fry at the idiots of corporate America who keep putting these people in jobs that require customer interaction.
Now hang on. Before you all start trying to Google my address, intending to fling poo at my door for being a “bigot”, let me defend myself and clarify that I am NOT against people of any nationality working! I’m not one of those arrogant jackasses who complains that “foreigners are taking all the jobs away from hard-working Americans”. Personally, I’m not too concerned who’s folding my burrito at Taco Bell or greeting me at Wal-Mart. I say as long as you’re here legally, feel free to work legally.
And hey, I don’t even care if English isn’t your first language and you don’t speak it so well. I have students for whom it IS their first language and can barely get through a sentence requiring a mere three words! And, IMHO, text speak doesn’t count! But if you don’t speak English at a level that is easily understood by the rest of the English-speaking public… why would someone give you a job that required it?? There are plenty of other jobs that don’t require you to have to speak, and – more importantly – be understood by others. Even at Burger World, that woman had a plethora of other job opportunities that didn’t require anyone to deduce that Super-Sized fries were an option on the table.
Seriously now! I don’t think this is being unkind, or mean-spirited. And I know someone is going to read it and try to pull out the racist card. But come on! I don’t do math so great so I wouldn’t expect H&R Block to hire me on as one of their accountants! I dance like a wounded gazelle so I’m pretty sure The Rockettes would sooner have me passing out programs than performing on their stage. And I’ve never been skilled at infidelity, so you probably won’t see me running for Congress!
So really, how is that any different than if I couldn’t speak “good English”, not expecting companies to hire me for jobs where that was a necessary skill? Hey, I took six years of French back in junior and senior high school. But I’m pretty sure if I moved to France and tried getting a job working one of their drive-thru windows, they’d send me to the guillotine after my first day. And try as you may…..ne peut pas prétendre à cette!Photo courtesy amystrachan via Flickr