December 8, 2010

Knowing a second language could come in handy

I was in suburban Chicago yesterday. I started my day at McDonald's for breakfast. When I entered the store a lady in what I would guess was her late fifties had just completed her order and received her food. A nice Hispanic gentleman, who based on his dress was a manager of some type, took my order in perfect, accent free English. While we were all waiting on my Sausage McMuffin to be prepared the manger-type was talking to another Manager.  She also spoke perfect English.

The older lady who got her food as I entered came up to the counter.  She had coffee all over her business suit and coat.  She loudly demanded to see the manager.  Coffee-lady claimed the lid was not on her coffee properly and wanted the McDonald's to pay her dry cleaning bill.  She was angry and flustered and kept ranting about an important meeting and how she had to go home and change.

Coffee-lady again asked the young manger who was waiting on me to see the manager. He finally turned the the other manager, who was making coffee and pretending to not hear the ranting Coffee-lady. and spoke something in Spanish. The other manager turned and stared at Coffee-lady.  Coffee lady was livid at this point.  She kept saying she just wants a number so she can get her dry cleaning taken care of.

The McDonald's managers spoke to each other in Spanish, as if each was trying to translate Coffee-lady's rantings. Both turned again and stared at the Coffee-lady. Coffee-lady again asked for a manager. Female manager mumbled something in Spanish. Coffee-lady cursed and said she would just call corporate. She then stormed out of the McDonald's.

The female manager handed me my food and told me thanks and have a nice day in perfect English. As I walked away she turned and told an employee in the back to check the trash and dining room. Normal McDonald's business continued.

I guess being bi-lingual is a real advantage in customer service.


dragonlady474 said...

Hearing about situations like that irritate me to no end. Neither one of those jerks should be in management, no matter what language they speak.

Ed Bonderenka said...

I'm of two minds on that Dragonlady.
I think it's hilarious, and yet would I want to be in that womans shoes? Maybe she was a jerk. I don't know.

Galt-in-Da-Box said...

There's something to be said for being bi-lingual, especially if "coffee-lady" was your typical Chicago chucker who believes the working world exists to provide her freebees and fix her fuck-ups on the house:
Been played by that game a few times. It's always been bullshit...
"I brainlessly stuck this pencil in my eye while listening to you on the radio, now JUST WTF ARE YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT!?"

Rita said...

Whaddya bet if the coffee lady had come in upset but stated her problem in a normal tone, those people would have probably spoken to her in their perfect English and granted her request?

It's amazing how much farther you can get by treating people respectfully.

That being said, I'll relate a story I experienced at Jimmy John's the other day.

I ordered a # 12 with the guacamole sauce on the side. I had order the exact same thing a couple weeks before that was delivered to my office.

There were about 10 people behind the counter and NO, yes I said NO customers in the place.

The kid rings my order $6. I had a $10 bill laying on the counter.

Then another kid came up and said, "we can't put the guacamole on the side." I asked him to repeat that.

I smiled and said, "Well I just had that exactly the same way a couple weeks ago." He said, "Well my manager said you can't have the sauce on the side.

I kinda laughed, picked up my $10 and said, "Well ,alright then." and walked out the door. Never raised my voice, never threw a tantrum.

I could hear two or three people behind the counter suddenly shocked that I would walk out and I got the distinct impression that there were a couple trying to get me to come back. I was chuckling while I left.

But damn I really wanted that sandwich. Settled for an Arby's instead.

Ralphd00d said...

Rita, I love that. If it ain't the way I want it, I walk too.

Cappy said...


Fred said...

Way back when, when I worked in the Greek restaurants, the bus boys and kitchen staff ONLY knew English if and when it was spoken to them by the Greek owners.

It often had an affect on the amount they got tipped from me at the end of the night though.

(I also used to secretly revel in it when immigration would bust them, 14 at a time in their one bedroom apartments... even though it always screwed up the restaurant for about a week or so.)

Dan O. said...

Did you happen to hear the words, stupido gringo, loco americano (got called that one once in Spain) or did they mention meirda del toro?

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