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Postby fezzik » Sat May 20, 2006 11:32 am

Madison wrote:
PlayingWithFire wrote:So I don't see what's the big deal here.


The big deal is that employees of that company are being forced to learn a foreign language that we do not speak in this country, or lose their jobs. I can see why it's become such a big deal.

Can you imagine the news coverage and outcry if a company forced it's employees to learn Russian? The outcry would be even worse than this, but it all boils down to the same thing. It's actually a lot quieter than I thought it would be.


I agree that immigrants who come to our country should learn to speak english ;-D ...that being said:

If the employees don't want to learn Spanish, they don't lose their jobs. They are transferred to a different store. And if they don't want to transfer, then they have to go...but that's the employee's choice.

If 2/3 of the customers at the store spoke Russian as their native tongue, then I would assume the owner would make a similar decision and have the managers speak Russian...I think he's just focussed on the bottom line here. And why would there be more of an outcry if it was Russian? :-? The Cold War is over...Russia is not a superpower. We are no longer propagandized as children to hate them.

Lastly, I simply don't believe that the customers who are complaining are going to boycott the store...they probably go there because of it's convenience. Ideals are great, but are they pissed off enough to not shop there any more? Ever? I'd be surprised.

It's easy to take a social/political angle on this story, but for me it just comes down to a business owner trying to make his business more profitable. ;-D
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Postby Madison » Sat May 20, 2006 9:30 pm

fezzik wrote:I agree that immigrants who come to our country should learn to speak english ;-D ...that being said:

If the employees don't want to learn Spanish, they don't lose their jobs. They are transferred to a different store. And if they don't want to transfer, then they have to go...but that's the employee's choice.

If 2/3 of the customers at the store spoke Russian as their native tongue, then I would assume the owner would make a similar decision and have the managers speak Russian...I think he's just focussed on the bottom line here. And why would there be more of an outcry if it was Russian? :-? The Cold War is over...Russia is not a superpower. We are no longer propagandized as children to hate them.

Lastly, I simply don't believe that the customers who are complaining are going to boycott the store...they probably go there because of it's convenience. Ideals are great, but are they pissed off enough to not shop there any more? Ever? I'd be surprised.

It's easy to take a social/political angle on this story, but for me it just comes down to a business owner trying to make his business more profitable. ;-D


Nice post. ;-D

True, the employees do have a choice. It's not a good choice, but it is a choice, so I'll give you that much.

Russian was just a language I pulled out of thin air. Could be any foreign language other than Spanish. The point was that some people accept this business owner's decision because Spanish has become so common in some areas of the United States due to the amount of illegal immigrants. Take out the illegals, and Spanish isn't as common anymore, which is at the heart of this issue. The outcry is about changing America for reasons it shouldn't. Forcing employees of a country to learn, say German, would cause an outcry simply because there's really no need. Same goes for Spanish if we removed the illegals, rather than cater to them, even though the majority of them don't care enough to learn the language of the country they are living in illegally.

Oh there will be boycotts. Remember when Target was saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas"? They lost business due to it. I can see people avoiding this store. Probably will be less business lost, than business gained, so it makes sense for the owner to go the way he's going. I was just pointing out that some people will in fact not shop there anymore because of his decision (which of course he has every right to decide).
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Postby Omaha Red Sox » Sun May 21, 2006 10:04 am

Boycotts work, it's been proven. Remember the France boycott? It may not seem like that big of a deal, but France lost 34% of American tourism, about $500 million, and that's just tourism. French restaurants lost $15 million across the US and the sell of French wine went down 10%.

Being from where this happened, I can tell you there are many more people disgruntled about this than are happy with it. No Frills has 6 stores, not just this one. If a boycott were to take place, it could affect them all.
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Postby fezzik » Sun May 21, 2006 12:39 pm

Omaha Red Sox wrote:Boycotts work, it's been proven. Remember the France boycott? It may not seem like that big of a deal, but France lost 34% of American tourism, about $500 million, and that's just tourism. French restaurants lost $15 million across the US and the sell of French wine went down 10%.

Being from where this happened, I can tell you there are many more people disgruntled about this than are happy with it. No Frills has 6 stores, not just this one. If a boycott were to take place, it could affect them all.


Pretty extreme boycott analogy, but either way I never said anything about boycotts (in general) not working. I was just questioning the level of discontent of the angry customers. Obviously you have a better feel for the situation since you are familiar with the region. So let's say that the customers are pissed enough to organize a boycott of the six stores (five of which will be dramatically affected because their customer base is not primarily spanish-speaking). Again, I'm only looking at this from a business owner's perspective.

Clearly in this case the owner would have misjudged the reaction, and realizing he will probably lose more business than he will gain, he will want to revise his policy. Something like...

- give incentives to managers who learn spanish
- start hiring bilingual employees (possibly members of the local spanish-speaking community)

But again, I'm just taking your word for it that the customers are disgruntled enough to take action. That may or may not be the case. The owner better figure it out soon if he wants to keep his business profitable. :-)
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Postby Madison » Fri Jun 09, 2006 1:10 am

And the counter attack! :-°

English only at Philly cheesesteak joint By PATRICK WALTERS, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 5 minutes ago


PHILADELPHIA - Bistec con queso? Not at Geno's Steaks.

An English-only ordering policy has thrust one of Philadelphia's best-known cheesesteak joints into the national immigration debate.

Situated in a South Philadelphia immigrant neighborhood, Geno's — which together with its chief rival, Pat's King of Steaks, forms the epicenter of an area described as "ground zero for cheesesteaks" — has posted small signs telling customers, "This Is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING `SPEAK ENGLISH.'"

"They don't know how lucky they are. All we're asking them to do is learn the English language," said Geno's owner Joseph Vento, 66. "We're out to help these people, but they've got to help themselves, too."

Vento, whose grandparents struggled to learn English after immigrating from Sicily in the 1920s, said he posted the sign about six months ago amid concerns over immigration reform and the increasing number of customers who could not order in English when they wanted Philly's gooey, greasy specialty — fried steak, sliced or chopped, in a long roll, with cheese and fried onions.

Of course, it's not as if native Philadelphians speak the King's English either. A Philadelphian might order a cheesesteak by saying something like, "Yo, gimme a cheesesteak wit, will youse?" ("Wit," or "with," means with fried onions.) To which the counterman might reply: "Youse want fries widdat?"

The traditionally Italian community near Geno's has become more diverse over the decades. Immigrants from Asia and Latin America have moved in, joining longtime residents and young professionals seeking reasonably priced rowhouses. In the past 10 years, an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Mexican immigrants — many of them here illegally, community leaders say — have settled in South Philly.

Vento said his staff is glad to help non-native speakers order in English and has never turned someone away because of a language barrier.

But the policy has "really upset a lot of a people," said Brad Baldia of Day Without An Immigrant, a coalition of immigrant groups. "For some people, I think we're just going to say, `Le gusta Pat's.'"

Juntos, a Hispanic neighborhood organization, said it plans to send people to Geno's to try to order in Spanish and may pursue court action, depending on what happens.

"His grandparents encountered the same racism and the same xenophobia," said Peter Bloom, the group's director. "Why would he begin that process over again?"

Vento said he has gotten plenty of criticism and threats. One person told him they hoped one his many neon signs flames out and burns the place down, he said. But he said he plans to hold his ground.

Customers placing orders on a recent morning seemed unfazed.

Angelica Marquez, 22 and originally from Puerto Rico, ordered in well-spoken English, but said some of her relatives struggle with the language. "They always come and just say `cheesesteak,'" Marquez said, adding that the policy "bothers her some" but not enough to keep her away.

When a non-English speaking customer showed up at the window a short time later, a clerk patiently coached him through the process. Eventually, both said "cheesesteak."

Vento, a short, fiery man with a ninth-grade education, arms covered in tattoos and a large diamond ring in his ear, also sells "freedom fries" to protest France's opposition to the Iraq war. He rails against Mumia Abu-Jamal, the black man who was convicted of killing police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981 and has become a cause celebre among some death penalty opponents. Memorials to Faulkner are posted at his shop.

Those who market the city, often using images of Geno's and other famous steak shops, are watching with concern.

"I certainly wouldn't want a national audience to think it represented all of the wonderful cheesesteak makers in the whole city," said Meryl Levitz, president and chief executive of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. "This isn't representative of the Philadelphia attitude."

Competitors are seizing on the controversy.

Tony Luke's issued a statement saying it welcomes all customers "whether or not they speak a `wit' of English."

And a manager at Pat's, Kathy Smith, said of Geno's English-only policy: "That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard in my life. I'd rather listen to the Spanish than the foul language of the college students."



http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060608/ap_on_re_us/english_only_cheesesteaks

This is getting interesting. :-)
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Postby Fireball Express » Fri Jun 09, 2006 1:26 am

I guess that's sort of like ordering at a restaurant in France. ;-7
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Postby Omaha Red Sox » Fri Jun 09, 2006 8:29 am

Good for him. If they were 'Mexicans' they'd live in Mexico. If they were 'Italians' they'd live in Italy. 'Americans' live in America, where English is spoken. Pledge allegiance to America if you want to be American.
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Postby acsguitar » Fri Jun 09, 2006 11:40 am

I don't think after you have the job that you should be forced to learn another lenguage. I suck at other lenguages. However, i can see that knowing another lenguage could be a factor in your getting hired and I don't have a problem with this. If it can make your company more money then it is there duty to hire someone who can speak spanish.

Heck companies send you to all sorts of training now a days. If they pay for it then go for it. It'll be good for you in the long run and if its free then why not.
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Postby PlayingWithFire » Fri Jun 09, 2006 5:05 pm

watch it lose business. I'm not cursing them but it's not a very good business decision ;-7

I have nothing against English, I don't remember posting in French on the board :-D
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Postby Lofunzo » Fri Jun 09, 2006 10:59 pm

Madison wrote:2 totally different thoughts here, but......

#1. If the owner believes that his employees learning Spanish will bring in more business, than the amount of business he will lose due to this policy, then he's free to do as he pleases. Make no mistake about it though, he will lose some of his English speaking customers, but if he draws in more business than what he loses, then it's hard to argue with his decision. He owns a business, and he's making a business decision in order to attempt to grow the business.

the new policy doesn't please all No Frills shoppers. One told KETV NewsWatch 7 he thinks immigrants should learn English.


#2. Put me in the camp of the quote above. Go anywhere on the face of the Earth and ask someone what language is spoken in America. They will tell you that Americans speak English. If you're in this country, you really should learn it. It benefits not only the country, but the person learning the language as well. ;-D


I understood this article to say that they wanted the employees to learn the language to accomodate the spanish speaking customers. I don't see how this would affect the english speaking customers. The employees would just speak english to them.
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