Monday, May 22, 2006

¿Usted Desea Las Fritadas Con Eso?

True(ish) story:

At the Arby's drive through, picking up a Jamocha shake for the wife. I pull up to the window, and a 55-ish year old ruddy-faced Irish-looking guy with a name tag that says, "Chuck," says, cheerily, "That'll be two pesos."

"You're supposed to speak English," I tell him. "They're gonna pass a law. Habla ingles, or get out."

"Well, I want my kids to be competitive," he says. Huh? Say wha? "Yeah, they been doin' it over in Europe for years. They speak French, German, Spanish, Italian. That's why they're competitive."

OK, the guy in the Arby's drive through is lecturing me about what it takes to be competitive in the evolving global marketplace. I mean, I don't want to fire the first shot in the class war here, but it's 9:00 on a Monday night, and, after all, I'm the one driving the Japanese-made minivan.

"Uh, OK, yeahright," I say. "Competitivo. Buonas noches." I drive off.

"Hey! Hey! Hey! Yo! Hold up!" He's shouting in unmistakable Lower Northeast Philadelphia Irish guy dialect, say Mayfair or Bridesburg. (Kind of a shock in Central Pennsylvania, but, after all, he's a competitor in the global marketplace. Movin' on up!)

What? Did I forget to pay? Is he going to call the cops?

No. He's holding a milkshake out of the drive through window. "You forgot this."

No, I didn't. I have a Jamocha shake right here next to me, in one of the 14 cup holders offered in the Sienna XLE.

"Oh. Well then, what's this?," he asks, puzzled.

I don't know. But I'll tell you this: Giving away free milkshakes is no way to be competitive, in any language.

1 comment:

D.B. Echo said...

Two pesos works out to about 18 cents. You should've taken the deal and said Muchas Gracias, idioto gringo!