Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mme. Fickes would be proud

Well, maybe.

First off let me apologize for being so slack with my blogging. With two jobs and kids, there is not much time to sit journal for souls perusing the internet to find. However, when I get those moments, I do still like to share.

This post comes about a week or two late.

I kid you not, half of the customers this particular night were from Quebec, most from Montreal (yes I asked) and all were coming home from Florida. (I want to go to Florida, but I digress)In spite of the masses of Canadians moving through our doors, there was no mapel leaf convention nearby. They were all isolated friends/family groups all coming home from vacation and no group knew another group.

For a span of an hour it was every other customer and some must have been from border towns because their English was practically non existant.

However, all that aside, we have discussed my obsession with accents and my adoration of the Quebequois accent. The result of this evening, although slightly stressful, was like a tiny peice of glee for me.

Like any good employee, I try to accomodate the customer request, which first comes by way of ensuring I understand their order. This proved quite difficult in English with many of them because, they had a poor grasp on the language. So I took a deep breath, blocked out the noises around me and eaves dropped on conversations hoping desperately to understands *something* anything to help these poor hungry souls find sustenance and then I hear what sounds like "freets"...wait...freets? I know that word...FRIES! "Frites grande? ou um...errr...medium?" as I hold up my hands to gesture large or medium hoping my hack job at franglais was making it's point...and suddenly I am in an onslaught of "oui! oui! medeeeeooom" Oh I love that accent. So then I hear "poolay" and I'm like...snap! that's poulet and that means chicken and I am definitley remembering things so I attempt a few more phrases in french and start pulling out the numbers of the value meals and voila...smooth ordering from the wee canadians that were struggeling just moments before.

I actually got into a niche and blurted out "c'est tout?" a few times instead of "is that everything?" and they just responded as if I knew all there was to their language, and of course I began to stutter and had to explain it's been almost 20 years since French class and I can't remember it all, but could someone please bring me some poutine next time they are in town?

I felt pretty good about things and always remembered my "merci" as they departed. And although it was just a burger or a chicken sandwich I feel like I did my part in that little Mc Donald's motto of "we love to see you smile". Perhaps I should learn that phrase in French as well.

Actually, I appreciate a language barrier. It's not easy going into a foreign country and attempting to communicate in a language you are not strong with. I remember doing it as a kid growing up on Army bases in Germany. I did eventually learn "Danke", and "knie aus" (knees out from ballet class, which I never really mastered by the way).

I have learned, however, that in spite of the largest language barriers, that a simple thank you goes a long way. As a result, I've tried to learn what I can in the languages that frequent our store. American sign language I'm pretty stupid with, but I can get a few toddler neccessary phrases out. Not sure "socks" is going to help a customer, however that "thank you" will put a smile on their face and make their experience better, and so I learned it the first deaf customer we had. Now they all come to me. I guess I'm special that way. I can't speak ASL, but I can hand them a paper and pen and a list I keep nearby for them to point and pick. And again we follow up with the thank yous.

I love that little phrase, and I'm determined to learn it in more languages. I think I have french of course, and german, ASL, spanish and italian for the thanks phrase. I could have learned it in Indian and Finish. Sadly, I forgot to ask the Hindu convention how to say it as they came through and the finish au pairs I met last week, were too absorbed in conversation to want to be interupted when things were slow enough to converse. Oh well, I will learn more as I age. I hope at least. In the meantime, mayhaps my French teacher from so many years ago will be content knowing that I've actually found a use outside of tourism for the language she so adored. Thanks Mme. Fickes. I guess you taught me well...or should I say "merci".

Sunday, January 31, 2010

There's a reason restaraunt workers can't stand teens

Dear Pine Grove Area High School,
We appreciate the fact that in your hunger induced delerium, we are your natural choice for sustenance after a long hard game. We enjoy that you like to tell us of your wins. However, do not think for a second we appreciate the fact that you come in, trash our lobby, bust our salt shakers, and destroy our property. You can not deny it is you, as you trapse in dressed in your team uniform, still with shoes on from your games. I've asked repeatedly for you to stop. There are days it takes an hour and three of us to clean up after your messes. Frankly this job does not pay me enough to bus the tables you feel the need to trash without you paying me a tip. Yes, we all feel this way, and yes we've contemplated contacting the director of your athletics department, explaining what you do after every game. Respect is earned young ones, and if you wish to be treated as adults, then it's time you start behaving like them. For the record, vandalism is a crime and busting salt shakers you do not intend to purchase is indeed vandalism, as is throwing things all over our property. Do not be surprised when one day a cop is suddenly standing in front of you on your way out the door because I finally became fed up with your antics and contacted them. You are in uniform. Believe it or not, you are representatives of your school. At that point, if your school is like the countless others, then your handbook specifies this type of behavior will not be tolerated and most likely end up in a suspension, so please consider the fact that other people are left cleaning up your messes before placing that quarter under the salt. And remember, you did not invent this little trick. It was around when my grand daddy was around. But his father would have beaten him senseless had he ever attempted such a stunt.

Furthermore, since I am on a complaining kick, and since I do not do this often, let me continue on to my other point of discontent.


It is a well known fact that men's rooms are disgusting. Apparently, men have little control over the hose from which their voiding flows. Yet, men think they are powerful enought to control a giant firehose if they choose that profession. The wall is not a place for you to void. The drain within the urinal is the proper place to aim. I just thought I put that out there, however, my angst really is not directed towards the men. My angst is that women seem to think they are the cleaner species when, the reality of the situation is they are down right disgusting at least once a month. Why any woman feels that the world wants to see that she is experiencing her moon, is beyond me. There is no reason to leave things laying face up on the floor, tossed in the corner, expecting some mythical creature to magically whisk them away when you leave. There's no need to leave traces of your mess all over our toilets because you could not be bothered with grabbing a tiny peice of tissue to wipe things up. And really, with tissue and the bags your products come in, and any number of other items, must you seriously leave them exposed anyway? Wrap them please before placing them in the hygene recepticals. At the end of the evening guess who gets to open those lids to empty those bins? We here at our store do not wish to see such things. It really taints our evenings. You would not do this at home so why do it in public? Believe it or not, it's really not acceptable here either.

And with that, I leave my bitching and moaning for the day. I'm really rather tired. I'm working two jobs and can not seem to keep up with this little blog like I used to. I promise for Amanda's sake I will try harder and not be so hard on the customers in posts to come.