Should non English speaking customers be denied service for inconvenience?
I saw a special on good morning America(I hate good morning America, I proffer Fox & Friends) about people in restaurants and places like that being denied service because the employees just got fed up with it. I can't find any video of it or anything.
Side Score: 58
Side Score: 47
we live in a free country. if someone can't communicate with you, you shouldn't have to serve them.
why should people be forced to tolerate someone's inability to speak english? I don't mind if you can't, but i also don't mind if people won't serve you because you can't.
as for the businesses, if i ran a business i would try to hire employees who can speak different languages because, shoot, i wanna make money. a spanish guy pays the same amount as an english guy.
Surprisingly, I'm on this side.
A private business is allowed to serve in whatever language they like.
They cannot deny service based on gender, religion, race, sexual orientation, or any other superficial characteristic.
They are not however required to hire additional employees for the purpose of translating.
Our nation has with great wisdom (whether planned or accidental) never claimed an official language.
This allows the free market to decide.
If at some time, a company finds it in their own best interest to ensure they have employees that speak other languages, that is a decision they will make on their own.
Businesses are not responsible for which language any potential customer may speak. There are literally hundreds of languages, it would be ridiculous and impossible to expect every company to be fluent in all of them.
By the same token. If an entrepreneur wants to start a business who's menu is in pig latin, and I don't know pig latin, and he has a big enough customer base to stay afloat... guess what, I don't get to eat there until I speak pig latin.
End of story.
Yes of course they should. Maybe it will motivate them to learn how to speak English.
That thing on good morning America was trying to make those employees look mean and racist. That's a bunch of crap.
If I own my own private restaurant I can deny service to anyone I want.
It is very frustrating for everyone when there is a language barrier. For example, when my boss is telling me to do something and I cannot for the life of me understand what he is trying to say because he can hardly speak English.
Everyone in the U.S. should be speaking fluent English, just like the good old days.
As loath I am to agree with JakeJ, he's absolutely right. No business is required to serve everyone.
There are thousands of languages spoken throughout the world. If all businesses were required to hire staff fluent in all of them, only huge corporations could afford to do business.
Granted, there's the financial incentive to do business with people, regardless of their language. However, if a business is too small to handle the rare customer that doesn't speak English, it's their right to refuse service.
That's a little harsh that every American should be speak english. That's like saying every American should be just one religion too (like, what, Christian?) So then there's no inconvenience and barriers with religions. America is desired because it's a "melting pot." Different languages are allowed here. And in this country, we actually have a benefit most countries don't have: to gain an education in practically anything. So maybe we should broaden our languages a little bit more. After all, it's not like these foreigners, non-english speaking people, are actually not learning. They'll gather the language eventually just from living here. Plus, if I went to France and got denied service because I couldn't speak French, I'd be pretty effin pissed.
Well hey, I'm not saying they should forget their old language. Wouldn't it be better for them to learn english? Then they would speak two different languages which would make it easier for them to make more money.
It's just better for everyone to speak english.
"That's like saying every American should be just one religion too (like, what, Christian?) "
What!? Come on, that's a stretch.
I'm not sure what "good old days" you're referring to. With the possible exception of the English every group that has ever come to what is now the United States has been discriminated against. I like to think of it as an initiation of sorts, which makes the Black and American Indian communities the highest order of American possible of course. To prove my point I'll list a few examples: first and foremost are obviously the American Indians and the Blacks. See the American Indian immigrated to the Americas from Asia a couple thousand years ago or so and are therefore just as much immigrants as you or me (assuming of course you are an American, Canadian or some other denizen of the Americas, otherwise just play along). The Europeans of course felt the need to apply all of that backlogged discrimination which may or may not be fair since it meant that they escaped the natural order of things. But then again the first Europeans (the Vikings) seemed to have been slaughtered upon arrival so maybe that's not the case, at any rate there's more.
So then, we have the original immigrants thoroughly discriminated against making them first-class Americans, the next wave getting off pretty light all things considered, then things get back to normal for we now see Africans beginning to arrive as slaves which is clearly the ultimate form of discrimination putting them up there on the level of "Americanness." Of course then we have to consider the Irish who were treated pretty badly when you look at it, and the Jews who just can't seem to get a break no matter where they go, then there's the Germans and Italians and such who got off pretty easy really their biggest trouble was learning English which their children did at any rate. Then there's always the Japanese and let's face it they had it pretty rough there for the duration of World War II, but I like to think that they've paid us back to some extent by taking over
So now we have the Hispanics who expect everyone to bend over backwards for them. My question to them is this: do you really want to break this cycle? I mean everyone else turned out pretty OK, well except the Indians but they had all sorts of time to get their act together. My answer to all of you is this: why can't we meet half way. I'll make an effort to make your transition easier if you actually ever get off that fence and decide that you want to make that transition.
Disclaimer: To all of you who get offended by this (because I know someone will) there was a great deal of sarcasm mixed in with some serious thought. I'm sure I'll get down votes anyway but you know what...I don't care.
Damn straight. And non English speaking employees should be denied jobs for inconvenience too! Man, I went upstate to Salt Lake City and this guy didn't know two words of English and had this lady right there to translate for him. It took me ten minutes to order a goddamn big mac with fries.
Same thing happened in Moab. D:
This is an English speaking country whether someone likes it or not and they better get used to speaking and reading English because that's how we roll.
By the by Jake, if you haven't visited Moab, you should. The rest of the world can make fun of the Mormons all they want, but goddamn do they have the best cities... Well besides the Mexican server guys who don't speak English. But even then, they're rare. Man, and if you don't like the city, the view is amazing.
Many businesses have a sign saying that they withhold the right to refuse service to anyone, for any reason.
This means that they can choose not to serve you, assist you, or whatever it is that they do, for whatever reason, as long as it doesn't break any laws. If that means not serving a customer because nobody can understand the crazy Moon language that he is speaking, that's perfectly fine. You can't expect a company with multiple customers to spend that much time on someone.
But, as has been said before in this debate, there definitely is a financial incentive, in some cases, to do so.
This argument may, at first, seem to be unrelated to the debate. However, after a little thought the relevancy of the argument is self-evident.
If we, as Americans, enjoy "freedom" we enjoy the freedom of not only choosing what we will do, but also choosing that which we won't do. Any American who would determine what another free man/woman is to choose as an act of freedom is an act of tyranny.
Have we as a nation become so depraved in thought that we now believe we have the authority to determine which freedoms are free for others to exact in the execution of their freedom?
Unless it is a crime, the choice of any man to do or not do a certain thing is the essence of freedom. Do we actually hate freedom when the choice of another's freedom pisses us off? The implication is yes, we dislike the execution of freedom when such execution is not the freedom we would of chosen.
I feel somewhat torn by this whole thing. On the one hand I see absolutely nothing wrong with being proud of one's heritage, further I don't have a problem with recent immigrants not speaking English fluently. After all its not an official language. However I do have a problem with schools not forcing children to learn English fluently and with the idea that illegal immigration isn't a crime. Look I've got no less than five separate sets of immigrant ancestors that I can trace back to, all of them came over legally whether as colonists or even as recently as the 1920's. So maybe that's why I have a problem with people just hopping the fence and hanging out without a passport, green card or any other documentation.
In a lot of ways the recent influx of Hispanic immigrants has invoked the same responses that immigration always invokes in Americans... "Those damn [insert immigrant group name] are stealing our jobs and ruining our country with their gibberish language." Forget that immigrants generally do the "dirty jobs" that nobody wants to do, forget that we're all descended from immigrants, they're not Americans and they're taking our jobs.
But I do feel that this time some of those complaints might have some grounding, well not the specific complaints about job stealing and such, but the complaint about immigrants in general. I'm in favor of granting amnesty to the people who are already here, half of them probably are parents of American citizens by now anyway, we don't need to go through the witch hunt of trying to deport them all. But we do need to secure our borders, make legal immigration a real possibility, set up Ellis Island type processing stations along the Mexican border and prosecute future illegal aliens.
So what does that have to do with non English speaking customers today? I think that we all need to remember that we all have ancestors who immigrated to this strange New World looking for a fresh start and new opportunities. Give the people a break. Learn a little Spanish, or Japanese or whatever and help the customer out. I'm not saying you have to be fluent, but learn a few phrases that have to do with what you're selling and encourage your employees (or coworkers whatever the case may be) to do the same. That small gesture of welcome just might motivate those stubborn immigrants who haven't made the effort to learn English, or are struggling to become fluent, to try a little harder to reward your kindness with a little consideration of their own.
Of course in the end it is a "free country" or so the saying goes and a business person has the right to deny service to a person. But does that mean the should? No probably not, it doesn't make good business sense and it's ethically questionable to boot.
No, of course not!!! Why should they? They may be here only a few weeks or so and are trying to absorb a new language. I've been all over the world and have never been treated as badly as you, who think the opposite of what I believe, think I should have been. Viva Europa & Puerto Rico!
It's a national disgrace that one would refuse to help people. You don't know who they are or what they're doing. Treat people fairly, compassionately and with manners.
I was raised in the very southern tip of Texas, which is like 98% Hispanic. Most people there are bilingual but in some Mexican food places they only speak Spanish. I speak very little Spanish, but it's not hard to point at the menu and say, "that one." The waiters almost always know at least a few basic words like "water", "chicken", "check", etc... and that's really all you need.
If people are being denied service for not speaking English, that is racism, or at least intolerance. It doesn't take much communication to place an order.
That's a good point, but I was kind of thinking along the lines of people being denied because it was causing an inconvenience. OF course if there is no inconvenience there is no problem.
I wasn't asking if people should be denied service strictly because they don't speak English.
I agree, that in places like restaurants that have reasonably simple menus, they shouldn't be denied service, and like you mentioned, there's really no reason to deny service since there's no considerable inconvenience.
However, if the business requires the customer to do a little more than simply point at a picture (e.g. talk), and the customer doesn't speak the business' language, it's their right to refuse service.
You have the choice to deny them service, and that right should be protected. But impatience with other cultures and languages is what's made us so ignorant and disliked around the world. Instead of putting your head in the sand and denying that the world's changing, why don't you learn a second language and try to adapt to it?
JakeJ you are narrowing the argument to migration.
What about tourism? If you have a tourist industry (which America does) then you owe it to your customers to be tolerant of any inconvenience arising from language difficulty.
Millions of people choose to spend their hard earned cash on a trip to America.
They could have spent that money on MANY other countries and sights, and yet they have chosen yours.
Don't you think you should have the courtesy to meet them half way through? Or at least tolerate the inconvenience?
You cannot be that narrow minded when you are doing business with the rest of the world.
Something tells me that if a billionaire Arab was trying to buy your dad's Chevy for $100.000 you wouldn't be so picky about him not speaking english... :o)
You forget where America's culture originated. Anyhow, language isn't culture based. If I learn german, I don't acquire german culture.
I agree, businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason, but language shouldn't be a reason. There are ways around vocal language, like having someone point or meshing two languages to get at least some information, at least enough to tell them that you don't speak their language. Nein sprechen ze deutsch, No habla en espanol... or just shake your head and look confused.
It shouldn't be in America's culture to neglect people based on where they came from. We are supposed to be the pinnacle of hospitality, one reason we often see ourselves as the police of the world, because we have the right, look at what good we've done.
Maybe I'm the one with the skewed understanding of my country but at least I understand business enough to know that money doesn't need to speak my language for me to collect it.
[hint: usually when you complain about peoples' culture you get the shit beat out of you]
No, because that is absolutely rude. I have a severe hearing loss and can hardly understand anything people say, and this means they could easily deny me service because I don't know what the heck they're saying, and that would be considered discrimination. So, even for me, it's still discrimination for a foreigner too. Whining employees should probably be fired for that type of behavior. Anyone ever heard of the writing method? Or the point and nod method?
This is unthinkable. There are two main groups who would be unable to communicate in English: tourists and immigrants.
I've traveled to many, many countries where I did not speak a word of the language, but communication has always been possible through body language, sorts of charades, etc. It's an incredibly rewarding and intimate experience. How rude would a person be to turn down a well-meaning tourist!
As for immigrants, it is important to remember that the USA does not have an official language! While English is most commonly spoken, there are several other languages that exist, with every right to. Spanish will soon be the most commonly spoken language; should English-speaking customers be denied service, then, because they don't speak the most common language?
This is such and arrogant ARROGANT question.
It presumes that America is at the center of the world and that everybody else wants to come in and eat a piece of the pie.
The fact that so many people narrowed the debate question to Mexicans coming in America, is very revealing indeed.
What you are forgetting is that there are millions of Americans who travel the world every year, and enjoy the culture and sights of different countries.
If all those countries turned around and said "oh sorry, learn to speak mandarin before you order your burger" then you would never be able to leave your country.
And I know a lot of Americans aren't even interested in visiting other countries cause most of them don't even have a passport, but IF you wanted to, lets say, visit the pyramids, or see the Parthenon, or visit the Colosseum, would you not be pissed off if you couldn't get a taxi, or eat at a restaurant, or buy some merchandise, all because the locals demanded that you speak their language?
Yet, because of other people's politeness, hospitality and economic needs, you get to visit the pyramids and still place your order... in english.
Whatever happened to feeling excited about finding out what the person is trying to say.
Whatever happened to the thrill and fun of pointing and gesturing.
The rest of the world seems to have the courtesy to at least learn the basics of another language (usually english), maybe it's time the english speaking world had the courtesy to do the same...
I went to Germany twoyears ago, and almost everyone spoke English, which was actually really annoying because I was there to practice my German. tgttp, I was in a cake shop and the customer in front of me was speaking Spanish, and the employee understood. The employee also spoke English and German.
You don't often find this in England, I don't know about America.