McDonald\'s Food Allergy Policy Language Barrier

Posted on: Sun, 03/18/2007 - 5:39am
MommaBear's picture
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Okay. I live about 45 minutes south of Chicago. About 20 miles. (That's a guess, I've never timed or measured it.)

This is very subjective, but I'd say we have a prominent Hispanic population. A very successful one at that. Lot's of businesses and franchises that are Hispanic owned or staffed largely by those in the Hispanic community.

Including a McDonald's in my area. There are [i]Three[/i] Mcdee's within 5 to 10 minutes of my home. Five if you say 15 minutes in heavy traffic. I could very well chose any of the five (er....six, now that I think of it) and still not be inconvenienced by the drive. (Scary, folks, isn't it?) Like Walgreens. Could be part of Area 51 for all I know. Some subterranean underground.

Anywhooo. I [i]choose[/i] to go to the McDonald's owned and operated largely under Hispanic influence. All three in my area are clean, neat, and in repair, (newer), but I choose to solicit the business under Hispanic management. I know I'm emphasizing that, but that's the deciding factor folks. It's the cleanest, the fastest, and the food is always fresh, warm, and appealing looking. They don't crunch the tops of the take out bags either. The manager always gives Iz an "under three toy". Sometimes, slips the boys a toy as well ("Wowee robots" today). When I go to the drive-thru...I actually get a straw, silverware when necessary, and a napkin.

Anywhooo. Even sans the toys, I'd still go based on the product and facility presentation. The staff are courteous.

Anywhooooooooooooo. Today, I had something to digest. Today, we went there for breakfast. My oldest son is adamant about "choosing" what he wants to eat there lately, and he was heavily invested in obtaining a "Cinnamon Melt". Near rabbid. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img]

I told him we'd have to look at the ingredients, and possibly the manufacturer. Investigate.

I asked the girl (anglo, highschool, completely lost) at the register to show me the ingredient list. I wasn't sure if it would be on the regular "nutrition" brochure since I had not found their "bakery" cookies there before and had to obtain the information from the "product" booklet kept in the back. I had three children with me and was not in the mood to thumb through the fold out brochure.

I was hoping for a miracle, I know.

Anyw.....she said "No we don't have ingredent lists." I quickly told her they did and if I could please see the manager, she'd get it for me, I was sure.

The manager came, and when I reminded her of my sons allergies to peanuts and nuts, she quickly (and [b]mistakenly[/b], I might add) informed me: [i]"There are no "nuts" in them"[/i] as she motioned to the [i]picture[/i] on the menu overhead. I told her we needed to read the ingredient list to make a more accurate assessment.

The manager, hispanic, knows me well enough [i]to know I am not hispanic[/i], gave me the nutrition brochure in the kiosk by the registers. The brochure written entirely [i]in Spanish[/i]. It was not a "bilingual" brochure. She looked through it, showing it to me, and I finally said: [i]This is in Spanish[/i], where is the ingredient lists [i]in English[/i]? I think she was a bit surprised that she didn't notice she was reading along in Spanish and that I didn't "get it". [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img] I know enough spoken Spanish, but surely not enough to read an ingredient list. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img] [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img] Maybe it's my name.... [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] My daughter's name. Something about me.

So. She looked in the kiosk for a brochure in English.

There wasn't one available. Didn't even look like there was a slot open. Got to admit, I felt [i]slighted[/i]. You know, English being the national language, (it still is, isn't it? lol...) but no brochure in English. LOL even harder!

She eventually obtained one from the [i]back office/supply room[/i].

The "melts" were not listed, so I told her there Must be a "product information" page in the back [i]book[/i]. She went and found another manager (?) I guess, whom I've not seen previously, who obtained the page I needed quickly for her, but probably didn't anticipate her giving it [b]to me[/b], as when she (the anglo manager) saw she was givng the product information page (a copy) to me, she quickly came over and started going [i]on and on and on[/i] to the other manager that:

[b]"we can't discuss ANYTHING related to allergies and ingredients with customers"[/b]

HUGE LOOK OF SURPRISE on the hispanic manager's face. I felt sorry for her truly, since the other manager was very curt and abrupt. Scolding. I was almost sorry I asked. I wasn't intending for this person, whom I talk to on a weekly basis, whom I let even cuddle my infant daugher, whom I shared my pregnancy cravings with, get scolded by someone who was maybe there just [i]temporarily[/i].

I scarfed up the page and just as quickly told her that I didn't think the company meant I couldn't read he brochure or product information pages [i]for myself[/i] or why would you have them to begin with? I told her I had previously called corporate in Oak Brook some years back and I wasn't under the impression that I wasn't allowed to[i] read[/i]. That as I understood it the new "gag" order was only in regards to [i]interpretation[/i] and verbal dissemination of info from employee to customer. Hey, I could be wrong, but that's how I understood it.

(I'm also adding that maybe the "melts" might make their way to the "ingredient lists" in the future, but I'm not sure. Maybe it depends on who manufactures it. Like the bakery cookies.

So, I read the product information, and at the bottom is a "manufactured in a facility that also process peanuts and nuts" warning. In plain view. (or something to that affect, the page is still in my car, can't read it now, might post it later)

So. That's my trip to McDonald's today. Just thankful that I'm not the type to let someone else decide if a food is safe or not for my child based [i]on a picture[/i]. I'm sure McDonald's corporate is glad too.

[i]How messy that would be.[/i]

But my further observation is, [i]how well is McDonald's educating it's employees who might have a language barrier, in many areas, including "Allergens"?[/i] I was under the impression it was part of their training. Especially for "managerial staff"? Don't get me wrong, the manager is very proficient in spoken english. Written? I don't know. She's very pleasant, efficient, neat. I'm just wondering about the look of surprise one manager (Hispanic) gave the other manager (Anglo) when the issue of the "gag" order was discussed, and why one manager (who was new, or at least new to the location) knew where the "product information" was, or that it even existed, and the other who had been there for several years, since it opened, did not. Is McDonalds backing up their "on the books" practice with what is practice in "actuality"? You know, what *is* in the training manual anway?

General Disclaimer: I am not offering advice in any manner or form.
ooo yick. edit gobs of italics.

[This message has been edited by MommaBear (edited March 18, 2007).]

Posted on: Sun, 03/18/2007 - 5:42am
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Quote:Originally posted by MommaBear:
[b]Anywhooo. I choose to go to the McDonald's owned and operated largely under Hispanic influence. All three in my area are clean, neat, and in repair, (newer), but I choose to solicit the business under Hispanic management. I know I'm emphasizing that, but that's the deciding factor folks. It's the cleanest, the fastest, and the food is always fresh, warm, and appealing looking. They don't crunch the tops of the take out bags either. The manager always gives Iz an "under three toy". Sometimes, slips the boys a toy as well ("Wowee robots" today). When I go to the drive-thru...I actually get a straw, silverware when necessary, and a napkin.
[/b]
I go there despite the fact it has a "playland". I despise those playlands. I went through years of constantly telling my children "no" when they asked to go in the playlands. The boys have since outgrown it, but I'm sure the baby will soon be pleading. I'm sure I will still say "no". Ick.

Posted on: Sun, 03/18/2007 - 6:25am
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Mommabear-I had a similar experience with Dunkin Donuts. I don't think they are big in the Chicago area but out here there is a Dunkin Donuts every 1/2 a mile. Corporate responded fairly quickly, but it left me wondering how "trained" their employees are when the managers were not.
I've had employees of restuarants, even managers, assure me that they KNOW the product is 100% safe--then when I look at the ingredients myself, I see they are 100% wrong.
I hope your son found something else for breakfast [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Nicole

Posted on: Sun, 03/18/2007 - 6:31am
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Quote:Originally posted by NicoleinNH:
[b]I hope your son found something else for breakfast [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
[/b]
He grabbed a "Deluxe Breakfast". no advice, it works for us, I'm sure lots of people on this site wouldn't touch it. Even if only for the fat content. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
But yes, he's still griping about that "cinnamon melt". I think it's because so much at McDonald's has been available for him to eat before. I think he was just assuming McDonald's wouldn't be putting any risk into something that was a "stand alone" item and didn't list peanuts or nuts as an [i]intentional[/i] ingredient? I mean, it shouldn't be hard for them to do, right? I guess it wasn't on their list of priorities.
. Maybe him and I (and my younger son) should just be thankful for what he *can* eat off the menu. [b]I'm almost glad he can't eat it.[/b] Didn't really check the fat grams, but I wouldn't be surprised if it made me cringe.

Posted on: Sun, 03/18/2007 - 6:38am
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a while back i went to a mcdonalds in mesa, arizona on vacation. i was looking for something nuts/milk free for my ds for breakfast. i really had no hopes for finding something but we were waiting there for someone. anyway, the staff/manager had NO idea of any information about ingrediants in the food. they kept showing me the page which had the calories listed. i dont believe they understood what i was asking for but one of the managers was english speaking but didnt know either. we ended up leaving. i really hate fastfood anyway.
------------------
Lalow
James 5 yrs, NKA
Ben 4 yrs, PA and MA

Posted on: Sun, 03/18/2007 - 11:22am
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The cross contamination is so widespread there that I would not find an ingredient list helpful. Sure, it would rule things out, but after watching the employee using the same hand to touch 8 different items, McD`s is out of my comfort zone even with an ingredient list. I also saw her use the same tongs for milk items and non-milk items, so I assume they tong share for everything....or at least I can`t assume that they use separate tongs. About the Spanish instead of English, it is so out of hand here in Los Angeles. I can definitely see being handed a brochure in Spanish by the employees at McDs, and I definitely don`t look Hispanic. About the gag order, maybe it has to do with the huge lawsuit over the french fries and McDonalds not declaring the allergens. GREAT attorney, he enthousiastically took my Van De Kamps case.
[This message has been edited by Carefulmom (edited March 18, 2007).]

Posted on: Sun, 03/18/2007 - 1:42pm
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Thanks for posting this- I wondered about these when I saw the commercial yesterday. Their website for allergen/nutrition information has them added under desserts now, the allergen labeling states "CONTAINS: WHEAT, EGG, MILK AND SOY LECITHIN. " but doesn't mention processed in the same plant with... that you saw- I am glad you mentioned that- makes them out of my comfort zone! Thanks again!

Posted on: Sun, 03/18/2007 - 2:34pm
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MB, I understand completely where you are coming from. I do not intend to offend anyone, but I don't understand, in this country where English is a [i]first[/i] language, they put employees who don't speak or understand English in a customer service position. I have been in many frustrating positions where neither I nor the person I was dealing with could understand each other. I am sure that if we went to another country where English was not the primary language, we would have to learn their's in order to survive. I feel the same way about our country.
I can't speak for McD's because I don't go there, but like NicoleNH said, we have Dunkin Donuts on every block in my town. I once went into one and asked for a "mocha latte" and was given a "gingerbread latte". When I asked her to remake the mocha latte, she made another "gingerbread" one. I asked for a refund and she started yelling at me in a language I didn't understand and I asked for the manager. He, too, hardly spoke any English and offered to make another. My DD who was with me was very frustrated also and told them they should listen to the customers more so they get the order right. After some arguing, I did get my money back and the manager yelled at his employee (all in their native language) and somehow I felt it was blamed on me.

Posted on: Sun, 03/18/2007 - 2:37pm
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I have a couple of reactions, emotional and otherwise:
1) first, recently in a south of Downtown Houston (very inner city) MickeyDs, I asked for an ingredient list for the snack wraps (I eat them all the time--wanted to know caloric info). No, they didn't have them. Yeah, right. But I knew that if I took some time when I got back to my office, I could get the info from the website. I ususally get them grilled w/o any sauce (freaks out the staff--keeps them on their toes). But I was surprised the nutritional info wasn't readily available. Upset even.
2) I don't know why, but the whole lack of ingredients in English thing in your experience didn't really bother me. I'm used to having to ask about peanut ingredients in Spanish at family owned restaurants here in Texas. So I don't know, it didn't register to me as odd or a problem really (I'll read ingredient lists and I have to switch to the English ones on purpose sometimes). However, I can see how someone who never deals with that might have a difficult time. I mean, if you don't know how to ask for peanut in Spanish, then yeah, it could be a serious problem.
3) What bothered me was the snotty manager's attitude toward discussing allergens and then influencing this other one that was trying to be helpful. URGHHGH!! Yeah, that seems really, really wrong.

Posted on: Sun, 03/18/2007 - 10:59pm
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One mega-corporation.
Two managers:
One trying to practice the art and International language of [i] customer service [/i], and
the other practicing corporate policy of [i] cover your rumpness [/i].
Made me think of sign here in town which says something like
[b] [i] Example.
A language that everyone can understand. [/i] [/b].
~Eliz

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 12:36am
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I have also had the experience of mc donald's not having the nutritional information available in English. It was about 1 year ago and DS wanted an apple pie. I told him I didn't think it was a good idea and he said, let's read the label...so, thinking this was a good learning experience for DS, I went to the wall where all the info is hanging and could not find a single brochure in English....we were not even in an area with a high concentration of hispanics. I asked the people who work there and they were like, no that is the only brochure we have. Two ladies offered to translate for me...I passed on that.
I emailed the corporate headquarters. Now, when I go to mc.d I tend to investigate their literature....many times, there are no brochures and many times they are only in Spanish....

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 12:37am
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I couldnt finish reading this, Im sorry MB.
WAY too long.
Whats the issue? Too long waiting? Now english enough for you?
Like everything else, if you don't like the way you're treated, go to another McD's... you said there were plenty (I did read that part).
I feel your pain. I do. Not getting good 'touchy feely' from them (or English speaking touchy feely)...
Your visit took too long there. Me? I'd find another one. I don't care if this one is close enough, the closest, the playland is cleanest... If they can't do what you WANT from them, don't GO there. JMTC
Jason
------------------
[b]* Beyond Obsessed * [/b]

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 4:40am
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Quote:Originally posted by jtolpin:
[b]I couldnt finish reading this, Im sorry MB.
WAY too long.
Whats the issue? Too long waiting? Now english enough for you?
Like everything else, if you don't like the way you're treated, go to another McD's... you said there were plenty (I did read that part).
I feel your pain. I do. Not getting good 'touchy feely' from them (or English speaking touchy feely)...
Your visit took too long there. Me? I'd find another one. I don't care if this one is close enough, the closest, the playland is cleanest... If they can't do what you WANT from them, don't GO there. JMTC
Jason
[/b]
obviously you didn't read the post. You don't even have to tell me that. Can't figure out why you'd take the time to post erroneous conclusions/assumptions related to something you didn't have time to read...

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 5:47am
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I read enough I thought. Maybe I didnt. I had a tough time waddling thru the rambling, really.
But, going by the title of the post, I'd say you have an issue with the folks at the place you go to, and their issues with reading english and dealing with FA's?
Is that close to your issue?
Would it just be that one place, y'think? Do they need different training? Do they need training period?
Cut to the chase, really. Whats the issue at hand? ESL? Allergy policies? Both?
We have an issue at Dunkin Donuts near our house. The people, generally, do not speak english as a primary lang, and the order is usually wrong... Whose fault is it? Theirs.
Why'd I post to the thread? I wanted to find out what was troubling you, really. See if I could help. I'd like to. But I don't know what to say, besides:
Hugs...
jason
------------------
[b]* Beyond Obsessed * [/b]
[This message has been edited by jtolpin (edited March 19, 2007).]

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 6:05am
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English should be the only available brochure in my opinion. Though I wouldn't want to put a hispanic child at risk if his or her parent/s couldn't read ingredients. But the reverse should DEF. NOT be happening in a country with English as the native tongue.
I think it's odd that at my bank I have to choose English or Spanish. I want to type in "duh." I can see "press here for Spanish" but now they actually make you choose English as a separate keystroke too.
A culture that is too weak to assert it's characteristics on it's own turf will not survive. Evolutionary pressure of the cultures. If we are too weak to assert ourselves, we will lose our culture, period. Too weak even to demand that our own language be primary! It's pitiful, really.
Still can't get the hispanic PA kid out of my mind though. I feel strongly about American identity and all, but I don't want a little PA kid of any nationality to suffer.
What is the solution?

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 6:48am
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Quote:Originally posted by jtolpin:
[b]I read enough I thought. Maybe I didnt. I had a tough time waddling thru the rambling, really.[/b]
lol...ironic.

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 6:49am
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Quote:Originally posted by jtolpin:
[b]But, going by the title of the post, I'd say you have an issue with the folks at the place you go to, and their issues with reading english and dealing with FA's?
Is that close to your issue?
Would it just be that one place, y'think? Do they need different training? Do they need training period?
Cut to the chase, really. Whats the issue at hand? ESL? Allergy policies? Both?
We have an issue at Dunkin Donuts near our house. The people, generally, do not speak english as a primary lang, and the order is usually wrong... Whose fault is it? Theirs.
Why'd I post to the thread? I wanted to find out what was troubling you, really. See if I could help. I'd like to. But I don't know what to say, besides:
Hugs...
jason
[/b]
I'll come back to this.

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 8:05am
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I know I have a different opinion on this but I still thought I'd share.
As the daughter of an immigrant father and a 1st generation mother, I'm pretty open to different languages and cultures. I think our country is just in the midst of great change and the new wave of immigrants is now Hispanic, Middle Easter, Indian. Bring it on, I say. It just makes our country more interesting, in my opinion, and teaches our children to deal with all sorts of people. The biggest gripe I have right now is that I live in suburbia where there isn't much diversity that my kids can be exposed to.
All of these immigrants will eventually learn to speak English. There is a learning curve. There was for my father and everyone else in my family. I'm sure the last thing they want is to "mess things up" for themselves. For now, if you live in a heavily populated Hispanic area, why don't you carry a "chef card" in Spanish or some of your most "frequently asked questions" in Spanish? It may make your life a little easier and safer and help your Hispanic friends learn something new, too.
Thanks,
LJ

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 8:10am
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LJ, what a great idea! I love Mexican food but I am reluctant to take my PA child to any of the 'authentic' places around here because I didn't trust the quality of the communication that would occur. A Spanish chef card would be perfect -- thanks!
Anne

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 10:34am
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Quote:Originally posted by lj:
[b] All of these immigrants will eventually learn to speak English. [/b]
Unfortunately, that is not at all true. I have met many many immigrants who have been here for decades and do not speak a word of English. Many have been here 30-40 years and still do not speak any English. It is wonderful that your father learned English. My grandparents did as well. And that`s as it should be. I find it offensive when someone who has been in this country 30 years speaks to me in Spanish and expects me to respond. Dd has a close friend who moved here from Guatemala 3 1/2 years ago. The mom is also widowed. She came here knowing zero English. She works as a cleaning lady all day long, then goes to school at night to learn English, leaving her child in day care at the night school. So now she has been here 3 1/2 years and her English is really pretty good. She has a hard time on the phone, and we set up our playdates in combined Spanish/English. I speak a little Spanish and am willing to switch to Spanish when the other person is making some effort to learn English. But when the same people are talking to me in Spanish year after year after year, not learning any English at all, something is wrong. This is the United States. If you are going to move here, make some effort to learn English. I lived in Italy after college and learned some Italian....so I`ve already BTDT.

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 12:55pm
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Ok, so maybe I should have said "most" and not "all".
I lived abroad for a time as well. And, one thing I found most offensive is watching other Americans get angry at residents of other countries for not knowing English.
It's great that your friend is learning English and has the resources to do so (i.i. child care at night). However, the majority of people that were referred to in the original post are minimum wage earners who can barely make enough to put food on their table and pay for basic life necessities, let alone take language lessons. Many don't even know that ESL services are available via local libraries, school systems, etc.
I'm sorry we don't share the same opinion, Carefulmom. However, one thing I pride myself on and will not back down from is my tolerance of other races, cultures and languages. I hope I convey to my kids that we are all so lucky to live in this country and experience a true melting pot. One thing I really am bummed about with the allergy is not allowing my children to experience other cultures via foods. That was something that was really stressed in my family - whether we were eating Greek foods, Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian, Caribbean, etc. I will get there, though. I am determined to have my kids "see the world".
I tried to relay my original response as one of tolerance and not negativity. Hopefully that got through to someone.
Thanks,
LJ

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 1:50pm
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Wow, it is definitely not most here. In fact, most do not bother to learn English. The resources are there for those who choose to look for them and use them. This lady is a cleaning lady for goodness sakes, earning minimum wage as well. She chose to learn English, whereas many choose not to.
I enjoy other cultures as well, have learned four languages, immersed myself in other cultures on several occasions, and like most people I enjoy ethnic food. I think it is wonderful for people to come here, hang on to their customs, and continue to live by customs from their native country. That is hardly the same as condoning living in the U.S. for 30 years and not speaking a single word of English.
[This message has been edited by Carefulmom (edited March 20, 2007).]

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 10:21pm
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Quote:Originally posted by lj:
[b]
I tried to relay my original response as one of tolerance and not negativity. Hopefully that got through to someone.
[/b]
LJ --
IMPHO, both of your posts in this thread were appreciated by many here, even if few posted to say so.
Thank you.
~Elizabeth

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 10:38pm
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Hi Carefulmom,
Looks like we have a lot of the same likes. Let's just agree to differ on the big issue here since our opinions vary so widely. We won't waste others time reading our posts.
Take care,
LJ

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 10:41pm
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Quote:Originally posted by ajas_folks:
[b]One mega-corporation.
Two managers:
One trying to practice the art and International language of [i] customer service [/i], and
the other practicing corporate policy of [i] cover your rumpness [/i].
Made me think of sign here in town which says something like
[b] [i] Example.
A language that everyone can understand. [/i] [/b].
~Eliz
[/b]
you summed it up pretty good. (for jtoplin who was confused by my post)
I was just struck by the irony of the situation. How it played out. I'll try to post the ingredients later (from the product page). It's still the McDonalds of my choice even tho I'd never for a minute consider letting my children *in* the playland. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img]
[b]Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.[/b] Playgrounds that don't bask in natural sunlight are sooooooooo "off" my list. That's not advice, skin cancer runs in my family, I am well acquainted with sun block, but just a personal foible.
First time I put my otherwise had been healthy 18 month old son into the indoor "playland" --common in Chicago---(first week of operation, new McDonald's), he came down with Rotavirus [b]AND[/b] RSV. Co-incidence? Nine day, tenuous, hospital stay.

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 11:29pm
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i'm glad you found out about the cinnamon melts; my daughters have been asking to try one since they saw the picture on the drive through sign. because of your experience, now i don't have to even worry about asking.

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 12:10am
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Quote:Originally posted by lj:
[b]Ok, so maybe I should have said "most" and not "all".
I'm sorry we don't share the same opinion, Carefulmom. However, one thing I pride myself on and will not back down from is my tolerance of other races, cultures and languages. I hope I convey to my kids that we are all so lucky to live in this country and experience a true melting pot. One thing I really am bummed about with the allergy is not allowing my children to experience other cultures via foods. That was something that was really stressed in my family - whether we were eating Greek foods, Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian, Caribbean, etc. I will get there, though. I am determined to have my kids "see the world".
I tried to relay my original response as one of tolerance and not negativity. Hopefully that got through to someone.
Thanks,
LJ[/b]
I don't see it as tolorance of other countries and cultures. I think the problem is when you are standing at an establishment in the USA where the national language is English, yet you cannot find a printed nutrition brochure that is in English. You can not ask a simple and important question of an employee of that establishment in English and get an answer.
That is where I find offense.....I find it offensive that there are many people who get by living in the US without needing to learn our National Language because they don't HAVE to. I am all for having access to information for all cultures living in the US, but I believe the priority should be English.

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 12:46am
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Y'all seem to be under the misconception that English is the national language in the U.S. It's not. It's the most predominant language, but there is no national language, which means that signs and businesses and publications can be in whatever language they want. There's been a movement for years to get English declared the national language but it doesn't seem to have much traction. Some individual states have declared English as their official language, but that generally applies only to state government business (and FWIW, even if English were declared the offical language of the US, it probably wouldn't affect the publications of private businesses).
[url="http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_lang.html"]http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_lang.html[/url]
[url="http://www.us-english.org/inc/"]http://www.us-english.org/inc/[/url]
[url="http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/jwcrawford/langleg.htm"]http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/jwcrawford/langleg.htm[/url]
Sarah

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 4:10am
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At our local McD's the drive up window advertises, "Picture Menus and Braille Menus Available".
My DS has been very interested to see how blind people read. So I asked for the Braille menu. It took them quite a while to determine they didn't have one. @@

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 4:11am
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Quote:Originally posted by Sarahfran1:
[b]Y'all seem to be under the misconception that English is the national language in the U.S. It's not. [/b]
In Canada, we have two official languages... English and French [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
[This message has been edited by erik (edited March 20, 2007).]

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 6:25am
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Quote:Originally posted by saknjmom:
[b] I don't see it as tolorance of other countries and cultures. I think the problem is when you are standing at an establishment in the USA where the national language is English, yet you cannot find a printed nutrition brochure that is in English. You can not ask a simple and important question of an employee of that establishment in English and get an answer.
That is where I find offense.....I find it offensive that there are many people who get by living in the US without needing to learn our National Language because they don't HAVE to. I am all for having access to information for all cultures living in the US, but I believe the priority should be English. [/b]
Exactly. On at least three diffent occasions I have been to the local Target and had the employees speak to me only in Spanish because they can`t speak English. On one occasion the cashier gave me my total in Spanish and it was incorrect. I kept trying to explain that there were 8 items on the receipt but I had only bought 7. She did not speak enough English to even understand what I was saying. On anther occasion I was told by an employee that I could not take dd into the dressing room with me. I tried to explain that I was not comfortable leaving her outside by herself, and the employee did not understand a single word I said. She just kept talking to me over and over in Spanish. By the way, this wasn`t in a Spanish speaking neighborhood. It was actually an African American neighborhood. Having an employee repeat herself over and over in Spanish and being unable to have the simplest conversation in English when her job deals with the public is unacceptable.

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 6:35am
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Quote:Originally posted by Sarahfran1:
[b]Y'all seem to be under the misconception that English is the national language in the U.S. It's not[/b]
But it *is* the language the U.S. Constitution was written in. The language our courts are held in. The language our Congress convenes in. The state of the Union Address is give in English. But yes, Sarafran1, my post above indicates I wondered *if* we had an [i]Official[/i] Language. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 6:37am
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Quote:Originally posted by erik:
[b] In Canada, we have two official languages... English and French [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
[/b]
Three, if you include Inuktitut. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img]
From which do you derive the word "Poutine"?

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 7:04am
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lj
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Carefulmom,
If you feel so strongly about all of this, why don't you carry some info with you regarding ESL classes and the like and hand it out to those people who you feel need it? Maybe it will help those in your community find the resources you feel they should be searching out. Or even better, volunteer yourself to help with ESL. I have been looking into getting certified to help out in our community at our library.
My point was to cut these people some slack. Unless you know them personally, you don't know if they've been in the country one week or one year. I hate to make generalizations about large groups of people.
I'm done posting about this.
LJ

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 7:06am
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Mommabear, off topic, but where in Chicago are you? We're in the northern suburbs.

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 7:22am
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Quote:Originally posted by lj:
[b]Carefulmom,
If you feel so strongly about all of this, why don't you carry some info with you regarding ESL classes and the like and hand it out to those people who you feel need it? Maybe it will help those in your community find the resources you feel they should be searching out. Or even better, volunteer yourself to help with ESL. I have been looking into getting certified to help out in our community at our library.
My point was to cut these people some slack. Unless you know them personally, you don't know if they've been in the country one week or one year. I hate to make generalizations about large groups of people.
I'm done posting about this.
LJ[/b]
The people I am referring to have been here for decades. A friend of mine moved here from Mexico with her family 45 years ago. Her dad does not speak a single word of English. The people at Target have been working there for years and years. ESL classes are offered all over the place here. It isn`t about people being unable to find ESL classes. It is about them not bothering to learn English. Pretty much every adult school here offers ESL classes. Just open the phone book and call a school. My passing out info about ESL classes isn`t going to make a total stranger who doesn`t think English is worth learning suddenly decide it is. I would have a totally different point of view if the classes were hard to find. They are offerred all over the place here.

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 7:54am
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lj
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Ok, I thought I'd be able to not post but I guess I can't.
My message to you is DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT if you feel so strongly. Don't just complain. That won't get your message anywhere.
I've been surrounded by people who have been in this country 40 years or more their entire life. While they may not speak English comfortably in a public setting, they most likely can understand and communicate if need be. Maybe they are getting a negative vibe from you and don't want to make an effort? Just a thought...
I don't know if I've posted anything in the past, Carefulmom, to turn you against me or what. I come here for info and support just like you. Maybe you should take a chill pill and relax for a while. You seemed to have gotten quite steamed up about this.
Gotta go, dinner is cooking.

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 9:14am
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Quote:Originally posted by BriandBrinasmom:
[b]Mommabear, off topic, but where in Chicago are you? We're in the northern suburbs.[/b]
we're at the Maginot Line. Lol....near 80. Some degrees, give or take, south of Chicago. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/cool.gif[/img] [i]The Boonies.[/i]

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 9:25am
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I can so relate! We have been struggling with both of your sides in our family.
We moved to TX a few years ago. There are many hispanic families that live around us. Many seem relatively friendly, and we smile & wave to each other. They have been our neighbors for several years.
Most of them still do not speak English. It is not uncommon for us to be at the park and the boys to not be able to speak with any of the children. We occasionally feel like a foreigner in our own country.
Now, I am a person who loves and accepts all nationalities! I am trying to teach the boys about other cultures. However, sometimes they are not very accepting of us. Some of the children will not play with our sons because they don't speak Spanish.
We also have some friends and the dh's parents immigrated here over 40 yrs ago. They have refused to learn English. Now the dh has to take time off work when they have dr's appts so he can interpret for them.

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 10:05am
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Quote:Originally posted by lj:
[b]Ok, I thought I'd be able to not post but I guess I can't.
My message to you is DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT if you feel so strongly. Don't just complain. That won't get your message anywhere.
I've been surrounded by people who have been in this country 40 years or more their entire life. While they may not speak English comfortably in a public setting, they most likely can understand and communicate if need be. Maybe they are getting a negative vibe from you and don't want to make an effort? Just a thought...
I don't know if I've posted anything in the past, Carefulmom, to turn you against me or what. I come here for info and support just like you. Maybe you should take a chill pill and relax for a while. You seemed to have gotten quite steamed up about this.
Gotta go, dinner is cooking. [/b]
I really don`t need to "chill". I am perfectly entitled to my opinion. You don`t need to take it personally as it is nothing against you. As far as "doing something about it", it`s not as though I have the power to do that. What....I am going to force people who choose not to learn English to go and learn it? I don`t think so. No need to take it personally. I do feel strongly that someone who has been here for decades should not expect me to learn Spanish to have a conversation with them. I have a right to my opinion and it is not attack against you, since clearly you do know English. So I certainly don`t need to chill; I have every right to feel that people who move here permanently should learn English as most on this thread have also posted. And it certainly has nothing to do with a vibe from me---my friend`s father who has been here 45 years and knows no English has never even met me, the employees I was referring to at Target speak in Spanish to all the customers. Not sure why you keep naming me in this thread when most of the people posted agree that people who have been here for many years and work with the public should learn English.

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 11:50am
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lj
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I keep naming you in this thread b/c you "quoted me" by posting my previous lines in your initial post directed to me. If you go back and re-read your post, your initial one directed to me took a quote directly from my previous post. So have some of your latter ones. So, I took that as if you're speaking directly to me.
If you're not, I must be mistaken then. And, many others may incorrectly understand how to read these posts.
I apologize to all other posters out there who have to read through this bickering. It's ridiculous...but I won't be bullied by anyone here. I am entitled to my opinion, too.
[This message has been edited by lj (edited March 20, 2007).]
[This message has been edited by lj (edited March 20, 2007).]

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 12:16pm
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Mommabear, I think I know right where you are because we took our kids down to Fermilabs a few months back. There isn't a whole lot to see there though on weekends except buffalo! We meandered through every suburb down that way...saw a petting zoo...nice park, etc. Also took my daughter to Braidwood a few weeks back for the fossil hunting. (Science-oriented family.)
If you come as far north as we are (almost Wisconsin border) you have the same thing - the boonies.
(I'm studiously avoiding the topic at hand, 'cause I see both sides.)
By the way, [b]did you know you can use HTML codes[/b] on this board [i]as long as you use the bracket symbol instead of the carat?[/i]

Posted on: Wed, 03/21/2007 - 11:09am
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lj, many of us on this thread disagree with you. Whether we use the quote function or we don`t, many on this thread feel that those who come to the U.S. and stay here for decades should try to learn some English. There are several who posted on this thread in response to you, whether or not they used the quote function. Sorry that you have so much trouble with the fact that I have a different opinion and use the quote function. On this board, people do commonly respond by quoting others. Just because someone is quoted does not mean they are being "bullied". If that were true, then most of us on this board would be "bullying" someone, and I would be "bullying" saknjmom when I agreed with her on this thread since I quoted her also. Now that I know that for you using the quote function = "being bullied", I`ll try to remember not to use the quote function if I ever respond to you on any threads. I`m sorry I offended you by using the quote function. I guess I should have just disagreed with you without quoting as others did. I`ll be out of town for the next ten days, so I`m done viewing this thread. Again, I apologize for offending you by using the quote function.

Posted on: Wed, 03/21/2007 - 12:59pm
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lj, some of us also agree with you. There's an intolerance for immigrants in America that's lately become a more "acceptable" form of bigotry. My great-grandparents spoke only German, so I'm not secure enough in my pure American lineage to be feel good about demanding English from everyone I meet.
I think a multinational corporation like McDonalds has an obligation to provide ingredients lists in English, but that isn't really what this thread has been about.
Shall we talk about religion next? Or politics? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/redface.gif[/img])

Posted on: Wed, 03/21/2007 - 2:23pm
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Quote:Originally posted by lj:
[b]Ok, so maybe I should have said "most" and not "all".
I lived abroad for a time as well. And, one thing I found most offensive is watching other Americans get angry at residents of other countries for not knowing English.
It's great that your friend is learning English and has the resources to do so (i.i. child care at night). However, the majority of people that were referred to in the original post are minimum wage earners who can barely make enough to put food on their table and pay for basic life necessities, let alone take language lessons. Many don't even know that ESL services are available via local libraries, school systems, etc.
I'm sorry we don't share the same opinion, Carefulmom. However, one thing I pride myself on and will not back down from is my tolerance of other races, cultures and languages. I hope I convey to my kids that we are all so lucky to live in this country and experience a true melting pot. One thing I really am bummed about with the allergy is not allowing my children to experience other cultures via foods. That was something that was really stressed in my family - whether we were eating Greek foods, Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian, Caribbean, etc. I will get there, though. I am determined to have my kids "see the world".
I tried to relay my original response as one of tolerance and not negativity. Hopefully that got through to someone.
Thanks,
LJ[/b]
Totally got through to me. And I totally agree with you. My husband and I hope to teach our kids the same - tolerance and love towards their fellow man and woman. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
------------------
[url="http://charity-never-faileth.com/Food_Allergies_-__As_I_have.html"]Amanda Hommel[/url]
-seek learning, even by study and also by faith-

Posted on: Wed, 03/21/2007 - 2:41pm
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Quote:Originally posted by Carefulmom:
[b] I really don`t need to "chill". I am perfectly entitled to my opinion. You don`t need to take it personally as it is nothing against you. As far as "doing something about it", it`s not as though I have the power to do that. What....I am going to force people who choose not to learn English to go and learn it? I don`t think so. No need to take it personally. I do feel strongly that someone who has been here for decades should not expect me to learn Spanish to have a conversation with them. I have a right to my opinion and it is not attack against you, since clearly you do know English. So I certainly don`t need to chill; I have every right to feel that people who move here permanently should learn English as most on this thread have also posted. And it certainly has nothing to do with a vibe from me---my friend`s father who has been here 45 years and knows no English has never even met me, the employees I was referring to at Target speak in Spanish to all the customers. Not sure why you keep naming me in this thread when most of the people posted agree that people who have been here for many years and work with the public should learn English.
[/b]
I totally disagree with you CM. And I think she had some great ideas. How do you know what these Target employees personal circumstances are? Do you hang out at Target all day and follow them home? Do you know these employees personally? You seem eager to complain about what is wrong and but also unwilling to try to change the situation in your community.
As the parent of a child with Food Allergies you've come to learn that the people in your child's life - that you must educate them about Food Allergies so that they "get it" and become on board. But if you addressed that situation in the same manner you are addressing this one - then no one in your child's life would know anything about Food Allergies except you and him. And I'm sure you've done a great job protecting your child and making those around your child aware of the Food Allergy/Allergies he/she may have (sorry it's been awhile since I've posted so I don't recall everyone's children and specific allergies) and how to keep them safe.
Same applies here. Take a few minutes and learn some BASIC phrases in Spanish -- it wouldn't kill you to find some common grounds on which to BUILD a bridge. Then, as she had suggested, carry some ESL cards and then using the Spanish phrases you know, get the conversation going, hand them out and encourage the person to attend them. I don't know much about ESL classes, but if they are free, mention that.
It may seem easy and simple to you about finding and researching ESL classes, but I'm sure Food Allergies seem like "Duh" moments and simple too -- but they're not. They can be incrediably complicated and overwhelming to those of us who are just learning.
So sure, you've had some frustrating moments, we all have. But rolling the **** downhill isn't going to do anyone any good. It's just going to make things worse for more people. But being proactive and trying to make a GOOD difference in the community will. Pay it forward and make a noticable difference in your community.
------------------
[url="http://charity-never-faileth.com/Food_Allergies_-__As_I_have.html"]Amanda Hommel[/url]
-seek learning, even by study and also by faith-

Posted on: Wed, 03/21/2007 - 9:45pm
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lj
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Thank you!!!
There was an interesting story on the Today show yesterday wbout how much our nation's population is changing. It was a really good story done by Natalie Morales (who by the way is half Brazilian/half Cuban, I believe).
She was interviewing a man who wrote a book called The Power of Business en Espanol and how companies in our country and beyond are and will be benefiting financially from targeting the Hispanic community. They said that there are currently more Hispanics living in the U.S. than there are Canadians in Canada.
I think this is just the start of us hearing Spanish everywhere. They talked about music (J.Lo, Gloria Estefan, among others) and now mainstream Englsih-speaking artists are singing in Spanish (Beyonce) to target the Latin American community.
There is an excerpt from the book on Today's webiste. Looks pretty interesting and the man who wrote it was right on track with what was being discussed here.
So, Carefulmom, buck up and get used to it. It's here to stay. We live in a dynamic world. Get out your Spanish dictionary. Also, maybe you should meet your friend's father, since you complain about him but said you never met the man. Maybe he never learned Englsih due to being illiterate, or having a learning disability, or was too busy trying to support his family.
Take care and enjoy your trip.
This should certainly be brought OffTopic if you would like to continue.
LJ

Posted on: Sun, 03/25/2007 - 2:56am
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Quote:Originally posted by Carefulmom:
[b] I`ll be out of town for the next ten days [/b]
Reraising for MBear
[This message has been edited by Adele (edited March 25, 2007).]

Posted on: Sun, 03/25/2007 - 3:53am
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Quote:Originally posted by Carefulmom:
[b] I`ll be out of town for the next ten days [/b]
reply:
Quote:Originally posted by Adele:[b]
Reraising for MBear[/b]
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/002866.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/002866.html[/url]
first page, March 25 post.
[This message has been edited by MommaBear (edited March 25, 2007).]

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