An American Rant (non-Americans, feel free to skip over it)
- In the course of my lifetime, America has become much more multi-cultural
than it had been when I got started. This is a good thing. My mother grew
up in what was, in effect, a ghetto ("Little Italy") and, given the time in
America's existence, it was remarkable that she broke free of that ethnic
ghetto and was able to live out the American dream.
Over the last 30 or so years, blended cultures have become far more common,
and I think that's a good thing. I know in my neighborhood, which is 49%
Hispanic according to the most recent census, I mingle every day with people
from several cultural backgrounds. For example, I think I eat more meals at
one local short-order place - they have the best hamburgers in Las Vegas,
and I'm a nut for great hamburgers - even though the place is owned and
operated by first-generation Hispanic immigrants.
But that business, though owned by people of South American descent,
welcomes all Americans as customers. They show this by having their signs
in English (some with Spanish sub-titles).
There's a way you can tell the transplanted-from-Mexico businesses which
cater to Mexican immigrants - primarily, their signage is in Spanish only
(but you can also tell from the way they're laid out and the way they do
business - they are transplants from Mexico, making no effort to assimilate.
I've got no problem with that - if people want to serve a narrow market
niche, I think they should have the freedom to do so.
However, where I get my chops chapped - and why I'm writing this mini-rant -
is those businesses which want (or ought to want) American business, but
which nonetheless have signage only in Spanish. That mixed message is
infuriating. Companies either ought to go for a multi-cultural market or a
Spanish-only market, but they should not try to have their cake (or, in this
case, pie) and eat it too.
Which brings us to the cause of my rant. For a dozen years, I've gotten all
my delivery pizzas from the local Dominos, which to my mind has always been
a quintessentially American business. I remember when they got started,
they delivered their pizzas in Chevy-built "Luv" pick-up trucks, they even
advertised "Dominos Pizzas - Delivered with Luv" .
But now that one close to me has changed. For the past month, they've had a
big outdoor sign (you know the kind where someone puts up the letters, one
at a time) with some kind of advertising message, in Spanish only. As if
those of us who do not read Spanish aren't worthy of their business. It
infuriated me, and when my wife finally saw it last week, it infuriated her,
too (and she's much less prone to going off on rants than am I).
So I figured I'd do something - so I wrote to Dominos from their corporate
website. What I got, a form-email reply thanking me for my question and my
business, convinced me that a company once known for their customer service
is now not at all interested in individual customers. Not online, and not
in the front-line store, which thinks it's in Juarez or Tampico or
Guadalajara, but obviously not in Clark County Nevada, USA. So I'm
boycotting Dominos, and telling every man, woman and wild jackrabbit I know
about this travesty, and encouraging them to do business with businesses
which either promote themselves in English, or in Spanish and English
together, but not those which only promote themselves in Spanish. They're
welcome to those customers - as I said, in my zip code, that's 49% of the
population, but they should stop pretending that they're American businesses
catering to those of us Americans who never bothered to learn Spanish.
PS - I grew up near Canada, so was taught French as a second language . I
have no issue at all with second languages, and think kids ought to be
exposed to something other than English, but that's a world of difference
from those businesses embracing a "Spanish-only" customer model.
Ned Barnett, APR
Marketing & PR Fellow, American Hospital Association
Barnett Marketing Communications
420 N. Nellis Blvd., A3-276 - Las Vegas NV 89110
702-561-1167 - cell/text
<http://www.barnettmarcom.com> www.barnettmarcom.com - twitter @nedbarnett
05-6-16 BMC Logo
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]