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Must Speak Spanish

Postby Omaha Red Sox » Thu May 18, 2006 1:31 pm

This is local, but is anyone else seeing this anywhere else?

No Frills Mandates Spanish At South Omaha Store

Store Will Pay For Managers, Others To Learn Language

OMAHA, Neb. -- A new policy at a local supermarket has some shoppers upset.

No Frills on 36th and Q streets is asking some employees to learn Spanish so they can help customers who only speak that language. No Frills said it made the decision purely based on the bottom line. Spanish-speaking managers can cater to the large contingent of south Omaha Spanish speaking clients, but the policy is getting a mixed reaction from shoppers.

No Frills Manager Dick O'Donnell said he decided a few years back to brush up on his Spanish. He figured doing so would help him with the store's growing number of Latino shoppers. Store managers said at least two-thirds of customers at the store speak Spanish, and for years it has carried a large collection of Hispanic groceries, so this is the next logical step.

"You can help people so much with just small problems that they have, with our customer service counter, or if they're looking for something, or directions to some place.," O'Donnell said.

Now, No Frills is making Spanish mandatory for all managers, pharmacists and butchers at the store on 36th and Q. The company will pay for all classes, including overtime. Managers who don't want to learn Spanish have the option of transferring to other stores. No other No Frills locations are included in the mandate.

"This is not a political issue at all, this strictly taking care of business," said No Frills President Rich Juro.

With the country abuzz over illegal immigration, the new policy doesn't please all No Frills shoppers. One told KETV NewsWatch 7 he thinks immigrants should learn English.

Despite the comments, No Frills said a little bit of Spanish will go a long way toward better customer service.


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Postby moonhead » Thu May 18, 2006 1:37 pm

that's good business. say what you want about the politics of the situation, but that is just good business.
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Postby mysticphysh » Thu May 18, 2006 1:37 pm

Eh, it's good for business. I'm not going to get into all the politics of the subject (lets just say, the one and only time i've agreed with Bush "I just think the National Anthem ought to be sung in English") but it makes perfect business sense. If I owned a business where a large group of my possible customer base only knows spanish or another language, I'd want to be able to service them. Its just more money for the business.
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Postby xted30 » Thu May 18, 2006 1:45 pm

I would agree with the fact that it is good business, but I don't necesaarily agree with the politics of it all. But as said by moon and physh, it is certainly a great business decision.
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Postby Tiki » Thu May 18, 2006 2:58 pm

Psssh....This is America we speak English tell those people to learn English. It's not that hard! My dad learned it in three weeks!
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Postby moonhead » Thu May 18, 2006 2:59 pm

Tiki wrote:Psssh....This is America we speak English tell those people to learn English. It's not that hard! My dad learned it in three weeks!


there is no official language in america. and it's that way for a reason. you can't learn english in 3 weeks either.
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Postby SwiperNoSwiping » Thu May 18, 2006 3:02 pm

LOL. Move to Texas. :-b
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Postby steelerfan513 » Thu May 18, 2006 3:10 pm

its good business, and if youre not paying for it, why care?
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Postby Omaha Red Sox » Thu May 18, 2006 4:47 pm

I think it is a great opportunity for the employees to learn the Spanish language for free.

However...I have a hard time with the possibility of a manager having been employed by this company for 20 years when they approach him and tell him he needs to learn a foreign language in order to keep his job.
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Postby WickedSmaat » Thu May 18, 2006 4:57 pm

Yeah, it's free but I believe it could be difficult like Omaha said for someone who's been a manager for 20 or so years. I could imagine what my managers would think if there was a mandate for that. I think new managers, or maybe even have a couple on staff that would be able to translate to help communication. I know around here, most of the spanish families that come in, bring their kids to translate for them. I think that's the more common thing.
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