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Operando and the day I realized nothing in Miami is simple

November 04, 2011 By Jess in Miami: Local News  | 9 Comments

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Thanks to Halloween, today is Freaky Friday on MiamiBeach411.com and my fellow writer Matt Meltzer and I have switched roles for the day. Matt is known for his rants and raves about Spanish culture here in Miami and I like to write happy stories about the healthy ways to live in South Beach. But today it is going to be the other way round. So Matt has been sent off to, as he calls it, ” do a story on a vegan coffee shop with gluten free cookies” and I am going to tell you about a little experience I had shopping in Target Midtown.

A friend of mine has just started Medical School and I wanted to buy him a present. I decided on the board game Operation, the classic game from my childhood where you get to fix a broken patient with different body parts. I did a shopping search on google and Target came up as having the game in stock. Great! Off I went to Target midtown, on a special trip to buy it.

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OPERANDO???!!

I headed straight to the games section of the store to pick up the only thing I needed. And there it was, 7 yellow boxes of Operation sitting on the bottom shelf. But then I realized. It was not “Operation” written out along the top, but instead the word Operando. I asked a Target person to search the back of the store to find the English version but was told, “I’m sorry, we don’t sell that here.”

Now I know I live in Miami. In fact, I have lived here for 3 years this month and dealt with many situations where the Spanish language made it impossible for me to communicate, and usually it does not bother me at all. I was even told off by an old man on a bus once for not speaking Spanish. And I don’t know, maybe all these little things have started to build up, because I tell you, one look at Operando and the bitchy, loud, annoyed American half of me came out and I finally lost my temper with Miami.

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Because, readers of this site, we who live here know that Spanish is the predominant language. But, and this is a big but, we are still in America. Where English is the first language. And so for Target to indicate the game Operation is in stock when in reality it was Operando in the Miami store really got me enraged. Do we not even try to differentiate between English and Spanish anymore? Failing to sell the English game while stockpiling the Spanish version is just another way of showing us few remaining English speakers who live here our language really doesn’t matter.

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Wake up Target, people still speak English in Miami

I was so enraged about making the pointless trip to buy ‘Operando’ that I went home and emailed my complaint to Target customer services, a move totally out of character with my polite British manners. But I truly wanted to know why the store would say they had an English game in stock when in reality it was in a completely different language. The generic reply came with no explanation but they’d let the buyers know. They really didn’t care.

You may say I overreacted. Or the usual thing I hear is, “you live in Miami, what do you expect?” I respect that people in Miami speak Spanish as their first language, but I expect to be treated with the same respect for speaking English. And now the huge companies aren’t doing that, then it’s really gone too far. I don’t regret losing my temper with Target, because they need to acknowledge that in Miami some people still speak English as a first or only language. Because if we can’t make people understand this, soon there’ll be no English options left.

Related Categories: Miami: Local News,

A SoBe resident for 5 years, Jess’s writing focuses on healthy living in South Beach with a dose of British humor and a cheerful outlook on life in Miami. She can be found moderating the forum Miami Beach 411.

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9 Comments on

"Operando and the day I realized nothing in Miami is simple"

Christy says:

There’ll be plenty of opportunities for your friend to use the terms in Operando if he’s going to practice medicine in Miami! So really you’ll be doing him a favor by getting him the Spanish version!

Posted on 11/04/2011 at 11:10 AM

Michelle says:

I would be writing to target too; that’s crap.

Posted on 11/04/2011 at 11:22 AM

Doug says:

hahahahah! I guess that’s why God made Fort Lauderdale.  It’s not just a place for yacht enthusiasts, it’s a refuge for culturally-alienated anglos!

Posted on 11/04/2011 at 12:37 PM

Mario says:

Umm, Jess….that Operando game, is actually in….Portuguese!!  “Nova” and “Efeito” are Portuguese words.

Posted on 11/04/2011 at 3:28 PM

Jess says:

That was probably the photo I found online. I can assure you, it was Spanish in the store!

Posted on 11/04/2011 at 4:01 PM

Maria de los Angeles says:

This is classic!  I love the Freaky Friday idea.  Maybe I can switch with Matt and force him to write about something cultural besides “porn” LOL!

Jess, I think this is a double-edged sword. I am in total agreement with you.  You move here: learn English.  It’s also absolutely ridiculous that they don’t sell an English version, especially at MidTown, for pete’s sake. I could understand that in some mom and pop shop in Little Havana, but not at the Target at a major urban retail mall.

But on the other hand, many hard-working immigrants do try. You should see the number of “aprender Ingles” commercials there are on Spanish TV.

And also, we are a border town, border as in our neighbors are Caribbean and Latin American. Historically, Florida was Spanish before it was American. What makes this city different from the sleepy, old boy Southern town it was before is the vibrancy of the Caribbean and Latin influence. We can’t really have it both ways.

Please keep us posted on any replies from Target. In fact, I should tweet this article to them.

Oh, try that awesome toy store on 41st street ... though there you might find Operation in Hebrew. grin

One last thing: Operation should really be in Spanglish, if it’s going to be done right!

Posted on 11/04/2011 at 4:49 PM

jess says:

Please do tweet it to Target! I wrote back to them and they did not even bother replying to me.

As I said, I respect that people speak Spanish here and Target is welcome to sell Operando… Just sell it in English too. It’s not like I did a google search for Operando… I want the English version. (Which I still have not got, so good tip on 41st st!)

Posted on 11/04/2011 at 5:19 PM

rtoledo71 says:

Jess, if it makes you feel any better, I just did a show at work and one of the Univision workers just started going off in Spanish about something to me.  While I can speak Spanish, when it comes to my job, it’s all English.

I had to cut him off and told him politely, “English only please.”

He quickly switched over to English and continued.

Posted on 11/05/2011 at 1:07 PM

newbie says:

When I first moved to Miami Beach in 2004, my first reality check was a sign in a beauty salon, “English spoke here”.

Posted on 11/28/2011 at 11:48 AM

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