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