Friday, June 09, 2006

Cheese Wid?

I wasn’t going to do another post this week, but there is a local story with national implications going on. If you watched Good Morning America this morning (don’t worry, I won’t think any less of ya), you may have seen the owner of Geno’s Steaks interviewed regarding a sign he put up in his establishment. Now, on the face, it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal – an owner who puts a sign up in his place of business.

However, this particular sign has created a disturbance. You see, the sign says, “Please order in English.” Obviously, this is a lightning rod. I’m guessing some political races could be decided on which side of the fence each candidate is on. At the risk of alienating some of you, I will share my opinion.

I understand the arguments that are made for people who do not speak English in this country. Many are poor, can’t afford to learn the language, and have no time to learn because they are working 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet. That is a fair and just defense. However, I believe that in order for one to move upward in society (in this country), one needs to learn English. I think it is not only a cool thing to know two languages, but it gives one a valuable edge in the workplace. It should be encouraged, no, mandated by this country (just my opinion – you are free to have your own, as well).

On another level, I think the owner of a mom-and-pop establishment, like Geno’s, should be allowed to make any rules (within reason) that he or she pleases. Besides, Pat’s Steaks is across the street, and if some people have a problem with Geno’s rules, go next door – that is your right (and his).

On a third level – when my parents came to America, they HAD to learn English in order to gain citizenship. What happened to make this change? Did you know, you can take your citizenship test in another language? Hunh???? How did this happen? Look, I encourage learning another language – heck, the way things are going, students in the U.S. will be REQUIRED to learn Spanish before too long. So, it should only be fair that American citizens be required to learn English. Again, just my opinion.

I just think this whirlwind against Geno’s is a waste of time. Let the owner do what he wants – stop sticking your fingers in everybody’s pie … for once!


Christina_the_wench said...

Very well put. And I agree. Upon a recent trip to Miami Beach during Spring Break (don't ask - was not good), I came to the full realization that English was NOT the native language down there. I was dismayed and distressed. Where had all the English gone???

Dirty Birdie said...

I call "bullshit" on the whole poor excuse. I am a third generation American, my Great Grandmother spoke English and Polish (yeah I'm Polish, you wanna make something of it?! j/k) Her husband, like 90% of the men in my family was a miner. In case you were unaware, miners aren't rolling in the dough, especially back in the day when they were considered expendable because there were so many migrants looking for steady work. But I digress...the point is she learned English. She didn't go to school, she didn't have money, but she learned English!!

It seems to me, and I hate to generalize, that the majority of migrants who seem to have a problem learning the basics of English communication come from the Spanish speaking areas of the world (Not including Spain.)

For example, Asians have been migrating here for over a century and they speak English. Not perfectly but they speak English. Why? Because English is the language of MONEY!!

I'll get off my soap box now...

Jeff said...

6 quick points:
1. Let Geno's owners decide how to run their business, and accept the rewards and consequences of their decisions.

2. If you want to become a lawyer, doctor, accountant, engineer, etc., learn English.

3. A friend works at Eurocopter -- the multi-country helicopter consortium. They speak English, because it's the one language they all have in common.

4. Many foreign-born athletes learn English via soccer or baseball on TV, with no formal classes. It's about desire.

5. Canada has two official languages, and the Quebec separatist movement has been a problem for decades.

6. 180+ native languages are spoken in Los Angeles. They can't all be accommodated.

Rev. Smokin Steve said...

I agree with one thing. I agree that English needs to be learned by everyone in this country. If I were to decide that I wanted to live in India, I had better learn Hindi if I want to survive. I think it is just part of the deal.

But... there's stating this opinion in a good and constructive way, and there is being an asshole about it. And Joe Vento, the owner of Geno's Steaks, is being an asshole about it. The sign, while making a statement, is unnecessary to his business and only meant to shock and awe. He even said himself in an interview that he never put the sign up as an actual rule. It's just a sign he put up to get a reaction. And he got it.

I do not have a problem with him putting up his sign. It's America. It's an opinion, and he is entitled to it. But I am entitled to call him an asshole. And I am here to call him an asshole for many other reasons besides this.

And the biggest reason I have to call him an asshole is that Geno's Steaks aren't as good as Pat's. The last two times I have gone to Geno's Steaks, they scrimped on the meat. I have much more of an issue with them because their steak makers have a light wrist when it comes to scooping the meat. Pat's at least gives you a good meat scoop. But neither one of them are Tony Luke's.

So Geno, stop worrying about your signs and start worrying about the real reason we come to your stand. If your product is inferior, you don't deserve our business. The guy across the street is kicking your ass.

Los said...

So, you are really pissed because you like Pat's better than Geno's, and you are upset that Geno beat Pat to the punch, right?

Superstar said...

Geno is a bit of a marketing genius. Here we all are talkin' about his "shockin'" sign. hmmmmm Trump would agree that this is "hype"

OK I LIVED in Mexico. That is right, LIVED there. I do not have ANY recolection of the Mexican's offering me "for english press #1" Nope I had to KNOW spanish and all the slang and figure out, much like a 3rd grader, of what the hell they were talking about. I went to the market everyday and had I not used any Spanish, I would have not bought anything. Thus not eating. DUH. I am learning like crazy!
So high up here on my soap box...I say, "do unto others as you would do unto me..." LEARN ENGLISH if you want to live here.

***Getting off my high and mighty soap box now***

Reverse said...

Screw Pat's and Geno's...I'm standing in line at Jim's!

Dirty Birdie said...

I've never been to Philly, so now I'll have to go and check out both places while I'm there.

It must be a Pitt vs. Philly thing but as kids we were told Philly was a scary place and to never go there. Even though I'm all growed up I still have this weird thing about going to Philly, it's like I'd be cheating on Pitt. It just feels dirty and taboo...

Rev. Smokin Steve said...

No, I'm pissed because Joe Vento ought to take more pride in the quality of his product than pretending he is some kind of social voice. He's a cheesesteak maker. That is what he is. He's not a talk show host.

I don't want people from out of town to think they are going to Geno's for a real Philly cheesesteak, then come away feeling that the experience is overrated because of his product.

He cares more about his appearance than his quality.

Maybe the marketing boost might help, but marketing boosts don't help in the long run when people show up at your place and then are disappointed by what you sell them.

Superstar said...

Smokin: Agreed. You have put your products perverbial mouth where your money can bring 'em in but how do you get them coming back for more!
Not know anything about the place, I would take your recommendation and go where I KNOW peeps who live there say is going to be the "best" experience. TUMS anyone? *BURP*

Dirty Birdie said...

Steve: You've got a point. Hubby and I went to Cheese Burger in Paradise when we were on Maui a couple years ago and the burger sucked. Plus you pay $10 for a burger then like another $5 for fries. I would not rate their food very highly but the place is always packed.