The home of the equally discounted?
On a recent Sunday evening, my wife and I decided that some home-delivered fast food would silence our rumbling tummies and provide a “no fuss, no muss” finish to a great, but too short weekend.
I located the ever-handy coupons from a local pizzeria that the no-doubt brave, weather-defying mail lady faithfully crams into our mailbox every few days.
While deciding our “fare to be,” we happened to notice that there were coupons in both English and Spanish – eight each – presenting us multiple chances to capitalize on the discounted items (all within 45 dias before the coupons altogether expira).
Since Spanish is rapidly becoming a second “must know” language in the United States, particularly in the workplace and in government buildings and hospitals, I figured it would be OK to use one of those coupons for this particular purchase.
After we made our selection, I carefully clipped the appropriate Spanish coupon, which I assumed would allow me a discount on a “fiesta-sized” bargain. I placed the coupon and the money on the kitchen counter and rejoined my wife in the den.
A knock soon signaled that we would not perish from a lack of bilingually discounted vittles. I needed only to finalize the transfer of money and the carefully chosen coupon in exchange for the goods
Though kind and professional in her demeanor, the young lady who delivered our neo-Italiano banquet appeared distressed when I presented the money and informed her that we, being Americans and accustomed to freedom of choice (and speech), had opted to use the Spanish coupon.
She, being too young to remember Jim Crow days and ways, readily took the bait and said, “Sir, I don’t think you can do that.” To which I replied, in shop-floor-acquired “so-so” Spanish: “Por que? Yo habla poca Espanola, asi coupon es no problema para mia, si, no?” Loosely, “Because why? I speak a little Spanish, so this coupon is not a problem for me, yes, no?”
She didn’t challenge that so-so display of modern-day Americana, and so the coupon was deposited into her money bag almost as snugly and firmly as Rosa Parks was at the front of that iconic bus all those many troubling years ago. Like then, I was testing the bounds of freedom, equality and fair play.
I pray that we do not wake up one day to a world that has harkened back to a mindset of “Whites Only” or “Coloreds Only” or “Latinos Solo.” History teaches us that that is not a good thing.