Spotted the photo below in a Spar shop window this morning, right beside the door. Which means that none of the staff on their way in spotted the glaring error (first thing that caught my attention). What annoys me here is that they managed to spell it correctly once and very badly the next time – it’s not like it could be a keyboard error as “q” and “g” aren’t beside each other. A basic spell-checker would have caught this had it been used.
For me, this opens up the much larger debate of the amount of people working in shops, bars, restaurants that don’t speak English as their first language. Personally, I have no issue with people emigrating to other countries and studying or becoming part of the workforce – I lived in France for a year as a student. However, even though I could have done with the cash, the only job that I took that year was giving English lessons. I wouldn’t have dared apply for work in a shop or restaurant as I knew that my French wasn’t good enough.
In Ireland, however, it seems that many businesses hire people fairly randomly. My examples of this are:
- a McDonald’s restaurant staff member failing to understand the phrase “McChicken sandwich meal with Coke please” repeated slowly 4 times
- a till-jockey in Spar telling me that I could only buy 8 lines on the lotto, not 10 (the concept of printing 8 lines on one slip and 2 on another didn’t register)
- Foreign taxi drivers not knowing where Lucan is (not a specific address, but rather not having any idea where the town is)
- Spar staff telling me they don’t stock my brand of cigarettes, even though I could see them on the shelf
- Spar staff failing to understand the phrase “Dunhill lights” and producing two different brands and trying to tell me they were the same thing
Surely when businesses hire someone they interview them? Surely this would act as a test of their English skills? I’m not asking that everyone in every shop should speak perfect fluent English, but surely they have to have some knowledge and vocabulary of the industry that they are getting into?