Spotted at Walgreens: American Exceptionalism

 

I saw this sign at my local Walgreen’s and I have to admit my first reaction was irritation.

Walgreens

Not because the company offers a menu of languages with which to interact with its customers. On the contrary, I think that’s probably smart business. Good for them.

No, it’s the words, “It’s your right.”

Is it? Is it really your “right” to come to a country and insist that your pharmacist speak Hmong? Or Russian or Persian or Armenian?

(I’m ignoring, for the moment, that the list of languages it’s “your right” to use when speaking to your pharmacist includes Arabic.)

I travel a lot. And I’ve been to some really way-out places. And as a result of my compulsion to eat everything in sight, I’ve also spent a fair amount of time gesturing and pointing and making humiliating charades in pharmacies worldwide. No one ever told me, anywhere, anyplace, anyhow, that it was “my right” to speak English to the pharmacist.

Published in General
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 102 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    I don’t see Irish on there…

    • #1
  2. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    It’s curious that, outside of Spanish, no European languages are listed. Last month in Santa Barbara I heard French and Russian spoken; the latter in a CVS pharmacy, no less. I remember the event clearly since it took five minutes for the cashier to figure out which cigarettes the surly woman in front of me wanted. I suppose California doesn’t consider Marlboros her right.

    Also, as usual, we Finns are being repressed by The Man. Don’t I have language rights? Where’s my 40 acres and a reindeer?!

    • #2
  3. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    The English instructions at the top seem unnecessary, no?

    • #3
  4. MLH Inactive
    MLH
    @MLH

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    It’s curious that, outside of Spanish, no European languages are listed. Last month in Santa Barbara I heard French and Russian spoken; the latter in a CVS pharmacy, no less. I remember the event clearly since it took five minutes for the cashier to figure out which cigarettes the surly woman in front of me wanted. I suppose California doesn’t consider Marlboros her right.

    Also, as usual, we Finns are being repressed by The Man. Don’t I have language rights? Where’s my 40 acres and a reindeer?!

    My sister and BIL adopted from Russia. This Niece o’ Mine has learned English by immersion. 

    • #4
  5. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    At 7-11 do you point to the English bit on top and wait for the interpreter to show up?

    • #5
  6. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    You have a right to everything. Healthcare, education, condoms, to marry whatever you want, and to be free from any inconvenience of any kind. The word No does not exist. At least, that’s what bureaucrats and politicians say. 

    What’s worse is that liberals expect everyone else to pay for whatever you want. Unless we pay for your medicine, you’re being denied healthcare

    • #6
  7. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    How does this work? You point to the Klingon box and the pharmacist calls a central number to connect you with a Klingon translator? Assuming this is implemented efficiently it seems a lot more cost-effective that many other invented ‘rights’ – although something that could be just as easily, and far more morally, supplied by private initiative.

    • #7
  8. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    You’re correct, it isn’t a right.  That this mindset persists is a sign of how fractured our national identity has become.  There is still broadly an American (Western) culture, but the pockets of foreign cultures which refuse to assimilate or even think their culture should supercede ours, even inside our own country, are growing larger.  

    There is a difference between people who immigrate here and speak their old language in the home or among others from their country but conduct business in the dominant language of their new country and those who immigrate and demand the new country cater to them and refuse to learn the new language.  A nation where the former occurs is a nation that people are willing to come to and to change to be a part of.  It is a healthy thing.  A nation where people refuse to assimilate is not.  That is a nation where people are showing up to make money off it, but don’t really respect the values or culture, or worse, actively try to change them to accommodate themselves.

    • #8
  9. Asquared Inactive
    Asquared
    @ASquared

    Rob Long: I travel a lot. And I’ve been to some really way-out places. And as a result of my compulsion to eat everything in sight, I’ve also spent a fair amount of time gesturing and pointing and making humiliating charades in pharmacies worldwide. No one ever told me, anywhere, anyplace, anyhow, that it was “my right” to speak English to the pharmacist.

     I’ve lived overseas for several years, and I NEVER felt that local businesses were required to serve me in English. I always learned quickly how to say “Another beer please” in whatever the local language was.  

    Eg, In Kazakhstan, there were no taxis, if you wanted to go someplace, you stuck out your hand and flagged a passing driver.  You told him where you wanted to go and you negotiated a price.   English was not an option.

    FWIW, I suspect I typically paid at least double what the locals paid, but typical fare was far less than what it cost to pull the meter on a Chicago cab (currently $3.25), but you did run the risk that your driver that evening was the local version of Ted Bundy.

    • #9
  10. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    Who decides what languages to list? Where are Portuguese and Haitian Creole? What did Putin do to get Russian listed instead?

    • #10
  11. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Casey:

    The English instructions at the top seem unnecessary, no?

    That’s the most important line on the poster! It’s there for the actual customers to see how benevolent is The California Board of Pharmacy.

    • #11
  12. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    Casey:

    The English instructions at the top seem unnecessary, no?

     I didn’t even think of that. Maybe the writing in the languages is the translation of the English instructions. However, it seems if you can read the words “interpreter” and “provided” you can speak English well enough.
    Also, it implies an understanding of the word “right” on the part of people from countries without frequent occurrence of that concept.   

    • #12
  13. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    ctlaw:

    Who decides what languages to list? Where are Portuguese and Haitian Creole? What did Putin do to get Russian listed instead?

     Rob’s in Venice, CA, a section of Los Angeles, and those ethnic groups would be more common than immigrants from European nations. 

    • #13
  14. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Oh you people are such whiners. This is America. We have along history of ethnic enclaves where the predominant language isn’t English. Plus what is a more American attitude than believing everyone should learn your language because you can’t be bothered to learn a second one?

    • #14
  15. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    kylez:

    Maybe the writing in the languages is the translation of the English instructions.

     It is – except for the “It’s your right”, interestingly enough. (OK, I didn’t actually check every language.)

    Lot’s more cool posters about rights at the CalBoPharm site.

    • #15
  16. HeartofAmerica Inactive
    HeartofAmerica
    @HeartofAmerica

    Whiskey Sam:

    There is a difference between people who immigrate here and speak their old language in the home or among others from their country but conduct business in the dominant language of their new country and those who immigrate and demand the new country cater to them and refuse to learn the new language. A nation where the former occurs is a nation that people are willing to come to and to change to be a part of. It is a healthy thing. A nation where people refuse to assimilate is not. That is a nation where people are showing up to make money off it, but don’t really respect the values or culture, or worse, actively try to

    A recent “potential sales discussion” at work focused how we should take advantage of Hispanic buyers in markets we’ve missed…meaning we will produce product in Spanish.  It’s a double-edged sword. Make money by catering to this market or focus on helping  them assimilate into our culture. I say the latter and for the very reasons you’ve stated. Otherwise we will no longer be a melting pot.

    • #16
  17. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    No one ever told me, anywhere, anyplace, anyhow, that it was “my right” to speak English to the pharmacist.

    What Rob?, not even those Azerbaijanis? 

    (I just spelled that word correctly on one try, the first time I’ve ever written it. at least there is no spell check action).

    • #17
  18. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Valiuth:

    Oh you people are such whiners. This is America. We have along history of ethnic enclaves where the predominant language isn’t English. Plus what is a more American attitude than believing everyone should learn your language because you can’t be bothered to learn a second one?

    If this was a free service being provided by Walgreens for its customers, there would be no problem. 

    It isn’t. It’s a taxpayer-funded diktat by an agency of the Government of California

    • #18
  19. Rob Long Editor
    Rob Long
    @RobLong

    Asquared:

    Rob Long: I travel a lot. And I’ve been to some really way-out places. And as a result of my compulsion to eat everything in sight, I’ve also spent a fair amount of time gesturing and pointing and making humiliating charades in pharmacies worldwide. No one ever told me, anywhere, anyplace, anyhow, that it was “my right” to speak English to the pharmacist.

    I’ve lived overseas for several years, and I NEVER felt that local businesses were required to serve me in English. I always learned quickly how to say “Another beer please” in whatever the local language was.

    Eg, In Kazakhstan, there were no taxis, if you wanted to go someplace, you stuck out your hand and flagged a passing driver. You told him where you wanted to go and you negotiated a price. English was not an option.

    FWIW, I suspect I typically paid at least double what the locals paid, but typical fare was far less than what it cost to pull the meter on a Chicago cab (currently $3.25), but you did run the risk that your driver that evening was the local version of Ted Bundy.

     Hah!  Yes, I think that’s how I got around Kazakhstan, too.

    • #19
  20. Rob Long Editor
    Rob Long
    @RobLong

    kylez:

    No one ever told me, anywhere, anyplace, anyhow, that it was “my right” to speak English to the pharmacist.

    What Rob?, not even those Azerbaijanis?

    (I just spelled that word correctly on one try, the first time I’ve ever written it. at least there is no spell check action).

     Bravo!  Let the record show….

    • #20
  21. Rob Long Editor
    Rob Long
    @RobLong

    Valiuth:

    Oh you people are such whiners. This is America. We have along history of ethnic enclaves where the predominant language isn’t English. Plus what is a more American attitude than believing everyone should learn your language because you can’t be bothered to learn a second one?

    Well, yes, this is America.  That’s sort of the point.  And it’s one thing to have an “ethnic enclave” — which, I agree, is sort of a grand American tradition — and another to insist that the taxpayer subsidize it, don’t you think? 

    • #21
  22. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    Sorry Rob but it’s the law. Believe me, I am a nurse. I deal with it everyday. If we don’t provide them with an interpreter (or a sign language for the hearing impaired) we can get in big trouble. I’ll try to post the link for the NC law.  It is taken pretty much from the feds. I agree with everything everybody has said here, but they/we have no choice (except at the ballot box as individuals).

    http://www.nchealthystart.org/outreach/latino/NC_DHHS_Title_VI_Policy.pdf

    • #22
  23. TheRoyalFamily Member
    TheRoyalFamily
    @TheRoyalFamily

    Misthiocracy:

    Casey:

    The English instructions at the top seem unnecessary, no?

    That’s the most important line on the poster! It’s there for the actual customers to see how benevolent is The California Board of Pharmacy.

     Indeed. “It’s your right” is only in English, if the Spanish is any indication.

    • #23
  24. SParker Member
    SParker
    @SParker

    I blame John Locke.  For not anticipating that we’re just not able to have nice concepts in this house.  Sure, I know the idea of  natural rights goes back to antiquity, but as the philosopher Elvis Costello said:  it just seems to be his turn.

    Alternately, blame Canada.  Bilingual road signs.  And proximity.

    • #24
  25. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    “Point to your language. It’s your right.”

    It is indeed your right to point your finger. 

    Perhaps they will find time to perfect their use of English after their employees learn not to discriminate against Klingon and Old Entish.

    • #25
  26. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Blondie:

    Sorry Rob but it’s the law. Believe me, I am a nurse. I deal with it everyday. If we don’t provide them with an interpreter (or a sign language for the hearing impaired) we can get in big trouble

    Ah, but even then, just because something’s the law doesn’t mean it’s a “right”.

    There are plenty of things that governments force us to pay for that even I, with by grand libertarian streak, can grudgingly accept as a “good”.

    That doesn’t make ’em a “right”, and I certainly cannot accept that the California Board of Pharmacy has the authority or the qualifications to bestow “rights” upon the unwashed masses.

    • #26
  27. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    Misthiocracy:

    Blondie:

    Sorry Rob but it’s the law. Believe me, I am a nurse. I deal with it everyday. If we don’t provide them with an interpreter (or a sign language for the hearing impaired) we can get in big trouble

    Ah, but even then, just because something’s the law doesn’t mean it’s a “right”.

    There are plenty of things that governments force us to pay for that even I, with by grand libertarian streak, can grudgingly accept as a “good”.

    That doesn’t make ‘em a “right”, and I certainly cannot accept that the California Board of Pharmacy has the authority or the qualifications to bestow “rights” upon the unwashed masses.

     Since all this is born out of the 1964 Civil Rights legislation, I doubt those that make these rules would agree. Hey, I’m with you. It frosts me everyday the number of patients we have that seem to know they have a “right” to have an interpreter present either in person or by phone for their hospital visit but somehow can’t be bothered to learn the language of the country they are living in (not just visiting mind you, like Rob). The only rights we have are spelled out in the Constitution and last I looked healthcare, having things spelled out in your native tongue and whatever else the progressives try to throw in is NOT in there.

    • #27
  28. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Aaron Miller:

    “Point to your language. It’s your right.”

    It is indeed your right to point your finger.

     Why does Walgreens hate the arthritic?

    • #28
  29. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    At a pharmacy, where mistakes can be deadly, a similar advisory notice might make sense if it included in large bold print a telephone number to call for government-operated translation services. But, as Misthiocracy notes in Comment #11, this law isn’t really about helping people. 

    Blondie: I agree with everything everybody has said here, but they/we have no choice (except at the ballot box as individuals).

    This might not be the hill to die on, but I object to the general notion that citizens are duty-bound to honor any and every crackpot idea politicians legislate in Washington or more locally. A century ago, that might have been the case. But today laws have become so numerous, so oblique, so invasive, and so absurd that American citizens can only maintain their freedom by asserting de facto limits on political powers well beyond the ballot box.

    Whether or not the Supreme Court agrees, there are limits to political authority in America. 

    • #29
  30. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Blondie: The only rights we have are spelled out in the Constitution

    Not true. The enumerated rights were objected to for exactly this reason, that some might see these as the only rights we have. See the Tenth Amendment.

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.