In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 24, 2008 / 25 Tishrei 5769

Bills are lost in translation

By Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It is always unsettling when life's big changes sneak up on you. One day you can do 10 push-ups and the next day your shoulder goes snap, crackle, pop when you raise your arm.

Or how about this: You drive through your neighborhood McDonald's and get a Diet Coke, and two days later you drive by and it has been bulldozed to the ground. They super un-sized it.

Or how about this: You go to bed an English-speaking person and when you wake up you're a Spanish-speaking person. At least JCPenney thinks I am.

This summer I started receiving advertisements in Spanish. I thought they were simply reaching out to our multi-ethnic neighborhood.

I halfway expected to get something in Chinese, Russian or Farsi to accommodate all the neighbors, but the advertisements just kept coming in Spanish.

"Look at this," I said, trying to impress the youngest with my second-language skills. "Penney's is having a fire sale. Half off! I didn't even know they had a fire. Probably a lot of stuff with smoke and water damage."

She grabbed the card from my hands and looked at it. "It's not a fire sale, Mom," she snapped. "It says it's a red hot sale."

Well, forgive me for having a learning curve. Maybe immersion isn't for everybody.

So the mailings keep coming and I keep reading and I'm feeling pretty good about my Spanish-speaking self (at least when the kid isn't around), then last week I get a bill.

It has all the usual inserts: "Protegete con el Spray Pepper Defense. Facil de usar." Comes in pink, black and yellow. Only $9.99 and I think about it, but I already have one. There is also an insert for cortinas hechas a la medida. They look nice, but I'm not in the market for any cortinas.

So I put the resumen de la cuenta on the bill pile and realize — hey! wait a minute — that said my cargos was $49.48 and I hadn't made a cargos!

I looked at the bill a second time and realized the entire thing was in Spanish, but I've been getting so many mailings in Spanish that I hadn't noticed.

Given my translation skills, and the questionable cargos, I deemed the situation in need of attention and called the 1-800 number.

A voice answered in Spanish. The voice said, "GraciasporvocacionaJCPenneys .Hablaraunrepresentantede serviciodecliente eninglésporfavor."

Granted, that's a rough paraphrase, because the voice was talking at a rate of 3 billion words a minute, but you get the idea that is a dilemma. You call a number to see if you can't get your bill in English, but to get it in English, you first have to get past the Spanish. I did what irritated consumers always do, I just started pushing buttons.

A guy who spoke the universal language of credit card bills answered the phone and said he would mark a box that would send future mailings in English.

I said, "Bueno and gracias," but I don't think he was too impressed, as he probably just had lunch with the woman who recorded the greeting in Spanish at warp speed.

The entire episode has been very educational. I feel well equipped to face the future in that I can now decode a credit card statement and spot a sale in two languages.


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JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of , most recently, "Pass the Faith, Please" (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) and I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.


© 2008, Lori Borgman