In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

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