Nicole King – ¿Hablas Ingles?

A new eatery has opened up and is obviously experiencing teething problems, particularly in finding experienced staff at this time of year.   If and when I go there I take these facts into consideration, apart from the fact that it’s full on with tourists.  In this instance the owners are visibly putting in their best efforts to make their business a success and to keep customers happy, in spite of all the adversities.  What would be the point of getting upset, let alone angry or offensive?

This doesn’t mean to say that it’s not frustrating when they get things wrong, nor that I haven’t got up and left because it was taking too long for them to come and take my order.  It certainly can be frustrating, even annoying, if we let it.   When I don’t have much time to spare or I feel that I’m a little bit ratty or hangry I certainly would choose to go somewhere else, at least whilst they sort themselves out.  With this said, even fully fledged and experienced restaurants can become overwhelmed at this time of year.  It’s hot for everyone, particularly those cooking and running around serving tables, so we all need to be extra wary to keep our cool.

I never feel that shouting and belittling anyone serves any positive purpose.  We’re not perfect and such is life.  However, there are times that I find the arrogance so misplaced that, as they say beautifully in Spanish and roughly translated “I feel embarrassed on behalf of others”, and would love to intervene.

Just the other day I sat at this restaurant mentioned above and appreciated how a family of holidaymakers made the effort to communicate with the waiters in phrase-book Spanish; commendable.  On another table sat a British resident who works locally, for at least the past 7 years and yet she was ordering in English.  She had asked for several ingredient changes and was most upset that here dish came out wrong.   She emphatically repeated her order. and when they got it wrong a second time, vented her disgust at their incompetence with a dismissive and entitled attitude, all in English.

Does she not realise that she’s in Spain?  I see no sign outside saying “English spoken here” so why on earth is she talking in English as if it’s a given that all Spaniards speak her language?  Let’s invert the roles and think for a moment how many people from Pakistan and India live in the UK but how ludicrous it would be to assume therefore that everyone should speak Urdu or Hindi to make their life easier as an immigrant in our country.

Where do we get off? How entitled and blasé have we become about the hospitality we’re extended but yet still demand more?  So, please, let’s mind our manners and unless there is a sign saying “English spoken here” not be so arrogant and expect to be understood.

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Written by

Nicole King

One of Marbella's most glamorous residents, Nicole King offers a taste of the best of what's going on in the Costa del Sol.