Bethenny Frankel complains about store workers not speaking English

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Real Housewives of New York villain Bethenny Frankel has drawn ire for what some people are calling racist comments complaining about KMart store workers who were speaking Spanish. She claimed they spoke “no English whatsoever” but I question whether she even tried to speak with them to ask about an item she wanted to buy. Here are some of her tweets on this in the order she made them.

bethennytweets

Well she has already said she agrees with Trump.

Twitter users responded by telling Bethenny to stop being racist.

Why is it always the people who only speak English and who have never lived outside the US who complain about others not being able to speak English? Did Bethenny try to speak to the workers or did she just hear them speaking Spanish and assume they couldn’t speak English? From what she tweeted it sounds like she didn’t even try and just got knee jerk mad. If she tried to speak with them, why didn’t she use her phone to google a photo of kids’ snow boots or try Google Translate? She took more time to tweet complain about the situation than it would have taken to handle it respectfully.

One time, before we had smart phones, I needed birthday candles at a store where the guy didn’t speak English. I said “cumpleaños” and then mimed blowing my finger and he figured out what I meant. Bethenny knew the word “zapatos” all she had to do was point to the snow outside. It’s not that hard to communicate with people who don’t speak English although I doubt she even tried. She probably got pissed off just hearing people speaking Spanish to each other. “Listen to them speaking another language. They wouldn’t even understand me if I asked for something so I won’t bother. I better complain about this on Twitter.”

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168 Responses to “Bethenny Frankel complains about store workers not speaking English”

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  1. JustJen says:

    I’m more surprised that she admitted to shopping at Kmart.

  2. Nancy says:

    I hope at last this example of her crass nature and blatant ignorance will be enough to throw her back to her homeland of obscurity. Tomorrow’s story will be her ill written and insincere apology of how her words were misinterpreted….happens every time.

  3. NewWester says:

    Her apology and how some of her best friends speak Spanish or from a Spanish speaking nation, should be coming in 1, 2, 3 …….

  4. Belle Epoch says:

    She personally buys snow boots at Kmart?

    Strange compulsion to put this on Twitter.

    The sentence “I’ll explain but I can’t understand it for you” is really chilling. What a personality!

  5. jinni says:

    Even though English isn’t the official language of the States, the majority of people hear speak English only, so is it really that crazy to expect a person that lives and works here to have some kind of basic grasp of the English language especially when part of their job is helping customers? I don’t see why not. My parents aren’t from this country and they learned English. No one was trying to learn their language and they understood that they moved to the States were English was how most people here communicated.

    Now this chick went about this in the wrong way, but I really don’t see what the big deal is in wanting people that come to the States to learn some English if they are joining the work force.

    • Louise177 says:

      The problem is that Betheny may not have even asked for help. The tweet makes it sound like she didn’t bother to ask and assumed they didn’t speak English. I agree that workers should speak the language where they live but it’s wrong to assume that the workers didn’t even know Spanish.

      • jinni says:

        Yeah, she sounds like she was trolling. That said, this story just made me think of how oftentimes people seem to be upset that Americans would like for immigrants to at least learn some English when they get here. As the child of immigrants that learned English when they got here I don’t see why that’s such an offensive request.

      • Jen says:

        Jinni: I have literally NEVER heard anyone get upset about immigrants learning English (and I grew up in and live in a very liberal, diverse area). What I have heard is people acting like immigrants should have perfect diction and grammar and getting angry/belligerent when someone has a thick accent. My FIL (who is a very meek person) actually goes out of his way not to speak in public because of how many times he has been accosted by people like this POS for having a thick accent that occasionally causes him to mispronounce common English words. I’ve also seen people like this POS yell at my husband to “speak English” when he is having a conversation with his family in their native tongue despite the fact that my husband speaks perfect and completely unaccented English since he arrived in the states when he was 5. What I have heard is people like me getting pissed off at ignorant people like that who think that being born in the US entitles them to never have to hear an accent or a foreign word and who will loudly and idiotically abuse any “immigrant” they overhear speaking in a different accent from the one they grew up with.

      • jinni says:

        Jen: Yes, I am aware that there are some plain rude people that expect immigrants to never speak their native tongue ever while living on US soil or make fun of accented English. Both of which are very wrong and ignorant. That said, there are others that think that because the States doesn’t have an official language that means that Spanish speaking immigrants in particular don’t necessarily have to learn English and that those that don’t speak Spanish should be made to learn Spanish in order to accommodate the new arrivals. Which to me doesn’t seem fair considering that if I went to another country to live there, I’d be expected to learn their language. I’m all for being multilingual, I just figure it should go both ways. If I need to learn Spanish, they need to learn English.

      • Sabrine says:

        Okay that is different if she didn’t ask for help. It is frustrating when you ask a question and get a blank stare back. A knowledge of English should be a requirement before hiring someone for a customer service job or cashier in America.

      • CLINIQUA. says:

        I don’t believe a word of Bethenny’s story. I doubt she asked for help, as many have said, furthermore, I doubt she even asked an employee of the store.

        Let’s say she did (hypothetically) – perhaps the store has made it a point to hire Spanish speaking clerks with pronounced accents.. sounds smart, maybe they know their customer base is significantly Spanish speaking. All Frankel had to do was asked for another clerk.

      • JenniferJustice says:

        I don’t expect any immigrant to know English like a native English speaking person would. I think it would be in their own best interest to learn English and I’ve never known anyone who came here who didn’t learn English. I do think it would be bad business to hire an employee here who doesn’t speak English and who comes in contact with the public but we don’t know that that’s the case with Frankle and K-Mart. I have to beleive the people in question do in fact speak English but she didn’t give them a chance.

      • Ron says:

        @Louise177…but it is ok to immediately assume she DIDN’T ask?
        @jinni…thank you, I recently moved from Central Wa where immigrants almost outnumbered whites. And the population is still growing. I saw many older ( but not octogenarian, 30-40 range) Hispanics that didn’t even TRY to learn English. Their kids said they had been here 10-15 years and just didn’t “want to” learn English. Granted not all are like that, but too many. Even the migrants who came up yearly to pick at the orchards, the majority would at least TRY to learn enough to get by or would bring a child along to help if/when needed.
        “… there are others that think that because the States doesn’t have an official language that means that Spanish speaking immigrants in particular don’t necessarily have to learn English and that those that don’t speak Spanish should be made to learn Spanish in order to accommodate the new arrivals…”
        This^^ We heard that a LOT in Wa, “why don’t you learn Spanish?”. My ancestors came from Scotland, Ireland, and Germany, and they all learned English to “fit in” and be accepted, they didn’t want anything separating them from others here. They were PROUD to speak English and be Americans!!!. We have already learned the language of the country we moved to. Why do WE need to learn Spanish for THEM? Acclimate to where you have moved to like everyone else has had to do. Russians, Asians, Germans, South African, you name it. They have ALL made it a point to learn English so they could get by and be a part of this country.

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        Um, Ron? Asia is not a country. I know you can look up its tremendous linguistic diversity all by yourself, so let’s move on. South Africa has 4 official languages – English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa. Russia? Well, there are a number of Slavic languages there too (unless you mean when it was all bundled into the Soviet Union, but even then…). Germany has several recognized minority languages. Canada: a mere 2 official languages, but government funds are freely spent to provide materials in whatever languages dominate in an area, to ensure that families have access to needed services. Americans tend to overlook the Canadian example because the 2nd language is French, I think … you know, the “superior” language in high school, as opposed to Spanish which came to be associated with poor immigrants from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Central America.

        It’s true, people from Scotland and Ireland “learned English” to be accepted. That must have been truly a tough, uphill battle because by the mid 1800s and early 1900s they were all still speaking Gaelic and Irish, right?

        No one is forcing you to learn Spanish “for them.” “They” are your fellow Americans and they are not ruining your life. Speaking English is not what makes someone “American,” but if you feel that way, you can move to the United Kingdom (2 countries), Australia or Canada, and see how much your command of English makes you an instant Brit, Scot, Aussie or Canadian.

    • Jegede says:

      @jinni
      Agreed.

      My mum’s Nigerian. She went for a wedding in Miami in 2011, and went dress shopping.
      She was absolutely APPALLED that the sales people in this state could not speak English.

      As service people in a public capacity, I don’t believe its out of the ordinary for this woman to expect them to speak English.

      • Kitten says:

        Your mom sounds a lot like mine. Wonder if it’s a generational thing but my mother, a French immigrant, gets VERY irritated with people who move to the US and don’t bother to at least attempt to learn the language. Like, she’s personally offended by it.

      • PinaColada says:

        +1 jinni and jedge. All 4 of my grandparents are from 4 different countries and they all learned English. They didn’t expect anyone to learn their native tongue- they learned the common language of their new country. My moms family even spoke English at home to be sure they knew it. My dads family spoke their own language at home but he was taught English before he started school.

      • jinni says:

        @Jegede and PinaColada:

        Thanks.

      • Cidee says:

        Learning at least basic English should be a requirement in the service industry. No one is saying people HAVE to learn English. But if speaking English is a prerequisite for fulfilling the job requirements, LEARN THE LANGUAGE! And a shopper shouldn’t have to “mime”. This isn’t racist or some form of bigotry. It is common sense.

      • RJ says:

        Research shows it takes 2-3 years to fully learn the social communication basics of another language, 5-7 to learn cognitive academic language. It is my dream to move to Paris. My French is atrocious. I’d like to think if I were to move there next month, while I was attempting to learn French over the next couple of years, people would be kind and supportive rather than snobby and judgmental like so many of the people you describe. I’d be willing to bet that 99% of people living in the United States WANT to speak English, even while maintaining their native language(s). So many Americans are brutally bigoted to those who are learning English, and act superior about it (our “native” languages actually are the Indigineous ones, then Spanish in many parts of what is now the U.S.A., , then French)

      • HeySandy says:

        My German mother also gets frustrated when she sees what she assumes are immigrants not attempting to learn or speak English. In her mind since she was expected to be fluent when she arrived to the US, she thinks yhat should be a requirement of everyone.

        Having had the tables turned when I lived in a non -English speaking country, I get how hard it is to learn another language. And lord knows the US is behind in multilingualism. A little compassion goes a long way.

      • Boston Green Eyes says:

        Count me in. All my grandparents came from an Eastern European country and they had to learn to speak English or they basically starved. My mother had to stay back in school because, at the time, she couldn’t speak English. So it really makes me mad when a particular group of people get a pass from having to speak English.

        Even when I visited Paris, I made a very big effort to speak French. So if you decide to live in a particular country, bloody learn the language!!

      • kibbles says:

        My mom is an immigrant and she learned how to speak English. Compared to Asian and Middle Eastern languages, English is very easy to learn, especially for Europeans and South Americans. My mom also thinks there is no excuse not to learn English and blames it on the fact that many people aren’t willing because they live in their own communities with no desire to integrate into their new society. English is infused in so much of the world’s entertainment that it is hard to avoid English language movies, shows, songs, etc. It’s also a language that is so essential to success in this world. That is why so many countries spend millions on English language education because no matter where you live, if you want a good job, it’s become more of a requirement to learn English. If not, you are stuck and your kids will be at a huge disadvantage as well.

    • Aren says:

      If you have ever tried getting a low paying job as an immigrant you know not a single one is available for people who don’t speak English.
      There’s no way they could’ve been employed if they didn’t speak it. And even people who speak some English often end up working picking berries in the mud because that pays a bit more than working at a restaurant’s kitchen or store.

      • jinni says:

        I don’t know, because I’ve encountered a few situations where a person from another country comes here and learns English, starts a business and only hires other immigrants that still haven’t learned English to work for them. This situation happened once when my family hired movers when we were relocating. Only one of the guys knew English while the others only knew Spanish. So anytime we wanted to give instructions to the other guys they or we always had to get the one the knew English to translate for us which slowed down the moving process. I’ve also experienced this in some mechanic shops. So they can find work without knowing any English.

      • Nia says:

        I was in ShopRite years ago in North Bergen. The cashier did not speak one word of English. I tried my best to communicate with her in my best Spanish but to no avail. I understand and accept some of the small shops in the area where no English is spoken but ShopRite is a kinda large food chain in my state. I do not have an issue when people are speaking their native tongue. I grew up with it and what they are talking about is none of my business even though they may be talking about me. All of my grandparents learned to speak English. Recently I have been looking into jobs in Europe. Even though it is within the pharmaceutical industry where most everyone speaks English the jobs require some knowledge of their language.

      • ladysussex says:

        I don’t know about that. I worked my way through college waiting tables, and most of the kitchen staff spoke zero English. We had to learn a lot of Spanish vocabulary words and phrases to be able to communicate with them. Even on the food line, if we wanted salads for our customers we had to tell the line in Spanish. Also, lots of construction sites and landscaping companies had to have Spanish speaking foreman because many of the workers didn’t speak English. I went to college in Atlanta, btw, not Miami, South Texas, or Southern California.

    • Blythe says:

      Learning an entirely new language is not very easy. How about she try to be a decent human being and give someone a f*king break?

    • Josefina says:

      Yeah, this. This comes from Bethenny Frankel so it’s alright to assume the worst from her, but still, I don’t get why people thinks it’s racist to demand English be spoken in an English-speaking country. If it’s a personal conversation then it doesn’t matter but if a customer asks for help, the employees should definitely manage the language in some way (not sure if Bethenny did that).

      I get REALLY offended when tourists come here and go around asking things in their native languages. We speak Spanish here. You could at least say “Hola” or “Buenos dias” when approaching us.

      Anyway, I’d like to think most latinos, and most immigrants in general, would be wise enough to at least try to learn English in some way when moving to the USA. I can’t imagine someone being stupid enough to move there and expect to make a living without speaking a drop of English.

    • annaloo. says:

      I agree– maybe this is something children of immigrant parents are sensitive to, but I will throw my two cents in here about the importance of learning English (or whatever the dominant language is of the country you live). While I don’t think it needs to go as far as legislating that people learn English in the US, I find that it shakes out and catches up to you if you cannot speak English here. My Korean grandmother is a testament to this. She is 100% dependent on our family, despite being here over 30 years. She never reached her potential, she never worked, she has no life outside the Korean community. It’s the US- you can do anything here, but she chose to stay ensconced in our family, and as a result, she is wholly dependent on all of us.

      If you do not speak English, you are unable to communicate– a very basic need – and not being able to that puts you on the short end of the stick for connecting socially, for business, even medically. It’s a real disadvantage: It’s the same as not being able to drive in most cities, and being dependent on public transport. Sure, you can eventually get to where you’re going , but you’ll be more independent and efficient if you had your own car. This is a very valid point, accusations of racism and PC-ness aside – you cannot empower yourself if you cannot communicate. Yes, I think it’s a glorious thing ot be able to speak more than one language, but these are also customer service jobs in the US. I think Frankel dealt with this in a very crass and classless way, but she’s not entirely wrong in her point.

    • Saks says:

      I would bet she just heard them talking Spanish and assumed they didn’t knew English.

      It was like one time I was talking to my cousin in Spanish and a woman came to us and shouted us to “TALK AMERICAN!!”. We both speak English and that is of course the language we use when approaching others, but we were talking to each other in our native language.

    • Dana m says:

      I have a feeling that during the Kmart interview, these workers most likely had their interview in English. So they probably do speak some English. Some new to speaking English (or any foreign language new to them for that matter) are still bashful to speak it with confidence. When in the presence of their Spanish speaking co-workers they probably feel more comfortable speaking Spanish.

      I do agree that if you come to live in the USA from another country, should should learn English to be able to communicate with the general public especially in a retail setting. However,imo, this doesn’t mean that you should not be able to speak your native language at the place of employment.

    • Pinky says:

      This check lives in Manhattan so was likely shopping at the KMart around Astor Place or 34th Street. If she’s dealing with Spanish speakers in NYC, she’s likely talking about Puerto Ricans, and they do just fine speaking English, thank you very much. She’s just being deliberately obtuse, superior, exclusionary, and ignorant.

      -TheRealPinky

    • Erinn says:

      a) Kmart – like many department stores have some pretty clearly marked signage for their departments. Can SHE not read English? Since, you know, the children’s boots are likely in the footwear section.

      b) Or she just overheard people speaking Spanish to eachother, and didn’t bother to ask them. This is the kind of woman who would stand there like “Peasants – help me now. Don’t you know you’re in the presence of a celebretaaayyy”

    • I completely agree. English should be the official language of the United States. It was founded by English speakers. If one can speak more than English, and I wish I spoke several languages, than more power to you. But anyone who goes to France knows that French is the national language, Spanish in Spain & most of South America, Japanese in Japan, English in the UK and Australia, etc.

      If an American or any foreigner travels to a foreign country and is appalled that their native language isn’t spoken in the country they are visiting or have moved to, they would be called arrogant. So why should it be any different here? If you don’t have a common language, it fosters separatism and disunity in a nation.

      • Momo says:

        Correction: there are 4 official languages in Spain (Spanish being the most widespread one) and Spanish is spoken in most of America, including central and North America (i.e. Mexico), not only the south. The first pioneers came from all over Europe (Spain, France, Netherlands, England, Ireland, Germany , Scandinavia…) and the initial 13 British states that founded the US bought lands from Spain, France, Mexico, Russia… Maybe that is why English is not the official language at a federal level… For the sake of argument, there are many Americans living in US bases in Germany. Do you think they all speak German? Yet people try to accommodate them when they try to communicate. Do you think that all the expats living in Emirates or China speak Arab or Chinese? While one should try to learn the language of the country you emigrate to (even if temporarily), not everybody is equally gifted or has the resources (time/money) to learn properly, and certainly nobody should be expected to give up their mother tongue completely , especially in private situations! That’s utter nonsense. I’m most certain that those clerks were bilingual and hers was just a totally unjustified rant.

      • Momo: “For the sake of argument, there are many Americans living in US bases in Germany. Do you think they all speak German? Yet people try to accommodate them when they try to communicate. Do you think that all the expats living in Emirates or China speak Arab or Chinese? While one should try to learn the language of the country you emigrate to (even if temporarily), not everybody is equally gifted or has the resources (time/money) to learn properly, and certainly nobody should be expected to give up their mother tongue completely , especially in private situations! That’s utter nonsense. I’m most certain that those clerks were bilingual and hers was just a totally unjustified rant.”

        As far as Americans on US bases in Germany, they’re on a US base so they would be speaking English to each other, not German. The US military communicates in English amongst themselves in order to operate. But I wouldn’t expect Germans to accommodate English speakers. If you’re in Germany or any foreign country, you do your best to learn what you can. No, I don’t think all expats living in Emirates or China speak Arabic or Chinese. My point was it isn’t required that the Chinese or any Arabic speaking nation has to learn or speak another language to accommodate a foreigner or expat in their country. And I never said anyone should give up their mother tongue, that’s crazy. I said if they move to another country where the predominate language is different then their own, they should learn it. If they don’t, fine, but it makes it more difficult for many & can isolate them. Germany requires new citizens to learn German, as they should. And the United States was a nation before it purchases land from Russia, France etc. The Declaration of Independence, Constitution… was written in English, the Congress, Supreme Court etc. speaks English. So while English hasn’t legally been made the official language of the United States, I think it should. What other countries do is their business. I certainly don’t travel expecting foreign nations w/foreign languages to speak English & accommodate me. I’m a visitor.

      • ladysussex says:

        @momo: Firstly, Americans on military bases are mostly staying on their bases only interacting with other Americans. And YES the ones who do venture off the bases to explore the country there or anywhere learn basic German (or whatever is language of their host country) to be able to order from restaurants, speak to taxi drivers, or check in to a hotel. All companies or military facilities with operations overseas offer language classes to their personnel.

    • moo moo says:

      people working at the register should be able to speak some english. She’s not my favorite person, but I won’t hate her for this. And no, i wasn’t born here in the US and spoke another language inside the home.

    • crtb says:

      I totally get what you are saying Jinni. It annoys me to go into the grocery store and ask where the milk is and the sales people have no idea of what I am talking about. I feel that in any job where you have to interact with the public then you should have a basic command of the language. You can’t do your job effectively if you are unable to communicate with the customer. I have no idea what happened with Bethany and nor does anyone else. Maybe she was being a jerk or maybe she was expecting customer service from a sales person. I feel the same exact way about cashiers who can’t do basic math. You should be able to do simple addition and subtraction when handling money.

    • Annie says:

      Of course you are right Jinni. If they expect to give good customer service then you need to speak the language of the people who shop at your facility. Problem is, no one gives customer service anymore, they’re more concerned about other BS

  6. Rosalee says:

    who is this woman and why should I care she’s a kmart shopper. Obviously she is ill mannered rude woman who should drink more of her products. The staff are no doubt bilingual – I respect anyone who can speak two languages or more. In Canada we are experiencing an influx of immigration and believe me in Canada if you overhear a different language we jump at the opportunity to greet, chat even if it can be one sided but tremendously entertaining for both groups.. asking the newcomers how do you like the winter is becoming a national pass time.

  7. Patricia says:

    I think you are on the money with her hearing them speaking Spanish and not even trying to communicate thereafter.
    I would actually find it hard to believe that KMart would hire non English speakers. Not saying they wouldn’t hire those whose second language is English (which is probably the case here as they workers were speaking to each other in Spanish). But it would be a hard sell in most places. People who speak literally no English have a hard time finding work in retail.
    My grandmother in law speaks only Spanish and she was never able to find employment here in NJ. And we are a pretty diverse state! It’s rough in general for Spanish speakers and this twit needs to shut her trap.

    • crtb says:

      I beg to differ. I live in NY and I can’t tel you how many stores I have shopped in where the salespeople do not have a command of the language. I expect that if I am shopping in a supermarket, you should be able to tell me which aisle I can find milk and bread. I have wander around stores for 15 minutes trying to find someone who speaks English.

  8. Who ARE these people? says:

    Maybe they recognized her and were like, “Quick, habla Espanol, maybe that crazy bitch will leave us alone!”

  9. Lucy2 says:

    5 employees standing around, 2 didn’t speak English…so I’m guessing the other 3 ignored her?
    Yeah, she didn’t even try.

    • hogtowngooner says:

      That’s what I got out of it, too. Like, she was standing around waiting for someone to approach her, rather than walking up to them and saying “excuse me?” It just seems far-fetched that FIVE store clerks couldn’t speak English at a big box store in the United States.

      She strikes me as a rude, nasty person who think the world revolves around her.

  10. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    If I went a store in the U.S. and none of the employees spoke English, and my request was complicated, I would be puzzled. But that’s not even what happened. There WERE English speaking employees right there, as well as Spanish speaking. Perhaps they have a large Spanish speaking clientele and are trying to accommodate them if that’s alright with you, Bethanny.

  11. Zaytabogota says:

    It’s one thing for a small immigrant family owned business to have family working for them who don’t speak English but in an English speaking country it should be expected that staff at a supermarket can communicate with customers. It’s not racist to expect a minimum standard from workers. They can’t do their jobs if they can’t read labels and communicate with customers.

  12. Insomniac says:

    Whatever, Bethenny. Go try on your toddler’s clothes and get over it.

  13. Lama Bean says:

    Totally superficial, but is she plumped and filled in the face? I recall her face looking really emaciated and bony but it doesn’t look that way in these photos.

    Kmart huh? Who knew?

  14. rahrahrooey says:

    Hmmmm…Maybe they did speak English but she acted like she “couldn’t” understand them? My family and I came to the US when my mom was 35 years old. Her attempt to learn English was intense. She was our only parent and knew she couldn’t get anywhere without learning. However, learning a language later in life is extremely difficult, one can do it ( and she did.) However, her accent will always be very thick. I understand her English perfectly and so do many people. Yet she comes across some people who simply act like her English is much too difficult to understand, it’s not. Sometimes when one hears an accent ( sometimes specific accents) all decency goes out the window. They do not even try or care to try. I know there are people who have legitimate trouble with accents. But I’m not so sure that’s what happened in this case.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      THIS. I experienced this even as a child. Being young and trying to order food from a takeaway restaurant and having an adult woman act like I was speaking in tongues because my accent wasn’t English/American.

    • Josefina says:

      I have definitely seen that happen. If you look and sound foreign, some people immediately try to block you away. If you’re making an effort to speak my language, I’ll make the effort to understand you.

      I have also seen this happen only to certain races here. If a European or North American comes here, speaking Spanish in a very thick accent and with poor grammar, people try to help you. With an Asian, with an accent just as thick and grammar just as poor, they’ll make funny faces and act like they are too hard to understand.

      • Dani says:

        My husband is Middle Eastern and it’s the same. His English is nearly perfect and people act as though he is incomprehensible. On the flip side when we visit his country no one can understand my Arabic. It wears on you and you begin to feel small when you are trying to speak another language and are unable to communicate. Luckily for me most people in Kuwait from Kuwaitis to the service workers speak English so it’s easier for me. Having lived in Italy and spending so much time in Kuwait I am beyond thankful that the rest of the world doesn’t seem to have the American mentality of learn our language or GTFO. It’s so degrading. Learning another language doesn’t happen over night.

  15. Rhiley says:

    Her cheek implants are melting. Someone must have thrown water on her.

  16. De facto says:

    De jure, yes… there isn’t an official language in the USA. De facto it is English. While I would not be surprised to be confronted with other languages, especially in States that were French or Spanish etc. colonies or that are at the Mexican or Canadian border, English is generally used.

    Are official papers in Spanish too or is everything in English?
    In Switzerland, you get information or official papers/ documents in four to five languages, simply because they have four national languages and are nice enough to include English as a fith.

    • Aren says:

      That’s really awesome about Switzerland. It must be great to be somewhere you can speak several languages, where I live I can only do that with my classmates, but we don’t really practice much.

    • Greenieweenie says:

      In California, you can get school papers in 42 different languages.

      • Wentworth Miller says:

        “Why is it always the people who only speak English and who have never lived outside the US who complain about others not being able to speak English?” This has always been my experience. A friend and I had this exact conversation, a few weeks ago. She basically said the same thing that Bethenny said.
        I don’t understand it. It just sounds like a terrible thing to say.
        Did Bethenny approach the workers for help? Doubt it. I think she just wanted some shit to complain about. I don’t think anyone has written anything about her in a few days and she felt left out.

  17. Really says:

    It’s pretty clear she didn’t even try and just wanted to complain, but I don’t agree that the correct response in such a situation should be to pull out your cell phone or start working on your signing skills. If you are employed in a retail store, you should be able to communicate with customers.

  18. Anaya says:

    I’ve experienced what Bethenny did. I wouldn’t say her complaint shows she’s racist. To me she sounds annoyed more than anything which again I can relate. Why should we in the US have to feel we should take on an obligation of sorts as to go to such lengths to ask a simple question because someone doesn’t speak English? Should we do that sometimes or more than sometimes?

    It’s assumed by most that if you live here in the US you surely can communicate in English even if that’s not your primary language. Unlike Europe and other non US countries, most Americans are not bi/multilingual. I can speak a little Spanish but I am not fluent in Spanish and I don’t want to use my Spanish sometimes just.. well, because I feel I shouldn’t really have to. I do not speak Chinese, Korean or any language that’s spoken in parts of Asia. Nor am I able to speak languages spoken in Africa or the middle east. Should we/I always have to break out a translator, Google photos or make hand gestures to compensate for someone else who hasn’t learned English after living & working in the US for years? Sorry but I say no. This is my opinion as unpopular as it may be for some.

    I support immigrants. I am not racist. I just feel that if you’re from a foreign country, I don’t care where, and you have lived and worked here for at a year or longer then you should be able to speak, read and write English at least on a semi intermediate level no matter how old you are. I’ve also experienced having a hard time understanding what is being said to me in English by someone whose first language isn’t English because their accent is so thick. It can be really frustrating just as I’m sure it’s frustrating to not be able to communicate in English when it’s not your first language or you may not feel confident speaking it.

    Now whether or not Bethenny actually tried to communicate with the employee prior to tweeting that is something I can only speculate on. But I don’t think she’s wrong to get upset over the language barrier not to mention there supposedly not being enough registers open for customers to check out.

    • Mia says:

      I do not think what she is saying is wrong. I do think anyone working in an establishment like Kmart should speak English. My parents were immigrants to this country, and both quickly learned Englishto function. It’s the same if you go to France and ask for something in English, they snobbishly expect you to speak French. Which I do not think is unexpected at all-but me not speaking French as a tourist is different from people living here and not speaking English.

      • Zip says:

        France is very “special” on that issue. Go to any other country in Europe, you won’t have those problems.

      • Aren says:

        My sister experienced the opposite in France. She spoke french but they didn’t like her accent so always spoke to her in English. She felt very bad about it for a while.

      • Kitten says:

        They don’t “snobbishly” (lol) expect you to speak fluent French, they have the REASONABLE expectation that you would at least ATTEMPT to speak their language while staying in their country.

        And no, I don’t think France is “special” in that way. If you were a waitress here in the US and a customer started ordering food from you in Lebanese, expecting you to understand and speak their language, wouldn’t you find that a bit presumptuous?

        Because that’s what a LOT of English-speaking people do when they travel to other countries–they have this bizarre expectation that everyone they encounter will understand and speak English. Sorry, but that’s just arrogance and ethnocentrism. If you don’t have the desire or the patience to learn a few key phrases before traveling to different countries, then maybe you’re just not cut out for international travel.

      • Zip says:

        Kitten, I’m not from the US and English is not my first language. Half of the time people stop me on the street to ask for directions or whatever they are doing so in English, no matter their nationality. You know what? I don’t give a sh*t. English is a language which is spoken by (or at least taught to) almost everyone in the Western countries so it’s a common to at least know this one as a foreign language. I also have no nerve for native English speakers who do not know any other language but think the world revolves around theirs. I would not see anything wrong with a Lebanese person trying to order something in English in France (given that said person is a tourist), though. That’s why we learn this language, to communicate!

      • Kitten says:

        @Zip-Fair enough. We don’t have to agree but I do think that Americans and English-speakers are very spoiled in the sense that we can travel anywhere in the world and there’s almost always someone who speaks our language. That is a privilege in and of itself and to me and to me, it’s simply poor manners to assume that everyone will speak the same language as you. It’s rude and lazy, particularly in today’s day and age where there are numerous apps, translators, Rosetta Stone and the like to help us learn at MINIMUM a few phrases prior to traveling.

        But then again, that’s just my opinion. Maybe you’re just more patient and understanding than I am. ;)

      • Locke Lamora says:

        I don’t really agree with you, Kitten. In most other countries people don’t expect from tourists to speak their language ( even big countries with languages many foreigners speak, like Germany). France is special in that regard. French was the most common European langage in the past, now it’s English and in a few decades we might all be expected to speak Chinese, who knows. But if you’re a waiter and you should accomodate the customer and not just stand there rudely and expect them to speak French.
        My country is very touristy, but very small and it would be foolish to expect tourists to speak our language ( that’s why most waiters have to speak at least 3 foreign languages). Even people who live and work here rarely speak our language (Slavic languages are apparently quite hard to learn).
        I think I’ve only ever met one American who tried to learn it, and he’s been living here for 15 years.
        The French have a superiority complex, in my experience at least.

        But that’s regarding tourists, I think Bethanny was an idiot. This reminds me of the story when a Lidl in the UK banned employes from speaking Polish to eachother, not the customers. Why, who knows?
        I also think that if the sores are in areas where most of the population speak another language, maybe knowledge of English isn’t crucial.

      • Kitten says:

        @Lock Lamore-I cannot disagree with you more. I traveled to France with a close friend of mine 7 years ago and while I helped with the language barrier when necessary, there were many times where she would simply start speaking English to whatever French person she encountered. I found it embarrassing TBH, yet every single French person was more than polite and patient with her. Many recognized that she was American right away and were more than happy to converse with her in English. My point was that I don’t think they should have to, that’s all. Most Americans have language requirements starting around 6th grade, and the choices are usually French, Spanish or Latin so it’s not a strange concept for Americans to know a second language. It’s also not very smart to rely on others to know English when you’re traveling–in fact I’d call that pretty short-sighted.

        Also, characterizing an entire country as having a superiority complex is pretty unfair but meh, just goes to show you that every country has its share of rude people.

      • Locke Lamora says:

        Well, Kitten, you said waitress, not any random person on the street. I would expect a waiter to speak a foreign language, at least in tourist areas. I also think asking if someone spoke English before you start speaking it is common curtesy.
        Also, to most people in the world, English is the foreign language.
        I also said in my experience, the French people I encounterted acted quite superior. But then again, I am not from the fancy part of Europe, a lot of foreigners tend to act superior towards us.

      • Ennie says:

        I live not far from Guadalajara, in Mexico. There is quite a large community of English speaking ex-pats and teachers, particularly from the USA. I’ve been in touch with them.
        The only Spanish they’ll speak and know is enough to make it to the grocery store or any small errand. They live in such a close knitted English speaking community that most of them not even try… It reminds me of those Immigrants to the USA, same case.
        When I was traveling by myself (backpacking) in Europe, I thought that speaking English would help me go by. They preferred to speak to me in Spanish. Why? who knows? Maybe their Spanish was better?

      • Lambda says:

        I lived in France for a few years, and yup the older French have a superiority complex. Courteous as they are, they expect you to speak French. Not a problem for me, I’m fluent. And then I lived in the French-speaking part of Belgium, and pouf, that late great power attitude disappears. (Anecdotal evidence of sorts, I used to live in this French aged working class neighborhood, and they loved me there because I spoke the language very well, and I was not an Arab or a Brit.)

    • Saraphina says:

      I think her point is valid but delivery sucked. I too am a child born here of immigrant parents. My parents learned the language and opened a business. As a young adult, when helping out, under no circumstances were we allowed to speak my parents’ native language. My father strictly forbid it. BUT I speak the my parents’ native language with my family. When people look down on me, I get very very angry, I can and will speak any language I want. I speak better English than some do and they have been here for generations. I too get upset would get upset, you decide to work her, live here and reap the benefits that are offered, then learn the language of the majority. But soon that too will change.

    • Greenieweenie says:

      Maybe K Mart needed workers to talk to Spanish-speaking customers. Maybe that person isn’t there to service you in the first place.

      Some people never get better at English or lose their accent. It has to do with your ear and the age you started learning. Case in point: Einstein.

      • Goodnight says:

        I really think that she didn’t even bother trying. It seems doubtful that K-Mart in New York would hire salespeople who spoke no English.

        I live in an area heavily populated with Italian people and it’s very common for me to go to a store and hear the person behind the counter speaking to older customers in Italian. it’d never just assume those people didn’t speak English.

        What an odd assumption to make.

  19. Crumpet says:

    I call bullshit on her story. I live in a community with a very large Mexican population, and most of the cashiers at my neighborhood WalMart speak Spanish, certainly, but they also speak English. If I overhear them talking to each other in Spanish, the last thing that occurs to me is to be outraged. I simply wish I had kept up with my High School Spanish so I could speak it with them.

    But I once worked for a woman who was red in the face that she had to “press 1 for English”. I got up and walked out of her office, saying I wouldn’t tolerate her attitude. I eventually got fired, but it was the best thing that could have happened to me, really.

  20. Skyblue says:

    Give me a break Bethany…do what the rest of us do at Kmart…wander around until you find the department you want. I think the shoes are probably towards the back of the store.

  21. Adrien says:

    Ugh! I remember this American dude complaining on a Taiwanese site comments section that the author didn’t translate some parts that were written in Mandarin . White dude cannot be bothered to look them up himself. It’s a site intended for Taiwanese readers. I don’t even know how he got to the site when he’s not even an expat.

  22. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    Yeah, no.

    I would literally put money down in a bet that there were workers who spoke English but in her impatience and ignorance she just wasn’t willing to have any empathy.

    I’ve seen this so many times and it’s disgusting (not saying this is always 100% the situation for everyone else). Two people speak in their native language as it’s easier while working, person comes up wanting assistance, hears language and flips out.

    Begins to act like the people are ignorant foreigners for not dropping everything, perfectly understanding them and responding back in a crisp British voice how to help them.

    Sorry Bethanny, I side eye you because I’ve been unlucky enough to see your show enough times to know what a piece of work you are.

  23. Brittney says:

    Racists love to talk about minorities feeling “entitled”, but what’s more entitled than demanding to be able to understand strangers’ private conversations?! (My grandma had a similarly awful reaction to two clerks, one of whom had just helped her in perfect English, discussing inventory in Spanish. Ever think it’s more efficient & clear for two native speakers to exchange info this way?!)

    And claiming this is about language, not race, isn’t fooling anyone. I guarantee she would not have launched into a Twitter tirade if she were in a designer boutique and two upper-class white European women were speaking French to each other. It’s the fact that minimum wage Hispanic workers at Kmart weren’t acting exactly like she wanted them to.

  24. funcakes says:

    If we followed everyone genealogy line in this county I believe we would be hard pressed to find one human being who’s bloodline was purely of one race that has only some the English language. And for people to believe otherwise are quite naïve. And I am really unable to be convinced that Bethany Frankel is a direct descendant from the Mayflower.
    Miss Frankel is under the impression that anyone have a f#ck to give about her or opinion. She is simply a wasteland of shallow stupidity. I hope that her stupidity, in alienating a large demographic of her wine sales, will finally catapult her into an obscurity that is well deserved.

  25. cat says:

    I have had this happen to me once, about five years ago. I just stood there completely amazed. The lady honestly could not help me. I wasn’t rude, but I did call the corporate offices and complain.

    • Greenieweenie says:

      I mean, this happens every day to me. I live in a country that is not my own. I don’t speak their language. They could hate on me for that and I bet some people do, but most are really kind and will make an effort to switch to a language we both speak. And I have spent years of my life learning to speak two other languages well, just not the local one.

      I think you are entitled to access English-language service in the US but that doesn’t mean from every single employee in the store. If you can’t communicate with one, just find another. What is the big deal? It’s just so ungracious.

    • jc126 says:

      I’ve had it happen to me before. I don’t know what language the cashier spoke, but she clearly didn’t understand English or even the rudiments of cashiering at CVS (I hate that place now, for assorted reasons). I was polite and I didn’t complain, probably because it wasn’t the fault of the cashier, but I quit ever going to that one at all.

  26. Kate says:

    Eh, there’s plenty of areas in the country where speaking fluent Spanish is extremely important as a retail worker, and English not so much. I don’t see why someone has to learn English if it rarely comes up in their life.

    I’m an ex-pat. I learnt the language of my new country, but many don’t, and it really has very little effect on anyone besides themselves. It’s isolating, but many, many people are perfectly happy just talking to their existing friends and family and staying in their own little area full of people like themselves. Most people do this to some extent even when they do speak the common language.

    It’s not unlike some very small towns. I’ve been to native English-speaking places in the U.S. where the language is so steeped in local slang I couldn’t even make educated guesses as to what was being said, and other places where everyone has an accent so strong it takes a while to realise English is being spoken. But it didn’t matter to anyone living in these places, as everyone they needed to understand them understood them, they weren’t going anywhere, and not many outsiders were coming through. If they wanted a different kind of life, they’d need to start speaking English in a different way, but when they don’t, why does it matter? Because every so often someone might be mildly inconvenienced?

  27. OSTONE says:

    Man this lady irks me to no end. I am sorry, but I have never experienced going to a national retailer where employees -regardless of their origin- did not speak English. They may have had a thick accent, but they spoke English. I have gotten dirty looks if I am out and about and I speak Spanish on the phone, with my parents (who by the way, also speak English) or with my American born, Caucasian spouse!! To the point when we make a point not to, which is incredibly sad. As Americans, I feel we need to embrace more languages being spoken. Older people have told me, be thankful you don’t speak German! (I get the WW2 reference) And all I can think of is, man I wish I could speak German! Why limit ourselves with just English? Why are we “scared” of other languages? I bet those are the people who want trump to make “america great again”

  28. Greenieweenie says:

    where I live, your average Starbucks barista takes orders in 3 languages. So impressive. I think Americans should make a real effort to have basic Soanish because it’s just so prevalent. That’s life.

  29. FingerBinger says:

    The only time I’m frustrated with accents and minimal english is when I call customer service. Almost every time I call customer service it’s routed to some foreign country. It doesn’t bother me otherwise.

    • Greenieweenie says:

      I used to get so frustrated in OChem lab because my TA had such a thick accent (she was from India). I never understood anything tho so it was just one more added layer of mystery that I resented.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        In HS I had a Russian woman (with her own accent) as my Spanish teacher. Whenever I speak a few phrases of Spanish to regular speakers the alarmed and amused looks I get tell me to stop attempting, lol.

      • me says:

        @ The Eternal Side-Eye

        Were there no Hispanic teachers to teach Spanish? I remember in high school my Spanish teacher was a white guy. I used to wonder why they didn’t just hire someone who is Spanish. It would have made more sense. Almost all of my teachers were white. It’s the reason I didn’t go into teaching. I was told there would be zero chance of me ever being hired.

      • jc126 says:

        Lots of Spanish people are white,, especially in Spain. I think what matters is whether the person is a good, fluent speaker.

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        I think what matters s whether the person is a fluent speaker AND a good teacher.

        In Ontario, we have a lot of middle-school teachers of French who are doing it only because they grew up in Quebec (and left around the time of the infamous referendum), and so many of them never developed good teaching skills. They just got the jobs because of the demand.

  30. joiq says:

    I agree that it’s completely uncertain whether or not she even attempted to speak with the cashiers. I was a cashier years ago and people came through my line speaking Spanish and I heard the woman behind them say “why don’t you just speak Englsih.” As a Latina, and as someone who just didn’t think it was a big deal (I had people come through speaking Arabic, French, so it never bothered me)I was very shocked at this woman’s ignorance because as others have pointed out there is no law saying you have to speak one language in the U.S. Last time I checked our country is a melting pot. (I did say adios to the woman when she left by the way ;) Although I do agree that if you live and work here, you are going to at some point have to learn English, I never understood why people think it’s that easy…I live in an area with a decent size Hispanic population and access to English language programs are slim. Plus take into account transportation, lack of translators, etc., it just doesn’t solve the issue. And I really don’t think Bethenny should have took to social media to complain, though I really don’t think she could care less.

  31. Mixtape says:

    Eh, if I were gossiping with my coworker about a crazy woman with the Joker’s face who expects personal shopper assistance in Kmart, I’d probably do it in Spanish, too.

  32. Snowflake says:

    When I lived in panama city beach, fl, my McDonald franchise owner would have contractors bring in foreign exchange students who paid to come to the U.S. For the summer. She would pay the contractor, who would house all the students in cramped living spaces and charged them for housing. There were always one or two, who according to the Contractors, could speak great English. So our owner, would put them on the front counter. 90% of the time, they couldn’t speak good English and would get yelled at by customers for not understanding their English, or southern accent and southern slang. I felt so sorry for them.

  33. holly hobby says:

    She mispelled zapatos. I’m surprised she admits she shops at Kmart. Looks like she got her face plumped too because she used to be more angular.

  34. word says:

    Well so far 2016 seems to be the year of “White Oppression” lol. Come on now.

  35. ClaudiaGonzalez says:

    As I am Colombian with dual citizenship and I live in Florida and work with Puertorricans, Cubans and Venezuelans, I went through a similar situation with one of my co-workers who demanded we all spoke only english all the time. I have an accent (just like few of my co-workers) which means that I think in spanish and translate everything in my brain before I open my mouth. We speak spanish when we are together, we speak english when we are with any American co-worker. The owner of the company is a very open minded guy who likes to travel and has been in the caribbean, Panama, Costa Rica, dominican republic and Europe, we got him a rosetta stone for Christmas 2 years ago and he understands a lot of spanish. There is a strong American colony in Panamá and they only speak english among them, do the Panamenian expect them to speak spanish? Hell no. Its not their native language. The United States does not have an official language, as confirmed by the American Embassy in Bogotá when I send them an email due to the predicament I got involved with my co-worker. Bethany Frank is a b&$@ch, she showed her true colors during the custody battle with her ex and know is confirming what we all know.

  36. anne_000 says:

    1. How hard is it to find snow boots at Kmart? Their shoe selections are not that big. There’s racks of shoes in one specific area and nowhere else. That’s it. Was she just too lazy and entitled to go look through the not-so-many shoe aisles by herself?
    2. I don’t know if she even attempted to ask the cashiers where the snow boots were, but why ask them when again, their shoe aisles are few.
    3. Guess what? Just because some people speak a foreign language here in America, that does not mean they don’t speak English too. Some people are bilingual like that…

  37. Miran says:

    In either words she probably didnt even try to speak to them and just assumed they didnt speak English. I cant with Trump supporters. At all.

  38. me says:

    Why did she post that on twitter though? What was the point? Move on with your f*cking day lady.

  39. Sue says:

    Rumor is : Donald Trump sent her a check for $100,00.00. I don’t even believe she went into a k-mart. I think she had a pre-arranged deal with Trump to tweet some anti-immigrant garbage, and he would reward her.

  40. bondbabe says:

    She probably assumed they were talking about her and what an a$$hat she is….

  41. Cassie says:

    I’m Brazilian living in the USA. I came here being almost fluent in English after a year I became totally fluent. I speak with an accent that changes according to how much effort I put while speaking. I’m weird.

    I live surrounded by people from Mexico to Central America so I became fluent in Spanish as well. Spanish was already part of my life before I came here because I lived in the border with Uruguay for 14 years. Typically Brazilians don’t go beyond basic Spanish.

    I do not look Latina. My skin is extremely white and my surname is Italian.
    It’s not easy to put a label on me and put me inside of an ethnic box.

    My grammar is terrible at any language.

  42. Whitney says:

    Yeah, she comes off as snooty but she has a point. If I was working at a department store in Mexico, I would expect myself to speak Spanish to communicate with the customers

  43. Tw says:

    Let’s be clear, nothing she tweets is an accident. This reeks of “there’s no such thing as bad press.”

  44. Christine says:

    As someone who works alongside Spanish speakers, a lot of them can understand English just fine… they just don’t feel comfortable speaking it. I doubt at a retailer like Kmart they would put strictly Spanish speakers out on the floor because to her point, how would they communicate? I think she just jumped the gun and assumed they didn’t speak English at all and that was likely not the case.

  45. Andrea says:

    I am an American living in Canada presently studying for my TESL certificate. English is a very difficult language to teach and grasp. Canada offers free English classes to immigrants, maybe the US should do the same also?

  46. AntiSocialButterfly says:

    Really, her biggest concern was rooted in her white privilege ( I am white, I recognize it, and feel saddened by it), and her likely automatic perception of potential trash talking about herself, since it (trash talking/reality tv) occupies so much of her thoughts. Allegedly. Hamster wheel and all. :p

  47. Rinny says:

    What did she do to her face?!?!?!

  48. Rockin Robin says:

    She is one piece of work. Ugh.

  49. Jwoolman says:

    I find it very hard to believe that K-Mart hires monolingual Spanish speakers as cashiers and floor salespeople in their U.S. stores. I can believe being bilingual would be an advantage in certain areas, but really- this is way too far-fetched. She heard them speaking Spanish and just assumed they couldn’t speak English. Not once did she actually say she tried to talk with them, she just speculated about how she would have to communicate.

    It’s not like jobs that don’t require language skills, such as various types of manual labor where just one person who is bilingual on the crew is enough. And it’s not like a small store where somebody’s newly arrived nephew might be hired despite deficient language skills. K-Mart just wants to make money.

    People often can understand a language long before they can actually speak it, though. Very different areas of the brain are involved. I can read several languages in my fields and can understand a couple spoken if people aren’t talking at super speed, but can’t really write or speak anything coherently but English. I work as a scientific translator sometimes for non-US agencies, and their project managers just write to me in their language and I respond in English, since they have the same problem… Except they are usually are able to write in comprehensible English if needed, but it just takes longer and so it makes more sense when they’re in a hurry to just write In German or French or whatever since I can read it and they can read English. I’m just lucky my native language is English… I’d hate to have to learn it as a second language.

    Anyway, just because someone is having trouble expressing themselves in English, don’t leap to the conclusion that they don’t understand you. Accents can still be hard for non-native speakers to handle- in grad school, we had to repeat in Midwestern US English what our Japanese professor and our fellow student from Nigeria were saying to each other…. They both could understand us, but were baffled by each other’s accents! The Nigerian was quite fluent in English, which was the language used in the university back home. The Japanese professor had been here for at least 20 years, but like many people shifting countries as adults- he could read and understand English with no trouble but was not as fluent speaking it (with another thick accent). He could write English but needed a native to edit his research papers. He told me he had special problems with usage of English prepositional phrases because Japanese doesn’t work that way. Fortunately in class he was mainly talking (really writing on the board) in mathematics… I don’t recall having any trouble understanding him myself, other than the brain-straining subject matter.

  50. Ashleydey says:

    She assumed that the employees spoke no English and then wrote these ignorant tweets. I manage a business and many of my employees are immigrants, who do speak english as a second language but they do struggle. I learned Spanish and became proficient in Tagalog, as I have had many Filipino employees over the years. I can also speak some Italian, Russian and Chinese. I’ll often times speak to my employees in their native language if it helps them (which they appreciate) or to a customer if the situation calls for it. There will always be white people around who are shocked that another white person is multi lingual. Like, hello we are a global economy. Get it f**king together. An Ethnocentric mindset is not acceptable for anyone who wants to truly be successful in business.

  51. Ashleydey says:

    Also NYC has a huge Spanish speaking population so why is this surprising to her?