Homeless People vs Customers & Cashiers

Homeless People vs Customers & Cashiers


Last Christmas, I had a second job for extra money. I was a cashier at Walmart which gave me lots of opportunity to practice Spanish. I could ask questions about what the customers were buying and make small talk. When I shop, I can ask other similar questions about prices, etc.

This morning, in a completely different environment, I found myself lost. I was helping feed breakfast to some homeless people in a local park. I didn't have to ask what a certain vegetable was to put in a produce code and we didn't have to discuss price. Asking them how they were seemed like a silly question.

I wanted to ask "Do you need anything?" or "Can I bring you anything?" but I didn't know the verb "to need" or "to bring." Interesting how a different environment quickly teaches you what you don't know.

When I first woke up, it was finally (at the end of November!) cool enough for me to wear a jacket. I am from a much colder climate than Florida so I rarely wear more than short sleeves. I sat next to a man I made some small talk with. He shivered in his sweatshirt and said something like "es muy frío." It makes me laugh how easily people get cold here. I'm sure it is less funny at night, though.

Knowing that I would never need my coat again for more than a few minutes, I took it off and gave it to him. This quickly exposed another hole in my vocabulary - I didn't know how to say he could keep it. Eventually, he understood and took it but after breakfast he said he was warm enough with the coffee and a hot meal and gave it back. I was so sad that I couldn't tell him I didn't need it and it was his.

Anyway, all that to say I definitely have some new phrases to memorize.

updated NOV 28, 2009
posted by jaysprout

2 Answers


Nice story. Thanks for sharing , Jay. grin

updated NOV 28, 2009
posted by --Mariana--

This entry should open the thread for replies and comments.

updated NOV 28, 2009
posted by Moe
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