While I was outside at the Dublin High School solar panel groundbreaking ceremony earlier this week, I could hear the sirens’ song beckoning me to the swank Kroger grocery store just up the road.
It didn’t take long to find what I needed, and I began looking for the last thing on my list, “good” cheddar cheese. I walked past the dairy cases but didn’t see what I wanted. I looked again, no luck, and nothing close to it. In all that looking back and forth I saw this sign:
Below it were all kinds of grated cheeses, cubed cheese, and string cheese. I was at a complete loss for what “Hispanic cheese” is, and why these particular cheeses are considered “Hispanic” (Hispanic should be capitalized, FYI).
I wandered back to the deli section, found some Tillamook cheese from Oregon (yum) and paid for my groceries.
Then I asked to speak with a manager.
The young cashier paged Craig Justice. He introduced himself and I asked him if he could “educate” me on a product. We walked to the dairy aisle and I asked him what exactly “Hispanic cheese” is. He wasn’t sure. We looked at all the grated cheese for a while and he said “Maybe for tacos?”
As we stood there I said that in our part of the world, as he probably has seen and heard, Spanish-speaking people aren’t really welcomed here unless they are picking vegetables (and even then, “welcomed” is a stretch). While we talked he finally saw two types of cheese with all Spanish labeling that were obscured from our view.
Labeling them “Hispanic” still didn’t seem right to me. Justice asked for a suggestion and I offered Latin American, which indicates culture, food, geography, history and language instead of a term that is fairly derogatory when used here. he pointed to other signs behind us that read “Latin American” and “Asian.”
Justice agreed there could be other ways to point customers to these those items, and he said he would look for other signage options. And then he did this:
I admire Mr Justice for listening, having an open mind, and being committed to customer service. And acting.
I don’t go to Dublin very often, but I do get to the über swank Kroger in Milledgeville pretty often. I do so hope they have Tillamook cheese there too.