Friday, April 24, 2009

My Multilingual Trader Joe's World

I decided to start up a running tally to see how diverse the population really is that passes me in a constant stream as they buy tortilla chips, free range eggs, and wasabi mayonnaise, among other delightful items. Here is what I discovered about our Trader Joe's customers:

NES = Native English Speakers
NNES = Non-native English Speakers

Tuesday, April 21, 2009
39 NES and 14 NNES
25.9 % of the 53 people were non-native speakers of English

Wednesday, April 22, 2009
50 NES and 20 NNES
28.6 % of the 70 people were non-native speakers of English

Thursday, April 23, 2009
117 NES and 40 NNES
25.5% of the 157 people were non-native speakers of English

So, we're looking at a little over 25 percent (or 1 out of 4) of the customers that pass through the Trader Joe's where I work are people for whom English is a second (or third, or fourth, or fifth, etc.) language. How cool is that?!

I'm going to keep up my little experiment because it certainly makes the time pass nicely at the register (slash) gives me something to do. It also encourages me to engage all of the customers in conversation... since, without that, I can only make guesses about who will have an accent and who will not. This would not work, considering how often I am surprised.

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