Monday, July 6, 2009

Soy Esteban!

That headline, my friends, is about as much Spanish as I know. Years ago, the Review-Journal had a college instructor come to the paper to teach a half-credit basic Spanish class and from that I have retained the ability to declare my name and say the phrases "tarjeta de credito" and "pero, est muy importante." The most Hispanic thing about me are those cute dogs, and we went and stripped them of their ethnic identities by renaming them as Black and Jack when we got them from the pound. They were Cheech and Chong.

Evidently, though, the fine folks at Survey America at Planet Hollywood don't much care. Last night, I earned $6 for being Hispanic! Bravo! (That's Italian, isn't it?)

Survey America is one of those polling outfits that reside at Vegas resorts. There's also one at Venetian and MGM Grand, the logic being that corridors of Las Vegas, with its mass-market draw, are great places to find survey samples of just about any description. So they either pull you in based on whether you appear to fit what they're looking for or you ask the nice lady standing outside in the uniform if there's anything going on.

That's what I did last night. I had just come from observing "Peepshow" rehearsals but had four hours before I was going to see the show itself. So I wandered by, saw the lady outside, and asked if I could do a survey or something. I figured maybe it might be a good Top Secret Tourist Tip of the Week. She said yes and led me up a flight of stairs.

As we were ascending, though, she turned to me and said, "You're not Hispanic in any way, are you?" And I said, "No, I sure am not." Her reply: "Eh, it doesn't matter."

At the top of the stairs, I filled out a paper with the heading "Hispanic Shopping Survey" or something like that. The form did not ask whether I was, in fact, of such descent. I was then led into a room with a series of computers and seated at one where I filled out a survey about shopping. Few of the other folks there looked Hispanic either, by the by, but you never can tell. Some Hispanics, apparently, look just like descendants of Austrian-Hungarian Jews!

Our survey was all about my grocery shopping habits with, oddly, an emphasis on my "beef experience." It went on and on about how much fun I have or don't have buying beef, whether this or that store had a good beef selection, how friendly the staff was at the meat counters. Only one question was specifically about Hispanics, though, the one that asked whether Albertsons, Vons, Smiths or Ralph's "really gets needs of Latinos." We have a Mexican-American neighbor named Maria whose leafblower I borrowed (and broke) who had a lot of Albertson's bags in her house, so I gave them good marks.

That was it. When I was done, they gave me a $6 check and I was on my way. No 'buenos noches' or 'hasta la vista' or whatever. I felt modestly guilty accepting the money, so I went and grabbed some dinner at Taco Bell. Does that count?


LV_Norm said...

Very funny story about your shopping survey!!