I can’t speak Spanish even though I opted for Spanish

Whenever I use the self-checkout line at a supermarket, I opt for the Spanish form of directions, finding the additional challenge slightly exhilarating. Not earth shattering in terms of excitement, but a way of adding a little mental stimulation to my day.


Up until today, this choice had never caused me any real trouble. There have been occasions when locating the correct fruit or vegetable was difficult, but that is the purpose of the exercise.

Another time I required the assistance of a store employee, and when asked if I needed help, I answered, “Si.”

A thrilling day indeed.

Things went slightly awry today, however, when the Spanish-speaking gentleman waiting in line behind me began conversing with me in Spanish as I scanned my items.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” I said. “I can’t speak Spanish.”

The man looked at me funny.

“I don’t speak Spanish,” I said again.

The man furrowed his eyebrows.

“No habla español,” I said, attempting a friendly smile. “I just hit the wrong button on the machine.”

The man continued to stare at me as if I was a walking, talking item from the produce section. I quickly scanned the rest of my items, swiped my debit card, and fled the scene, feeling stupid and embarrassed.

I may switch back to English next time I’m in the supermarket.