Probe: February 13, 2002

February 13, 2002

QUESTION: I am a black female and I am looking for a job. I have three years of college, a criminal law certificate and a certification for all the Microsoft computer programs at Imperial Valley College. I have worked as a supervisor and held jobs around the state and worked out of state in a management position.

Although I speak some Spanish, I cannot get a job in this Valley because I am not bilingual.

Nevertheless, wherever I shop, I run into store clerks who can neither speak nor understand English! When I asked a clerk in the Payless Shoe Source in the Mervyn's mall if she had a pair of shoes in my size, she asked me if I spoke Spanish. I asked her if she spoke English, she replied in Spanish, "A little."

I asked her if there was anybody else there who spoke English. She told me in Spanish that there was nobody.


I went to Mervyn's. The clerk who rang up my merchandise did not know enough English to tell me the total. Finally she turned the cash register screen around so I could read the amount.

Dang it, I was born here, I speak English and I can't get a job! — Fed Up, Imperial

Whenever this subject comes up, and it comes up often, we point out that speaking two languages is a job skill around here.

Unfortunately, some employers seem willing to dispense with English as a required skill. That's putting English-only speakers at a disadvantage when they go looking for work.

It's hard to fault them for getting angry!

EARLY ALARM — I was awake when the phone rang at 5:45 this morning. When our second phone rang, it was the computer phone, so I had to race across the house to get it before it woke up the kids.

Caller ID said both calls came from P&J Communications. I checked the fictitious name statement in San Diego County and found the company's principal officer is Robert Battaglia. P&J's parent company is Ceiling Proof of Southern California, according to the name statement.

I called telephone directory assistance. Of course Battaglia has an unlisted number. Otherwise I would have called him. Ceiling Proof didn't have a number, according to the phone company. — Wide Awake, Imperial

PJs — isn't that what little girls call pajamas? Is P&J Communications playing a cruel joke on our "early to bed" and "early to rise" population with its pre-dawn phone calls?

Do those jokesters know making annoying phone calls is a criminal act? What we have to do now is find out if the offense is a misdemeanor, felony or a "wobbler," a misdeed that can go either way.

QUESTION: I got a letter from Spain that states I won $181,474.98! All I have to do is send some very private information to Global Trust Security Co. in Spain! I just don't know why I won it. Call me quickly to tell me if I should send the company my checking account number. — Excited, Imperial

You know you didn't win and you know you should never send your checking account number to a foreign stranger.

When we asked you why the company wanted your checking account number, you answered, "So they can suck all my money out." Just remember the U.S. Postal Service motto, "When it seems too good to be true, it is."

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