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Inside joke at business riles customer
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A simple joke between two longtime friends backfired when a sign, meant as a personal gag, was hung in a Hinesville business and left up longer than intended. The sign angered an unknowing customer.
Alexander Alvarez, a native Spanish speaker, said he was shocked when he saw the sign hanging in the window at the entrance of the office at Bill Duckworth Tire Center in Hinesville. He photographed the sign and showed his friends to get their opinions.
The sign said “English Only” on the first line and the second line read, “NO SPEAKA ENGLISH NO SERVICE.”
Alvarez said the wording was a bit harsh.
Duckworth’s corporate office also received a complaint and immediately addressed the matter. The company issued a written apology in English and Spanish.
“Please accept our apology for your bad visit to our Hinesville tire store,” wrote Jennifer Duckworth-Doke in the statement. “I have spoken to our manager and he tells me he is very sorry if he offended anyone. I hope that, if we can help you in the future, you will call on us.”
Doke is the corporate secretary at the company’s Brunswick headquarters.
Jacob Acosta, manager of Bill Duckworth Tire Company in Hinesville, said he regrets hanging the sign, which started as a personal joke between him and his best friend.
“I have a G.I. buddy and we mess around with each other back and forth,” he said.
Acosta said he and his friend are both of Portuguese descent; however, Acosta’s friend speaks Spanish while Acosta does not.
“Like I said my last name is Acosta … And we (the friend) mess back and forth and I put it up there just to mess with him and it was a joke and he thought it was funny and that was the gist of it,” he said. “I didn’t mean to or want to offend anybody. We’ve been busy all week, we’ve been very busy and it’s been up there and one thing led to another.”
Acosta said he deeply regrets the error.
“I meant no harm,” he said. “I’m here for everybody.”
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