Okay. In the last dialog episode we went to the supermarket deli counter and bought some lunch meat. Now we are finished with our selections and we need to take our shopping cart to the checkout counter which they usually refer to here as simply "la caja" or "the box" which is short for "cash box". This is where the "cajera" (cah-HAIR-ah) or " female cashier" will ring up our purchases. A male cashier would be a "cajero" (cah-HAIR-oh). It literally means "box person" or "cash box person". The point that I am getting at is that there is sometimes quite a difference between the actual meaning of a word or phrase and the literal translation that you might get from a dictionary. What I try to do in these dialogs is compare what people generally say in Mexican Spanish with what we say in English. Many times the phrases can't be matched word for word. That is why it is good to practice the dialogs and even memorize them…YES, I said memorize them! That way you will have the words and phrases already in your head. You can always substitute a word or phrase when needed to match actual current situation. If you try to translate word for word in your head as you are listening or speaking you will soon get very confused. Of course there might be variations in the dialog from one part of Mexico to the other but I think that you will find the following dialog fairly standard throughout the country.
So, as we wheel our "carrito" (shopping cart) into the checkout line and approach the checkout counter the girl says:
Buenas tardes, Señor. ¿Encontró todo lo que buscaba?
Good afternoon, Sir. Did you find everything that you were looking for?
Yes, thank you.
¿Puedo empezar a marcar?
Can I begin the checkout?
Sí, por favor.
Son cuatrocientos treinta y ocho cincuenta. ¿Su forma de pagar va a ser en efectivo o con tarjeta o vales de dispensa?
That will be four hundred thirty-eight fifty ($438.50 in pesos). Will you be paying in cash or with a credit card or with food stamps?
Voy a usar mi tarjeta de crédito Visa. (Voy a usar mi tarjeta Visa.)
I am going to use my Visa credit card.
¿Me permite su tarjeta? (¿Me presta su tarjeta?)
Can I have your card?
Here you are.
Gracias. ¿Desea donar los centavos?
Thank you. Do you want to donate the cents? (centavos)
Sí, ¡Cómo no!
Sure, why not!
¿Me regala su firma? (Su firma aquí, por favor.)
Can I have your signature? (Please sign here.)
Por supuesto, Señorita.
Of course, Miss.
Bueno, aquí está su tarjeta y su ticket. Gracias por su visita. ¡Qué le vaya bien!
Okay, here is your card and your register receipt. May you go well.
Note: Here are some follow up comments:
1.) ¿Puedo empezar a marcar? This literally means "Can I begin to mark?". In this case the infinitive form of the verb "marcar" is used to mean "to register" or "to count".
2.) ¿Me permite su tarjeta? (¿Me presta su tarjeta?) The verb "permitir", "to allow" and "prestar", "to lend" are used for politeness instead of something more direct like "Dame su tarjeta" or "Déjame tener su tarjeta" which would sound very aggressive and impolite. Similarly we use "regalar" in "¿Me regala su firma?" to mean "Can you give me the gift of your signature?" instead of "¡Firma aquí!" or "Sign here!".
3.) ¿Desea donar los centavos? - Do you wish to donate the centavos? Since a Mexican centavo is only worth about a tenth of a U.S. penny people usually let the cashier round off the total to the peso and they donate the centavos to the Red Cross or to the "Bomberos" (Firemen) or whatever particular cause the supermarket happens to be sponsoring at the moment. You don't have to say "yes" but it will raise some eyebrows if you don't.
4.) Bueno, aquí está su tarjeta y su ticket. The word for "receipt" is actually "recibo" but that is used for a more formal or detailed receipt. A register receipt from a cash register is usually called a "ticket".
5.) ¡Qué le vaya bien! I am always a bit puzzled as to how to best express this in English. It literally means "May you go well" or "May you journey well". When I lived in Nuevo León people would say "¡Qué le vaya bien!…¡Ándale". The word ándale (or ándele) generally means "come on" or "hurry up" but it also can mean "Now you've got it!". When I buy something in a store and people said "say "¡Qué le vaya bien!…¡Ándale!" I always translate it for myself as "Y'all come back!" or "Come back soon!". Without the ándale appendage I consider it to mean "Y'all take it easy!".
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