I Didn’t Know Why I Couldn’t use “Apple Pay” to Buy an Apple Pie

The pictures above and below were taken in Puerto Vallarta Mexico where my family and I live. Every Thursday night there is a market along the marina. It an amazing sight where delicious food and colorful clothes, art and souvenirs are sold.

I  was walking through the market when I discovered fresh homemade apple pies for sale. The sign said “Pay De Manzana” which in Spanish means apple pie. Below “Pay De Manzana” were the words “Apple Pay”. I thought to myself “awesome, I can pay for the pies with Apple Pay.

I picked out a few apple pies. I pulled out my cell phone and said I will pay for these with Apple Pay. The young lady looked very confused. After a couple of seconds of confusion between the vendor and myself, my with leaned over and said that’s not Apple Pay, it means “Apple Pie”.

The young Mexican lady had tried to translate “Pay De Manzana” to English for the many English-speaking tourists that frequented the market. Unfortunately, she didn’t translate “Pay” (which is Spanish for pie) correctly. Thus my confusion 😉

How does this example relate to Lean and Six Sigma?

We write work instructions for our employees to follow. Often, we identify objects or processes with pictures in those work instructions. Yet the operator still makes the mistake. Why? … Because WE write the instructions without the help of the operators or the customers. YET. .. we expect our operators or customers to understand the instructions. 

Could the scenario with the apple pies been avoided? If the young lady access to an English speaking friend or Google Translate then yes. It all ended well as my wife,  who speaks Spanish well, informed the lady of my mistake. The young lady and I laughed and I walked away with some delicious apple pies.


Have you ever been in a similar “Apple Pay” situation? If so, let us know in the comments below.

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