Thursday, April 23, 2009
Looking for something to complain about
I’m one of those people who rarely complain at restaurants or cafes, unless something is really, REALLY bad. I know this is my own bad, sometimes I stick with something I don’t like simply because I don’t want to complain, but what can I say? That’s just me!
I guess my anti-complaining behavior comes from having worked in hospitality both during my 3 years of high school and my 3 years as a university student. I’ve been yelled at and abused for completely absurd reasons (when I was 16 and worked at Mc Donalds a fat businessman spent 15 minutes calling me everything from brat to ‘spoiled’ because he didn’t like the taste of his hamburger. The verbal abuse was a result of me –who had simply brought him the burger- said that I wasn’t personally responsible for how Mc Donald’s hamburger tasted like… and on it went!), and I guess I feel that I don’t want to complain about small things unless there is a real need for it. Also, people working in hospitality never (at least not the ones I have worked with) intentionally screw up.
Anyhoo, some days ago I went to buy a bubble tea from a small ‘fast food stall.’ There was a Chinese businessman next to me buying a large-sized deep fried chicken nugget. He was kind of rude to the young boy selling the food, telling him to hurry up and then he got angry when the boy asked if he had any smaller change (the nugget cost something like 4 or 5 kuai and the businessman paid with a 100 kuai bill). Anyways, once he got the nugget (wrapped in grease paper) in his hand, he said:
-This is cold. Give me a new one.
-It’s not cold, said the boy. It’s a warm nugget. I just picked it up.
-No it is cold I can feel it.
-It is not cold!
The businessman then put his tongue on top of the nugget. He made a grunting noise. I guess he realized that the nugget in fact wasn’t cold at all… although that wasn’t enough. He still looked at the boy as if he was saying ‘give me a new one.’
-See, it is not cold, said the boy.
The man gave him a not-so-friendly look then stuffed the whole nugget into his mouth at once. While he was chewing he said:
-OK, not cold. But not warm either. And walked away.
I was watching everything, trying not to laugh. If he was so sure that it was cold, why not then first take a small bite and see? Stuffing the whole thing in your mouth when you believe it is cold doesn’t really ring through as ‘smart’ to me?
Sometimes I feel these sorts of people just complain because they want something to complain about? Or they want to showcase the fact that they have some sort of power? Him: ‘important’ businessman in suit. Complaining about: a cold, 4 kuai chicken nugget sold by a young, Chinese boy.
Actually, when I worked at Mc Donalds I once watched out shift leader doing something quite cool.
A young man came in munching on a cheeseburger, walked up to the counter and threw what was left of the burger (about one sixth) on the counter.
-This is cold! I want a new one!
The shift leader who was handling the till looked at the tiny piece on the counter.
-Oh, I am so sorry about that sir, she said. Of course I’ll get you a new one!
She took the small piece in her hand, grabbed a new cheeseburger, put the small piece on top of it and cut out the exact same sized piece from the new burger. With two hands she handed it over to the young man.
-Here you go. Here’s a new, warm piece of burger.
-But… what, what… but….!
Oh, the look on his face!! Priceless!
I don’t think one hospitality worker could get away with the same cheekiness here in China. Just thinking about what I witnessed the other day.