Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reluctant to take the blame? Blame others!

On Saturday we went out for dinner with our visiting friends. However, once me and my bf got to the restaurant we realized that our visiting friends had ended up falling asleep instead of getting ready, and although they’d realized their mistake and woken up again –they were running a bit late. No biggy. My bf and I decided to have a drink and enjoy some alone time, seeing that we haven’t had any for the last month or so (like I said –visitor inflation!). Soon, however, we realized that we had been seated next to the smoking corner of the restaurant (that was smoke-free except for that very corner). Since none of us are smokers we asked the waiter if he by any chance had another table available, further away from the smoking corner? He did, and so we moved to the second floor of the restaurant.

-So is this floor smoke free too? I asked the waiter, who replied with an “of course” and a smile.

“Great!” I thought to myself and was just about to have a sip of my drink when I realized that the Chinese man at the table next to ours was lighting up a cigarette.

-Eh… I thought you said this floor was non-smoking? I said to the waiter (not as an accusation, more like.. a bit confused).

-Oh.. yes, it is! Sorry.

And then he went up to the guy that was smoking, pointed at me, and obviously told the man to stop smoking.

By once I felt a bit silly. It was not as if I would have died if this man would have smoked. I was more questioning the waiter, but I didn’t want to make a big deal.

Too late.

Turns out that before we had arrived to the second floor, there had been a large group of Chinese people chain smoking at the table next to the now smoking man, and the smoking man was furious when the waiter told him that this floor was now all of a sudden “smoke free” (which it obviously was not! But that’s what they had told me!). He wasn’t actually angry at me (phew!) but at the waiter, and started screaming and making a big scene. At the same time, the large group of Chinese chain smokers left, giving me looks that could kill. I felt like such an idiot, like such an annoying, idiotic laowai, who obviously had not read into the situation before I opened my mouth.

By the time our friends arrived everything had calmed down, and no one else smoked throughout that dinner, but I definitely learned a lesson: never believe problems here are solved easily, because when it comes to taking the blame of something, people can be quite reluctant (like the waiter who had told me the floor was non-smoking: he told the smoking man that I was the problem, and he told me that it was the smoking man who was doing something wrong). I don’t really like people smoking in restaurant, but then again, I don’t dislike it so much that I would start a fight over it. Next time I’ll definitely keep my mouth shut.


Anonymous said...

smoking ruins the soul and freshness of the beverages and the food!!!

You should look for another restaurant to go next time, you don't want to eat more shitty food in this restaurant.

You should ask to speak to the manager next time and give them feedback about how they run the restaurant cos they'll lose more customers if smoking is allowed everywhere when people is eating their foods... that's a health hazard.

E said...

eh... last time i was in china was almost 6 years ago. smoking inside had to be one of the worst experiences i had during my stay. people would smoke just about anywhere and anytime. here in ontaro canada, smoking in public spaces was only banned since 2006 but for as long as i can remember people would respectfully smoke outside even though there was no restriction. i guess it will be some more years before chinese learn about respecting others...

Anonymous said...

uh don't think the meaning of consideration and sensitivity of others exist for the chinese culture... until shit hits the fan

Jonna Wibelius said...

Hm.. I don't think this is so much about consideration and if it's fresh or not to smoke in restos. I think the person that was acting a bit weirdly here was the waiter! I mean, no wonder the man wanted to smoke when he had seen other people at the table next to theirs smoke? Different rules apply to different people -naaaah. I think that was the main issue. The waiter should not have told me the floor was non-smoking when it clearly wasn't. I just cannot believe how messy the situation got.

Anazei said...

I remember the first time seeing someone light up a cigarette in a restaurant in China. I was shocked. Just that I had never seen that before in my life until I came to China. Then I realized that they didn't have designated smoking areas.

Culture clash.

My solution: I'm glad to not be in China anymore.

Anonymous said...

Like most things in China, there is the stated rule and then there is reality. The fact is that the vast majority of males smoke in China, and this will not change for multiple generations. Smoking occurs near everywhere. Smoking inside buildings, even in hospitals, is common. Just because there is a sign that says "No Smoking" will not prevent Chinese from doing what they want.

It is easier for the waiter to allow customers to smoke rather than to enforce the "No Smoking" rule and anger his customers who wish to smoke. I would not blame the waiter. "No Smoking" in China is more for show and is not at all enforced. You are asking for too much.


Kate said...

It is such a shame that a country with such an amazing history of natural healing should still be so steeped in the poison of smoking! I am sorry you had a frustrating experience with the waiter, but it is the owners and management that need to grow a backbone about no-smoking sections and enforce it with all the staff for uniformity. Otherwise, why bother with the sign at all?

Chinese Traveler said...

Like Don has commented above, "No Smoking" in China is more for show and is not at all enforced. You can't possibly force 1+ billion Chinese to respect this "No Smoking" rule. Thankfully, there are many nice but affordable (by Western standard that is) restaurants in China today. Whenever we visit China and want to eat out, we always make sure the restaurant that we are going to dine out has a private room to let us dine in.