Yesterday afternoon, while my wife and I were out at the sushi bar grabbing lunch, a group of girls sat down over at a table behind the bar. The establishment has been there for years and is known for their good reputation for good quality food, but their service is a little shaky only due to the language barrier. No big deal. They simply give you a sheet you fill out for your order and voila, it’s fulfilled! Through the years of going to the same place, I have only had one bad experience with them, on a Tuesday evening ordering sushi takeout. It was flash-frozen, so the fish was soggy and wet - not ‘bad’, but not appetizing. As we were enjoying our lunch, I heard one of the girls say to the waiter, “Umm, I told you I was allergic to this.” He said, “So sorry - I’ll take it back for you and replace it with something else.” The girl kept on, “But I asked you if the crab meat in the California roll was real, and you said no. I’m allergic to crab meat!” The waiter again apologized for the misunderstanding and explained that the crab meat is real, and that they don’t serve substitute fish as a replacement. But, she kept on, “So why did you give this to me knowing I’m allergic to crab?” When I heard the third apology, I said to our sushi chef loud enough for the entire restaurant (which is no bigger than 500 sq feet), “If someone allergic to shellfish orders a California roll, they should be smart enough to avoid anything that is known to have crab in it.” He nodded and smiled. I have no idea if he understood me but he knew I was standing up for them. The other waiters at the end of the bar translated it for him. He nodded and laughed even harder, and then gave us free sushi slices.
It quieted down, until moments later, the same girl was complaining about how disrespectful it was to not put forks and knives out on the table, assuming the customer knows how to use chopsticks. My blood pressure started rising because at this point, she was really irritating me. I had to calm myself, but my knee jerk reaction took over. I turned around in my seat and said, “There’s a diner right down the road you may want to go to. They serve forks and knives there.” The girl gave me such a terrified look, because the three girls she brought in with her were laughing uncontrollably into their cloth napkins. I continued on, “You may not get cloth napkins either, but they have great burgers and fries.” She turned back around in silence and not a word was said after that. The waiter again explained what I said to the rude girl to the chef and they started chuckling amongst themselves. Moments after our huge sushi dinner came a free dessert: fried ice cream. And just think, I went to this place looking for a healthy ‘clean’ food, and now I feel my arteries screaming bloody murder. And of course, we thanked them & tipped both the sushi chef and the waiter for their service.
What makes people act so rudely to waiters and waitresses? And on top of that, how can you be so rude to someone who is trying to learn the English language? You’re in their restaurant - it’s a different culture - ADAPT. If you can’t adapt to different cultures, then simply go to a diner. She’d be in big trouble if she had to travel to Japan or Korea. God forbid she asked for a fork. And with all due respect, my wife used to ask for a fork, but never complained about it nor expected to receive one. She learned to use chopsticks eventually. That’s like going to a Chinese restaurant and telling them it’s disrespectful not to have Ketchup on the table. It reminded me of this one friend of mine who thought she was entitled to the world. She would go into a restaurant with us and treat the wait staff like total shit. We would cringe and try to hide our faces. She explained, “If you’re out paying for a dinner, you have to demand good service.” But doesn’t it work both ways? I’ve worked in the restaurant business before and let me tell you, I've seen disgusting things happen when a customer was rude to the wait staff. My point is, respect is a two way street and if you’re dining in a non-American based establishment, have fun learning their culture. Stop being so damn nasty or just go to a diner.
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