Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Asia's Gotta Get This Customer Service Thing Sorted Out

Nearly five years now doing business in a dozen countries in Asia, I feel qualified in making crude-yet-experienced generalizations about the quirks about the part of the world where most of the people live.

This service thing ain't like the West. I'm talking about staff in retail stores or restaurants, specifically. This one's easy to describe: those fuckers peer at you with overhelpful anticipation while you eat or pick out underwear in a way that still amazes me years after I first saw it.

I just returned from eating sushi at a nice place. I was the first one in there, sitting alone at the sushi bar reading East of Eden, with my steaming hot sake and fatty tuna stomach cut into nice strips on top of balled rice. Trying to enjoy all this with -- not exaggerating -- 10 eyes unflinchingly watching me. No feeling of privacy whatsoever.

I'd get down to one small strip of ginger, and before I could even realize I needed more, someone pounced and already was asking me if I wanted me. Hardly the last sip of my first mini-bottle of sake was gone, and a hand from nowhere was whisking it away, asking, "Sir, you need more?"

God, it was even hard to look up at them because they'd quickly look downward, trying to play it off as if they hadn't been staring at me, waiting to jump at me, and serve my needs. I don't need to be obsequiously served like a god damn British Colonial, god dammit. Can't a man eat at a nice place in Asia without being hounded over?

It sure is hard being a white man in a foreign land sometimes.

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