Monday, October 27, 2008

A Real Difference

I've often had students ask about the differences between the US and China. I usually tell them, the more I look at the differences, the more I realize how similar everything is...and that's not always a good thing. Well, last night I found a real difference.

Mr. W. took us out to a hot pot restaurant for lamb hot pot. I was worried because the sign on the door advertised dog and cat. It was a decent meal, though most of the lamb was skin, fat, and bone. At the end of the meal we decided to take the remaining broth and meat home--there was a significant amount left over. My mother-in-law wasn't satisfied with the quality of the take-away containers (I still don't know why), and asked if they had anything else. This was met with the usual response of meiyou. Mr. W. jokingly said that we'd take the pot home. Turns out, we did. For a little extra on the bill, they gave us the pot and added a lid.

I found this amazing. I doubt any restaurant in the US would ever do something like this, even if offered the full cost of the pot. Sometimes service in China far surpasses that of the US (and you don't have to tip here either).

On the topic of service, there was a fat loudmouth at a table near us who was absolutely rude to the staff (and rather obnoxious upon seeing a foreigner in the restaurant). He called for the waitress and when she didn't immediately come running to the table he shouted, "What's the matter? Are you deaf?" And then proceeded to use a crude profanity that involved the waitress' mother. I hope the staff spit in his food; he deserved much worse.


Dalian said...

Service here is great.

Your rude table neighbour should come up to the Northeast, he'd probably get all the cooks with knives in hands ushering him out of the restaurant while emptying his wallet! Big words seem to be a Southern thing, usually backed by no action.

Dedric said...

Your post reminds me of a situation in New York once. At a steak house I paid the bill via credit card. Not being very good at maths I simply wrote the total on the slip which included a guesstimation of what 15% tip might be. The waitress serving us chased us in the car park screaming some profanity about how she provided good service and deserved a tip.

I had to stop her to explain that the difference between what was charged and what I paid was the tip even though I did not write anything on the line that said "tip".

Josh said...

I completely agree with you how I've begun to see more similarities instead of differences here in China. It's taken a couple of years to get to this point, but here I am.

As for yelling at waitresses, that is still something I am uncomfortable doing here. I just feel so self conscious yelling out in the middle of a busy restaurant..."Fuwuyuan...FUWUYUAN!!"

CountLubinstein said...

All this talk of good service in China makes it even more amazing that they wouldn't sell me a shirt from the Bruce Lee fast food place...

Matthew said...

Dalian, sounds like I'd enjoy the northeast (already enjoy the food from there).

Dedric, I've done that before, but never had anyone come after me. Guess I get the staff that can do math.

Josh, sometimes you do have to shout out to the fuwuyuan. Just not in a rude manner like the jackass at the next table.

Michael, we didn't get the shirt because we didn't pull out the money first. I'll try again before I move back.

JA Huber said...

That's awful about the rude guy. He deserves spit in his meal!

Pretty amazing them giving you the pot. When in Japan, we asked for the a set of the cups and dishes we ate on and we were able to purchase them for a reasonable price. I doubt it'd happen in the U.S.