Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

stupid things customers say


detlefchef
 Share

Recommended Posts

I run an Asian restaurant that opened this week. One of the dishes is a Sichuan style clay pot that has, among several other things (tofu, black bean, chili, etc) pork and cabbage in it. A patron, whom the waiter described as very snooty and inclined to opinion gave this complaint.

"Would you please tell the chef that pork and cabbage is a polish thing not a Chinese thing."

I don't even know where to begin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I run an Asian restaurant that opened this week. One of the dishes is a Sichuan style clay pot that has, among several other things (tofu, black bean, chili, etc) pork and cabbage in it.  A patron, whom the waiter described as very snooty and inclined to opinion gave this complaint.

"Would you please tell the chef that pork and cabbage is a polish thing not a Chinese thing."

I don't even know where to begin.

LOL..

Don't worry about it. He was talking out of his arse. Customers do that all the time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I run an Asian restaurant that opened this week. One of the dishes is a Sichuan style clay pot that has, among several other things (tofu, black bean, chili, etc) pork and cabbage in it.  A patron, whom the waiter described as very snooty and inclined to opinion gave this complaint.

"Would you please tell the chef that pork and cabbage is a polish thing not a Chinese thing."

I don't even know where to begin.

That's pretty damn funny. It'll take a while to educate your customers, and even then, you'll get these types!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When my friend's Thai restaurant first opened, customers would say things like, "Well, why isn't there any broccoli or carrots in the curry?" and then complain that they were being ripped off, because the curries were mostly meat.

Then they'd ask why there weren't any chopsticks... :blink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When my friend's Thai restaurant first opened, customers would say things like, "Well, why isn't there any broccoli or carrots in the curry?" and then complain that they were being ripped off, because the curries were mostly meat. 

Then they'd ask why there weren't any chopsticks... :blink:

Asking is different from telling.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When my friend's Thai restaurant first opened, customers would say things like, "Well, why isn't there any broccoli or carrots in the curry?" and then complain that they were being ripped off, because the curries were mostly meat. 

Then they'd ask why there weren't any chopsticks... :blink:

Asking is different from telling.

Agreed. It's one thing to be ignorant and unsure. Even in detlefchef's restaurant I've asked the waitstaff how to eat a particular dish. But to fake like you know what you're doing to the point of insulting the staff is another issue altogether.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When my friend's Thai restaurant first opened, customers would say things like, "Well, why isn't there any broccoli or carrots in the curry?" and then complain that they were being ripped off, because the curries were mostly meat. 

Then they'd ask why there weren't any chopsticks... :blink:

Asking is different from telling.

Agreed. It's one thing to be ignorant and unsure. Even in detlefchef's restaurant I've asked the waitstaff how to eat a particular dish. But to fake like you know what you're doing to the point of insulting the staff is another issue altogether.

Oh I totally agree.

I have few restaurants that I go to often enough to be identified on sight. The waitresses love us, and really seem to enjoy the fact that we will try new things. I don't feel silly asking them questions. It is pretty obvious that I am not Chinese but even if I was.. no one knows everything.

Edited by Syrah (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agreed.  It's one thing to be ignorant and unsure.  Even in detlefchef's restaurant I've asked the waitstaff how to eat a particular dish.  But to fake like you know what you're doing to the point of insulting the staff is another issue altogether.

I completely understand. I am a fruit bar chef in Indianapolis and I have people tell me all the time that something is "rotten" or otherwise less than desirable. It's one thing to make a comment in the form of a question to gain enhanced knowledge, but it's entirely another to act like you are the expert in a field you know little about. It makes me angry sometimes when people do that because I feel like "why do I bother trying to educate these people?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:blink::blink::blink:

:huh::wacko::shock::sad:

:angry:

:hmmm:

Really, words do not suffice at these times.

It is good to remember how to use deep breathing techniques for "relaxation".

And then remembering that there might be some chicken breasts that require immediate flattening with a mallet and a strong arm can help, too. :biggrin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Although I must add that the tone of voice and manner used in saying it is important, too.

That line could have been made as a joke.

And the server might not have taken it as a joke for whatever reason. Lots of times people take things in negative ways personally that were not meant to be taken that way. . .

It's best to take it with a grain of salt, perhaps. After the initial blood-boiling hypertensive reaction. :biggrin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Would you please tell the chef that pork and cabbage is a polish thing not a Chinese thing."

Wow. And here all this time I thought it was an Irish thing. :raz:

Ususally the only way to remedy such ignorance is through education. I mean, the waiter could have responded with a smile and some brief information about the recipe. (Actually, maybe he did; but that wouldn't change the fact that the woman was downright insulting.) But sometimes I find (and this is not just connected to food issues, not by a long shot) that people want to remain ignorant about certain things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Would you please tell the chef that pork and cabbage is a polish thing not a Chinese thing."

Oh boy, should I laugh or should I cry? I guess a hideous combination of both! I don't think it's an ignorant customer, it's ignorant people. I've worked FoH before at a Buddhist inspired vegetarian restaurant that is healthy and I've had my share of ignorant customers. After leaving the place, enrolling in culinary school and graduating... I've noticed that people like that are all over the place. I've cooked over at my friend's place and had similiar questions/remarks from others.

The worst I've gotten is "You know that Chinese people stole the idea of pastas from my people (she was referring to Italians and I'm Chinese)".

"do it nice...or do it twice" -picked up from the kitchen at Annisa

"if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agreed.  It's one thing to be ignorant and unsure.  Even in detlefchef's restaurant I've asked the waitstaff how to eat a particular dish.  But to fake like you know what you're doing to the point of insulting the staff is another issue altogether.

I completely understand. I am a fruit bar chef in Indianapolis and I have people tell me all the time that something is "rotten" or otherwise less than desirable. It's one thing to make a comment in the form of a question to gain enhanced knowledge, but it's entirely another to act like you are the expert in a field you know little about. It makes me angry sometimes when people do that because I feel like "why do I bother trying to educate these people?"

the sad truth is that u will always run across someone u cant educate simply because they already think they know all there is to know without really knowing anything at all..and then argue with u simply because u have corrected a mistake and they HAVE to argue it in order to try not to lose face...problem for them is that they they not only remain ignorant but look foolish doing it..and u still wonder why u bothered to try...im not saying dont try...just realize some people are just morons and dont want to be educated...thats just my take on it

a recipe is merely a suggestion

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:blink:  :blink:  :blink:

:huh:  :wacko:  :shock:  :sad:

:angry:

:hmmm:

Really, words do not suffice at these times.

It is good to remember how to use deep breathing techniques for "relaxation".

And then remembering that there might be some chicken breasts that require immediate flattening with a mallet and a strong arm can help, too. :biggrin:

my favorite way to vent....... :laugh:

a recipe is merely a suggestion

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Asking is different from telling.

True, but asking "Why aren't there any chopsticks?" in an accusatory tone is just as bad as (and sometimes worse than) telling. And the way I was being asked definitely not just an inquiry. Sometimes, though, they would just ask, "Can I have chopsticks?" though the tone was often, "You dumbass, where the hell are my chopsticks?" as though I intentionally took them away. To add, when I would explain that Thai people (including myself) usually only used chopsticks for certain noodle dishes and Chinese food, people usually gave me a look as though I were full of shit.

Edited by prasantrin (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The dining experience is definitely an interactive one.

It is sad that some people enter into it with these sorts of attitudes. For they will never have a really great meal.

It just reflects themselves back upon themselves.

....................................................................................

Once, when I was dealing with a very difficult person that continually gave me "you-know-what", day after day after day, someone gave me some good advice which I've never forgotten. . .and which I still have to remind myself of when situations occur that make my temper rise.

The advice given me was to look at the person and say (either out loud or if that is not possible, as when it is a customer, internally):

"I am not going to let your problem be my problem."

If you can do this re-direction, it truly is a wonderful thing. :wink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

fruit bar chef? May i ask what that is?

Basically, what I do is create fruit and vegetable trays for a retail case as well as special orders. I am also called upon to do desserts, and prep ingredients for customers who would rather not take the time to do it themselves. I liken it to a cross between a prep chef with the "joys" of the retail world. It sucks horribly, but I am using it as the ground floor for launching my chef career. I have in interview next week with a gentleman who is in charge of personnel for a chef training program where I work. That's more in line with what I see myself doing in the future.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Where is cabbage originally from?

According to Waverly Root, "the theory that the cabbage originated in Northern Europe is borne out by the direction in which it seems to have spread, apparently southward and eastward into the Mediterranean basin."

and [. . .]

"Besides being one of the oldest cultivated vegetables, cabbage is one of the most versatile."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Where is cabbage originally from?

A quick skip through several web pages give conflicting theories. Some said Mongolia, others said Turkey, others said Europe.

One thing for sure, it's been around a heck of a long time. It's allegedly been cultivated for 4000 years. Apparently the ancient Greeks and Romans loved the stuff, and (allegedly) it was fed to the Chinese labourers building the Great Wall (3rd century BC).

One of the sites I looked at mentioned that, when speed of growth is taken into consideration, it gives the greatest yield of all the vegetables one can grow.

I would imagine that this would explain its popularity among poor people pretty much everywhere. And would also explain its being coupled with pork, as pigs could be fed on scraps.

And as far as the stupid comment goes about pork and cabbage being Polish: one could just as well claim that traditionally combining cabbage and pork (products) is 'only' Irish, or 'only' German, or 'only' African-American... (Thinking about this, the number of traditional pork and cabbage combinations is huge.)

Bottom line: that customer is an ignorant twerp. Being that closed-minded, I wonder if he enjoyed his meal?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Asking is different from telling.

True, but asking "Why aren't there any chopsticks?" in an accusatory tone is just as bad as (and sometimes worse than) telling. And the way I was being asked definitely not just an inquiry. Sometimes, though, they would just ask, "Can I have chopsticks?" though the tone was often, "You dumbass, where the hell are my chopsticks?" as though I intentionally took them away. To add, when I would explain that Thai people (including myself) usually only used chopsticks for certain noodle dishes and Chinese food, people usually gave me a look as though I were full of shit.

I guess that at the point of asking the waiter should just say "Chopsticks are not traditional within the Thai culture" or some such thing".. if the customer continued to rant well they are a lost cause.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was a very informative Good Eats about cabbage. It seems that cabbage has been around for a *very* long time. Cabbage was first and then people bred out the characteristics they didn't like. That is where we got broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, chinese cabbages, the list keeps going and going but I can't remember. It really was fascinating. They all started out as cabbage.

-Becca

-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It may not be good business to acknowledge this in public, but the customer is not always right. In the meantime, I'm off to Chinatown to get a bag of frozen pierogi. I like the thin wrapper they use and the fact that they put shrimp in there along with the pork and cabbage. :raz:

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Asking is different from telling.

True, but asking "Why aren't there any chopsticks?" in an accusatory tone is just as bad as (and sometimes worse than) telling. And the way I was being asked definitely not just an inquiry. Sometimes, though, they would just ask, "Can I have chopsticks?" though the tone was often, "You dumbass, where the hell are my chopsticks?" as though I intentionally took them away. To add, when I would explain that Thai people (including myself) usually only used chopsticks for certain noodle dishes and Chinese food, people usually gave me a look as though I were full of shit.

I guess that at the point of asking the waiter should just say "Chopsticks are not traditional within the Thai culture" or some such thing".. if the customer continued to rant well they are a lost cause.

I once sat within earshot of a real blowhard at a Thai restaurant. He was just going on and on to his date about this and that. Very full of himself indeed. On more than one occasion my date and remarked to each other what an a-hole he appeared to be. Then, for his final act, he made this big freaking deal to the waiter about what a shtty place this was. After all, they didn't even use chopsticks! I about fell out of my chair laughing. The waiter very gracefully explained that they don't really use chopsticks much in Thailand.

Once again, it is certainly no sin to be ignorant, but it's disgraceful to be an a-hole to your server, and even worse to be one regarding things you don't know jack about.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...