Friday, January 25, 2008

Rich Attitudes

Last night my friend and I did our usual routine of dinner and a massage.

We ate at a hot pot restaurant. Traffic was so bad though, that both of us were late. Luckily when I called the restaurant, the staff were fine with that. When I arrived first, they were very hospitable, giving me a warm wet towel to defrost my hands and even a small plastic bag for my cell phone so it wouldn't get dirty on the table.

My friend was unsure of where the restaurant was and I waved to a waitress who cheerfully gave her directions on my cellphone.

She finally made it and we quickly ate and then left for our appointment.

One of our masseurs was our regular one and after our massage, my friend gave him some small boxes of chocolate for him to celebrate Chinese New Year. He was so grateful and kept wishing us a happy new year before he left.

But after we got dressed and came down the stairs to pay the bill, we could hear an argument brewing in the reception area.

"I wish I could videotape this," my friend whispered to me.

A well-dressed couple in their early 40s were arguing with the staff. They demanded to have a special receipt for tax purposes and wanted it now.

The manager tried to explain that it would take them some time to find the papers and process it.

But the woman didn't accept the excuse. She tried to belittle him, saying what kind of manager does he think he is.... what kind of business is this... and adding expletives in between and jabbing her finger at him accusingly.

The man with her tried to calm her down but she kept demanding this receipt now. In the end the man told her to leave and he escorted her off.

Meanwhile the staff at reception were trying to do their job, heads down and quiet as mice. The manager kept his cool, but he was probably quaking inside, wondering how to resolve the mess and hope that woman would never come back again.

It's rich people like her that make Beijing ugly. They think the can demand whatever they want and if they scream loud enough, they'll get it. In their minds money talks. And unfortunately in this money-hungry city, most of the time it does.

In restaurants, you don't call the wait staff, "miss" or "young man"..... here they answer to fuwuren, which basically means "servant".

And the louder you call, the faster they'll come to your table.

Hopefully in time wait staff will have enough of bending over backwards to the rich obnoxious customers and expect to be treated like a human being instead of a dog.

They don't get tips, so why cater to the rich when others treat them more humanely?

1 comment:

ks said...

all this is a remnant of the thousands of years of feudalism. ever since the turn of 19th cuntury progressive thinkers have been tryinng their best to wipe out these ugly mentalities. the cultural revolution was an attempt to radically change it. but unfortunately it was used as a politaical ploy to depose ideological enemies. in the final analysis religion or education of the masses is the answer.