Rude building front desk people


#1

My friend recently moved into a new building. She doesn’t speak much chinese, and it’s one of those big residential rental buildings with the front desk, and you pay a fee for “management” or whatever it is a month.

She says the people ignore her and won’t help her or answer any questions. Not that they cant, they don’t even try and just say no english and shake their heads and ignore her. What can she do? She pays them monthly so I think it’s fair it’s part of their job to help her, or at least try. I assume they are hired by a company? Should my friend contact the landlord that rented her the building, or the company that hires these people? Any ideas?


#2

Tell her to get someone who speaks to help her out. Or learn some Chinese. That’s about it.


#3

Our managers have always basically watched the building, made sure repairs happen, collected trash and recycling (or agreed for it to happen). They don’t do a lot beyond that. They already often work long hours and receive a really low salary. What does she need help with? If she has some Chinese and asks in a really nice way, they could maybe help her with hailing a taxi or being willing to receive a package or something, but that’s about it. If she wants to make friends with them, I’d be super nice at new year and maybe give a hongbao.


#4

She’s a newbie to Taiwan and learning Chinese. I think she just had general questions like receiving packages for things for the apartment.


#5

What’s really on your mind Andrew? Tell papa what’s bothering you

Kidding of course. She’ll be fine. Point smile learn a few words act out the motions whatever works. There are bigger fish to fry


#6

That’s very surprising. Usually they bend over backwards for foreigners, and the less Chinese you speak the more helpful they are. Is she white?


#7

I’ve often known our managers but not really known neighbors, and we’re pretty friendly. What she might try to do is find one person in the building who speaks English who could help her. If you’re willing, you could also talk to the manager in Chinese (maybe give them some fruit) and offer to run interference (she calls you on the phone and you say what needs to be said to the manager). It’s possible that the ones in her buildings are jerks, but they may also be terrified of foreigners, or if may just be that they’re (possibly justifiably) worried that she’s going to be a lot of extra work.


#8

Tell her to use a voice translation app like iTranslate Voice. I barely speak forty words or phrases in Japanese yet, using voice translation, I’ve lived part-time for years no problem in a rural area of Japan where virtually no one speaks English.


#9

I guess I’m wondering what exactly is the job of building managers. Mine go out of their way for the residents and have high standards.

It’s not like she’s asking them to do things that are out of the norm for residents, she just doesn’t speak much Chinese and they just all ignore her exept 1-2. It’s a big building so there’s a bunch that rotate. I would think even if they don’t speak English, they would attempt to at least help in some way or ask a coworker. There’s like 4-5 people there.


#10

Have you witnessed them being rude, or is it just your friend’s account that they’re “rude”? Perhaps it’s an honest misunderstanding and they truly don’t know any English, so they can’t address her requests. My door people couldn’t be nicer, and door people I encounter in other buildings are also super nice so I’d be surprised if they’re truly assholes as opposed to her just being frustrated by legitimate language barriers.


#11

That’s also my experience. She just says they just ignore her and avoid her and say 不說英文 and just don’t acknowledge her after that not that they are actively being an asshole to her. Just they don’t seem to give a shit.


#12

Well, if they can’t speak English then they can’t speak English. She should either get a friend to come along and translate, or try to learn a little bit herself.


#13

Like I said, she’s new and is learning. Idk, maybe it’s just me but in my building the managers would be fired if they did this and don’t attempt to help in basic things like seeing if a package came. I also find it weird that people working in a new building in Taipei city would not speak ANY English at all. Sounds like they’re just being lazy.


#14

Eh. In any event, I don’t think she should try getting them in trouble (certainly won’t help her standing in the building, or the door people’s perception of foreigners). If she doesn’t want to meet them halfway by learning some very basic Mandarin for the requests she has, then like @politbureau said there’s plenty of translation apps like iVoice and SayHi.


#15

I don’t find it weird at all. Do you know what building guards get paid? It isn’t a lot. Expecting foreign language skills for such a position would be cheeky.

They most likely aren’t trying to be rude per se, but find the situation very awkward and don’t know what to do, so try to avoid dealing with her. Maybe it isn’t sophisticated, but often people in these jobs aren’t all that sophisticated.

It’s on her to find a way to communicate with them, not the other way around. Remember whose country she is in. She needs to get a local friend or coworker to interpret for her until she possesses enough local language skill to do so on her own. I know how she feels; I’ve been there. But she has to learn and adapt to Taiwan, not the other way around.


#16

I concur on those apt manager workers not getting very high salaries.

To them, it’s probably the same thing if some Spanish-speaking only apt manager in Ecuador suddenly had a mainland Chinese person come to the desk to ask for something. No matter what hand signals are used, it’s near impossible for them to help “on the spot”.

Having said that, to solve the issue near term, you can go with her to the desk and talk to them in Chinese and say if she ever has an issue, can she call you up on your cell phone and have you talk to them about the problem.

If you are that “worried” about them not helping her, then you should involve yourself in the situation to “oil the levers” so to speak. Otherwise, she’s either going to sink or swim in this situation.


#17

I understand that, I don’t expect them to just learn English for her. But I think they are paid to partly care for the residents who pay for them to be there no? I don’t think ignoring her and avoiding her is right. She says they don’t even try, maybe they can’t fully understand but how difficult is it to work with her to see if a package came for her? She’s not asking for them to do anything out of the ordinary you know, and she does speak a little and try to use Chinese, but they don’t seem to even try to listen. I guess I’ll go and talk to them and see, she’s new here and there’s already a lot to get used to. I just don’t like that they don’t want to help her at all.


#18

I think this is partly true. She pays for them to be there so in some ways they are also responsible in helping her in the capacity they can. And communication is a 2 way street. She is trying, even using some Chinese (although she’s still struggles with tones) but she says they ignore her without trying to listen exept for 1 who’s there at night. I’ll probably go over and see if they can be more helpful and say she can call me and talk to me if they don’t understand.

But let’s say they just don’t want to help her and are acting say discriminatory to her as a foreigner. What can she do? I don’t know if that’s true, but she has mentioned that they’ve not been very helpful in her transition here moving in.


#19

When you go up to the desk, in your politest Chinese, just start asking them how they can help or if there are any issues they have in dealing with her, and how you or someone else can help. By showing there’s a “local” person (you) there to back her up, they may start making a better effort than just saying “no english” in Chinese.

Just keep smiling and saying how you understand it may be difficult for both sides in this situation and see how they respond. From their response, you can then see how to take it any step further (or higher).

[this gal isn’t that crazy female friend of your gf that was crashing at your place, by chance :grinning: ]


#20

Oh no, she finally left Taiwan. She is absolutely crazy and is still bothering us since she left…she was ridiculous and she ate so much of our food and going to eat with us she actually noticeably gained weight when she stayed with us. And she didn’t spend a single NT. I can be absolutely obnoxious and an asshole or whatever other personality traits people don’t like. But I’ve always been in my opinion kind and giving. But sometimes there are people like this ugh.