Customer Service

This has happened to me in a few places: Hair salon, breakfast shop, clinic etc.

I walk into the establishment and just look at the workers there. Nobody greets me or acknowledges me. I then stand by the cashier waiting to be acknowledged so I can make my order. Still nobody looks at me, as people walk by doing their own thing. I stand there for several minutes, until another customer walks in, stands besides me and barks out his order, and gets served.

Yes I know I can do the same thing - just tell them what I want, even though nobody has acknowledged me, but it feels rude. On a few occasions when this has happened, I’ve just turned around and walked out, without anyone seeming to care.

Has this happened to anyone else, or is it just me? :ponder:

Ignoring the waiguoren, because they are afraid to lose face for language reasons or insecure or whatever. Yeah, standard program, right.

One: They aren’t sure how to communicate with you so they choose not to.
Two: They are waiting for you to say something.

I always shout out a 不好意思 until someone comes to pay attention to me. And if someone cuts me in line, I make a sort of “uhhhh” sound just loud enough for them to notice. That happened today when trying to refill my MRT card, and the guy actually moved out of the way and said sorry when he realized he had cut me.

Another thing you can do when people cut in, is to cough on them (how wet the cough is depends on you feel), and then say 不好意思 (like a two-hit combination)! When I’m in Starbucks or wherever, and someone leans over the railing into my personal space (placing an elbow within inches of my head), I will fire off one or two loud coughs. Results can be quite hilarious, depending on your sense of humor. I can deal with being jostled in the nightmarket, but I won’t have it when I go to relax in a cafe or something.

Going back to the OP’s original problem, I would second what Hokwongwei says, and just get 'em with a 不好意思. After doing it a few times it will become second nature.

Yeah, need to shout the “buhaoyisi” till they hear. No other way. If someone cuts me I tend to point it to them, saying I’ve been waiting there first. That makes everyone uncomfortable ( especially my bf). Once in Starbucks I scolded a lady for cutting a line of like 5 ppl and only I reacted. She was very offended but well…

There is no hope for these people. They should be quietly put down. It’s the kindest thing for all concerned.

Like the OP, I sometimes find myself standing there like an idiot waiting for someone to notice I’m there. I simply can’t do the 不好意思 thing on principle. If someone is too gormless to notice a customer is waiting, they’ll probably explode with the mental effort of processing my request even if I do attract their attention. I usually solve it the same way as the OP - I’ll give it five seconds or so, and then walk out.

I do both aswell, I may apply a loud ‘ni hao’ to get something happening, or else if I feel I am being treated like an idiot I simply walk out and go elsewhere.

A somewhat related phenomenon is when places get busy, many just can’t handle the load, especially the family run establishments. They don’t hire enough personnel and it’s every man for himself, or they’ll ignore you because they are making money and that means they don’t need to treat you right.

The one thing you have to be very careful of here is letting them think they have got your custom already (or you have paid up front for service) which then means they can put you on lesser priority as they have you in the bag.

Thanks for the replies. Yes I’m aware that I can yell 不好意思 but like finley it’s a principle thing. I’ve stood there for several minutes to give them time to do what they’re doing and finally only walk out when I see them catering to someone else. My wife tells me that I’m the one losing out in this situation since “that’s the way they do things here”.

I’m not convinced that it’s solely a culture issue, since we have the other extreme of 7-11s where they greet you right when you come in and go out. The clerks there are trained like Pavlov dogs to respond to the sound of the automatic door. The other day my son was playing by the door getting it to open and close on command. He found it fascinating that each time he did, he would hear the clerk’s “Huai gongling” from the back. :bravo:

I was in a Seven on a typhoon day some years back and all these stray dogs kept coming in to avoid the rain. Every time a dog came in, the clerk would look straight at it and belt out a hearty “huanying guangling” totally without a second thought.

But that’s 7-Eleven, where service is king. Family-run businesses and run-down eateries are going to be too busy to care about customer service. If it doesn’t mix well with your tastes, go to slightly nicer establishments were you will be pampered.

Well, I must say at least 7-11 service is good to everyone equally :slight_smile: even doggies :slight_smile:

[quote=“finley”]

Like the OP, I sometimes find myself standing there like an idiot waiting for someone to notice I’m there. I simply can’t do the 不好意思 thing on principle. If someone is too gormless to notice a customer is waiting, they’ll probably explode with the mental effort of processing my request even if I do attract their attention. I usually solve it the same way as the OP - I’ll give it five seconds or so, and then walk out.[/quote]

Finely. have you sat at these places as a fly on the wall and observed their usual behavior among themselves? Maybe I live in a less polite backwater than Taipei, but in my regular breakfast shop for instance, they may shout “Morning”, then continue to the order and the staff shouts it back to customer and the cook. The custmer than sits or stands quietly until called. You’d never get served in my area during rush time!

Frankly, I like it that way. I hate when they rush to take your order and you haven’t had a chance to check out what’s there.

[quote=“Hokwongwei”]Every time a dog came in, the clerk would look straight at it and belt out a hearty “huanying guangling” totally without a second thought.

But that’s 7-Eleven, where service is king.[/quote]

Thanks for the endorphins, guys.

Oh, sure. I’m sort of used to that. I was referring to those situations where the place is completely empty and the staff are pottering about in the back doing something, see that you’re there, and carry right on pottering. Lights on, nobody home.

The thing is, it really doesn’t happen that often - which is why I perceive it as particularly rude when it does.

Oh, sure. I’m sort of used to that. I was referring to those situations where the place is completely empty and the staff are pottering about in the back doing something, see that you’re there, and carry right on pottering. Lights on, nobody home.

The thing is, it really doesn’t happen that often - which is why I perceive it as particularly rude when it does.[/quote]

This happens like every other time I go into Subway. Damned American-style service.

[quote=“Hokwongwei”]I was in a Seven on a typhoon day some years back and all these stray dogs kept coming in to avoid the rain. Every time a dog came in, the clerk would look straight at it and belt out a hearty “huanying guangling” totally without a second thought.

But that’s 7-Eleven, where service is king. Family-run businesses and run-down eateries are going to be too busy to care about customer service. If it doesn’t mix well with your tastes, go to slightly nicer establishments were you will be pampered.[/quote]

I can see a feel-good TV ad opportunity.

Midnight hours at a 7-11 near you.

Dog comes in, sleepy clerk mumbles ‘huanying guanling’, looks up , shuffles over and shoos dog out
Dog comes in, sleepy clerk mumbles ‘huanying guanling’, looks up , shuffles over and shoos dog out

CUT TO SCENE-

Clerk sits dog up at check-out counter counter, and hits a huanying guanling button for the clerk when a customer/another dog comes in and gets a snack (insert preferred doggies brand) as reward. Clerk is snoozing at the back.

Everybody wins.

[quote=“finley”]I was referring to those situations where the place is completely empty and the staff are pottering about in the back doing something, see that you’re there, and carry right on pottering. Lights on, nobody home.

The thing is, it really doesn’t happen that often - which is why I perceive it as particularly rude when it does.[/quote]
Yes, I agree with both points.

Oh, sure. I’m sort of used to that. I was referring to those situations where the place is completely empty and the staff are pottering about in the back doing something, see that you’re there, and carry right on pottering. Lights on, nobody home.

The thing is, it really doesn’t happen that often - which is why I perceive it as particularly rude when it does.[/quote][/quote]

This happens every time I go to a Subway, McDonalds or Burger King but in Jersey. Not in Taiwan! Wife commented at the rude customer service in Jersey.
For the most part… I the only reason the local staff would avoid a foreigner would be that they are scared. Once you break through the wall, and they realize that strange English you are speaking is actually poor Chinese, they will become very friendly. Just smile… catch an eye and be a little aggressive. After a few minutes, that they realize that they can understand you… things will go well.

Many times I wish they would not be too eager to serve. I like to take time to decide what I’d like or browse more. And I find my self have to say… Wait a minute “等 一下” many times…

Wow, i think i would have tried to record that on video…