How to get retail staff to provide service?

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I had a real problem last weekend at a restaurant, where the staff simply ignored me for half an hour. I finally stood up, shoved the menu in front of the next waitress to come within reach, and started pointing to the pictures.

And it was a PICTURE MENU. This wasn’t some tiny hole-in-the-wall with a little order sheet in Chinese only. This was a large, modern, full service restaurant with three large menus full of pictures of every dish, with descriptions on them in both Chinese and English (maybe also in Japanese – I think I remember it being on there).

How do you get these idiots to stop being terrified of interacting with the white devil?

Never, ever, ever had that problem.

In a lot of restaurants though, the staff do not take the initiative to take your order, either you walk up to the front (even nice places with pictures) or have to flag someone down (though walking to the front is more common).

So maybe you just got it wrong.

Happened to me once or twice, but I don’t think it’s cos you’re a foreigner - it’s more to do with the fact that the waiters/waitresses are high-school kids who haven’t a clue what they’re doing. And as Confuzius said, sometimes you have to go over to the counter to place your order (and sometimes you have to pay first). Observe what others are doing.

Otherwise … wave them over. If they don’t see you, do it again. If they really are ignoring you, walk out and go somewhere else. Works for me.

Occasionally with the bigger places, you have to wait to be seated and then the manager instructs a waiter to serve you. If they are not directly instructed to serve you, they won’t. You shouldn’t get annoyed at waiters and convenience store clerks here. You don’t need an advanced degree in social skills and public communication to land a job at one of those fine establishments.

The quality of the establishment is inversely proportionate to the time you wait with a bowl on your head.

[quote=“Confuzius”]Never, ever, ever had that problem.


This is also my experience in Taiwan.

If anything they come over way too quickly to take my order. I prefer to sit and drink for a while before ordering. I am devilishly handsome which may explain why the staff are so keen to talk to me.