Friday, August 08, 2008

May I Help You?

In Mongolia, customer service generally leaves a lot to be desired. Customers usually don't get any special treatment in stores, banks or restaurants.

I tend to get really frustrated at the lack of manners of the people who are supposed to be serving me. Sometimes I look around because I just know there's a hidden camera somewhere, waiting to make me look like a fool.

Waiters in Mongolia have to be the worst.

Here are 3 scenarios that took place over the course of the last 3 months or so, in different restaurants in UB and in Darkhan.

Waitress #1:
We were enjoying lunch in the restaurant of the fancy hotel/resort we were staying at with friends from UB. We took our time ordering our food, each family taking their turn and adding this or that to their order. Each time the waitress would bring something to the table, someone would inevitably ask for a glass of water or an extra spoon, or for more sugar, etc.

With each request, the waitress got visibly angrier. It was really obvious and I was starting to get kind of nervous. I mean, I didn't want to put her out but we were obviously really chaffing her behind!

Now,I had a real dilemma: 3 kids who all needed 3 separate plates and forks.

I swallowed hard, and in my nicest voice asked if we could get more plates and utensils. The waitress put up her hand as if to stop me from talking and said in a shaky voice,

"Just make up your minds and order once and for all. Don't keep asking me for more stuff!"


Waitress #2:
Again, we were in UB having dinner with friends. The waitress at this Chinese restaurant was really funny. Each time someone asked for a certain meal from the menu she'd wrinkle up her nose and say, "That's disgusting".

The first time she did this, I didn't think much of it. After all, I've been in Mongolia a while and these things kind of seem normal by now. But when she did it a second and a third time, I had to stifle the chuckles.

Seriously, someone fire her!

Waiter #3:
A few weeks ago we were having Sunday lunch at the Texas Pub in Darkhan. The waiter, obviously distressed at the fact that he'd have to wait on me- a foreigner who most likely didn't speak Mongolian- took forever to actually get to our table and take our order.

When I gave him our order in Mongolian (Hetee was on the phone, busy), he relaxed a little.

I ordered Fantas for the kids- a treat when we eat out- and a Coke for Hetee.

The Waiter returned with 2 warm, grape Fantas. He didn't bother to ask if we wanted grape or orange.

I asked him if he didn't have anything colder. He said they had cold drinks but they were orange.

Now, I didn't say I wanted grape, so why did he automatically bring the warm grape drinks instead of the cold orange ones? Because he knew the drinks were for the kids and, in Mongolia, kids don't drink cold things. But he could have asked. Both the grape drinks and the orange drinks are "Fanta".

So, my kids were upset that they had to drink the warm drinks, since the guy had already opened them before asking us and, I didn't want to be unreasonable and send them back.

Oh, and he never did bring the Coke.

Oh, yeah, here's a free tip:

If you're ever at a restaurant in Darkhan and they give you a straw, don't use it.

It's most likely been used before. I can tell this from the chew marks and holes.


Twila G. said...

Thanks for making me laugh! I'll have to say, while I've had some pretty lousy service here in the US,your experiences definitely top them. Very funny!

Хишгээ said...

"if u start shop or food store have to learn SMILL ^_^" from chines word.


Anonymous said...

"the worse"? I think you mean "the worst"! True dat. I thought Chinese salespeople/waiters were bad, until I came to Mongolia!

Anonymous said...

i think you can't find chinese waiter\waitress from chinese restaurant in monoglia. b'cause most of them \waiter or waitress\ mongolians. but in china "it's works :o)."