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You Catch More Flies With Vinegar

, , , , | Right | April 24, 2022

I work at a small Chinese restaurant with Chinese owners. On all the tables, there are small vinegar bottles present, as in the Chinese region where the owners are from. It is common to eat noodle dishes with extra vinegar. As these bottles can easily be mistaken for soy sauce, there are large notes on the bottles saying, “VINEGAR.”

Customer: *Angrily* “My dish tastes awful. I demand a new one!”

I see that he obviously put A LOT of vinegar on his whole dish.

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that, sir, but it seems like you put a lot of vinegar on your dish. Might that be the reason?”

Customer: “Ehh… no? This is soy sauce and I like my dishes with a lot of soy sauce. That’s not the problem.”

Me: “Sorry again, but we don’t offer any soy sauce. This—” *pointing to the bottle* “—is vinegar.”

I am about to offer him a new dish, as this can happen if you don’t pay attention, and I know that the owners are more focused on customer happiness than revenue.

Customer: “What the f***?! Why would you do that?”

Me: “It’s common in [Chinese Region] to eat meals, especially noodles, with vinegar.”

Customer: “I don’t care what people do wherever you just said! I’m in a Chinese restaurant and I demand Chinese food!”

Me: “Everything served here is traditional Chinese food.”

Customer: “No, it’s not! I’ve been in many Chinese restaurants and I’ve never had vinegar on the table!”

Me: “You are aware that China is a country with over a billion people and there are very different cuisines within China? This is a [Chinese Region] Restaurant.”

Customer: “But soy sauce! Soy sauce is Chinese!”

Me: “It may be popular in some regions, but it is not in [Chinese Region].”

Customer: “F*** off! This is ludicrous!”

The customer is getting more aggressive with every sentence.

Me: “Sir, I need to ask you to leave the restaurant.”

Customer: “No, I demand to get Chinese food! Get me the owner!”

Me: *Loud and certain* “No. You will leave the restaurant. Now.”

The customer was struggling to think about what to do next, but he left the restaurant eventually, still swearing and ranting. The owner, who overheard the last few seconds of the conversation, came to me and asked me what this was about. After I explained the whole story, he totally supported my actions.

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