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Chinese workers don't smile at Customers! [Copy link] 中文

Rank: 4

Post time 2007-5-23 01:17:09 |Display all floors
Here in River City, I probably know about 30% of all the Chinese people in town. Today I was out for lunch at Tim Horton's and I saw a Chinese lady working there whom I did not recognise. She came out out of the back of the restaurant with a pan of donuts. From the drawn look on her face, I couldn't be sure if she was angry with someone, or if she had intense pain from stomach cramps, or if she was experiencing some deep sadness. She had the stereotypical "inscrutable Chinese" look.

I was reminded of customer reviews that I have read in www.tripadvisor.com that contained critical reviews of the front desk staff of some Shanghai hotels. The American guests didn't understand why check-in clerks never smiled. They sensed they were cold and unfriendly.

I think we can say that the western concept  is that an employee should smile and at least look happy when dealing with a customer.  But in many cases in China that is not done. I'm thinking of such people as bank tellers and subway/railway ticket clerks. They never seem to smile to customers.  

My background tells me that not smiling is impolite. But maybe the Shanghai Metro ticket seller with the neutral look on her face is being more honest - how can she fake happiness down in that noisy, crowded, sunless place?

Comments?

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Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2007-5-23 02:58:11 |Display all floors

you're asking for trouble...

no really i think you're asking way too much if i may say & here's my version for your sadness.  i was again not too long in china & went to many fancy places to eat & drink because i didn't want any stomach viruses there especially i didn't know one has to knees down to do #2 there...i still prefer sitting on something at least i have done for so many years.  yes, the waiters /waitresses are not exactly friendly cuz i guess they all work based on a fixed wage there but they didn't know that we (me & my fiancee) usually leave some behind on the table after we've done our meals...after few times there they know who we are & changed their strategy toward us...the bottomline is tips & no tips are two big issues there...if you're locals then you'll getting dirt!  and i feel the locals there are a little rude to the waiters/waitresses at the restaurants that we have been to all those times...many ways to ask your waitress to take your order or your special need but politely of course!

the bank tellers are just fahgettaboutit...they're the ones that have something to say to you but not you telling them what you need at the window or counter & if you're standing too long at the counter...someone from behind you just comes up & push you aside...oh yes it happened to my big butts (it took almost an hour for so many tellers & managers just for me to exchange 2000usd...they think i just printed there).  one thing that i really don't understand is that restaurants there have a tendency of "SOLD OUT" dishes when you try to order them...just no such thing in my WORLD...if it's "sold out" good for the owner & make new ones for the customers!  thank goodness & i didn't make any scene at all when i was there...i just swallowed it.  i did smile & please this & please that in one short sentence whenever i am in a restaurant...that's how we brought up in the wild west.  good to hear from you, ronglimeng.  take care & put a smile on your face when you go out next time!

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Rank: 4

Post time 2007-5-23 03:35:15 |Display all floors

Hello PJ - Welcome Home

Hi PJ:

I've noticed that you've been back a few weeks. I wanted to say "hi" but I didn't want to hijack someone else's thread with personal chat. But since this one's my own, I'll just go ahead and say welcome back.

To be honest, no one ever gave me the nickname of "Smiley". In fact one time in Toronto I was criticised by a total stranger for having a crabby look on my face. When I worked as a bag boy at the A & P in the summer of '67 I think I looked and acted much like today's Tim Horton lady.

But now I'm older and wiser and I think smiling and being friendly is better. " Put a smile on your face the next time you go out". I'll take your advice. In fact I think we can all "learn from pjtran"!

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Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2007-5-23 04:45:19 |Display all floors

words that hard to swallow...

ronglimeng--you're anything but kind & wise to me all these times...and i promise not to let you down in anyway.  you're not hijackin' anyone's PM here just jump right in & make yourself at home...at least i say Hi when i do that...hehe!  did you mention, A&P the supermarket in the late 70's...my jesus, it brings back so much memories (in other word, i'm over the hill).  no, really smiling is my first defense in life.  again, pleaazeee don't spread the rumor for me, cuz i have jack for people to learn from me.  take care, buddy!  yes, i'm back at my dungeon 'bout few weeks already.

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Rank: 4

Post time 2007-5-23 06:56:55 |Display all floors
I must say my experience in china has been pleasent so far with the general attitude of people. About the only place that I had some indication of non friendly faces is in banks, seems that bank employees must be sad faced to work there, number one requirement.
In most restaurants I visit the waitress always ends up laughing with me and my friends by the end of the night. Maybe it is my generaly friendly and funny style. You will find a big smile on my face pretty much most places I go to, and I think people respond similar when seing a friendly face. Maybe on top of that my feeble attempts in mandarine to communicate with them make them laugh, who knows.
I think if you greet people with a big smile and attitude, they will respond. The most unfriendly people I have ever meet where the people in Moscow Airport, Russia. Oh my god, no matter how friendly I was, I always had the feeling they would rather slit my throat then talk to me, very very shooking.

if you do run into a person that seems unfriendly, try to say stuff to them they would not expect, something to shake them out of the foul mood. Woman you can compliment, on their cloth, hairstyle and such, Men you can appeal to their knowhow, experience and such. A simple compliment combined with a big smile can make many people feel better about themself, and then of course cause them to be friendly to you.
<< Live is the same for all, it is one great adventure with a deadly end. >>

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Rank: 4

Post time 2007-5-23 07:13:35 |Display all floors
Tirpitz:

Thanks for your response here. Your advice is good, and leaves me wishing I had said "Ni hao ma?" to that Tim Horton lady this morning instead of just describing her dour expression. Maybe she would have smiled at me and had a happier morning. You obviously have a sunny disposition.

I remember reading in a Paul Theroux book where he described how Italians give praise to others very easily. It doesn't cost anything for them to say " Hey, that's a nice looking jacket you're wearing" and the effect is always positive.

By the way, I really enjoyed your contributions over in the thread : "Benefit for Chinese women to marry foreign men". I think they were right on target.

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Rank: 4

Post time 2007-5-23 07:39:22 |Display all floors
ronglimeng, thank you for enjoying my contributions on the board. Oh, i have a question,
Ni hao, I thought it was a question allready, "You OK/good", is putting ma on the end normal and more polite?
<< Live is the same for all, it is one great adventure with a deadly end. >>

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