Still an American at heart


Mar 20, 2014
I've been here over 8 years now, and I thought I'd adjusted, but maybe not.

I was late getting around to dinner Sunday night. Of the three restaurants I patronise on a regular basis, two were closed and the third one only serves burgers, for which I was not in the mood. So I took a long walk south down Suipacha to Lavalle, across to Florida, and back north to where it ends in the park with the giant statue of San Marrin. I almost stopped at the McDonalds, but decided not to at the last minute. Anyhow, I wound up in a medium-sized place I'd never been before. The lady at the reception desk when I walked in was snappy and businesslike, and I was hopeful.

After sitting at a table for 12-15 minutes with zero attention, no menu, no drinks, not even an "I'll be right with you", I was annoyed. Maybe it's having worked restaurant business myself for so many years, but I was just really steamed. There are three waiters, all wandering around at a leisurely pace with a "me chupa un huevo" attitude, and 3 other tables that I saw in my same situation.

Finally a waiter deigns to wander over to my table and give me a surly, "what?" Not "how can I help you, sorry for the long wait", just "yeah, what?". I asked for a menu, and he rolled his eyes heavenward, as if it was the most unreasonable thing he'd heard in weeks. A few minutes later he tossed onto the table a little card with a QR code, smirked at me, and walked away.

Needless to say, I stood up and walked out. I came home and found some carne picada in the refrigerator, so I made myself...a burger. Hey, at least I had a long walk in the fresh air. That counts for something.
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Probably doesn’t like yanquis
... and 3 other tables that I saw in my same situation.
Buenos Aires is a truly cosmopolitan city. Unless you are in a touristy area like La Boca or San Telmo, nobody really cares where are you from.

On a positive side, if you are a lucky person who actually gets his food, a waitress with a fake smile doesn't start asking you "Is there anything else I can do for you?" every 30 seconds right after you finished eating. They are not in the rush to kick you out.
Poor service and inconsistent product are two reasons why I don't eat out much.

You can go to the same place on two separate occasions and have two wildly different experiences. To me it's just not worth the minimum 2 hour dining commitment and cost associated. I'd rather just make something at home.

Im not in BA, maybe in BA the places can make the same quality food each time? I suppose this can happen in the US just as easily but I never noticed it often enough to consider it a problem. My parents were making the same observations over the past year so maybe things have changed in the USA also?

And don't get me started on qr codes.... I've left restaurants because they refused to give a menu.
name the restaurant. no sense in hiding it, call them out!

customer service in restaurants is one of the more frustrating things about living here, although it's not always bad. just when it's bad, it's super obvious. my argie gf hates it too, although she also bristles at the USA style of basically pushing you out of the table to turn it over quickly. you barely finish chewing and they are asking if you want dessert or bringing the check.
One of the things I miss about the US is the customer service, my landlord and I joked that getting businesses to take your money here is like pulling teeth sometimes, they literally don't care if you walk away because they'd just rather not deal with you, Argie, American, or otherwise.
I'm in for a major adjustment, I see, if I move from Japan to Argentina. The old-school Japanese craftsmen who do remodeling and maintenance jobs for me typically bow to me after I've paid them and won't stop bowing until I'm out of sight.
here in argentina the repair guys hardly even clean up after themselves. every time one comes he leaves a mess in the house.