Still an American at heart

NomadTrader

Registered
Joined
Dec 23, 2020
Messages
45
Likes
43
being understanding is fine, but at the same time i see nothing wrong with having some minimum basic expectations for service. or, for not treating customers like an asshole. nobody is saying they need to be lightning quick and wash my feet when i enter the restaurant. but if you act like i am ruining your day and inconveniencing you by having to put in a little effort, you get zero sympathy from me.
A question:

You're in store #1 and go up to the counter. The cashier/shopkeeper sees you, he/she knows your there but engages in some sort of 'busy activity' for a minute before helping you.

In store #2, you go up to the counter and the cashier immediately stops what they were doing and takes care of you.

"Busy work" is not time sensitive and can be done anytime. Some employees will put their convenience ahead of the customer. Other employees will put the customer first.

Is this a case of rudeness/asshole behavior? incompetence? or differences in culture?
 
Last edited:

Stantucker

Registered
Joined
May 15, 2017
Messages
584
Likes
539
One of the things I love about Argentina is the extreme amount of family owned businesses. Unlike the US, where every starbucks, mcdonalds, or panera is basically the same, no matter where, everything in Argentina is different.
That means you have to work, to find out whats good, and whats bad.
I like this- its something I have done, in every aspect of my life, for 60 years.
If you do the research, you find gems. If you dont, you get what you get.

for instance, in Recoleta for lunch-
Rodi Bar is wonderful, open all day, big and varied menu, and everything is good. Assuming you are nice to them, the seasoned waiters are nice and efficient.
Arambiru Bis is elegant, world class, and service is great- and the menu ejectivo is a great bargain for lunch.
La Rambla is old fashioned, classy, and serves the best steak sandwich I have ever had. A big expensive, but worth it. Good service.
All three are a short walk from the strip of low quality tourist traps across from the cementario.
I thought you said that you've had almost no bad service here in the 15 years you've been living here part time. This post belies that. We all have restaurants in BA that we have discovered and love in which both the food and service are great (Parrilla Peña, Patilla San Cayetano are two that come to mind immediately), but that does not change the fact that too often service is not what it should be.
 

nikad

Registered
Joined
Aug 10, 2006
Messages
4,590
Likes
3,988
I am sortof shocked by this thread but maybe its because when i am in BsAs i am almost exclusively in the south end of town???. I love my neighborhood, Parque Patricios, and the instances of getting treated badly in a food establishment are the very rare exceptions. (There was one, in a new restaurant, about 5 years ago... how can you screw up an order of empanadas???)
I find the people running the restaurants - waitstaff, cooks, bussers, are amazing in the workload the complete and the personability in their trato. The waitstaff are usually patient even under major stress of carrying 10-20 tables. Having waited tables for many years in my youth i am amazed at the workload professional waitstaff manage here, as rickulivi pointed out. Rarely would a gringo be able to handle the work of the waitpeople here with the same level of professionalism and patience.
Even in the states they get mad when you come in at the end of a shift.
In the neighborhoods around here many waitstaff still make a point of remembering the order.
And I also don't understand, the food is usually incredibly superior to most establishment-prepared stuff served in the states. By gosh, they often make their own mayonnaise! They also don't throw the check at you and rush you , you can stay as long as you want. There is pride in presentation, the tables are set carefully, etc... And then, it is so cheap for us... what is there to complain about? As i wrote, I am surprised by the thread and the agreement... Its not been my experience at all after 20+ years of coming and going. I would guess there are better places to go to really enjoy things, and those places that are not hospitable should leave the rotation.
As a local I agree that when you go to places in non touristy neighborhoods, things change for the better. I avoid restaurants in Recoleta, Puerto Madero and Palermo, even though I live in Recoleta I would never go to restaurants in the area. A honorable exception is Bar Rodi maybe. I do keep a black list of places to never visit again. I hate it when they leave you waiting and ignore you when they are not busy and have clearly seen you. Or when they serve regulars first and leave you waiting, or when they cheat on the receipts.... I simply cross them and never visit again. But I have of course my list of unbeatable. For what it is worth, they treat both locals AND expats equally good or horribly bad. No discrimination there at all :D
I do not like feeling rushed and getting the check right after they have finished a meal as they do in the US most of the time, but some things are certainly disrespectful, and make you feel like c**p while you are paying for the privilege. My time and business are valuable so when I get poor / nasty service, I take them somewhere else.
 
Last edited:

Stantucker

Registered
Joined
May 15, 2017
Messages
584
Likes
539
A question:

You're in store #1 and go up to the counter. The cashier/shopkeeper sees you, he/she knows your there but engages in some sort of 'busy activity' for a minute before helping you.

In store #2, you go up to the counter and the cashier immediately stops what they were doing and takes care of you.

"Busy work" is not time sensitive and can be done anytime. Some employees will put their convenience ahead of the customer. Other employees will put the customer first.

Is this a case of rudeness/asshole behavior? incompetence? or differences in culture?
I've seen this type of behavior in both stores and restaurants. In restaurants they can at times find any number of things to do before they bring you the menu for God sake. It's just rude and arrogant behavior. To call it anything else is to have lowered your standards to the point where you essentially don't have any anymore, or because you want to see yourself as superior or exceptional, so you just ignore it, acting as if it didn't just happen to you.
 

nikad

Registered
Joined
Aug 10, 2006
Messages
4,590
Likes
3,988

I've seen this type of behavior in both stores and restaurants. In restaurants they can at times find any number of things to do before they bring you the menu for God sake. It's just rude and arrogant behavior. To call it anything else is to have lowered your standards to the point where you essentially don't have any anymore, or because you want to see yourself as superior or exceptional, so you just ignore it, acting as if it didn't just happen to you.
It is beyond rude imho. Sometimes you are sitting there with hungry kids. Or have a limited amount of time, because let's face it, not all meals at a restaurant are the fancy romantic high end anniversary occasion. I can be very understanding and empathetic, but I expect somebody working in the hospitality business to be the same.
 

Alby

Registered
Joined
Jun 19, 2018
Messages
829
Likes
746
Sometimes the slow service can work, at coffee shops, for example. If you want to sit down for a couple of hours to read or do some work without feeling pressured to buy a second coffee while you occupy a space. I have benefitted from that on numerous occasions.
 

sts7049

Registered
Joined
Mar 30, 2017
Messages
1,744
Likes
1,316
A question:

You're in store #1 and go up to the counter. The cashier/shopkeeper sees you, he/she knows your there but engages in some sort of 'busy activity' for a minute before helping you.

In store #2, you go up to the counter and the cashier immediately stops what they were doing and takes care of you.

"Busy work" is not time sensitive and can be done anytime. Some employees will put their convenience ahead of the customer. Other employees will put the customer first.

Is this a case of rudeness/asshole behavior? incompetence? or differences in culture?
i don't inherently have a problem at all with hypothetical #1. it's not hard to read the room, if they are obviously finishing something i don't have a problem with that. if you are sitting playing with your phone and not interested in giving me the time of day or act rude, that's another. same if i sit down in a restaurant (particularly an empty one) and the staff seem disinterested in working, you will have a hard time earning any sympathy from me.

either scenario is not culture specific either as far as i'm concerned, if people are generally polite, kind, helpful, etc that goes a long way to promoting understanding between each other.
 

jblaze5779

Registered
Joined
Sep 9, 2019
Messages
1,747
Likes
1,357
Anyone ever just left a basket full of groceries at the checkout and walked out of the store?

If you have 30 registers and only find the need to open 3 of them and allow the line to backup halfway across the store that's your fault. It's not an issue of not enough people because there's 10 "managers" standing at the front yacking.

Or the "self checkout" where you check yourself out then get into another line to have someone rummage through your bags and check everything on the receipt? Not sure what the point of self checkout is if it still requires someone to screen everything.

Its just the overall theme of the lack of respect for the value of peoples' time that really gets to me. People are happy to have their time wasted.
 

Redpossum

Registered
Joined
Mar 20, 2014
Messages
2,006
Likes
1,704
I started this thread a month ago today, and I see it's still rolling. Thank you all for sharing your insights.

Having worked in the restaurant business changes your perceptions of restaurant service forever. You notice all the things being done wrong, because you know how to do them right. I used to work at an upscale Italian place in California. One of the other waiters was a Turkish guy who called himself Khan. I would regularly come in on my day off and pig out with the generous employee discount, (and leave a very generous tip of 30%). Khan never did. When I asked him why, he said it was because he couldn't enjoy a meal while critiquing our performance.

Khan was an odd one. He would take as many tables as he could, and wind up only doing an okay job with them, because he was juggling too many balls at once. I would take a smaller number of tables, and focus on giving truly excellent service, (hey, it was upscale). I regularly made as much in tips as he did, which he attributed to racism.

He would also short the hostess on her percentage, while I paid her the full 15% and rounded it up. Obviously, this meant when a known high-roller came in, she tried her best to seat them at one of my tables, so she'd get her fair share of the tip. People are strange. Cultures are different.

You sit down in a US restaurant, you expect a waitron to be there in 60 seconds max, with menus and water. Here they CBA to even bring you a menu, in most places, and it seldom happens within that magic minute.
 

Big Swifty

Registered
Joined
Feb 4, 2021
Messages
57
Likes
30
I always figured you need to understand how the system (whatever it is) works wherever you're at and then do your best to adapt because getting all huffy puffy angry or trying to go against the current never works in the moment and leaves one feeling upset. I've walked out of restaurants where the wait time was too long and the servers were playing on their phones. Same with supermarkets that can't be bothered opening up additional registers when it gets busy. It's a management issue and they can decide if they should pay their employees to generate revenue by waiting on customers, checking them out on the supermarket line, or pay them to play on the phone or restock shelves with items abandoned by customers whose patience reached it's end. I don't expect minimum wage employees to put in any effort more than the minimum required and if management allows employees to play on their phones instead of serving customers they're putting in that same minimal amount of effort in doing their job. But never ever antagonize anyone who handles your food and then stick around for it to be served. If you're gonna antagonize, better to do it as you leave and then never return.

I worked on and off as a bartender. One place had some real busy nights - always 3 deep at the bar. My regular customers (who always tipped) and tourists who tipped well merely had to hold up their empty glass in my line of sight and I'd fix them a refill and serve it to them at the end of the bar by the waitress station. Every now and then someone would complain that they'd been waiting 10 minutes at the bar only to watch others walk right up, order from 10 feet back of the bar, and get served instantly. I'd explain it was because those people tipped, and if he (they were always guys) wanted to receive the same kind of service all he had to do was tip. Some understood instantly, some would try to explain how tipping shouldn't be mandatory and everyone should receive the same level of service regardless. I'd usually walk away and take care of my preferred customers because listening to their theories on tipping/service delayed me from providing service to my good customers.

The opening scene in 'Reservoir Dogs' is about the difficulties of waitressing and their reliance on tips and whether or not that should have anything to do with whether customers should tip or not. Valid points on both sides. I haven't been here long enough, don't eat out all that often, and not at the same place repeatedly enough to be a regular anywhere, so I don't know what kind of effect tipping has on the service one receives. Generally speaking, over the years I've learned it's worked best for me to lower my expectations of people. The less I expect of others, the less I will be disappointed and the more I will be pleasantly surprised when service is good, people follow through and do what they say they will, value the time of others, etc.

Not sure if this is at all accurate, but someone once told me tips stands for To Insure Proper Service.
 
Top