Thursday, 13 June 2013

Service is not servility

On Sunday, I brought my parents out to a HDB void deck eatery to celebrate their anniversary.  The eatery was crowded enough that there was nary an empty table in sight when we arrived...we had reservations so seating us was quite fast.

The first course appeared 30mins after my sister ordered.  The PRC waiter who brought out our first dish was quite interesting... he said as he placed the large plate over my shoulder (in mandarin) "dui bu qi (= sorry)...."

I looked him in the eye and bantered with a smile "Ah you are carrying our dinner, so there is no need to be sorry!"

He looked startled for a moment, then he smiled back too.  And bustled on to complete his other tasks, since customers at other tables were clamouring for his attention.  After that, I noticed that he kept the boys' water glasses filled, and was quick to our table's requests for additional cutlery.

I was reflecting on why he looked startled... the Husband had this insight which I reckon is very true.... that most customers in Singapore reckon servility is their due since we are paying.  Not true at all!

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