|RANT 'N' RAVE
A Menu carved in stone
Japan is the country of outstanding
service, where companies go to great lengths to give their customers the best service
possible. In Japanese there is even the phrase Okyaku san ha kamisama, which
literally means that the customer is God.
However, when it comes to the lunch menu, it no longer matters what the customer wants.
Absolutely under no circumstances can there be a substitution of one item for another. In
restaurants, if you don't want the coffee that comes with the lunch menu, the waiter may
have to have a meeting with upper management to see if he can bring you water instead. The
price might actually go up because now that you have eliminated the coffee from the lunch,
it really isn't a lunch anymore.
This practice has even spilled over into the American fast food chains. At KFC I ordered
the two piece meal and a sandwich without mayonnaise. The clerk had to ask somebody if it
was ok to make the sandwich without mayo, so I knew I was going to be in trouble when I
asked her to make both my pieces of chicken, legs. Well this caused real confusion because
it just isn't possible to make special requests. It was going to take many more people
than just the clerk herself to solve this problem, and she quickly called the management
for a meeting. When she came back she was with both the manager and the assistant manager.
The manager told me, "You can't pick what kind of chicken you get in the two piece
meal." His rationale? "If everybody was able to pick what they want, there would
be no chicken legs left for others."
Ok, I get it now, he would rather piss me off and not give me what I want, so nobody else
can order what they want either. If legs are so popular why don't they stock more? I guess
that would make too much sense, and we definitely don't want to have logical restaurants.
So I say to my Japanese brethren, you have a wonderful country with wonderful service, why
not extend this hospitality to the restaurant world?
Many thanks to reader Michael Degelbeck for this Rant.