Sunday, April 22, 2007

No Biscuit For You

Customer service - two words that seem to be missing from the vocabulary of brown service people.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I get no satisfactory customer service from desi people. Even when the business says Satisfaction Guaranteed! I mean c’mon – it’s in that blue board behind you! I am supposed to be no. 1!

I am at Tim Horton’s – getting breakfast. It’s supposed to be this delicious egg and cheese inside a tea-biscuit. The woman hands me something that feels a little too hard to be a tea-biscuit. I open and it and peek inside. It’s the stuff, but inside a bagel.

“Hello?” I wave the bagel around. “This is a bagel.”

“Oh, we ran out of tea-biscuits,” Was her answer.

She didn’t even ask, or bother to inform. And just for clarification, before I paid for the stuff, I had asked the cashier if they had tea biscuits still.

This was not an isolated incident. The bank closest to us is filled with people of Eastern European descent – and we have been banking there for over a decade. The customer service is exemplary. However, a branch of the same bank near my aunt’s is staffed with all desi people – mostly Indian. The service? Down the drain. You are waiting in the line – no one comes to ask you what you are here for. You want to find someone to see what line you should be queuing up at, there is no one to answer your questions. The ‘good morning’ when you reach the cashier is said with the vitriol of a guy having his appendix out, and mistakes made are not even apologized for.

If you are not desi I would be interested to know if you have similar experiences. My theory is that desis take other fellow desis for granted. They know we don’t usually complain to a manager, we don’t fill out those customer review cards, we are usually too polite and accept what may.

For the record I returned that bagel.

Yay for small gestures.

19 comments:

'liya said...

I know EXACTLY what you mean, but it isn't only customer service, it's customers too! My parents own a store in a shopping mall and I don't mean to be rude or racist but brown people are the rudest customers we have... seriously it's like they have no manners (and while we're at that, they also let their children run wild around the store) :S

shaz said...

oh! you have no idea how much I think that desi ppl (no offense to anyone) have no manners! seriously, I notice it all the time! I think it's how they grow up... aqeel is like that too, he's not polite at all!!! makes me crazy! ok... obviously you struck a nerve :)

and no, it's not ALL desi ppl, but it's a common occurance.

Salacious Samosa said...

OHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! You are one of those irritating Desis who loves to complain about everything...

WELL LISTEN MISTER...if you feel so strongly about it I encourage you to jump behind the counter and show them how it's done.

Yes Mezba, I am joking.

Fact is, when you are walking into a 'Desi place', do as the Desis do: jump in front of lines, assault people with your baby carriages and spit when you feel the urge to do so.

He he he...

S

PS:I have made it a rule not to expect a high level of service... plus it feels so good complaining about ti afterwords... I LOVE being Desi..

The Bengali Fob said...

Absolutely agree. Maybe that's why Wal-Mart tries to hire as many desis as possible? Because they know they won't try to create an union!

The Bengali Fob said...

BTW, I officially deletd my blog account.

mousehunter said...

Actually, you are probably right. Desi's get on like that with other desi's. I think its the same with Chinese people. They are very frank with each other as well. I remember a friend of mine (black guy) used to live in a predominantly chinese neighbourhood, and he would tell me that all of them would very kind and pleasant to him (even though, as he thought, they didn't want him there), but with each other...watch out!

saqi namah said...

See, one more reason why I do not hang out with the desis. lol

singlemuslimah said...

I'm not desi, I'm American and this kind of crap happens all the time. It's not just your people. It's my people and all other people. Customer service seems to be a thing of the past. They've always got an attitude and act like you're bothering them.

Last week I was at Chick Fil A getting food to go. The girl puts it on a tray instead. I remind her that it was to go. This fool proceeds to attempt to transfer the food to a bag. She spills the fries all over the tray and counter. Then starts picking them up with her bare hands and putting them back in the carton. First words out of my mouth were "what are you doing?!" She has the sheer audacity to ask me (with attitude) if I want fresh fries. After I tell her yes, she gets the fries and slams everything in the bag then shoves it at me. I took my food and told her that unless she got herself together all she could ever hope for was to work in the fast food industry.

L said...

I'm not desi, but I've noticed that whenever I go to IndoPak restaurants and their are desi people there as well as nondesis, they always give the nondesis better service. And its really blatantly obvious. I feel kind of bad for some of the patrons sometimes. I don't know, maybe the restaurants I go to are just crappy in general and its an isolated incident.

I will say however that those Indian guys who give tech support over the phone for computer issues are great. I've called my computer fixer people multiple times cause my computer sucks like that. And every single time I've gotten a desi guy who just happens to be named Alex. And he (or they probably) are sooooo nice, despite the stupid and probably extremely annoying questions I generally ask

Anonymous said...

I think it would apply to anyone dealing with their own community(race?).Thus, pple like using other services offered by other communities. Am brown too but no desi, though get *mistaken* for being one so I would get the same treatment anyone would,but after talking to me for a few minutes, here comes the question, are you indian/paki/insert other desi country? I worked at my college when I was a student there, so, if there were any desis who came in and wanted to see the dean/faculty head(without an appt), well, they asked are you a desi?? They wanted me to get them in or do something for them without going through the same *procedures* as any other person would. As I mentioned it,it's *natural* for someone who's from a similar background to *expect* favours from their *own*. Though, as a non-desi, I find that desis always help each other out or so I think. sf

mezba said...

Liya: yes some customers are to blame too! I have seen often old fat aunties with absolutely zero control of their kids in those ethnic food stores. The kid stuffs a few pulses into their fat mouth and the aunty thinks its cute! Hello - people buy that stuff...

Shaz: and it's funny because otherwise desis are the politest people around - even when you go into a desi store back home the customers are treated well by the retailer.

Samosa: these desis I tell you. If a white guy is standing in the line they will come and ask him meekly "Hello? Are you in line?" but the moment they see a fellow brown guy they will make all type of plans on how to go in front of him. And do desis understand the meaning of the word '1-8 items only' at the Express checkout I would like to know ...

Bfob: haha...walmart... i DID see a surfeit of desis there recently.

Bfob: thou shalt be missed.

Mousehunter: interesting. I always thought the Chinese actually helped each other out.

Saqi: But then you can't complain!

Singlemuslimah: you may be right. But generally I have gotten better customer service in the States than in Canada, although people I felt were more tolerant here.

l: I think that attitude is some sort of post-colonial hangover. Or maybe they just take desis for granted - that desis will come back to the store - let's snag the whitey....

Sf: oh yes, we desis always want other desis to help us while trying to avoid any desi we may be in a position to help!

M&M said...

desi people like to bring desi politics into stuff.. usually lol and when that happens it equals trouble!

Suroor said...

I can see what you mean!

Ahmed said...

haha, I agree. But in ny I think customer service in general (regardless of race....actually... theres only 2 races I generally see in the low end service jobs) at convenience or grocery stores is terrible. The people don't pay attention to the customers and just have their own little conversations. And too often using profanity. If I were the boss I'd so fire them.

mezba said...

M&M: haha you telling me we Bengalis are political if not anything else!

Suroor: You must!

Ahmad: Ya it puzzles me too. Most people at the convenience store are not employees but actually store owners or their kids/relatives. Don't they care what people think about the store?

AKA said...

Ohhh I really hope the bank you go to isn't the same bank I work for. But it works both ways. Though I can imagine how bad the service would be at an all-desi bank, my branch has a mix of races though mainly desi customers. They expect special treatment from the employees, especially with rules that we cannot bend. Then yell at us (in Hindi/Punjabi whatever they believe we speak) that we're not helping them because they're desi. I've actually had one man call me racist - how can I be called racist towards my own race?! But the SAME customers will be absolute gems to the non-desi employees. They'll suddenly understand English, abide by all the rules, won't ask if they're married (and question you with a "why not" when you say you're not...!). I've been on both sides of the counter so I know what courtesy is and I behave exactly the same way with every person I come across....otherwise I'm just as bad as the person handing you a bagel instead of a tea biscuit!

Shoaib Muhammad said...

Good job @ returning the Bagel. If you ain't getting our food the way we want it, oh boy, hell break loose!!!!

Shoaib Muhammad said...

Just had to share this with You..lol

http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_10279.aspx

Enjoy....:)

mezba said...

AKA: no this bank is in Scarborough. I have noticed the same (lack of) customer service at a bank staffed and populated by Chinese people. So true what you say about the Golden Rule.

Shoaib: ya I am very particular about food lol.