Thursday, April 19, 2007

Cultural Experiences

When in a foreign country it can be interesting trying out things from your own country. For instance, we've been into a couple of Seven-Eleven stores. They are very much like the ones at home except smaller, and they carry some items you would never find in the United States, such as tamarind candy. As at home, the stores are everywhere.

Yesterday we decided to try out the local Pizza Hut. It is very different from in the US. The pizzas have a distinctly Asian flair. We had a stuffed crust seafood supreme pizza. The toppings included mussels, squid, shrimp and imitation crab, with a bit off hot pepper mixed in. The pizza was excellent. The salad bar has distinctively Thai ingredients also. The service, however, was lousy. The servers were more interested in putting the restaurant back together after several groups than in serving us, once we had received our food. Even when we caught the eye of the wait staff several times, they would smile & otherwise ignore us. We had observed that they brought the bill to the tables of anyone Asian descent. I think they also did that for the Caucasian man sitting behind us. But we had to go to the cashier to pay our bill. We had to conclude that we had experienced discrimination, but are not sure whether it was age, sex, race or all of the above. Needless to say, we won't be going back and we don't recommend it.

The McDonald's in Bumrungrad International Hospital is in stark contrast. The service there is designed to please at all times. The workers are pleasant and helpful. There are other McDonald's restaurants around that we have not tried, so we cannot comment on their service. Hopefully it is as good as the one we know. As you can see from the photo, McDonald's also has a specifically Thai flair in their rendition of Ronald McDonald. The food seems to be pretty much as we know it at home.

I remember also trying out Wimpy's Hamburgers in different European countries many years ago. The hamburgers in France were distinctive because they were served almost raw. Once was enough for that also.

Despite our mixed experiences, we still recommend seeing what other cultures do with our businesses.

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