Good Customer/Bad Customer: From Well-Behaved Kids to Cooked Sushi

In Depth

There have been a surprising number of stories about customers both good and bad in the past few days, and regular readers know what that means for Kitchenette: it’s Roundup time. From Tips For Jesus to someone at the finest sushi bar in the world asking for cooked sushi, we’ve got you covered.

A buffet in Switzerland is now charging its customers for the excess food they waste. The Patrizietta in Losone, Switzerland started adding the equivalent of a $5.65 charge to customers’ bills if they take more food than they can eat and throw the excess away. Considering the place is a buffet, where you can fully control how much food gets on your plate, this seems eminently reasonable to me. Then again, I’m the guy who’d rather risk food poisoning than throw out expired food that isn’t actively glowing, so my opinion on food waste couldn’t exactly be considered impartial.

Seriously, though, can you imagine the shit fit Americans would throw if they tried this at the Golden Trough Corral? Fox News would blow a collective gasket (side note: how does Fox News have any gaskets left to blow at this point? You’d think their self-congratulatory Benghazi coverage would’ve left them in short supply) talking about how Socialist restaurants were trying to restrict Americans’ 1st Amendment Freedom of Eats.

Our old friends Tips for Jesus are at it again, this time leaving $7000 between their server and bartender at a Philadelphia restaurant called Rouge in Rittenhouse Square. While this is an objectively and unabashedly positive story, I promise you at least one idiot commenter will try to claim this either didn’t happen or was somehow a scam, because that’s totally how scams operate — you donate thousands of dollars to random low-level service sector employees, then something happens, then profit. Obviously.

Anyway, godspeed, Tips For Jesus. You guys continue to be fabulously awesome and DAMMIT WHY DIDN’T YOU EXIST WHEN I WAS WAITING TABLES.

A group of Chinese students eating at Sukibayashi Jiro in Tokyo, Japan (as opposed to Tokyo, Kentucky, I guess) have received some pretty justified internet flaming for attempting to negotiate for “cooked sushi.” For those of you who aren’t aware, the three Michelin Star-rated Sukibayashi Jiro is probably the finest sushi bar in the world at this point (it’s certainly the most famous). President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently ate there. Jiro himself was the subject of the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. The place is kind of a big deal. People know it. It has many leather-bound books, and its apartment smells of rich mahogany.

Since I was once suspended from work for a week for telling a customer that ordering their Tuna Steak Sandwich well done was “ruining a perfectly good piece of fish” (which, by the way, was TOTALLY worth it), I’m pretty strongly on the restaurant’s side about this being a shitty thing to do on the customers’ part. This especially holds true when you consider that, by her own admission, Chuhan Lin (the source for the story) and her party arrived 40 minutes late, didn’t call to notify the restaurant, and made no effort to apologize after the fact. Where the fuck did they think they were, the College Park, MD Applebee’s? If you’re eating at a place where the words “Michelin Stars” are involved, you act like a goddamn grown-up. Them’s the rules, and that’s strike one.

After arriving, two of Lin’s party attempted to eat the sushi, but, not finding it to their liking, left mid-meal to go get something deep-fried — there’s strike two. Then everyone else in the party tried to cancel all of their pre-ordered course items and asked for “cooked sushi” to go — YERRRRRR OUT! And by that I mean possibly out of the gene pool altogether, because seriously, what the flipping fuck.

Here’s what happened next:

In response to the unusual request, the sushi master enquired, “Is sushi served cooked in your country? If you can’t handle raw food, you should have informed us when you made the reservation!” Possibly feeling humiliated for being questioned, Lin then retorted, “Who knew!? I didn’t make the reservation!” Lin expressed her outrage in her post, writing, “If we were Abe! If we were Obama! Would he dare to show such an attitude?”

First of all, that’s the kindest possible way for Jiro to respond to them, given the situation. My response would’ve been more along the lines of “are you fucking high?” but then again, I’m just a coarse American. Second, Lin, if you were the President of the United States or the Prime Minister of Japan, you’d know better than to pull some amateur-ass bullshit like that (OK, maybe not every President would know better).

The best part is that the flaming came largely from her own countrymen, many of whom referred to her as “a national disgrace,” which basically makes her the Chinese Vanilla Ice at this point. Though some people are speculating that this might be an elaborate hoax on Lin’s part, considering that it makes her and her friends look like the Many-Headed Doofus Hydra, I’m more than a little inclined to lend it credence.

Apparently, the story actually does have a happy ending: Lin ultimately returned to Sukibayashi Jiro a few days later to apologize. Jiro, for his part, responded well, smiling and kindly inviting her back when she has “acquired a taste for sushi.” So I guess all’s well that ends well, and young people are certainly allowed to act like morons on occasion — after all, we’ve all done it at some point.

Lastly, as everyone is no doubt aware, Sunday was Mother’s Day. While many restaurant patrons use Mother’s Day as an excuse to make their case for the Most Horrible Humans on the Planet Award, one particular family in Calgary, Canada (seriously? I really have to keep naming the country that goes along with a city like Calgary?) got a pleasant and well-deserved surprise: a discount on their receipt for having such inordinately well-behaved children.

As someone with multiple years of restaurant experience, I am unequivocally 100% in support of this practice, to the point where I desperately want it to be a thing. I don’t even care if the discount resulted in my tip being slightly reduced, I would GLADLY pay $1 per table with children for them to actually be well-behaved children. Don’t tell me it’s impossible to get kids to behave in restaurants; I had ADHD and I was still very well-behaved in restaurants (surprisingly, since I was and am a bit of an obnoxious asshole) because my parents taught me from a very early age how to behave like a human being in that scenario (not that there weren’t hiccups in the early part of the learning process). There are plenty of parents out there who likewise have their shit together vis a vis their kids in restaurants, and those magicians deserve some damn credit. Good on you, all parties concerned in this story.

Image via HLPhoto/Shutterstock.

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