The last thing I want to do is belittle someone for not speaking English well. I don’t speak it well, and my roots go back to the American Revolution, or so I just learned. But there are times in this job that make one feel under appreciated. All our orders go through as text. This is precisely so restaurant staff, who may or may not speak English, can at least see what they need to make. Occasionally, however, there are issues, and a we will need to speak with someone. We have people on staff who can speak Spanish, and I can get by with minimal broken Mandarin, but that leaves a lot of languages out, and so we have conversations like the following.
“A customer from last night ordered the seafood udon, and asked for no calamari.”
“Yes. No calamari. We no calamari. Japanese restaurant. Seafood only, no only vegetable combination.”
“This udon was served with only calamari.”
“No. No calamari. Restaurant only seafood combination. Calamari tomorrow. Tonight, calamari. No send order today.”
“I’m sorry. I meant they received their dish incorrectly.”
“Ok, so the customer ordered the seafood udon.”
“And they asked for no calamari–“
“Yes. No. Calamari Japanese restaurant. Today. Tomorrow. Send calamari, no vegetable combination. Seafood combination calamari.”
[fast forward 10 minutes]
“Do you understand?”
“Calamari. No calamari. Yesterday.”
Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.
So, when you ask your customer service rep to help you with something you haven’t tried doing already, this is likely the kind of interaction they’re having while you drum your fingers on the table and think of how the Better Business Bureau should hear of this terrible customer service.