Customer Encounters #6 – “Black people are always like that”

Earlier this week a woman came in and asked if we served a beef broth soup with noodles and a bowl of dried chilies (something we don’t actually have on the menu). I remembered being quite unimpressed with this particular person because she basically stormed in and left the door wide open, allowing this rush of cold air to come in.

I explained that we didn’t serve dried chilies but could do something about the soup so I went to relay this back to the kitchen to see if we could do anything, but she she left without even closing the door. I was already serving someone else before her, who shook his head at me in disbelief and went “black people are always like that, they’re always pushing it.”

Now I know this is a really provocative thing to say, but I couldn’t help but agree with him somewhat, because of all the customers I have encountered, I have found most black people to be quite fussy with their food. This isn’t something you can say out loud because it sounds so racist, and I’m not saying I hate serving black people (for the record I don’t).

Before you completely shoot me down at the comments section I encourage you to read this post from Madame Noire about black customers who don’t enjoy tipping an yes it was written by an African-American.

From my experience I think they are more open and make their distaste more well-known compared to Caucasian customers, and I suppose it’s fair to say that they know what they want; they want to know that what they’re buying is going to be value for money, so they ask questions like how many king prawns do we put in a king prawn fried rice.

They also have no problem with being upfront about whether or not something is too expensive. When I tell them how much a king prawn chow mein is for instance and the difference between a regular and a large, I get disapproving looks from them and they ask “why is it so expensive?”

I mean I know we’re out of recession now but times are still tough for small businesses.

One of my old housemates from university who is also black proof-read this post and said that she agreed with the post 100% and added that black people tend to be a lot more upfront and blunt about their dislikes.

Shortly after that encounter another black woman came in with her son and asked us about our duck fried rice an how we cooked it, did it come in slices, she didn’t want the duck mixed in, she wanted extra soy sauce and chili oil on the side. After telling us how we should cook her dinner we effectively spent the next five minutes explaining to this person how to cook her own dinner.

When her order was ready she proceeded to open the container in front of us and said “you haven’t put enough soy sauce”, but left with her order anyway.

Now I’m not saying she doesn’t have a right to know what she bought, because she did basically tell us how to cook her meal, but the thing that really annoyed me about it was the fact that because she made her distaste well-known and there just didn’t seem to be any appreciation of the time I gave into making her feel comfortable and trying to create a dish that closely resembled what she was describing.

There was that feeling that I don’t think she quite valued that I tried the best I could to give her the meal she wanted instead of simply saying “we don’t cook it like that so you can get lost”.