Still not up on capitalism

July 27, 2011

I was craving pizza. I don’t have an oven, so I can’t make it myself. But I have this little wheat allergy, so eating pizza is a little tough when I can’t make it myself. Well, the angels smiled on me the other day and showed me a little pizza joint that said “gluten-free”. I was stoked! So I grabbed a couple of friends and dragged them to the pizza joint.

Now, before I continue, I must make the following disclaimer. The Austrians are really wonderful people. They are extremely nice, friendly and warm – well, in comparison to the Germans anyway. Sorry, my German friends. I lived there long enough to make an educated judgement:). The attitude is much more mediterranean here.

That said, we headed to this pizza joint. We sat down and the waiter came out to ask what we wanted. Stupid me, I asked him the simple question of how big the pizzas were. Bad move on my part. He looked at me like I was an imbecile, waved his hands around like a maniac and said, “Normal size.” With a dumbfounded expression on my face, I asked exactly what “normal” meant. Waving his hands around again like a maniac, he said, “you know, normal.” He threw in a bit of disgust for good measure. At this point, Alan, my teacher, looks at the guys and says, “There are many sizes of normal. How big is your normal?” I was like, are we in kindergarten here? The guy finally made some movement of his hands that indicated it could feed two people. Whew. We got through that. So I went on to the normally easy part of ordering. I asked for this certain pizza and asked if it could be gluten free. He wrote it down, looked at me again and said, “Oh gluten free?” And replied with a smile, “Yes.” And he retorted, “Gluten free pizza. Hmmmm, well that’s something completely different.” I was like, “Uhhhh…that’s what I said. How is that different?” But I kept my mouth shut for fear he’d spit on my food. The ordering continued and when it came to Alan he ordered a salad. Wrong move. The waiter looked at him with “x’s” for eyes and said, “We don’t have salad.” Alan looked at the menu, pointed at it on the menu and asked again. The guy responded by saying, “There’s no price next to it so of course we don’t have salads. What do you think? We are a full service restaurant?” Um…yeah. Actually…

At this point, we should’ve left, but we were hungry and I had a hankering for pizza. So Alan ordered nothing, another guy and I shared the pizza that was not nearly enough for 2 people and we left without tipping.

Which left me pondering again this idea of customer service and capitalism. This guy had no idea that we were connected with over 100 other Americans looking for tasty, cheap food. Had he been nice, he could’ve had some great business, but instead, we’ve told everyone we know not to go there. So what’s so hard about being nice to people giving you money for the service you provide them? Why would you be pissed that we came in, even spoke German, and gave you money for your food?

Hmmmm…sometimes the Europeans don’t make sense to me. But then again, they wonder why we come in and drink tap water…


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