Thursday, January 20, 2011
Marginalized Miami Gringos
I hate to generalize off so small a sample set...
But after 3 days here in Miami I can't help but agree with Big Mack's *Miami is a toilet* declaration at least on one level.
The Hispanics here can be rude as *$hit*.
At first I thought that it may have just been a *poor customer service* situation. After all, outside of my haunts of NYC and Philly my wife and I consider just about every place we've ever been to to be have terrible (rude!) customer service. Heck, no place has more ornery or more ungrateful servers and cashiers than Boston.
EXCEPT, at least those SOBs are rude to you in English!
Our last night at the otherwise beautiful Bayside Marketplace was the capper.
My wife waited at the counter of some EMPTY burger joint for FIVE FULL MINUTES without any acknowledgement by the staff - before walking away.
I sat down at some Latin American place and was greeted with about the rudest waitress imaginable. She didn't say a single word to me; didn't make eye contact or smile; didn't acknowledge what I ordered; in fact she didn't even turn her body toward me.
Yet I tried not to take it personally. I sat there, eating a sandwich DIFFERENT from the one I actually ordered and waxed philosophical. I thought perhaps she's just rude to everyone. ¿No?
Not a second later four people sat down next to me. This same wench went over and greeted them with a warm *HOLA* and proceeded to tick off the list of today's specials IN SPANISH. They had specials? I had no idea.
Aha! A gringo-phobe!
A few minutes later my wife came over, grumbling about the burger joint. I told her I too was suffering from poor service. Then the waitress wench came by - no not to my table - to the adjacent one. She asked her amigos how their food was, if everything was bueno, etc.
My wife, with a sheepish grin, asked me if the wench had come by and asked me the same questions. She most certainly did not!
So I ordered a Cuban sandwich ($8.50) and a Coke Classic ($2.55)...
Eager to get out of there and unburden my haters, I threw a $20 bill at the wench.
She came back with a little over $4 in change.
My food tab was $11.05 so to get a total over $15 my rapid math skills told me that 36% (4/11ths) had to be added to it. I don't know what the taxes are in Miami and I do know that they often *include the tip* in la cuenta but no combination (both 18%?) could have jacked the bill up that much - I didn't think.
Miffed, I complained. The wench brought over the bill. She had upgraded me from the Cuban Sandwich to the *Cuban Sandwich Especial*. And she had charged me $2.95 for a Coke Classic that was advertised as $2.50 on the menu. (The included tip was 15%.)
I couldn't take it any longer (especially over $2) and bolted right out of there.
On our way out we stopped at one of those tourist attraction booths and inquired about possibly going on a family boat trip the next day. But this guy was a jerk too. He couldn't get rid of us fast enough, apparently so he could continue his bilingual conversation with someone else nearby - someone who didn't exactly looked poised to spend $80 the next day on an overpriced sightseeing tour either.
Except for perhaps the band playing, we hadn't heard more than 2 or 3 people all night there speaking English!
At the last stop before we mercifully left the hostile environment, I hit a newsstand to buy some bottled water and a candy bar before we got back to the *minibar ripoff* at our hotel.
I stood there, completely ignored, probably the only customer this guy had had in the last hour. Eventually he looked at me, took one step in my direction....before turning away to answer his cell teléfono!
At this point I was about to throw the Twix in my hand right at his bleepin' cabeza!!!
So what does a gringo have to do here? Stay home and cook? Limit themselves to the Olive Garden?
I don't know.
It's beautiful enough that there has to be a way avoid these tontos feos...