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.

Say what?

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...


Big Mack said...

As I have reciprocity in FL with my MI CCW permit, I tend to avoid South Florida like the plaque as I do not want to be tempted......

My experiences have been the same, beyond rude.

I have a convention in Hollywood, FL in March.

I will update then.


Anne Galivan said...

The truth is CNut, the treatment you received is why very few native Miamians still live there.

My mom was born in Miami. My dad moved there when he was six years old. By the time they moved out in 1989 the attitude you observed was already deeply entrenched. If you do not speak Spanish you might as well be invisible. (As a matter of fact my dad loudly exclaimed one day in a store, when the clerk kept attending to everyone but him, "What am I, invisible?!") You would have liked my dad.

Of my huge Irish Catholic family, on my mom's side, which numbers somewhere around 150 persons - of whom most grew up in Miami - there are only a handful left there. One uncle and a few cousins to be exact. And the behavior you described most definitely had at least some influence on that.

It's still a beautiful place to visit. But if you want someone to speak English to you, you have to go a little farther north, which would be Broward County. On the other hand, I am not a fan of Broward County; it's nowhere near as aesthetically appealing. Palm Beach County on the other hand is lovely, and English speaking.

Anonymous said...

i recently realized that cheap/mass/touristy or in general non-premium/rich places are not just cheap in quality, but also cheap in manners.

These people/places take things for granted. customer service/care? what is that? who gives a ****

same applies to other for e.g: oil change.

i used to think cheap oil change places are great-deal...but i found the premium/dealerships/"rich" oil shops are actually better at both giving great discounts/coupons, customer-service/treatment and the quality/comprehensiveness of the oil-change (30-point health check free etc).

i am increasingly seeing this pattern everywhere.

rich bastards/places are not that superficial/bad afterall...hmmm.

Mrs Private Caller said...

Miami ranked 4th, Boston 6th, Philiy 3rd, and NYC 2nd.

Anonymous said...

I went to Miami about 12 yrs ago to watch the pats play the fish. I don't remember any rudeness at the local establishments but the strip clubs are always very welcoming places.

CaptiousNut said...

Thanks Mrs. PC.

I guess all of these places have their pockets of a-holes.

I do love the people in Philadelphia but not in *north Philly*!

Boston doesn't have outrageously bad places, IMO, just genuine middle fingers wherever you go (outside of a couple of towns on the South Shore).

I wouldn't say that NY is rude - everyone is just harried and broke (or a racist like those rude Arab cab drivers). Alright, maybe it is rude there too.

You know I can speak Spanish very well - with a completely credible accent too. I could talk to these gringo-haters at Miami restaurants and whatnot with no problem at all. I just choose NOT TO DO SO out of principle.

CaptiousNut said...


You should have just went to South Beach!

I went yesterday and it was awesome!

Anonymous said...

Living here in Miami, you'll understand how people just wanna go on with their lives and get whatever shit done. Here, WE are not obligated to smile and put on a fake friendliness to you (like who the hell are you anyway?). We have bigger problems to worry about. It's a waste of our time, to please you.

You did complain about NYC and Philly's rudeness. So why not bitch about it?

"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*." <-- Totally racist.

How about shut up, stop being stupid, and never go to a major big city if you can't handle the city stress? That's life in most big urban areas. SUCK IT UP.

CaptiousNut said...


The capitol of Latin America!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, you ran into a buzz saw, a waitress that wasn't going to put up with your crappy attitude which she spotted from the get go. A lot of Americans come to Miami assume that because it happens to be in the United States that everybody is supposed to speak perfect English and get all shitty when they don't. She knew you were one of those guys, and treated you accordingly. Next time try to be nice.