"I'm a Blogger, Impress ME!"

How obnoxious does that sound? And NO these words did not come from me actually. 

I feel compelled to share my thoughts about what happened to me and the restaurant I'm currently working at, Ho Jiak Haymarket in Sydney. These were spit out by someone who claims to be a "blogger" and visited a few days ago...

"I'm a Blogger, Impress ME!" (www.culinarybonanza.com)
I'm a blogger, so what??

To those who don't know me that well yet, I started my hobby blogging about food since 2011 back in Indonesia. Over the years, I have experienced what it's like to be the person being served & invited as a blogger and freelance journalist. I've also been that person who invited bloggers and influencers. And now, I'm learning what it's like to be involved directly in the restaurant business, to be the person serving. I've worn many hats and I understand the challenges & rewards of each roles. I see this as a blessing, because it gives me a balanced insight of the industry and keeps me grounded. Just because I'm a blogger, I'd never go around demanding businesses to impress me or to give me free stuff. Yes, I do accept invitation from business owners, from time to time. As my appreciation for the complimentary experience, I'd actually let them be the first to know about my opinions. Especially when I feel there are things that could be improved, I'd personally share my feedback, construtive ones, that is. Whether they choose to heed (or not), it's not up to me, but at least I know I've done my dues and I will never go around to intentionally destroy other people's bread & butter.

What happened...
This incident happened when I was working on the floor, on a busy Sunday afternoon. It was already past lunch time rush, but we still had constant flow of customers walking in So this customer, a rather stocky male probably in his late thirties and wore glasses, came by himself. We requested him to wait for the next available table, but he still asked if he could order first while waiting. So one of my colleagues interjected and said that he needed to wait for a table first. Just then, his table was ready.

A few minutes later, I caught him looking around and immediately, I approached to take his order. The first thing he said was something along the line of "Took you a while to come & take my order", so of course I apologised about that. And then before ordering he complained about how he was not happy with the service from the beginning and the next sentence really took me aback for a split second, he said "So what do you think I should order, I'm a blogger, impress ME". I secretly wanted to yell out "Oh, I'm also a blogger and I've never demanded anyone to impress me! In fact, not even Hollywood celebrity Dev Patel, who visited us almost everyday a few weeks ago, flaunted his status and demanded to be served like a king!".

As the Customer Service in charge that afternoon, I wanted to extend him a warm welcome and excellent service. One of the ways I'd do that, is to make it personal. Curiously, when I asked for a name, he was hesitant to tell me, but in the end, told me to address him as "Ting" or "Teng". Ting asked for my recommendations that would impress him, but cut me short because he obviously had decided what to oder: an Appetiser, a Main and a drink. 

His drink came first and I noticed he asked my colleague to replace it, so I approached him and politely asked why. He claimed that he never ordered the milk tea, because I informed him that the milk tea was pre-brewed and couldn't be served with no sugar. He continued saying "I have diabetes and you are supposed to ask if I want another non-sweet drink. That's why I asked for black coffee with evaporated milk with your colleague". That almost boiled my blood, because I swear he didn't as much as mentioned anything about coffee when I took his order! I'd actually repeated the items to confirm, before punching it in the system and he said "yes" to all. I had to keep my cool and swallowed the bitter pill, apologised and "thanked" him for the customer service "advice".

Knowing that he's a food blogger, my Head Chef went to the extra mile by serving him our limited blood cockles in his Char Kway Teow and even gave him one complimentary serve of our signature steamed eggs, topped with salmon caviar. I came back to gather his feedback on the dishes, he complained about the appetiser and that the CKT was not authentic, substantiating it by saying that ours is not authentic Penang style CKT (he said he's from Penang), despite knowing that we took the trouble to add the limited blood cockles just for him. The only dish he somewhat liked was the complimentary steam eggs. On top of criticising the dishes, he was also nitpicking every single things he observed happening that busy Sunday afternoon. Nothing we did would seem right in his eyes!

In the end, he barely touched his food and drink and I saw him paying at the cashier. I feel like I should've charged him for the steamed eggs LOL!

Char Kway Teow Ho Jiak (www.culinarybonanza.com).jpg
What does "authentic" really mean anyway?
Recently, the label "blogger" and "influencer" are being flaunted by more and more people on social media. Some have used it for good causes, but more often than not, also abused for personal gains, gaving the profession a bad reputation. If you're a blogger or influencer, I implore you, be a dignified one. Respect business owners, the hospitality staffs, the agencies that have chosen to invite us and most importantly, yourself. Please don't be that person who goes around demanding to be impressed or asks for free food or freebies from businesses. Yes, you can share your opinions & thoughts publicly, but make that constructive, not destructive.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

Cheerios amigos!


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