Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Of coffee shops, dumb witted patrons, phone reloads and insolent drivers!

Kota Kinabalu is a wonderful place, its offers both the slow pace of life with adequate modern facilities (i.e. malls, eateries, pubs etc.), excellent environment with lush forests, tranquil rivers and adventure galore. Yet four things that recently made me blow my top in Kk are as such;

The first involves the way coffee shops, eateries and stalls conduct their businesses here in Kk. The first sign of trouble is apparent when once you sit yourself down at the table, the 20 odd waiters and waitresses that is lounging around the place hardly takes not of you much less clear off the table after the last patrons. Lunging out your finger and barking out for their attention leads to no avail as well with either them totally ignoring you or else state that they’ll be with you in a moment which usually ends up being half an hour later. It really perplexes me how they want to conduct business in such a manner, unlike hawkers in Kl or Penang that instantly home into you and asks for your order and promptly serve you the correct item, here it takes 5 people to man the counter; one to get the cup, one to make the drink, another to arrange the drink on the server, another to tally the total and the last one delivers it! It would also help that they put up a better disposition while serving rather than scowling and making me lose my appetite, there's a server at Sun Merry bakery here that has a perpetual scowl that would cause my apple puff to deflate if it could.

Such a sight I’ve always witnessed while in Wisma Merdeka and often too the people are incompetent as I asked for a itemized pricing of each drinks as we were going Dutch, he looked dumbstruck as if that was the last question in “Who wants to be a millionaire” and his life depends on it. Fine if you can’t tell me how to make Peking duck but to not even know the prices of drinks in your establishment, get out of here! Other times, if you’re out in a group and giving multiple orders, be prepared to have none of the order served as your original intentions, complaining does nothing so you might as well tuck in lest they take another half an hour to serve the wrong menu item again. Eating is an ordeal as well, often it is a waiting game where meals can take to half an hour to arrive even if the coffee shop looks empty. Paying too can be a game of begging them to take your cash as even with you waving wads of cash directly in the air, the people fail to comprehend your intentions, as if you’re making a circus act. I’d half a mind to just walk out and they would never be the wiser. They always seem as if they have a million other things to do (aka watching the Mandarin drama on Astro) other than to serve the customer.

As for the patrons here, well an encounter last Sunday at a coffee shop along Gaya Street really put me off to find there are ignorant, selfish and idiotic patrons that don’t have an ounce of courtesy or the least bit ashamed of their actions. In a crowded breakfast hall where the Kuching Laksa is great, we patiently waited with the myriad of patrons that is on the look out for free seats available. We patiently stood a distance away from an old man who was almost done with his part, a little away so as not to crowd the guy and to be rude as to intrude on his meal. Yet as soon as he went away, I put my umbrella on the table to book it as I went to get a chair for Laura and it happened. Some moron with a UMS shirt unceremoniously sat down on the chair which Laura was near and kept on repeating that he was taking the table, not withstanding the fact that we were waiting 15 minutes there for it and we had our stuff there already. He looked blur and without a clue and we decided s***w it and let him had it though I wanted to give him a piece of my mind on what I thought his manners were like. Laura didn’t want to argue though we were in the right, I should’ve just stood in front of him as he ate and put on a face so menacing to curdle the santan in his food. We got a seat a while later but had to share with others, gave him a finger or two to show my displeasure with the fool and for the rest of the meal kept on looking menacingly at him like he was some kind of mass murderer. He looked offended but he should be! There is no decency anymore among these people.

Another experience that made my day on my Birthday was reloading my phone. It’s a mystery that finding a RM100 Digi reload card is harder than anything else here in Kingfisher. Every shop I went indicated they did not stock such a huge amount and offered me RM10 and RM30 reloads (what! I use that much in a week!), is it that people can’t afford the larger amounts? When I did finally find one, it didn’t stock cards but offered Digi Flexiload. While the shop owner was fiddling with her phone and kept on complaining in Cantonese that it wasn’t working (this is the second time this has happened), I was already late for dinner and was on the verge of starvation thus I told her I didn’t want it anymore and asked for it to be cancelled yet she kept on insisting and arguing with her husband about the phone (he kept on insisting that she call the helpline) even as I walked out. Thus I left and found another shop that has what I wanted. Halfway through my meal (half an hour later) I had a sms that told me I had another reload on top of the one I just loaded in. Perplexed I tried to figure out what happened and finally deduced that the idiot of a lady kept on with the transaction when I said firmly I did not want her business. I was of two minds of what to do; first I have already cancelled the transaction and so was it my fault that the lady wanted to give me RM100 free for my birthday or should I fess up and ask her to retract the payment. The latter won out and I head back, only to have her turn sour faced as if I was in the wrong and telling me to pay up, I kept on repeating my business with her was null and that she take back her credit but she said it was already done. Calling Digi help line didn’t help as all they directed me to do was to just pay her as they can’t cancel the transaction. Somewhere I figure my consumer rights had just been brought to the washers. So poor me had to fork out RM200 in a day, what a birthday gift huh! I’m never going to enter that shop ever again. And that's for being a goody two shoes.

Lastly, is the perplexing situation of Kk traffic. When I first stepped foot onto Kk, traffic and parking here was a breeze, yet recently it seems that Kk has experienced an explosion in car ownership. Jams are worse than ever with gridlocks at the major intersections and roundabout in and out of town, parking space is a premium and the drivers here are just incorrigible. On many occasions I was amazed at the extend that drivers here compete for parking; I have witnessed driver overshooting a potential spot and quickly hit reverse and threaten to mow me down, other time they parked double or triple cars and clog up the lanes, parking a kancil to take up two normal size parking bays, loading goods right in the middle of the only exit out of the place, other times they move as if their grandfather owns the road and take up their own sweet time in their search for parking, cut through the wrong lane in the roundabout and near inches from hitting you. The worst I had was a week ago when I was trying to get my car out of the parking space near Sinsuran, the cars behind me ignored my signal and deigned to park behind my car, disallowing me to reverse, fine. The next idiot cut right through and parked behind me and I honked him to death and even almost lost my head as I was an inch away from ramming my boot into his side before he finally let up and reversed to allow me some space. Really I don’t know how these jokers actually pass their driving license, maybe through the duit kopi. But drivers here are a breed apart from those in Kl and even if situations there are harder at times, I’d rather try my luck in Kl than actually drive here.

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