On Discrimination, Customer Service and Travel 

Have your ever walked in a fancy shop, get frowned upon by the staff and ended up buying something just to show that discriminatory staff that his or her opinion of you is biased and wrong? 

These kids are so used to walking in fancy shops and not buying and getting those frowns and cold shoulders from staff

Sadly, most of us have been there, at least the first part, that “being judged” part because of the race we belong, the way we dress or just how our body language rubs off to people. 
How we react to snobbish biases is something commercial corporations have studied to the letter. Some branded, signature, fancy shops, even hire customer agents who can intimidate customers, so they will buy their products. It’s that same reaction mechanism, that their marketing strategy capitalizes on. 
We know someone who walked in Louis Vuitton shop, received a You-can’t-afford- look from sales agent and needed up buying his first branded bag which he didn’t even like. 
We also know a family who walked in a fancy restaurant, and asked how much the lobster special was and received a reply  “Very expensive.” from the snobby waiter. The family ended up buying special lobster for every family member and one of them needed up with allergic reaction to lobsters. 
Gladly, these things happen to our family when we travel, and we have developed the maturity to nod off the discriminatory looks of customer service agents.  We know that any person’s biases is a reflection of who they are and does not, in any way, define who we are. 
The Filipino side of The Turknoys , most of the time, have biases attached.  Domestic helper, village people  attached to it – to name the worst. Full of talent, great customer service, awesome hospitality traits – to name the best. We  have a global reputation, good and bad. Such reputation gets magnified when we travel. And traveling with kids, nonetheless.  If we have a dollar, for every discriminatory comment, said to us, in front of the kids, we’ll be traveling the world for free! 
However, the rude customer service and blatant offensive discrimation combined, as a reaction to a traveling incident involving kids is something very difficult to master. At least for the Filipina Mom.
Picture this incident – a biracial family, with a Filipina mom (add in jetlagged with no shower and messy hair!)  dining in a restaurant when one child got sick and vomitted all over the fancy restaurant? 
How would a customer service person react? 
Background – This happens to our family a lot. Our handsome traveling boy’s stomach react to processed meat and/ or cold chocolate drink. He likes eating and drinking them and can’t hold himself. He gets stomach flu and sometimes accidents happen.
In the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South Asia (add in our one off  experience in Africa,) our experiences were all pleasant. The restaurant staff’s first reaction is to ask whether the kid is  okay. Automatically after that, sends in the cleaning crew to sanitize the place . We had to reassure the managers and crew that the restaurant didn’t serve anything bad, yet, we get that VIP treatment.
In Europe, however, we get the cold shoulder, cleans up the place and move on. On rare occasions, we get the  “Is he okay? “question. 
On to our 28th country, in Eastern Europe  .. we received the worst reaction to a kid vomiting in a restaurant.

So, how did the fancy restaurant staff react to a sick boy and worried mom? 
Out of the violent reaction, the paying haggard Mom was asked to clean up the mess by an irate waitress. With lots of OMG shouting at her and the kid. 
Seriously this happened. Shout out to that not so cheap breakfast buffet cafe in Budapest (Antre!)
Of course, after few minutes of realization, she back away and called the janitor to clean up and sanitize the mess. 
Our life goes on, we learn, we adapt, we mature to people’s reactions, biases and perspective. 
However, this Filipina mom is so jet lagged and so irate, not to NOT write about this incident. 

Our traveling boy’s non caring reaction to rude customer service

10 thoughts on “On Discrimination, Customer Service and Travel 

  1. what an interesting article, i travel a lot and fortunately i have not experienced anything like this before! when i was in italy a friend was teasing me that someone might think that im a domestic helper and all i said is there something wrong with that? i always tell myself we cannot control what other people think but can surely control how to react about it. have a great weekend! http://www.crayonized.com

  2. Discriminations are the oldest culture and it will never vanish. So the best way (since we cannot please everyone) is to learn to adapt and have long patience. As ling as you are not harmed physically then learn to stay away.
    If you always think of them, then they are so special, and your wrinkles will add more.

  3. All the time.
    People really can be so cruel. We live on the same world and all humans belong to the same species but people still do this regularly, over and over again. I hope this will stop.

  4. Discrimination is literally everywhere. I have experienced being stared at so many times in the past already. Her reaction to me was (excuse me) OA when she’s not even the one in charge in cleaning it. It’s not easy to just let that go.

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