Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Informed Customer?

Fernando of BA Cast brings up a great point about another difference between Argentina and the USA in his response to one of my posts.

"I don't know if Argentina is too efficient, but the customer-server communication works in a different way . One in which the former has a little more responsibility in informing his or her tastes, preferences, and recommendations...if you want a particular beer, it's up to you to ask: "¿have you got beer X, beer on tap, whatever?" if you order a piece of meat without clarifying anything, it comes "a punto" (is that "medium"? I always get lost with those scales)...if you want it some other way, you ask in advance."--Fernando

And I agree that the customer would need to clarify what they want when they order. My original point though was that in some of the more traditional cervecerías the only thing you get to choose is the size of the glass or the size of the bottle that you want to buy.

But, you get no choice as to the beer because they only have one.

In any case, his response did jar another point of difference that I had forgotten about.

A long time ago, one of my friends offered to help me replace the front door to my parents house. We went out and bought the door and obviously it came with everything. What I mean by everything is that it came with a door frame, knobs and a locking system, a door bottom, and a still for example.

Here you just get a door. It gives you the freedom to buy everything else and customize it, but you have to know that it´s going to be that way and you obviously need a little more knowledge if you are going to go about installing a door.

But this also extends to other things. For example, when I first got here and I looked around for unfurnished apartments to rent I was surprised by seeing the holes in the ceiling and the walls where there should have been light fixtures.

At the very most, sometimes there was a bare light bulb hanging by a wire.

When people bug out of an apartment or a house here they literally take everything with them.

As to Fernando´s experience with his first New York Bagel, he got me there. We do tend to want to create the biggest, and the best and are driven to include whatever can be included in a package. However, it might have been just a language/cultural misunderstanding.

You can order a plain bagel with nothing on it (exactly like that or a plain bagel, dry) and you should be able to get it. Or, you could order a blueberry bagel with nothing on it, etc.

When I started traveling to the states with my Argentine family I saw that they would try to order a toast, dry, but they did not know how. Since they started hanging out with me they have become experts at asking for dry toast.

So Fer, maybe one day we could find ourselves in New York and I would gladly go with you where you can order your 2nd New York bagel, and if you felt a little adventurous you wouldn´t be limited to a plain bagel.

No sir, you could try Blueberry, Poppy Seed, Onion, Apple Nut, Banana Nut, Cheese Pizza, Cinnamon Raisin, Cranberry Walnut Orange, Honey Oat, Jalapeño and Sharp Cheddar, Parmesan Basil, Pumperknickel, Spinach and Monterey Jack Cheese, Whole Wheat, etc.

I could go on for quite a while longer. And of course, Yanqui Mike lampooned that side of the USA quite accurately in his comment on our last post.

Maybe we could talk about it over a beer?
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