(Un)Popular Opinion | First off, no, I’m not speaking in the capacity of a restaurant owner who sounds pissed after being annoyed by a group of customers.
Rather, I am speaking from the perspective of an exasperated observer after reading multiple stories of individuals who air their grouses online about reportedly being “scammed” by unscrupulous food operators.
If you have no idea what I’m rambling about, I’m referring to the incident where a disgruntled customer recently took to Facebook (though now deleted) to accuse a restaurant owner of charging him RM337 for three mantis prawns.
On the flip side however, it was later revealed that the customer was actually told the price of the mantis prawns and apparently didn’t kick up a fuss, much to the restaurant owner’s confusion, which was aptly summed up as such:
He never asked or had any issues when the staff caught the mantis prawn and weighed it there and then, which is why I don’t understand why he complained about it on Facebook.
As I scrolled through the comments shortly after the article was published, they were many who were of the view that the man clearly had no right to complain when he was the one who failed to ask the necessary questions.
And this isn’t the first time customers have been mocked for their premature grumbling over exorbitant prices, such as the case of the Kedah restaurant or a woman being charged RM29 for instant noodles.
With these kind of incidents rearing its head in recent times, I couldn’t help but to ask myself this: “Whose fault is it? The customer or restaurant owner?” And some of you may be shocked when I say this but my personal opinion? It’s 100% the customer’s fault.
Now before any of you come after me with pitchforks, allow me to explain why something so simple is often screwed up so badly.
Not rocket science
When I was a young kid (still young today, jokes), my mother would often remind me to always check the receipt before the food’s served.
Back then, I thought to myself, “Why do I need to do this? I’ve not earned any money yet so shouldn’t you be the one paying?” However, I later learnt that it’s not because my mother was after my money, but because she wanted me to be a smart consumer and be aware of what I was getting myself into in terms of spending.
Years have passed and I’m a grown adult with a full-time job now, but this lesson has been stuck with me ever since. Now whenever I’m out for a meal with others or by myself, I’d instinctively take a quick glance at the receipt, as though it has become second nature.
Thanks to this upbringing, I can’t help but to feel slightly annoyed when I read stories of people complaining about how expensive things are when they don’t read the menu for themselves! Is it really that hard to take note of the prices before making an order?
Personally, I think this boils down to the ‘Customer is always right’ mentality that so many Malaysians hold on to like a gold bar they’re unwilling to let go off.
Even when it’s so obvious that they are the ones to blame for their ignorance, they’d still blame it on the eateries, all because of this thinking: “I’m paying them for it so they shouldn’t take advantage of me!”
While I’m all up for consumer rights and would definitely rant if a restaurant really scammed me on my order, I honestly believe that the onus is on us as customers to be aware of what we’re paying for before we place the order.
So if you truly believe that you’ve been cheated of your hard-earned money on substandard food, by all means, raise hell with the owner. Spread the word all over town. Heck, maybe even bring it up all the way to the Consumer Tribunal.
But if you’re one who failed to take a least a peek at the menu and chooses to complain afterwards, I’m sorry to say that I (and a whole lot of others) have little sympathy and would probably advise you to finish up the RM337 mantis prawns and maybe thank your lucky stars that you’re still financially able to afford it.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and does not purport to reflect the opinions or views of WeirdKaya.