Rude, racist staff in Cafe Andiamo

Cafe Andiamo - Great food and coffee. Pity the staff aren't.

Cafe Andiamo - Great food and coffee. Pity the staff aren't.

Cafe Andiamo, along Degraves Lane, is one of the more popular coffee and meal spots in Melbourne. It’s a personal favourite of mine, having spent many cold winters and hot summers there with my fiancee and dog. It’s a warm, fuzzy relationship built up over four years. I love it.

Of course, I write this to warn people never to go there again. Unless barbed racial remarks done with unprofessional subtlety is what they are eager for.

Yesterday arvo, my fiancee, her sister and me made our way to Andiamo after running some errands. It was lunch time and naturally, packed to the rafters. We spotted an empty table lane side and sat down. Really, the three of us were in good spirits. Laughing, teasing, gesticulating madly while telling each other a story.

It became clear we weren’t going to be served quickly, so I made my way to the counter to grab some menus. I’m familiar with what they serve, but I felt like an All Day Brekky and wanted to know if they served it during lunch time (alas, they don’t serve it between 12-2pm).

We took several minutes to decide, and my fiancee’s sister decided to call for the staff’s attention. My back was facing the counter, so while mucking around with the girls I flapped the menus around like a lightsaber. Mostly to get the staff’s attention too, but also because I can.

A longtime staff (I won’t mention race, coz it’ll be really obvious) came over. I greeted him. His response?

“You don’t have to wave the menus as I gave you the menus so I’ll know when to come over. This is not Chinatown.”

I was taken aback.

“That wasn’t necessary. Why do you have to go all racial on me? We were just having fun here at the table.”

“I can see your friend calling out to me. You don’t have to wave the menus.” he quipped.

I was incensed. Clearly he had a bad day at work, and must hate the constant stream of customers calling out to him for orders. He must have had one too many menus/hands/fingers/calls directed at him. Of course, who else to take it out on but an Asian.

“This is ridiculous. Why do you have to be so rude? Please shut up.” I told him off as I calmed myself.

The staff grabbed the menus from the table, gave us a ‘fuck you’ look, and walked away from us. Clearly he refused to serve us.

“Fine by me,” I said, standing up while the girls watched in stunned silence.

Of course, I didn’t like the way he started the whole thing, and it was uncalled for. Rude was one thing, but he was employed by Andiamo to serve customers. And taking it out on customers just doesn’t say a lot about the way he regards himself, Andiamo, the people he works with and the food he serves.

I walked up to him having no intentions to start a fight. While adjusting my scarf, I told him calmly that I had taken the menus from the counter earlier because we were not served. The look on his face said it all and he took a step towards me. At this point he was restrained by another long time Andiamo staff (I like him a lot; we chat a little every time I visit the cafe).

On hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have said what I said. But I could not take this lying down. With my fiancee pushing me along, I left him with a parting shot.

“Go fuck yourself. And go back to your own country!”

adrock2xander is not ashamed of what he has said. It’s only natural for someone to defend himself when he’s being harassed racially. Whether at work or at play, this country is great because so many cultures and nationalities are able to co-exist peacefully. Yet, all it takes is one egghead to disturb the peace. Sadly, eggheads like the Andiamo staff are a dime a dozen. If you do not think otherwise, you can go fuck yourself too.

Image taken from www.yourrestaurants.com.au

17 Comments so far

  1. neil on August 14th, 2008 @ 3:11 am

    You do realize that by them yelling at Adrock2xander, they have probably gained all of your "fans" as customers.


  2. adrock2xander (mel_john) on August 14th, 2008 @ 3:25 am

    Right as if. Last I checked some readers decided to stop reading this blog coz I was deemed too racist/couldn’t spell/stupid remarks. Pfft such substance these people. They just haven’t the balls to say it like I do.

    What the hell are you doing up this time of the night olibird? I’m just about to head to bed. Good night mate.


  3. mach1 on August 14th, 2008 @ 8:19 am

    I have linked to this story from my blog

    I had to re-read this story twice to make sure I had it straight so forgive me in advance for saying so, but, I initially thought you were in the wrong.

    Clearly the waiter had no thought to bear in mind on the possibility of losing repeat service, a loyal customer and bad word of mouth advertising.

    But how come he says in his sentence as you put it, that he, the waiter, says he gave you the menus, but you say you went over the counter to get them.

    I agree he should not have made a disguised reference to your nationality and spoke of it in a deprecatory way. Beyond not being good service, it reeks of undertones of prejudice.

    Rule #1 : The customer is always right.
    Rule #2 : if the customer happens to be in the wrong, refer to rule #1.


  4. adrock2xander (mel_john) on August 14th, 2008 @ 12:41 pm

    Hey Mach thanks for your support.

    The staff must have been so busy he failed to realise he had not, as he had thought, given us the menus.

    Also, just a little correction to your comment. He did not make a reference to my ‘nationality’. I’m not Chinese (from China). I’m ethnically Chinese, but I’m Singaporean. Similarly, there are lots of Irish in USA who migrated there centuries ago. Their nationality is American, but ethnically Irish. I believe you were saying he made a a reference to my ‘race’ or ‘ethnicity’.

    Sorry, just had to make that distinction clear. To most white people it doesn’t matter, but for proud minorities (mostly) where they come from and what they are is of huge importance to them.


  5. brappy on August 14th, 2008 @ 3:34 pm

    I think if you wanted resolution or an apology, you should have asked to speak with their manager. I understand that being insulted about your ethnic background can be really humiliating and tensions will flare up.

    By becoming racist yourself, you’re no better than the person who insulted you. Two wrongs don’t make it right.


  6. coffeecoder on August 15th, 2008 @ 2:27 am

    Spot on brappy.

    Just two quick points. I’d suggest in a blog with multiple authors, some may not agree with your very aggressive stance in the last sentence. I’d consider revising it before an admin / moderator steps in to call you on it. In the past I’ve considered Melbourne Metroblogs "family friendly".

    I’d add that you’ll likely make a stronger case without it.

    Interesting post though.


  7. neil on August 15th, 2008 @ 2:43 am

    Just an FYI, We never moderate posts.

    I have noticed a difference in how "fresh off the boat" Asians order at restaurants. From accounts I’ve heard from those in the hospitality business they tend to raise their hand, snap, etc when they need service. I mean do you really want to piss off someone who can screw with your food.


  8. adrock2xander (mel_john) on August 15th, 2008 @ 11:49 am

    cofeecoder: Just a little history. I had started out writing on the blog sans any profanities or ‘aggressive stance’. One of the things many Metroblogger do is check out other Metblogs around the world, just to have a feel for the flavour or style of how to approach a certain topic i.e the bombings in London or the Montreal shootings. In one of my regular sojourns in one of the American Metblogs (probably LA or NYC), I chanced upon a post where the one of the creators of Metblogs Sean Bonner and several other contributors/commentors were discussing over the use of profanities. I can’t remember the EXACT wordings, but Sean said something along the lines of ‘vulgarities and profanities are a part of life…we use them to emphasize something…there’s no need to censor them…"

    ANYWAY. :O

    In using the ‘aggressive phrase’, I have to add that we as human beings throw angry/defensive words at others all the time. Something that we experience on a daily basis – a minor altercation between to car drivers who’ve hit each other, two strangers arguing over who’s in the queue first etc harsh words are used but they almost always regret their actions and words. I have too mentioned in my post that I probably shouldn’t have told him off. But in the heat of things, and I had to defend myself, I said it. I could have left the final phrase out and made me look like a bonafide model citizen, but I didn’t. It’s life, and it’s real.

    To conclude, I feel that it’s the variety of posts and randomness of not know what to expect next in any Metblogs that make the entire network of Metblogs worth reading. The reality of life is always ugly, and when we bring reality into our blogs, readers will immediately relate to it. Afterall, isn’t everyone looking for a little bit of ‘reality drama’ after coming home from a day of sanitized and clockwork-like day at the office? Haha.


  9. adrock2xander (mel_john) on August 15th, 2008 @ 12:00 pm

    Hey Neil,

    I don’t think it’s a FOB thing. It’s really just a cultural thing. I can’t speak for the other Asian cultures, but the Chinese Singaporeans and Malaysians do get the wait staff’s attention with a raised hand. Also, if a cheque/bill is needed, many Chinese – upon catching the wait staff’s attention – perform an imaginery scribble in the air to signal the bill (mimicking the scribbling of the bill when paying with a credit card). That said, the scribble is done by the older generation. The younger generations prefer to call the wait staff over and speak to them personally. LOL I can understand how many white Aussies think when you have Chinese Singaporeans/Malaysians conducting a symphony orchestra.


  10. squirt (mel_corinna) on August 15th, 2008 @ 10:47 pm

    Calling Adrock Chinese is equivalent to calling a Korean person, a Japanese or an Australian, an English.
    Someone should print this post on a A0 poster and superglued this to the front of the cafe!


  11. neil on August 15th, 2008 @ 11:05 pm

    Yes! I have a use for the stickers! hehe


  12. adrock2xander (mel_john) on August 16th, 2008 @ 1:42 am

    LOL you still have them? Yeah use them to that effect! :O


  13. Mu Wraesl (muwraesl) on August 21st, 2008 @ 3:14 pm

    I would post this to the Consumerist – they love stories like this (where the person in the story is an arsehole and the person writing it is a bigger one).


  14. adrock2xander (mel_john) on August 21st, 2008 @ 3:22 pm

    "I would post this to the Consumerist – they love stories like this (where the person in the story is an arsehole and the person writing it is a bigger one)."

    I like your style. It’s very tacked on. Where did you learn it from, Flame School for Noobs?

    Where’s my salt?


  15. Mu Wraesl (muwraesl) on August 21st, 2008 @ 5:29 pm

    "Where’s my salt?"

    At Cafe Andiamo, I suspect. Why not ask a staff member, I hear that they are award winning.


  16. adrock2xander (mel_john) on August 21st, 2008 @ 6:04 pm

    Award winning my ass. I’ll give them a spoon to eat my ass out of.

    You’re a funny one. You keep knocking me, my posts et al but you come back to the blog, read my comments and reply to it. It suggests you care about the blog. Awww that’s schweet. Come back again! We value a good customer!


  17. zaq2u on August 28th, 2008 @ 11:30 am

    To me ‘Racism’ is a ‘colour-coated’ word for Prejudice or Discrimination.
    It only comes into play when ethnicity difference is present.

    By nature, human likes to divide and create a ‘class’ of their own. It is present in every country and community, not only here.

    Australians – You have the ‘bogans’
    Indians – You have the ‘untouchables’
    Singaporeans – You have the ‘bengs and lians’

    The list goes on with other countries.

    To the West, most chinese-looking people ‘could be’ another Chinese (not Singapore or M’sian Chinese) or indian looking man ‘could be’ another Indian (not Pakistanis or Penjabs)

    To the East, most white people ‘could be’ another white man (not Americans or British).

    The point is, can anyone make a change and improve the situation that is not unique to this country? If not, then I really don’t see how verbal aggression in this space make any sense, except to reflect a specific character similar to the subject of this topic.

    Zaq



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