DON’T BE A DOUCHEBAG POST #2: My Bad vs. Your Bad Edition

I just wanted to clarify some things:

1) When I’m behind the cash register, the customer is not always right.  While the customer may be sometimes right, the customer is not always right.

If we get your order wrong and you let us know right away, of course we’ll start from scratch and make you a new bowl.  Gladly.

If you put in your order wrong, receive your bowl and then realize that you didn’t let us know to take off the cheese or that you wanted light on the sauce or a different bowl entirely, we are not beholden to replacing your bowl.


What I mean is that if you are deathly allergic to garlic, gluten, cheese or rice, it is your responsibility to find out if there is something in a food item that you are allergic to.  It’s not our responsibility to start over and make you a new dish from scratch if you didn’t have the wherewithal to let us know ahead of time that if you ingest sesame that you’ll wind up in the hospital. Write it down on a list, bring it to the cash register and ask if any of the said items are in the bowl.  Or just ASK.  We won’t get mad!  We’re used to it!

3) If you ordered incorrectly and receive NOT the shining paradigm of what you wanted because you had failed to articulate at the cash register what you wanted, throwing a tantrum is the last thing you’ll want to do.

It embarrasses you, it embarrasses me and I have a tendency to dig in my heels the moment someone raises his or her voice at me over an issue that was originally his or her bad.   


Okay, let me tell you a true story.

Once upon a time last week, a winsome, charming, funny guy and his lover/boyfriend/special friend came in for dinner to celebrate his birthday.  They wanted to put in an order and decided to get a little extravagant with the upgrades in each bowl, the way it ought to be done if you’re starving and want to do your birthday right.  I go through the list of things and check it twice, asking them if _______ with extra ______ and ________ was EXACTLY what they wanted.  They cheered yes, I cheered yes and everybody was happy.

Fifteen minutes later, while I was up to my neck in orders, the birthday man returned, telling me he was DEATHLY allergic to cheese and was wondering if there was any cheese in the double pork belly bowl.

I RAN to the kitchen, because even though there WASN’T cheese in 99% of the bowl, a light sprinkle of cotija was the finishing touch to the bowl.  Just as I arrived, the bowl was already leaving the kitchen.  Heartbreak.

I returned and apologized, and told him, sadly, it was too late.  He’d put in his kill order.  The gun had been fired.  A body had been shot.  There was his bowl.

The birthday man’s smile tightened and he said that it was his birthday and he’d super appreciate it if I could start over.

I told him I’d be happy to do that, but he would have to purchase a whole new bowl, since this one was complete and it was exactly as he ordered it.

The birthday man was no longer very happy, funny, winsome or charming, which I could understand, but I pointed out that cheese was listed on the menu description.  Meanwhile in my head I was thinking, If he’s DEATHLY allergic and will absolutely DIE, why doesn’t he CHECK to see that what he orders won’t KILL him?

And then I thought of the meats.  The waste of quality, fatty, glistening, slowly-glazed double orders of kurobuta pork belly that apparently gave up their lives in vain. And as quick and efficient as the cooks in the kitchen were, they always gave extra special loving care to any animal that rested its life upon our charring grill.

By this time, birthday man had suddenly (d)evolved into birthday boy and we all know that birthday boys usually have penchant for throwing tantrums.

So tantrum he did, raising his voice at me, OFFENDED that I would dare charge him for what was his mistake.  And on his birthday.  That nay, he REFUSED to even TOUCH the bowl we’ve brought forth for his birthday festivities.

And then he paid for another bowl.

Then End.

Surprising Things to Note

1) Attitude goes a long way, good or bad: though it may not look it, I can be a bit of a soft touch.
Case in point: last week a customer bought a sour cream hen house.  As he was wrapping it up, he dropped it SPLAT! on the ground, horrified.  He obviously felt so terrible about it, apologizing profusely while we were cleaning up the mess.  He came to Chego looking forward to bringing a bowl to his honey/lover/special friend and ruined it.  Lucky for him, the kitchen wasn’t slammed with orders and I wheedled my way into having the GM fire another bowl for the dude.  No extra charge. Even though it was his bad, the pace of the kitchen had slowed down, the GM was in a great mood and there was an opportunity to make a win-win situation out of it.   Had the man thrown a tantrum, had the kitchen been backed up in orders to get through, the same story probably would have ended very differently.

2) I care just as much about the kitchen staff as I do our patrons/customers/special friends.
They’re the ones busting their arses behind a hot grill, working themselves to the bone when the lines are out the door and we are slammed with orders.  And while English is not their first language, they’ve ingeniously come up with support systems and an amazing sense of team work to deal with all the “special” orders (gluten-free, no cheese, double pork, substitute chicken with tofu, no chicharones but extra cilantro) that come down the pipeline for bowls that already contain 15-20 different components.

So if they are already stressed out and hustling, I am not about to come in there to have them add another 5-10 minutes to everybody else’s ticket times because a customer made a mistake when ordering.

When it’s MY bad, I apologetically enter the field of battle, promising them a deliciously cold soda or refreshing bottle of water, and let them know that we need an extra chubby pork belly without cilantro, extra cheese and not chillies STAT, horribly sorry that they have another new thing to worry about upon an already full plate.

But if the customer hath owned his or her mistake, is supremely penitent, the lines have died down, the kitchen is at a nice, even keel, I’ll totally step in and see if I can make something happen if the order is not too complicated or exorbitantly expensive to make.

Buh, I know I started to number a list, but I can’t think of a #3 at the moment.  –__–;;

But you get the gist of it: if something goes down and it’s your bad, we are not beholden to correcting your order and making it right as rain.  If something goes down and it’s our bad, we will move to correct it right away.  And in either case, it’d still be in everyone’s best interest to not be a douchebag about it. Capisce?  ^____^

Ugh!  Speaking of douchebaggery, have you noticed a trail of robberies in Hollywood regarding your apartment’s laundry facilities?

veree inefficient, robbers. you've left behind a quarter and a purple squishy.

Some might say, “Score, free laundry!” but no, when one stealeths from the programmed washing machine, it tends to go a little crazy.

The lights go blinkety blink and starts jabbering in random number patterns.  I get it.  The machine is traumatized.  It’s been violated.  It’s in no state to wash my colors or off-whites.

Siiiiiiiiiiiiigh.  The weird thing is that the dryers were left untouched.  Also, the coin tray can only hold so many quarters.  I doubt the robbers received more than $150 worth of change while damaging 3 otherwise perfectly good washing machines.

Really, robbers?  Really?  You couldn’t even finish the job and wound up damaging that much property for maybe $150-175 in quarters?  Assuming that all 3 machines were brimming with quarters?

And it all seems so inefficient is what gets me.  And sloppy.  Aren’t there easier, cleaner ways to steal?

I mean, like, wow. They really ripped into that sucker.

Meh.  Me and laundromats don’t always get along, but I guess that’s where I’ll be spending my Saturday nights.  ^__^

MOVING ON………………….

Like I mentioned before, I’m a soft touch.  For those of you who are familiar with the Missed Connections wing of Craigslist, there have been these 2 artists who are trying to start a movement in NYC called I Wish I Said Hello.

"I was buying flowers, you complimented me on my white leather jacket."

“Indian Girl With the Pearl Earrings”

"Brunette from Swift Lounge"

Uf!  This kind of stuff makes my heart melt.

It’s not a dating service, you don’t need to pay to join.  In fact, the creators allow for you to download a template and print out your own sticker to post where you’ve experienced your missed connection. Hopefully the person will respond.


Siiiiiiiiiigh.  It makes me think of the time I went to Unique L.A. a year and a half ago and saw a beautiful man with curling, longish dark hair, close cut beard and laid-back, mellow attitude about things.  Yes.  I wish I’d said hello.  And even though keffiyehs as a fashion statement by then was wayyyy played out, he wore it like he owned it, like it wasn’t a fashion statement, but he just really liked it.  It wasn’t a statement of politics, it wasn’t to look cool — he just liked it and was attached to it and that was that.  I can’t even remember his face, except that I thought it was exceptionally good looking in a way that it wasn’t even aware that it was good looking.

Of course, that would be more of a one-sided connection than a missed connection because I don’t believe we locked eyes.  I was too embarrassed.

But yeah.  Sigh.  I would SUPER love the opportunity to have a genuine missed connection, post it up for the world to see and, hopefully, generate some kind of response.  It’s a message in a bottle.  Circa 2012.

Yes.  Yes, I do believe in a thing called love.  If you’d just listen to the rhythm of my heart…! You know, I’ve actually met enough people who’ve experienced it to know that it’s not some myth or fairytale.  As to whether or not it shall ever happen to ME remains to be seen.  But I champion its cause, nonetheless — even if it’s on behalf of others.

Curious about this project’s creators?


yay!!! she's Korean!!! <-- lame, sporadic sense of nationalism

And her partner ADRIA NAVARRO:

well hellooo, Senor Hotness. (He's originally from Spain.)

Of course, the first question that comes to my mind is not whether or not they have other projects going on, but whether or not they are romantically involved.  But I guess that, too, shall remain to be seen.

My, they are a good-looking pair.  And talented, when you look into their breadth of work.  One wonders if they are aware of just how good-looking and talented they are.

Having fallen down the rabbit hole, here are two other side projects of Adria’s (YES, he’s cute, but I also though his other stuff was pretty damn kewl):

And yes, though I like his picture, it was this footage of this contraption of his that had me all swoony for Adria. DIY turntables FTW:

WARNING: possibly NSF los childrens. Ahahaha. I love that he’s a follower of the PBF gang.

Last but not least, some music to groove to. NOINEVERGETTIREDOFTHISSONG.

Internet crushes. They’re about as lame as they are earnest. >__<;;

Love and tacos,

P.S. Random side note. Apparently the catering wing of Kogi’s been kicking arse and my cousin’s been nominated by Bizbash as Caterer of the Year, though I would say that his partner Luisana Valdez definitely deserves some credit, too. But hey, I guess you can only nominate one ridiculously good-looking person from the same company. Anyway, if you feel so inclined to vote for him FTW, here is the LINK. Yaaaaaaaar!


0 Responses to DON’T BE A DOUCHEBAG POST #2: My Bad vs. Your Bad Edition

  1. Sarah Z says:

    While we’re at it on making totally normal mistakes and honesty and the whole bunch – did you guys have an error on charges on online orders a couple of Fridays ago? (May 18th I believe) I got my delicious meal for lunch (along with my co-worker’s – first timer, loved it) but I was never charged!

  2. Rusty says:

    Are you still the only joint in the city charging $2.50 to place a to-go order online? Pompous jerks, get over yourselves.

  3. naraytor says:

    I don’t understand why people act like this. in the last 2 years my girlfriend and I have gotten everything from comp bowls, extra tacos, a frame churros, sunnyspot discounts, there have even been times when the truck has ran out of the special and was willing to make it minus some ingredients and replace them with others. 9 times out of 10 I still leave the difference in the trusty chego bowl on the counter, the plastic cup at kogi, or the picnic tables at a frame. i just don’t feel comfortable benefiting from human error.

  4. Alice Shin says:

    Sarah Z — ahahaha, no worries, gurrrrl. It’s all good, we’re still getting the hang of the ordering system and its occasional bugs. Thank you for your honesty, it’s supremely admirable and sadly a rare, rare thing these days in this world. (( H U G ))

    Rusty — whoa, whoa, whoa. what’s with all the anger, bruh? online ordering was a demand of the people and it cost good money to experiment and set up an online ordering system. we just wanted to make sure that the installation costs were paid off and that the system could break even, as we’re charged a monthly rate on top of the installation for the system. THAT said, good news is that we looked at our numbers and were able to drop it a whole dollar: 1.50. if that bothers you, you’re free to come in and risk braving the lines and wrapping it up yourself. if you’re willing to drop 1.50 to skip the line and have it all wrapped up and ready to go by the time you come in, then grrrrreat!

    naraytor — “i just don’t feel comfortable benefiting from human error.” you and me both, dude! thank you for all your warm support, it’s nice to have you in our snuggly little corner. once in a while I need to wake myself up a bit and remind myself that there are different kinds of peoples. there are those who notice kindness, pay it forward and super appreciate when they bear witness to it. and there are those who have this broken record spinning in their heads, “what’sinitformewhat’sinitformewhat’sinitforme?”, which makes it hard for them to see how they, too, fit into a larger family system, the holistic picture.

    as annoying as it is to be confronted by that, I can recognize the days when that broken record starts spinning in my head, too! — and also when I need to put that record to rest.

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