October 23, 2021, 6:43 am

To get the royal treatment, speak a little English

(14:12:01 PM 02/07/2014)
( - Vietnamese have recently voiced complaints about discriminatory treatment by service providers, claiming that foreign travelers tend to receive preferential attention.


Vietnamese service providers prefer foreign customers


Some months ago, local newspapers reported that some Vietnamese-owned shops at tourist sites announced that they would only serve foreign visitors.


The owner of a shop explained in a newspaper that Vietnamese customers tend to have annoying habits: they are mean, picky, try to haggle over prices all the time and then leave the shop without buying anything. The woman also stated that only foreigners could afford the items available at her shop.


After receiving heavy criticism from the public, however, the shop owner had to apologize, and pulled the signboard “foreign customers only” down.


However, discriminatory treatment has, time and again, been displayed by many restaurants and hotels.


Phuong, 34, of Hanoi,complained that his honeymoon at a hotel in the coastal city of Nha Trang was not a pleasant experience, at least initially.


“We ordered room service because we felt tired one morning,” he recalled. “But we were not served until one hour later. The waitress displayed a nasty attitude and grumbled ‘they are just normal guests, but they act as if they are VIPs’”.


Phuong was later surprised to see the same waitress acting very caring and polite towards some foreign travelers. The waitress did not answer Phuong when he said he was leaving the room key to go out for half a day, because she was busy talking with the foreigners.


However, Phuong finally found a way to enjoy better service. “We were treated like VIP guests at the dinner of the day, when my wife and I both spoke in English,” he said.


A freelance tour guide in Hanoi reported that a traveler from Can Tho some days ago complained that she could not enter shops in the ancient quarter in Hanoi.


“When I came there one day, the security guard I met said to me that the shop was closed for lunch, though it was 10.30 am,” the traveler said.

“When I returned there after three hours, I was told that the working hours would only begin in 30 minutes. It seems that travelers from the south are not welcome in Hanoi”.


“I told her that she was not alone. For shops which specialize in luxury products, not only travelers from the south, but Vietnamese travelers in general are not really welcomed there,” the tour guide said.


Pretending to be foreign travelers


Office workers now whisper in each others’ ears that it would be better to speak English to be able to enjoy good services.


“Servers will think you are a foreigner and you have a lot of money. Therefore, they will be very polite to you,” KN, 37, a worker of an auditing firm, wrote on her Facebook.


“When the waitress asked us (me and my friend, a foreigner) if we need more drinks, I replied “co” (yes), and my friend said “yes”. But only my friend got the drink he ordered, and I did not,” KN related.


KN then realized what she needed to do. She said to another waitress in English that she needed a glass of orange juice and she got what she wanted immediately.

Ngoc Ha

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