( Ps. read Pangeran Siahaan’s article on similar topic here )
There is something wrong with Indonesians working in hospitality area. Nope, I’m not talking about the bosses, but the workers who do direct contact with customers, like waiters and shop keepers. They are unbelievably judgmental towards local people.
I’ve heard stories about clubs in Bali that charge tickets only for locals while foreigners get free entry. Some clubs even set the “foreigner” bar higher: only white foreigners (or bule) count as “foreigner”, so if you’re Indian or Filipino, you’re still not bule enough thus you have to pay entry levy. I’ve never been in a night club in Bali, so i don’t have the first hand experience of that, but that was what my friend experienced when she (-not Indonesian but not bule) went there. You can see similar stories on the link i put above.
Shopkeepers treat you differently in Indonesia, or at least Jakarta. Foreigners get better treatment as the shopkeepers will greet them with more warmth. Well, maybe in smaller cities, this is what locals feel about domestic tourists coming from Jakarta. I don’t know, I’ve always been the tourist from Jakarta when I visit smaller cities.
What i know for sure is shopping centers, shops, and the shopkeepers are really judgmental about what you wear. Yeah, I know that what you wear represents who you are, but still, this is annoying, and disgusting at some level. You may not realize it, but it does happen. Lets say, in one mall near Sudirman, in the entrance door there are signs telling you that you cannot wear shorts or slippers. What, they think that people that wear shorts are not capable of being well-represented enough, or further, are not wealthy enough. Stereotyping at its finest. So what if i go around wearing my shorts and t-shirts? Shops in Singapore never rejected me just because i’m not wearing the so-called-proper outfit. It’s a mall for heaven’s sake, it’s not a church or convention hall or state palace.
Same judgmental treatment will happen if you happen to come to shops (good ones, i mean) wearing something that doesn’t say “i have money”. Trust me. Come to one of the upscale shops wearing your usual-lazy-college-day t shirt they will look at you from head to toe, trying to estimate your capability of spending money there. Number one tip: don’t come inside those stores looking like a shit. Well, or do. And go buy something expensive. Rub the shit on those pretentious shopkeepers’ faces. Have your own Pretty Woman moment.
An experiment that you can do on your own: go to the same store twice. first, wear your cozy homey t shirt later, wear your good outfit; office attire will do great. See the difference.
I went to this store yesterday, i was wearing my formal attire (i just finished an interview), and i somehow realized that the staffs treated me better than the other time i went there wearing something cozy. Well, not that i’m complaining or anything since the staffs in that particular store was always nice, well at least they’re not rude. (listen there, Debenhams. I love you.) (Tip number two: short skirt can do wonder. I wore the same blouse twice. First time with jeans, second time with skirt. When i wore skirt, i looked more professional or whatevs, but they took me more seriously when i’m asking question on stuffs. Looking more mature (therefore have money) maybe?) Well you know what i mean. Have you never had the moment where the shop keeper stared at you and looking at everywhere you went and anything you touched with that underestimating look? I have. And it sucked. Seriously, why? Is it only an Indonesian thing? I mean, the shop keepers are always nice in other countries (well, except on some little or shabby stores in Singapore .__.) Even the people in Louis Vuitton Champs Elysee were extremely nice and not judgmental when i came there wearing my usual school outfit, trust me, they weren’t fancy at all (plus i didn’t buy anything there, a normal high school kid cant afford an LV from her allowance, right?). Some people need to learn how to be not judgmental and to not underestimate any customer.
For me, the most effective way to handle the shopkeepers and waiters that underestimate and judge you is by being cocky. Be cocky, really cocky. Show off the coolest thing you have at the moment, talk big, and leave. If you’re not buying anything (well, maybe because the price is so freaking expensive there -true story, damn you Indonesian high tax!), leave gracefully, preferably with a big bullshit, say, you wont buy the bag because you already saw it 4 months ago in Paris and buying last season’s stuff is not your thing. It’s called a white
lie bullshit, honey, and we all need it sometimes.
Anyway, screw you people who judge customers only from appearance. One day I’ll have my own Pretty Woman moment (sans Richard Gere). I’ll come to a fancy store with judgmental shopkeepers, wearing shorts and plain white t shirt (Oh, it’ll be from Armani), let them think that i cant buy anything, wait until they softly hushed me away, and buy the most expensive shit there. That is the dream, honey.
Okay, back to work, and torrenting Sandra Bullock + Richard Gere movies.