Monday, December 5, 2011

First World Problems

Up until last week Tim and I hadn't experienced too many cultural misunderstandings or major frustrations over here, mainly because we'd been generally following the advice of seasoned locals and long term expat experts.  However, for some reason, once we moved and started trying to arrange and/or buy things for our new apartment, we started having more First World Problems in Jakarta... in other words, we had trouble finding, or at least procuring, Stuff White People Like

Par example:

Sheets: Apparently it is impossible to buy bed sheets in Jakarta.  At least no one will sell them to us.  [Also, as an aside, sheet sets here do not include top sheets, and yet include 2 bolster pillow cases.  Who even owns a bolster pillow, let alone multiple bolster pillows?? I don't even own a gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack!]  We went to several different stores and encountered several issues when attempting to purchase sheets for the bed in our guest bedroom (which we're sleeping on until our shipment arrives).  Here is a non-exhaustive list of the ways in which our interactions with sheet salespeople have gone sour:
  •  Example 1
    • Salesperson:  Those sheets are on sale!  50% off!
    • Me: Excellent!
    • Salesperson: Would you like to buy them?  I will hold them (ed. note: reason they have to take the sheets I want to buy is unclear).
    • Me: Ok.
    • Salesperson leaves and returns several minutes later with different sheets.  Salesperson: Would you like these instead?
    • Me: No, thank you.  I would like the ones I picked out.
    • Salesperson: Ok.  But you must pay cash to me for the ones you picked out.  Here.  Not at the register.
    • Me: Um...  really?  
    • Salesperson: Yes.
    • Me: Sigh.
  • Example 2
    • Salesperson:  Those sheets are on sale!  50% off!
    • Me: Excellent!
    • Salesperson: Would you like to buy them?  I will hold them.
    • Me: Ok.
    • Minutes later, at the register, sheets ring up at full price.  Salesperson:  There is no sale today.  Maybe tomorrow?
    • Me: Sigh.
  • Example 3: 
    • Salesperson:  Those sheets are on sale!  50% off!
    • Me: Excellent!
    • Salesperson: Would you like to buy them?  I will hold them.
    • Me: Ok.
    • Salesperson leaves with sheets and then returns several minutes later.  Salesperson:  These sheets are not for sale.
    • Me: I thought you said they were on sale.
    • Salesperson: They are not for sale.  You cannot buy them.
    • Me: Sigh.
Pre-move in apartment maintenance: We worked with the manager of our apartment to try to get several things fixed before we moved in since the apartment was already vacant.  Their interpretation of what needed to be done differed from ours in several key ways:
  • Us (well, mainly Mr. Tim, as the apartment manager guy wouldn't address me directly, and if he did refer to me, called me Mrs. Tim or Mr. Tim's wife [Tim thinks I should embroider "Mr. Tim" and "Mr. Tim's Wife" on our Christmas stockings]):  We'd like a thorough cleaning of the whole apartment, new blinds installed, and a paint touch-up in the common room, please.
  • The day before we moved in.... Apartment manager guy: We painted the maid's quarters!  And put up new wallpaper on one wall in the bedroom! That's it!
  • Mr. Tim: Sigh.
Restaurant ordering:  Always choose a back-up order at the restaurant.  And maybe a second back-up order.
  • Waiter: Have you had time to peruse our 27 page menu?
  • Mr. Tim: Yes, thank you.  I would like to order the roast duck.
  • Waiter: I'm sorry, sir.  We are out of that. Habis.
  • Mr. Tim: Ok, then I'll take the black pepper chicken.
  • Waiter: I'm sorry, sir.  We are out of that. Habis.
  • Mr. Tim: Ok, then I'll take the nasi goreng.
  • Waiter: Ok.
  • Mr. Tim's wife:  I will also have the nasi goreng, please.
  • Waiter: Ok.
  • 25 minutes later.... Waiter:  I'm sorry, but we only have one nasi goreng.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Tim: Sigh.

2 comments:

  1. I think you would enjoy this story: Lana and I were at the Christmas market buying doodads. The vendor mentioned she was from Morocco and Lana said 'oh good, does that mean I can barter on the prices?' vendor 'no, we are in America.'

    In other words, I hope you brought your sleeping bag.

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  2. hahaha i don't know how different the last two situations are from the 1st world!

    ReplyDelete