Procedure and system are what most employees (or basically most people) cannot really break. They just don't seem to understand how to meet with a customer's requirement when it's not in the system.
A Teapot To Go
One day in the beginning of January, still in Christmas / New Year break, we decided to go to Ogaki, a neighbour city. We still had a little time before the train departed, so we decided to get coffee and tea and some donuts to take away. So we went to Mr. Donuts, a donut chain in Japan.
My husband bought a cup of hot coffee, and I wanted to get myself a cup of hot tea, to go. So my husband told the cashier, a coffee and a tea to go. But she said, "We don't serve tea to go." While, in the other hand, you can get as many teapots as you can drink in there. But, no tea to go.
So, my husband said, "Well, then just give me a teapot of tea and an empty paper cup." And that's how she did it. She gave my husband a coffee for him (to go) and a pot of tea, a ceramic cup to drink the tea with, and a paper cup. And I poured the tea into the paper cup, and took the tea away with me. I never understand why they can't give hot tea to go while they can with coffee. What the difference between coffee to go and tea to go is, God knows. And what makes me don't understand more is why she could not deal with it. What is wrong and what is so difficult with just input "hot tea" in the register machine without any word such as "to go" , "take away" or anything but put the tea in a paper cup.
One Spoon Please
Later that week, we went to Nagoya. In the end of our visit, we had an early dinner in this ramen place. It was the second time I was there. Food is good, so basically I like that place. However, there was one thing I noticed from my first visit. That was, no eating utensils on each table (which is common in many restaurants in Japan) and unless I asked, I would never get a spoon, even if I ordered a bowl of soup. In that second visit, I ordered rice and something with pork and vegetables (it was basically stir-fry food, just like any common Chinese food, that place is one of many places serve Chinese-Japanese food --influenced by Chinese, but with Japanese taste). I knew if I didn't ask for a spoon, they would never give me one, because they hope I would eat with chopsticks, which is ok for me, but I prefered to eat with a spoon anyway. So closing my order I said, "Supun o hitotsu, kudasai (a spoon please)."
And the waitress came back to us in probably around two minutes or so. I thought, "Wow cool, our food comes so fast!" But I was wrong. It wasn't our food. She came to give me THIS:
The food ended up being really good actually. Despite the lack of understanding, the food we had was delicious.
Is it about the lack of common sense I should say? Or obedience? Or solving problem ability? I don't know. I never understand people who can't provide a simple demand and work only by the book.