Friday, August 31, 2007

Restaurants Will Stop Charging Customers For Using Disposable Utensils

This is the second most searched news on Yahoo China today, 1,177,301 searches in one day.

If you have been to restaurants in China enough, you probably have noticed that the restaurants sometimes place packaged wet tissues on the tables, which you would naturally think are free, but you will soon realize that you got charged 1 RMB for using one when the bill comes. After paying unwillingly a few times, I have learned to tell the waiters/waitresses to remove those wet tissues and make it very clear that I don't want to use the tissues and hence I shouldn't have to pay for them. It is of utmost importance to make it very very clear, as sometimes they think they can cheat by smuggling a couple of extra items on the bill especially if you are not a local. Apart from the cost, you really wouldn't want to wipe your mouth with some wet tissues that are saturated with unknown chemicals and sterilized to unknown standard. Okay to wipe the hands with, though, I think.

I haven't been to any restaurants that use disposable utensils myself, but apparently a lot of restaurants do the same thing with the disposable bowls and chopsticks. You only realize that you got charged for using them when the bill comes. China Consumers' Association is calling for a ban on this dishonest behavior and a new rule related to this issue will come into effect at the end of this year.

You might think that only the relatively cheap and low-end restaurants would do this, but no. Next time when you go to Jade Garden on Maoming Nan Lu, Shanghai, remember to ask the waiters to remove those pickles before you start ordering, because, yes, you will get charged for eating those.

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