Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Woes of Customizing

In America, we're used to a "have it your way" mentality. We customize everything, from our houses, to our weddings, to our hamburgers. In Korea, that is often not the case. It can be very difficult to custom order even something as simple as a latte. The cartoon below is what I can only assume is the reason for that.

*note: once again, the Korean has been translated for you. The conversation exchanged in the last frame is NEVER that easy.*


  1. That reminds me of anytime that I ever trained *anyone* to use a cash register. If there's not a button for a request, it must be an impossibility.

    I can tell, my friend, that you worked very hard on that frame with all the buttons. Well done.

    How does the conversation in that last frame usually go?

  2. It usually goes a-something like this:

    me: Hay-jull-nut-uh La-tte

    cashier: *stares at register* *stares at me* *giggles* uhhh... *looks at coworker* *stares at register* *stares at me* *giggles* *speaks to coworker in Korean* *looks at me* uhhhh...saw-di? (that's the phonetic spelling of their "sorry") we, uhhh, don't have.

    me: oooooooookayyyy...

    At a certain point, you learn not to push it. ;)

  3. hahahahahahahahahahah, breath, hahahahahahah, hehehe

  4. Oh! I don't know why this cartoon makes me sad a little :(

    Actually i am an Korean and have studied in Seattle for an year. I was looking for something information about Korea since my American friend wanted to! so I somehow came here and saw this.

    It is hard to explain with my limited English, but I am guessing the cashier was probably nervous so he didn't know what to do.. If you feel the cashier was just lazy to order, let me get the coffee shop number and I will call them to make a new option for you!! I am so sorry about that and hope you will find a way to get your favorite things!!

  5. Cheul, you're very sweet. Thank you for being so generous! I'm sorry that this mad you a little sad. I find situations like this to be understandable; it's a different culture and a different language...the cartoon's just trying to make light of that. I'm sure my conversations would be a lot easier if I had a better grasp of Korean;)
    Thanks again, and enjoy your time in Seattle! I'm sure you experience many cultural differences there that make you laugh, as well:) It's fun to be somewhere so different.

  6. I've had a similar experience trying to order Earl Grey with milk. On the menu of the coffee shop there was milk tea, so I asked what kind of tea, the cashier said that I can choose any black tea. I ordered Earl Grey with milk, but she said it's 'weird', that Koreans drink it without milk, and it's not an option. A Korean with me at the time said 'it's not on the menu, so they have no obligation to make it.' but I beg to differ as Earl Grey was on the menu and so was milk tea.