4 Things in Korea that North America would most certainly ruin




1) “The button”


Beautifully simplistic: Press the button, get service. Why don’t we already have this? I suppose we have a different conception of what good service means back home. We generally like to feel as though the servers are more hands on and a part of your experience (hence the tipping). However, due to the paradigm change in the ‘call me if you need anything’ department, there are usually little buttons on the table like this one.




Now, let me tell you why we can’t have this.

Passive aggressiveness. Those times where a customer feels that their needs aren’t being met with enough gusto (which are frequent and easy to get to with some of you), you’ll ring that button. No, I don’t mean you’ll cordially ring the button to call for service. That’s what it’s there for. I mean, you’ll use that button to play your server the song of your people until someone comes to your table as frustrated as you intended. You won’t even feel bad about it, because you’re hungry and cranky and the only way you know how to express your anger is to anger people back.


Personal development issues aside, within 2 days, the serving staff will tire of your bell-powered tantrums and flood the blogosphere with rants about you and your shitty behaviour. Buttons gone, lesson learned. We all lose out… Which is a shame, because there are times where minimal outside interaction is the point of a night out with people.



2) Unlimited wine at Ashley American

Grill and Salad

At Ashley, the food is ok. You can saddle up to the buffet table for 20 bucks. Doesn’t sound amazing, right? It’s not. It’s decent food, and you’re getting a good enough deal. Nothing to write about. So, why am I telling you this? Because for 3 bucks more you can tack on the option of unlimited wine. Unlimited.



Why we definitely can’t have this:


It’s not that the business model wouldn’t work. It most certainly will. Yes, I imagine lineups around the corner, and this chain giving a lot of major chains a run for their money. Oh no, ladies and gents, I’m not talking about that.

No, within 24 hours, complete and utter hell will break loose. There will be fist fights to get to the wine, arguments over checking out another person’s partner, and most certainly someone throwing up in the restaurant.  And don’t forget that token lawsuit.

You know… the person who believes it to be the restaurant’s fault that they didn’t stop them from drinking themselves stupid and passing out on a park bench at 4pm on a Wednesday.

Yeah. I give a place like this a day before broken glassware, fights and lawsuits send this chain cowering back to Korea, begging for people well-behaved enough to not shit themselves at a family dinner.


While we’re on the subject of alcohol, let’s talk about


3) Drinkin’ Beers at a convenience store



Here, you can just buy a beer at the convenience store and saunter out on to the patio furniture outside the store. Hell, the clerk even has a bottle opener if you need. I know there have to be some places that allow this back home, but I’ve never been there. Sometimes, grabbing a nice cold beer on a Saturday morning weekday night and listening to the neighbourhood happen is a good way to reflect.


Why we most certainly can’t have this:

I know, I know. You can actually buy beer at convenience stores a lot of places back home. However, you can’t just roll in to the 7-11 for a cold one, and then drink it right there. In those places, asking for a bottle opener from the store clerk will get you a stern talking to at very least. After all, (s)he’s a clerk making (probably) minimum wage. He’s not your  bartender, and you’re most certainly not paying him to put up with your shit.


Yes, promptly and without any particular reason  just because you can, you’ll be spending hours drunk and rowdy outside of a convenience store. You’ll sass the store clerk when he tells you to shut the hell up, and then you’ll ultimately blame him when he calls the police on your stupid ass.




4) Outdoor gyms


These things are absolutely wonderful. Located in most neighborhoods, they are a good way to get a basic workout while you’re out for a walk. Just look. Everything from body weight chest press machines, to bench presses, to hula hoops! Yes, sometimes, there are even free weights.


Why we most definitely, certainly, indubitably cannot have this*:


Those bench presses?  Within hours, they’ll end up in some idiot’s garage. Hours. Same with the hula hoops. The things that are bolted to the ground, well, I’m sure half of them will just be broken and unusable in no time.


Which is a damn shame. I see these in use (especially by the elderly) all the time. Back home, this should be much more of a priority for a set of people rapidly becoming obese and spending billions on gym memberships  (which is fine, it’s a worthy industry with well intentioned results). I’m just saying that having some equipment out for public use should be a much bigger priority for us at large (pun intended).

 *These exist in North America, but in much shorter supply than they rightly should. Thankfully, there are some companies that have started pitching these back home on a more massive scale. They are rare, but they do exist. Hopefully, we can make these more of a regular thing without destroying them out of boredom and jackassery.


Anyway, I thought I might share a few things that I will most certainly miss when I leave this place someday. If you feel I’ve missed anything, want to accuse me of being insensitive, or have been here longer than me and think that gives you some right to treat me like a child, leave a message in the comments. Thanks for reading!