Tuesday, January 21, 2014

an update on Korean imperialism

The Korean attempts at annexing the McDonald's in Flushing, Queens, NYC may or may not have proven successful, depending on your point of view. On Twitter today, I saw that Joe of ZenKimchi had linked to a Chosun Ilbo article updating the situation. The article says:

A McDonald's outlet in Flushing, New York on Sunday apologized to a group of elderly Korean Americans who had been thrown out because they were hogging tables.

Store owner Jack Bert met the pensioners at the office of Representative Ron Kim.

He admitted that calling the police on the group was excessive and promised it will not happen again.

The franchise branch will replace the manager responsible for the case and hire a Korean American to better serve the ethnic community there, he promised. It will allow customers to stay for up to an hour, up from the current 20 minutes, and put up a signboard in Korean to that effect.

On Jan. 2, the store complained to police that six elderly people of Korean origin had been occupying the seats since the early morning, allegedly driving away customers. When the Korean community there found out, a number of members staged protests against the store's mistreatment of the elderly and racial discrimination, and threatened to boycott the franchise for the month of February.

The ailing franchise relies on customers wolfing down their meal as quickly as possible and getting out to make room for others -- one reason outlets have traditionally been brightly lit and equipped with uncomfortable furniture.

I'm not sure whether the phrase "ailing franchise" refers to the local McDonald's branch or to McDonald's as a whole. (If a reference to the latter, wouldn't le mot juste be "corporation"?) It felt as if the article were trying to get in one last kick in the head at McDonald's, accusing it of cynical profiteering by encouraging high turnover. This is, of course, hypocritical: as I mentioned in my previous post on this topic, the notion of high turnover isn't confined to American restaurants: if I and some non-Korean buddies decided to squat in a Korean restaurant in Korea from dawn until dusk, you can bet the owners would be driven up the wall, and would probably take measures. In fact, I'm pretty sure that Korean restaurant owners wouldn't wait five years for the situation to become so bad that the police became necessary.

So it seems the Solomon's solution to the Korean Queens problem is to replace the Caucasian manager of the local McDonald's with a Komerican. I'm sure that will improve relations, but will the oldsters respect the new sign saying that customers may stay only an hour? I somehow doubt it. The old guys got their apology, but what will they do with it? Will they accept the new situation and gracefully abide by the terms of the new compromise, or will they take a mile now that they've been given an inch? Time will tell, but I'm not hopeful. I think our bright, young Komerican manager will have much the same problem on his hands as did his predecessor, but he'll be under ethnic pressure never to call the police.

My solution would be to quietly spike the coffee with a powerful laxative, à la "Dumb and Dumber." A few porcelain-throne sessions later, no more problem. The place is called Flushing, right? So flush 'em all out.

NB: The threat of a boycott is hilarious. Given how little business the old guys have been giving the McDonald's to begin with, a boycott might actually improve business.


1 comment:

Kevin Kim said...

Brian Ridge comments via Google Plus:

Wow. Of all the possible ways to resolve the situation, this is the worst. The apology and number of concessions will only fuel their sense of righteousness. I don't see them abiding by any new rules at this point. As if some 20-something Korean-American manager is going to feel comfortable telling a bunch of fogeys to take a hike.

Maybe I'm becoming a capitalist in my old age but I don't really see any need for the business owner to find middle ground with these folks. His business, his rules.

Yeah, but "RACISM!"