Having it my way

I'll confess, I've never been the biggest fan of American culture, but the more I come over to the States, the more I love it. I love the incredible service you get in the U.S. If you want your Caesar salad with mango and balsamic vinegar, it's no problem. Anything else you'd like with it? But in Holland it's not that way at all. I have a friend here who moved from Chicago and he told me a story about going to a McDonald's in Amsterdam. He asked for some pickles on his fish filet and was told that they don't do that. "Why, don't you have pickles?" he protested.

"We're not in the States!" the server snapped back. The poor guy tried it again in Rotterdam and got the same snippy response.


This juice was great, though

I always feel so appreciated as a customer in the U.S. I don't even care about tipping, because if you deliver, you're going to earn more. I like that idea of living--that if you work hard you'll get more out of life and society will be better as a result. I used to make fun of the way Americans greeted people. They don't just say "Hi," they say "Hi, how are you?" I used to think it was odd because how could a stranger care about how I'm doing? But I'm starting to appreciate that too. It creates an open, friendly atmosphere. You don't have to become best friends, but you can have a little chat. It doesn't matter a lot, but it's still nice. I'm really warming up to it. I even felt a bit annoyed when I got back to Holland. I went out for dinner with my parents and my dad has to watch what he eats because of his kidney transplant. He asked to make some substitutions in the dish he wanted to order, but the waiter told us the kitchen didn't like doing that. Huh? What if he was allergic to something? In the U.S. they'd be happy to help out. I'm telling you, I really am starting to miss that customer appreciation.

Fatima Moreira de Melo is a member of Team PokerStars SportStars