dan2006 wrote:From all my experiences here, it seems that we are just tolerated in Taiwan as a bit of a nuisance, but essentially a non entity that any company cares to be concerned about.
I feel for you. I've also found that communication problems—real or perceived—can be a major factor in getting good service or not. To be fair, I've seen the same situation in the US where I come from.
My Chinese is not good, but I try, and I always bring along an electronic dictionary, etc. However, an employee's nervousness or impatience when speaking with the waiguoren often makes the transaction nearly impossible.
My friend's Chinese is excellent (he was a former missionary in Taiwan and then majored in Chinese in college) and never
experiences these situations. Monthly cell phone contract without a guarantor? No problem! Get an exemption from some ridiculous store policy? No problem! Get a special price or premium thrown in because you can flirt native-style with the employee? No problem!
Yeah, it's frustrating, and the only thing keeping me from going crazy is trying to use that frustration to improve my Chinese ability. I guess I've come to accept that until my Chinese gets better, I'll sometimes miss out on stuff that's easily accessible to the locals.