Some years ago, I attended a Mary Kay event with a friend. Said friend was in the process of becoming a Mary Kay consultant and took me along as her guest. There was a guest speaker (probably an executive from a different region) who talked about Mary Kay Ash and the history of Mary Kay, Inc. I found Mary Kay’s story to be very inspirational. A woman who opened a 500 sq. ft. shop in Dallas, Texas on a $5,000 loan and turned it into one of the largest direct seller of cosmetics. This guest executive gave many anecdotes about how wonderful Mary Kay was and how much she inspired women from all over the world.

One of the stories was about how the executive (I have forgotten her name), Mary Kay, and a group of women took a vacation to China. This group of women from the US could not stand the appearance of the local food (definitely different from US-influenced Chinese food). They grumbled and complained about it during their first night, refusing to eat. And it was Mary Kay who amazingly found a McDonald’s and the ladies were saved from the “tasteless” Chinese food.

Everyone in the room applauded after this story while I sat there feeling confused. I thought, “Who goes to China to eat McDonald’s?!”

I have yet to travel out of the country, but I have traveled enough to appreciate local cultures and cuisine. I feel as if it’s a waste when people spend so much money to travel abroad only to refuse to be open-minded to the country’s culture. Maybe that is the American mindset. We feel entitled and believe everyone should cater to our likes and enjoyment.

Some time ago, a woman told me she traveled to China and got upset at a store attendant because this person did not speak fluent English. She ended her story with, “I yelled at him, told him to learn English, and stomped out.”

Before I could speak, her friend replied, “But you’re in China and in a rural area. You can’t expect Chinese people to speak English when their main language is Mandarin.”

That was exactly what I was thinking!

I know many Americans who complain that foreigners who have immigrated or travel to the United States should learn to speak English (The US does not have an official language) and behave like an “American. These are the same Americans who feel entitled and do not care to learn the culture of the land they’re visiting. Are all Americans like this? The United States is a melting pot of many cultures. How is it that this country breeds such ignorance and narrow-mindedness?

After the Mary Kay event, I wondered what Mary Kay and the rest of the ladies would’ve done if they had not found a McDonald’s. Would they have starved themselves until they found comfort “American” food?

4 thoughts on “When in China, eat McDonald’s

  1. Some people are stunningly strange. I totally agree the absurdity of insisting for North American chain fast food while in a totally different country/culture.

    Then there’s the opposite: my partner wandered about in Copenhagen, Denmark trying to find traditional reasonably priced, good Danish food. We were disappointed to settle on Italian…

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  2. It is unfortunate you have only met some narrow minded Americans and some of them very successful business people. Self absorption drive many of them and they do give USA a bad name. I once ate at a KFC in Bangkok just for the novelty of it. My preference and most normal Americans enjoy the back street vendors and markets where you let your eyes and nose guide you to your next meal. I smile and don’t say a word and do very well.
    If one doesn’t respect the culture they should stay away. You are correct about some Americans but please don’t think they are a majority. Lunch with me any time!…..C

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