Seriously, they love it! I thought Americans loved free stuff, but we don’t hold a candle to the Koreans. Every time I go downtown on the weekend, I see at least one ridiculously long line of Koreans waiting patiently in the sweltering heat for a chance to win a free small drink at Burger King (or something equally exciting).
I first noticed this phenomenon in my neighborhood a month or so ago when a new restaurant opened. As I was walking home from school, I saw a line of people that started inside the restaurant, continued outside and turned the corner at the end of the block.
I told a Korean friend about what I saw. I said that the line reminded me of my hometown, where hordes of dumbasses will wait for hours to eat at any new restaurant (no matter which restaurant it is). They will spend an eternity waiting to try the new Wendy’s (Newsflash: it’s the same as every other Wendy’s, morons!). But my Korean friend said that I was wrong – they weren’t waiting because it was new. They were there because at the grand opening, every customer gets a free side dish with their meal.
This must mean that the side dishes are expensive and delicious, right? Wrong! The most expensive one was 1,800 won (about $1.70). It turns out that the new restaurant is an inexpensive fast food chicken place that is part of a large chain in Daegu.
Yesterday, I had to push my way through a long line of people just to walk down the sidewalk near the downtown subway station. Despite the fact that every pedestrian on that (very busy) side of the road was forced to push their way through this line, the people still waited patiently. This piqued my curiosity, of course. If people are willing to be bumped and pushed for such a long time, there must be something pretty damn good at the end – right?
Wrong! It was some high-school aged kid holding a foam dart board while people threw little plastic darts at it. Each person hoping to hit the bulls-eye and win the grand prize of….(wait for it)….50% off at Bennigans. Really, Korea? Really?
If I ever start a business in Korea, I know that the key to success is free junk.
Until next time.