It’s fair to say that, in Indonesia, there isn’t a culture of cleaning up after oneself after eating at fast food joints or food courts. After being pushed to change by a campaign launched by fast food chain KFC, some netizens felt so personally offended that they started attacking the very idea, leading to some social media drama.
It all began with this tweet, which consists of screenshots from KFC Indonesia’s Facebook post about their “clear your table after eating” campaign. It’s a good initiative, but the comments illustrate how self-entitled some Indonesians are that they angered at even the suggestion that they tidy up their tables (or at least stack their plates on the tray or in the middle of their table) after eating at KFC, or any other restaurant for the matter.
Kelakuan konsumen di negara berkembang. pic.twitter.com/ks59mDMHGg
— Ridu (@ridu) January 15, 2019
“The behavior of customers in a developing country.”
Most of the netizens in the screenshots said they didn’t want to do it because they didn’t pay for their food just so they had to clean up their own messes (KFC meals in Indonesia generally cost around IDR50K or about US$3.50). Some even went so far as to accuse KFC Indonesia of conducting the campaign just to save money by not hiring as many employees to clean tables.
On the other hand, the tweet did elicit a huge response from conscientious Indonesians who said that it was just common courtesy at fast food restaurants to throw away your own trash and put trays in dedicated place, arguing that people shouldn’t expect service like at a proper restaurant in a KFC.
Undeterred in his conviction, this netizen then offered a solution to KFC: leave Indonesia and just sell their fried chicken in more developed countries.
Udah.. KFC hengkang aja ke negara maju… @KFCINDONESIA , jangan pakai dalih budaya buat peningkatan Omset, you serves we pay!
— fikri taufan (@taufan_md) January 15, 2019
“Yeah, KFC should just leave for a developed countries, don’t use culture as your excuse to increase your turnover. You serve, we pay!”
Only for KFC to hit them back with a sick burn:
Loh, KFC kan memang dari negara maju 🤔 https://t.co/kx131RG43A
— KFC Jagonya Ayam! (@KFCINDONESIA) January 15, 2019
“Well, KFC is, indeed, from a developed country”
People approved of the response with memes and calls for KFC’s Twitter admin to get a raise. It’s fair to say the fast food chain’s campaign has at the very least raised awareness about fast food eating etiquette with all this drama.
Indonesians are so accustomed to not cleaning up after themselves that it has caused us embarrassment in other countries. A few stories about careless Indonesian abroad have gone viral, such as one incident involving a group of Indonesian tourists who didn’t clear up their table after a meal in the notoriously clean and tidy Tokyo.
There have been some attempts by conscientious Indonesians to implement better eating etiquette in the country, such as the #TumpukDiTengah campaign, which translates to “stack them in the middle”. It was an online campaign that appealed to people to do the effortless task of, at the very least, stacking their used plates in the middle of their table to make it easier for the wait staff to take the plates away and clean the table for the next user.