Malaysia is termed a "developing" nation. According to some criteria, we haven't quite yet arrived at fully - developed nation status. Then there are the advanced economies - those that design lifestyles, trends, and culture the world follows. The G-8, for example. Okay so the better gauge of power and control now is the G-20. But superpowers have ways to stay on top.
So what's this about "developing" and all? For one, we have a low per capita income. Then our facilities aren't at the leading edge of sophistication. Like our public loos and public transport systems. The most important factor I'd say, is the attitude. Just like you can take a horse to water but you cannot make him drink, we can drive people to live in cities but you can't take the "kampung" out of them. Kampung => rural. Rural as in backward.
I was recently at a 5-star hotel. 5-star joints promote their 5-star food, their 5-star service, and of course, charge their 5-star prices. Throughout my experience, I felt disappointed --- I could barely see the food on my plate the portions were so small, and the staff could barely understand what I wanted. Nevertheless, the bill was disproportionate to the serving size.
I wonder what my countrymen are about sometimes. Okay maybe we were in a continental restaurant, perhaps I should've gotten a translator to read my menu, I could've grilled the chef about his cooking style --- but at best, it was what I'd label "pseudo" cuisine. The food was pretending to be French, the restaurant was pretending to be continental, the bill was certainly no reflection of the 5-star quality the place brazenly touted.
Now certain hotels aggressively promote their "elite" member status. Black card. Gold card. Platinum card etc. Except that when you present your plastic, they look at you ruefully and say, "I'm afraid what you've ordered doesn't fall in that category --- it's already on the specials." Or the classic one is, "Not on special occasions like today." And your guests look at you as if you're some kind of cheap skate.
Oh no I'm not falling into this booby trap. I'm a member so give me my privileges. Have I bought you a right to intimidate me, embarrass me, or out-smart me? No way! Not me. I'm all for fair is fair.
If what you see isn't what you get, then ask. Ask till you get an answer you're satisfied with. Or ask the nearest consumer association to intervene. Make sure consumerism doesn't make a fool out of you. Make sure you get value for your money. What's wrong with that?
Should we be embarrassed to get our money or money's worth?
I think the cheapo - s are the ones who aim to cheat.