"I didn’t ask for your opinion!" When Asians give advice you don’t want

Recently I’ve been meeting with various landscapers to renovate my backyard. My friend Brandon gifted me 25 pots of Sunset Glow bamboo and I wasn’t sure what to do with all of them, so I figured hire someone else to solve the problem! I must have met with five different companies over the past two months. Most of them have shown me really amazing samples and have displayed a level of professionalism that I can only hope to achieve through rigorous meditation and training.

However, this past Friday I met with hands-down the worst landscaper ever! Since this isn’t a Yelp review, I won’t reveal the name of his company, but for this sake of story-telling, I’m going to refer to him as Mr. Lee. Yes, he is Asian.

Mr. Lee and I agreed to meet at 1:00 pm at my house to do a walkthrough of my backyard. Though to be honest, “walkthrough” is putting it generously since you can see the entire yard just standing at the backdoor. It’s about 250 sq ft. Rather than coming on time, or even late (i.e., Asian time), Mr. Lee comes an hour early. An hour early! That is unheard in Asian culture, we have no precedence for that (except for Black Friday). He starts leaving voicemails and texts messages wondering where I was and urging me to get home as soon as possible.

When I finally got home and showed Mr. Lee my yard and ideas for a renovation, he replied. “If really you want my advice, sell your house and buy a new place. This house isn’t nice. Don’t waste your money on landscaping your yard.” Internally, I laughed for a split second, amused by the sheer absurdity of his comment, but any humor I experienced was short-lived and soon replaced by a strong desire to punch Mr. Lee in the face for dissing my house.

“These hands painted those meticulous stripes on the wall Mr. Lee!” I thought to myself. “Blood and sweat went into choosing the perfect carpet for that floor. And those matching pillows don’t grow on trees!” I wanted to tell Mr. Lee how ugly and stupid his house was, but considering I had never seen it, he had me at a disadvantage. Well played sir, well played.

As you can imagine our meeting didn’t last much longer. Mr. Lee gave me a quote for the scope of work, about $5000, and told me to follow up with him in January. Helllllllllll no. I would rather deck out in 49er’s gear, from head to toe, after the Seahawks recent away loss; full-on hug my unicorn-obsessed, vegan boss (though he might not enjoy it so much); or vote for one of Tim Eyman’s insane initiatives, even though they are full of crazies.

So that sums up the highlight of my previous week. There is something about unwanted advice that really irks me the wrong way, maybe because it triggers traumatic childhood memories. Every time someone gives me unsolicited advice, I hear my mother talking in the background.

“James!!! You should try to score more goals in soccer. Just close your eyes and imagine yourself scoring more goals.” Thanks mom, but I play defense.

“James!!! You shouldn’t get a flu shot because it’ll make you sick and give you autism even though you’re nearly 30 years old.” Uh…I don’t think that’s right mom…

“James!!! You should be a doctor! Then you won’t need to live in a fugly house because your salary is less than your sister’s.” Thanks but non-profit pays reasonably well!

Damn…she was bound to get one of them right.

So does this happen to anyone else? What’s the worst kind of advice people from your community give you?


2 thoughts on “"I didn’t ask for your opinion!" When Asians give advice you don’t want”

  1. lmao! Guess the landscaper really REALLY doesn't want your money. Perhaps he thinks he's helping an Asian brotha out or something. I'm Asian and I think some Asians are honest to a fault. Him arriving an hour early signals the apocalypse!


  2. Thanks for your comment! And I love the way you put it, “honest to a fault.” I never thought about it that way, but it totally makes sense. I once got called skinny AND fat by two different people in the same day.


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