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Service standards in Spain

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Here goes... this topic may offend some, but I need to get it off my chest. I'm just back from a month in Spain: Madrid, Valencia, Alicante and down the coast to Malaga. My third trip to Spain. Each time I have found many Spaniards in the tourist industry to be, in variable degrees, indiferrent, unknowledgeable, impatient, curt, and unreliable. I'm talking here of restaurants, bars, tourist offices, train stations, hotel front desks, etc. I would estimate that I received pleasant and knowledgeable service about 30% of the time. On the other hand, people on the street were always kind and helpful, when asked for directions or other information. My approach was always polite and positive. Here are some thoughts: is it because I'm a single woman travelling alone? Is there distrust or discomfort with this in Spain? Is it because I approached people in Spanish (I am by no means fluent, but can get by- I've been studying Spanish for several years). Is it part of the Spanish caracter? What bothers me is that many travelers have mentioned how Spaniards are warm and friendly. I love Spain, but would hesitate to go again because of this. Your thoughts would be most welcome.

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