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-   -   AMERICANS...yikes! #2 (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/americans-yikes-2-a-49042/)

sarah spriggs Jul 21st, 1999 07:48 AM

AMERICANS...yikes! #2
 
This is a branch from the first forum with this title. I was in London recently, and noticed some obnoxious american tourists in the tube station. They were soo loud, and seems to disturb other passengers. <BR>Do Londoners get annoyed by this at all? Are american too loud, or Londoners too conservative?

Helen Jul 21st, 1999 08:27 AM

Well, it looks like Wes's attempt to pour oil on troubled waters has gotten a bit garbled. This thread promises to be like pouring oil on a fire. Let the nationality-bashing begin!

Robin Jul 21st, 1999 08:48 AM

YEAH - I'm AMERICAN, I'M LOUD & PROUD OF IT!!! What of it? <BR>[tongue firmly planted in cheek, kidding, just kidding] <BR>I think overall the Brits kinda like us folks from the states, even if we do tend towards a more boisterous & garrulous demeanor. We may be noisy & obnoxious at times, but I believe the vast majority of American visitors are well intentioned. <BR>[Yes, I know what the road to hell is paved with]. <BR> <BR>But since we're bound to stir the pot with this topic, let me add fuel to the flames and note that oftimes, my favorite travellers are Australians. Those Aussies, they also can be very exuberant & outgoing (not unlike an American).

Cherie Jul 21st, 1999 09:51 AM

I would have responded with humor here but after being trampled, forget it. <BR> <BR> I have been on the tube through London when 2 teens for some reason began staring at me, wispering jokes. I was dressed conservatively as we were en route to a meeting. I had been in London many times before and have relatives there so I was unaware of what their (the kids) problem was. My spouse told me to ignore them as they were having a rough go of life (guessing, not judging) from their dress and behavior and we were off to a meeting and then vacation in Prague and were relatively carefree. He felt sorry for them. Obnoxious persons come in all shapes and sizes, let alone nationalities. Ignore them. Why bottle up bad karma?

Q. P. Jul 21st, 1999 08:29 PM

One small thing that may make Americans seem rude to English people is that though we're pretty good with "thank you," most of us don't sprinkle "please" into ordinary commercial transactions nearly as liberally as the English do. When an American orders food or drink or buys something in a shop, he or she generally just orders it with an "I'll have the such-and-such" or some equivalent; we don't mean to be rude, it's just that we tend to save our polite gesture for the "thank you" at the end of the transaction. English folk, I notice, put in at least one "please" (and sometimes several, with often a "thanks," as well) at the beginning, as well as thanks--both on delivery and on payment--at the end. <BR> <BR>Incidentally, having trained myself to the habit of using "please" in these situations much more often when in Britain, I find myself using it a lot more often when I'm back home, too--and I could swear that I'm seeing much more goodwill on the part of waitstaff and clerks as a result, who seem to find it a rare and pleasant custom ;) <BR> <BR>Q. P.

Ginny Jul 22nd, 1999 03:49 AM

As an American living in London, I can give you three examples of how Brits feel about us: <BR>1. a good analogy... Americans are Golden Retrievers (happy, gregarious, "I want to be your friend", bouncing, loud, outwardly friendly...Brits are Poodles - very formal, proper, sniff at you, not outwardly friendly... <BR>2. As for the "loud" factor...they figure we have to be so loud to be heard across the prairies... <BR>3. If in a situation where everything starts to go wrong...i.e., transportation delays, rude behavior, etc. - they are happy if an American is there because the American will start complaining and someone will have to respond to the complaint (Brits as a rule don't complain - they just accept their lot in life). <BR>Take it for what it's worth... <BR> <BR>

cp Jul 22nd, 1999 07:36 AM

I'm just amused that Sarah assumed that those same loud people would not be just as obnoxious and annoying back at home in the states...

Richard Jul 22nd, 1999 07:40 AM

Enough already with the judgement of people! I have seen a lot of obnoxious people in Europe and at home (in Los Angeles) and guess what? They aren't all Americans!

Al Jul 22nd, 1999 08:58 AM

Working as a volunteer, I deal continuously with tourists. If I may be permitted to generalize, I have come to the conclusion that when any person (male or female, mind you) is tired, hot, stressed out, hungry, thirsty, or possibly immersed in a language other than their native tongue or in a culture that is not their own -- they can become very testy, loud, and even obnoxious. Where they come from has very little to do with their behaviour. It is their current condition that counts. A soft answer, a direct reply, a bit of their own language works wonders. And don't forget to smile! Vehrstehen sie?

Bob Jul 22nd, 1999 10:00 AM

I would not use the term Loud & Obnoxious. But I would use Loud. Americans as a group talk louder than most people in Europe. Many times we have been having dinner and could tell if the people who just entered were Americans from how loud they were talking. My wife and I have worked on lowering our voices in Europe so we don't call undue attention to ourselves or appear to be rude. <BR>

Bly Jul 22nd, 1999 10:27 AM

My observations are that people act as to how they're accustomed to at home. Generally this is not the same as where they're visiting. In Europe - Americans are generally louder than the locals. In Australia, I couldn't come close to the boisterousness of the Aussies (a lot of fun trying though). Alternately, I live in a resort that caters to an international clientele. The locals here complain not of the Americans but of the international tourists - don't tip, smoke too much, don't queue up, etc. Everyone just needs to be a little more tolerant. "Can't we all just get along" b <BR>

Kittie Jul 23rd, 1999 01:12 PM

I have a question: <BR>Why is it that the Americans are regularly "trounced" and put down in forums? It sometimes seems like nobody wants Americans visiting their countries. We are said to be too loud, too obnoxious, too demanding, too picky, too abrupt, have no manners (the please and thank you topic), and complain too much. <BR>I live in Florida and come into contact with visitors from many other countries. Some are wonderful, and some are abnoxious. I agree with Al when he said that travelers of any nationality can be difficult when they are tired and hungry. I just don't think that you can catagorize people into specific nationalities. <BR>Then, back to my original question...why do poeple on forums like this ( and others including the Lonely Planet) continue to put down American tourists? Would they rather that we stay home and not spend money in their countries? <BR>Kittie

Howard Jul 23rd, 1999 02:18 PM

Kittie: It's not just Europeans who put down us traveling Americans on this forum, it's just as often--if not more so--other Americans who do it! <BR>The reason IMO are many, including: <BR>1. It's fashionable. <BR>2. It's jealously. <BR>3. It's snobbery.

Howard Jul 23rd, 1999 02:19 PM

oops, that second reason above should be "jealousy."

wendy Jul 23rd, 1999 04:36 PM

I've hostelled in the US and I think Aussies are the worst. There were some in our group joking about carrying weapons AT THE WHITE HOUSE, for pete's sake. It was the Aussies who were noisy at night, who drank against the rules, etc. Don't get me wrong, they were overall friendly (and exuberent) people, but they didn't seem to know when to quit.

Sheila Jul 24th, 1999 01:53 AM

As an expert on Americans ( one trip 10 years ago, but hey! have you seen the television?) couldd I make some comments? <BR> <BR>No people/ nationality/ race is all good or all bad, and stereotypes are almmost always unhelpful; but because they are stereotypes one hsa to rise above them to let the shiny happy people beneath be seen. <BR> <BR>1. You are used to a much higher quality of service (in shops, bars etc) than we are in Britain. That is our loss, but one reason that we find you hard is because you complain when you don't get what you ought reasonably have been able to expect. <BR> <BR>2.The comment about "Please" is relevant. A long time ago when I was a student I spent a summer working in a big hotel in Stratford on Avon which took the tour buses. I won't bor you with details but I'm sure you can imagine what 10 weeks exposure to large groups of hot, fretting, cattle fodder, hungry and in a hurry and not really sure which town they were in Americans did for cross Atlantic relationships. <BR> <BR>3. You are brought up to believe you are the best. Second is not good enough. You have a (perhaps justifiable) arrogance derived from America's place in the world. And it permeates your every interaction. <BR> <BR>4. The person who said (about Brits and Americans) that we are two peoples divided by a single language got it absolutely right. We are not the same. Fodorites, being sensitive flowers, would not dream of visiting foreign countries without learning a bit about the culture and often the language ( See Martha's recent imprecation to me to learn Greek) Well, even in Britain that is necessary. <BR> <BR>I live in Aberdeen, which as you may know had a very large American population from about 1970 to 1988, and I have a very good book called "Brit-think, Ameri-think" which someone gave me thinking it was a humourous present. It's actually quite deep, and I would recommend it or something like it to those visiting the peatbogs of the westmost European Island group. <BR> <BR>That lot is meant to be objective and not judgemental, so please don't shout at me. <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR>

Dave Jul 24th, 1999 06:53 AM

I wonder what the locals thought of those loud, boisterous Saxon tourists who swarmed across England back in the 5th century? Or those swaggering, conceited Norman knights following in William's wake? <BR> <BR>Keep the pillaging to a minimum, try not to disembowel too many peasants, and we Americans will be two steps up on past invaders. <BR> <BR>Seriously, though. If you spend too much time taking responsibility for the actions of your compatriots, you'll just end up frustrated and discouraged. Why feel guilty about something you have no control over?

Susan Jul 24th, 1999 10:20 AM

I concur about Americans being too noisy. In France, I loved the peace & quiet in restaurants and on public transportation. On a 4 hour trip on the TGV, even the babies were quiet (1 fussed a bit but very softly). And on a local bus tour, filled with teen-agers just off from school, it was very quiet. How refreshing! <BR> Contrast this with eating in a restaurant in the San Francisco Bay area - in popular places (e.g., Italian restaurants, Chevy's) one actually has to shout to be heard! <BR> However, it is lovely to eat in a Calif. restaurant where there is NO SMOKING! In France, the heavy smoking in eateries was at times unbearable (if there is a no smoking section, no one observes it).

Lorelei Jul 24th, 1999 10:38 AM

Sheila, do you have an author, date, publisher or any other info re:Brit-think/Ameri-think book? <BR> <BR>Random observation: Students of any nationality can be loud and obnoxious if found in groups larger than 2 or 3 and full of beer or wine. Worst encounter on a recent month-long trip in Europe was with a half-dozen rowdily drunken German youths, slamming and banging on doors, hooting across a hotel courtyard, and tossing beer cans everywhere. The beer was Budweiser, and I'm afraid many who didn't see this group will probably think they were American. <BR> <BR>At the other end of the age scale, there are a number of us traveling retired Americans whose hearing has deteriorated with the years and for whom conversation in a crowded room can be difficult, particularly in a second or third language. Of course it isn't MY hearing that's going, it's HIS, so I have to speak up a bit...........

Kittie Jul 24th, 1999 11:26 AM

Hey y'all, <BR>Thanks for all the enlightening postings. I have learned alot form all the people on Fodors. <BR>I do have a couple of responces/questions: <BR> <BR>Wendy...I guess these people don't know that just talking about carrying a weapon into the White House is a federal offense. What are they thinking? What would they think if someone talked about carrying a weapon into the Australian equivalent? <BR> <BR>Sheila...your comment #3 is quite disturbing to me. I am 35yo. I have never, to my recollection, been told that the USA is #1 or better than anybody else. In fact, we tend to criticise our country "to the max". For example: "why can't our healthcare system be as good as the one's in Europe and Canada"?, "why can't we outlaw guns the way most of the world has done", "why are our kids killing each other with guns"?, "why are drugs and drug-dealing such a problem here"?. These are things that are regularly in the papers. I think that governments of every country have their benefits and their faults. The fact that most Americans came here due to "prosecution" (according to the figures) in their native countries makes this a country of diverse personallities and mores (now that's a word from college sociology class). So many Americans relate to their home/national countries, that sometimes there are protests against the American government for actions taken against a certain countries government. Since so many people refer to themselves as "(nationality-here)- American" I have a hard time believing that we think of ourselves as #1. <BR>Maybe the rest of the world thinks that we feel that way? <BR>Susan... I have been in many American restaurants where it was quiet...even on "boistrous" Clearwater Beach, FL. <BR>When I am on vacation, I adjust my behavior to my surroundings. If I am in a boistrous beach or college town, I am more out-going. When I am in a more conservative area, I tone it down. <BR>I guess that I still don't get it... Why are American tourist more times than not put down? Is it that "one apple spoils the bunch"? <BR>Kittie <BR>


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