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Old Apr 14th, 2003, 06:04 AM
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Bonjour Audrey,

I'm sorry if my comment sounded harsh. I was in no way implying that Americans are "rude", just that an attitude that is normal somewhere may sound shocking elsewhere.
I realised long ago that the way people interact was most of the time just a question of "how things are done there", and not rudeness.

On the other hand, a clerck witholding service for a perceived (benign) rudeness on the part of a foreign visitor IS rude ...

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Old Apr 14th, 2003, 06:29 AM
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Thank you, it is interesting to note different cultural attitudes etc, and not just assume someone is being rude because they don't behave as you expect them to behave and live up to your cultural expectations! I know that most of the world see the English as being cold and standoffish, we are very good at queueing though, and saying please and thank you, even if we say them with a sneer on our face and not meaning a word of it!. Cultural stereotypes are always interesting, but often proved wrong once you get beyond the superficial and start to really get to know people.
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Old Apr 14th, 2003, 07:57 AM
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Can it be possible that the French enjoy 'training' foreigners, intending it to be instructive/helpful? Besides the ticket-window thing (remember, I actually appreciated this encounter), I have had my attempts at French phrases corrected as well, such as correcting my adjective because I used the wrong gender (nouvelle vs nouveau), or something. It was done very naturally in the conversation, not with any 'attitude' about it.
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Old Apr 14th, 2003, 09:33 AM
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On the topic of cultural differences in regards to polite greetings: I would like to point out that this is even different in different areas of the United States.

I am originally from Oklahoma, where people are VERY friendly and, often, not only start and end conversations with total strangers (shopkeepers, bank tellers, ticket takers, etc.) with "please" and "thank-you", but also tend to throw in things like, "How are you today? Nice weather we're having isn't it? etc, etc. before getting onto the "business" at hand.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I moved to New York City to go to graduate school and found that the shopkeepers, bank tellers, and ticket takers looked at me like I was from another planet when I tried starting "business" conversations with the niceties I'd grown up with. Ultimately, I figured out that these people were simply too busy to "make nice" with me and I learned to keep my business conversations simple.

At any rate, I just wanted to second the assertation that, in some parts of America, niceties are as important as in Europe.

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Old Apr 14th, 2003, 09:47 AM
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I'll second that, Jennie. There are some rude and aggressive people that I have to deal with on a 'business' basis over here in England (but sadly, I don't think they realise they are being that way.) I feel that it is the way that you are raised, your state of mind, self-respect and respect for others that gives you the edge on polite social interaction. I don't buy into the 'cultural thing' too much...
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Old Apr 14th, 2003, 05:56 PM
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How very rude of your husband.Does he not have any manners.But the clerk should not have brought himself down to his level.So people will always be ill mannered
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 11:12 AM
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It's interesting that this discussion has turned into one about manners. To be fair to my husband, he actually pointed out his example at the Underground station to me while I was responding to others questions about our recent trip as a tip to others to always be courteous and polite. He usually is and almost always goes out of his way to make small talk, but of course the one time we're in a country new to us, our first time out of the States...

Anyway, in answer to questions about how Americans are over here (I think that was the question), it really goes to extremes, which is unfortunate. I like to always greet people with at least "hello" or "hi", but not everyone does. And not all workers in shops here do, either. I've seen more politeness in small towns such as where I grew up to larger cities such as where I live now.

Anyway, I would just encourage travelers to be polite, courteous, and mindful of others. One of my favorite things from London was the cartoon ads on the Underground, such as "Love is...not pushing others" (i'm paraphrasing here).
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