rude and unfriendly

Old Jul 25th, 2003, 04:23 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 2
rude and unfriendly

just came back from Spain and Italy ...found that the people who are working in the train
station (customer services), police in the
train station are rude and unhelpful....was
soooo disappointed and disgusted the way they treat tourist specially in BARCELONA....people, u better watch out specially in the train station or museums...
i was on this trip together with my 2 daughters...
my daughter had her daypack stolen in the train station at abt 6:30 A.M. we got distracted whnen an oriental guy posing as a
tourist approached us to inform us that he was almost robbed outside the station...out of the blue came 2 huge guys dressed in police uniforms...we quickly approched them
to inform what had happened to the oriental
guy...not knowing that they were all in it together and there was another guy working from behind ...he stole my daughter's daypack
...they were really good...we didn't even noticed that her daypack was missing until
15 minutes later... it was just a nightmare from then on...her passport, monies,my husband's camera, 10 rolls of films which she took since the beginning of our trip, bank card, student id, watch, jacket and personal belongings ...
we had to change our plan, instead of being in Cinque-terre...where we had reservation for 2 nights..we had to go to Milan to
get a new passport...and the next train
leaving for MILAN would be 7:20p.m. instead of our original plan leaving Barcelona for
La Spezia on the 8:45 A.M. train..we also had to file a police report that morning before we head out for Milan..the police
station in the BARCELONA train station does
not open until 8:00 a.m. they weren't nice and helpful at all. i had the whole scenario
translated into Spanish to us by the tourist info people on a piece of paper...do u know what they did??? they read that piece of
paper and to my disgust they gave that paper
back to me..as if nothing had happened...these people they don't care at
all...aren't they there to help people or
like us..specially those who are not familiar with BARCELONA???

the gov't is doing a lot to promote their country...but if the people who are working there are not hospitable...and don't speak much English..they should not be there in the first place.....
all i can say is that Spain is a beautiful
country ... but the people there treat
tourist like crap....

disappointed is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2003, 04:31 PM
  #2  
Intrepid
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
This is a most unfortunate experience and I extend my condolences for the event. I do NOT agree with your expectations that workers or real police in a Spanish train station, or anywhere else in Spain for that matter, should be speaking "a lot of English." That's like expecting all the people in tourist-related industries, etc., in the USA to be speaking a lot of Spanish.
 
Old Jul 25th, 2003, 04:31 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 19,419
Did you try to contact your embassy for help?
FainaAgain is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2003, 04:56 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,247
Sorry about your experience,

But speaking english??

Do you really think the only traveler's are American? Do you expect the police or station attendents to be conversant in French, English, German, Italian,Tagalog, Slovenian, Ukranian,Portugese, Catalonian, and on and on!
jody is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2003, 05:19 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,300
I too am sorry about your experience, but it's incredibly arrogant and narrow-minded to say everyone should be speaking English. U.S. visitors have few problems finding people who speak their language in most hotels and tourist areas abroad. What are the odds that the reverse is true when people from other countries visit the U.S.?
I just returned from Spain and found the police, train station employees and residents friendly and helpful. These awful generalizations need to stop.
martytravels is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2003, 05:23 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 28
Jody,

You sensitivity is so enlightening.

How rude to want people in Europe to speak English.

The Danes speak English, the Finns speak English, the Norwegians speak English, the Britons speak English <G>...the English speaking people make up a huge percent of the people who grace the European Continent every year, I don't think it is too far fetched to hope a person in a station would speak English, to assist the kind of people who frequent stations in the summer.....TOURIST!

Of course, I don't have your well experienced and matured perspective on international travel...now do I?
autowith is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2003, 05:26 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 62
The term "Oriental" refers to object, not people (e.g., Oriental art), because they refer to their position relative to the West. People are Asians.
I_am_anonymous is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2003, 05:27 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,300
So I guess it's not unreasonable for the millions of Asian visitors to the west coast of the U.S. or the many visitors for Latin America to expect someone to speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Thai, Korean and Spanish, eh?
martytravels is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2003, 05:31 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 93,306
It is unfortunate when a theft happens, but I have to ask what was all that valuable stuff doing in a daypack (passport, money, etc.)???

A few minutes of reading on this site or any guidebook would explain about money belts under your clothing, and precautions to be used especially in an area with a reputation for pickpockets (which Barcelona is).

Secondly, I don't know where you live but train station employees in my hometown are not known to be overly friendly in helping tourists who don't speak English.
suze is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2003, 05:42 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,247
So Autowith, I am insensitive?

There are over 4500 languages and dialects in this world..do you think that all these people speak English? And why would anyone expect everyone to speak their language in the other's country?

Come to the US as a vistor and if you find 1 person in 10,000 who can speak a language other than english or prehaps spanish you'd count yourself fortunate.

Why do we ( Americans) expect the rest of the world to accomodate our wants and needs?

But then there are probably French and Danish and other boards where everyone is complaining about Americans and their lack of language skills!
jody is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2003, 05:53 PM
  #11  
Degas
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
English is a universal language and a government who gives a damn about tourists would have personnel on duty who speak it.

What is it with Spanish government and petty crime? Are all the police on the take? Or is it the siesta mentality gone wild? Its a disgrace that they won't they catch those scumbag thieves and lock them up for about 5 years or, better still, deport thier sorry butts.
 
Old Jul 25th, 2003, 05:56 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,300
Spanish is the mother tongue of a whole lot more people on this earth than English is. No es verdad?
martytravels is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2003, 05:56 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 101
I've lived in Spain a number of years but this is the first time I've heard of petty thieves dressed in police uniforms! I find it hard to believe.
Sorry about your loss but in most large cities around the world tourists must always be aware of their surroundings because of the many pickpockets & thieves who prey on naive tourists.
Tourist office personnel usually speak a number of "foreign" languages but the average citizens (including policemen) do not.
Perhaps your inability to communicate with them in their native language gave you the impression that station workers were rude & unhelpful.
But it has been my experience that once adept pickpockets complete their theft, they can be long gone before the victim realizes it.
What then can the police really do long after the fact, other than make out a report, just like in the USA?
travelerone is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2003, 05:57 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 437
It is awful that you had a bad experience and I am sure it was a major downer,however we just returned from Spaain and Portugal and had no problems , even tho we expected at least an attempt at a mugging as we had 2 kids with us and thought we would be obvious targets at the train station. I am sure your holiday was enjoyable up to that point and it is unrealistic to expect most people to speak English ,even tho French is an official language in canada you would be hardpressed to find a clerk or shop assistant who spaeks french outside of Quebec or Ottawa. Better luck next time and in future do not speak to anyone. When anyone approached us we immediately shook our heads ,shrugged our shoulders and walked on purposefully and I had warned my kids not to encourage conversations with strangers and to be alert at all times. .
DOCK is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2003, 06:10 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 677
English is the international language. Anyone, in any industry, that interacts with a variety of foreigners should learn English.

I would caution, however, that continental Europeans don't like it when English is referred to as the "Master Language," or even simply as "The Language." I advise all native speakers of English to humor them in this regard.
smueller is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2003, 06:17 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,421
There are pickpockets the world over. The reason it is so difficult to "catch" them is that they are so highly practiced at their skills.

No matter where you go, pickpockets are always most plentiful on public public transportation and in the stations. Tourists are the easiest targets because they may be inexperienced world travelers, listen to those who claim they take no precautions and have never had a problem, think they can avoid pickpockets by "being aware of your surroundings", and so forth.

Pickpockets select their targets carefully. They only go after what is easily accessible. Best defense is simply to ensure that anything important to you isn't easily accessible.

I can't imagine being in a train station anywhere without my passport (cash, cards, etc.) secure in some sort of under the clothing security pouch.

I'm guessing, since the missing backpack went unnoticed for 15 minutes, that your daughter wasn't wearing it and that it was unattended.

It's always amusing when folks complain that people in Italy, France, Spain, don't speak English, when they could be of no assistance, whatsoever, to anyone visting their home town from any of those countries.

Every tour guide has a "safety" section. It is prudent to follow all advice and recommendations.
djkbooks is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2003, 06:21 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,300
Here's a wild and groundbreaking concept: Perhaps it wouldn't be a bad idea to learn a few words in the language of the country you're visiting. It's not difficult to see why the world thinks so little of America these days.
martytravels is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2003, 06:39 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 48,130
Anyway, the citizens of Barcelona don't speak Spanish as their first language - they speak Catalan. Try finding a single person in any tourist industry in American who speaks Catalan!

I'm sorry you had a bad experience (but really - your daughter carrying all that stuff in a daypack was kind of thoughtless). This kind of American arrogance regarding language makes me shudder, though.

StCirq is online now  
Old Jul 25th, 2003, 06:49 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 9,705
Just what is a "daypack"?

I can carry all I need in my purse.
avalon is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2003, 06:59 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 682
Poor disappointed shared their horror tale perhaps expecting some sympathy but certainly got little from this group. How sad! My heart goes out to this person whose trip was ruined by clever thieves and unreceptive personnel. It seems to me that the problem had less to do with language and more with attitude.

Of course you should try to learn at least a few useful phrases of the country you're visiting, but I agree that English is the predominant lingua franca these days. If it isn't, then why would Europeans (and probably many non-Europeans as well) have to learn English as part of their basic education? When it comes to world languages it never has been a level playing field and probably never will be. There was a time when Latin was the predominant language of the educated classes and was later supplanted by French. Now it is English, so deal with it! This is why anyone in the travel industry should try to learn at least a little English.

I hope that disappointed still had some good memories to bring back home. Theft unfortunately happens everywhere, so live and learn, I guess.

Rebecka is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO