Service standards in Spain

Old May 31st, 2007, 06:21 PM
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You're right Reneea, there are so many other countries to see. For me, one of the draws of Spain has always been its culture and the beauty of the country. But I'm ready to make other choices - from what I hear, Latin America has lots to offer including opportunities to improve my Spanish skills and a hospitality-driven tourist industry!
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Old May 31st, 2007, 06:39 PM
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The French, Swiss, Germans are among those who are used to good service.

Perhaps Spaniards aren't.

If so, that may explain why so many of those in Spain's service industries don't necessarily feel the need to treat guests with consideration or kindness.
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Old May 31st, 2007, 06:54 PM
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Happytrails... I would add Americans and Canadians to your list of people who expect good service , and are prepared to pay for it.
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Old Jun 4th, 2007, 08:42 AM
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Looking at hotels in Madrid and saw your mention of Preciados. Wondering if the site is available to be translated into English. I went to it but could not figure out how to read the info in English.

I'll be going in late August to Madrid and wondering where to stay there (and Barcelona as well).


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Old Jun 4th, 2007, 09:37 AM
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One of the good things about Spain belonging to the EU is the euro. We don't need to change currencies when we cross into France for a few days.

One of the bad things about Spain belonging to the EU is that a number of those in the "service industry" are not Spanish and therefore may come across as being "highly indifferent, impatient and just generally unhelpful" simply because their Spanish (the local dialect) may not be that good. We’ve come across this several times during the last couple of years, but didn’t think much about it once we talked to a few of them and found they were not from Spain.

A number of our friends are from different parts of Spain and often have to repeat themselves when having conversations because of the difference in dialect and word usage from one place to another, but they are used to it.

A tourist, on the other hand, speaking a form of Spanish learned outside of Spain, may not understand the linguistic differences and feel slighted when they first encounter a Spaniard who doesn’t understand a word they say.
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 04:37 AM
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I think perception, expectations and definition also play a part. I noticed that you did not have a specific event to comment on, so it's hard to determine how objective the overall impression was. Various degrees of negative experience will be described by different people with exactly the same adjectives. we have to accept that there is no such thing as a universal code of courtesy from which some cultures stray away. If we believe that code exists, it is simply a part of the code of our own culture which we try to impose on others.

The Spanish dont find necessary to smile. At all. They dont find it necessary to use a lot of lubricant words, like thank you, please, etc. They express their emotions freely quite often and its not necessarily personal at you. Their work ethics is different too. If you observe them in their natural communication with each other you will see that they still do all those things, they just dont react to it badly, its ok to do all that. Although I agree that there are some incidents that should not take place, quite often however a foreigner comes with a differnt code of behaviour and expects the people in that country to adobt it when they are interacting. Im not saying this is what happened to you, may be not, but it does happen very often. Sometimes if you in reverse accept their code of behaviour (which is much more reasonable) you will find that although it feels strange to behave like a mediterranean, people actually respond a lot more effectively to you. In some countries being forceful / rude / pushy is a big no-no. here at times you will just be eaten for such believes and you will sulk quietly while if you did back to those who did it you in many cases you would probably find you speak common language and a problem disappears. Like you said, you have found the people to be friendly and welcoming in their core.
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 05:20 AM
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Hi, I live in Barcelona Spain, at the moment and my experience is that Spanish people on a personal basis are very nice and friendly and so are they in some service sectors, such as in banks. However, if you go to the most touristy places in Barcelona city centre, in places like restaurants and bars, the service is often poor and both waiters and managers are unhelpful, indifferent and some times rude. I think this is because in touristy places they have so many clients anyway, that they do not care about customer satisfaction. Also, most of the staff work there on a temporary basis and they do a job that they do not like and that is badly paid.
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 05:55 AM
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It's funny, on reading the posts here the word "indifferent" comes up often to describe the Spanish. That's exactly how I described the Spanish after my visit. However I did not take it as a sign of rudeness, disinterest or disdain. I just assumed it was a cultural thing so I never over analysed. When I visited Greece I thought the Greeks were rather surly towards me but then I observed the same approach for their own kind. In Italy I found Italians neurotic, highly strung and impatient despite their affable nature(there but for the grace of God goes I). I learnt not to compare the mannerisms of other countries to mine. That way you don't let your negative perceptions spoil a good holiday.
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 07:26 AM
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Worldinabag - that's very wise counsel. Thanks.
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 07:30 AM
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Adam, I don't know about the Preciados website being translated into English. What would you like to know? Maybe I can help.
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 08:07 AM
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>> Each time I have found many Spaniards in the tourist industry to be, in variable degrees, indiferrent, unknowledgeable, impatient, curt, and unreliable. <<

I was in Madrid recently, and with very few exceptions, I agree with this statement.
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 10:46 AM
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Princessofpenguins..... when I started this post, I thought most people would disagree with me, but it's been quite the contrary. Thanks for your feedback.
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 11:44 AM
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In all my travels in Spain I have not encountered any diminished service standards. I am at the high end budgetwise but somehow do not think that explains why my experiences are so pleasant and others' so disappointing. It makes me seriously wonder about the relationship between what you put out and what you get back...that could explain a lot!
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Old Jun 5th, 2007, 05:28 PM
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Your name says it all... smarty.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2012, 02:16 PM
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Wow! Interesting comments.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2012, 02:26 PM
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Another ancient thread revived to someone could talk to herself 5 years later???
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Old Oct 3rd, 2012, 02:31 PM
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Given her recent retorts on threads about visiting Bordeaux, I have to assume the fault lies entirely with the poster. Same attitude, 5 years later.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2012, 02:54 PM
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Is there something about people who like generating negative energy that just gets a bit.....
bilboburgler is online now  
Old Oct 3rd, 2012, 03:51 PM
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<i> is it because I'm a single woman travelling alone?</i>

No, it's the Spanish way. Last weekend we saw a movie (Carmina or Blow Up)
that captures, in an exaggerated way, unpleasantness in the character of
many Spaniards. The movie was a big hit in Spain.

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