Should I have spoken up??

Jun 13th, 2002, 07:29 AM
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Marcie, as tempting as it may seem to try, you have no control over the behavior of another person. Likewise, you are not responsible for the image of all Americans abroad. What you can control is your own behavior in the situation, which, it seems to me, you did beautifully by minding your own business. Difficult? Yes! Appropriate? Yes! Now let it go and enjoy all the positive aspects of your trip.
Jun 13th, 2002, 06:32 PM
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I'm glad you didn't say anything. There is little to be said to obnoxious people such as you encountered. Given the same situation, I probably would have made eye contact with the airline employee and given him an "eye roll"....he would have known that my sympathies were with him!
Jun 13th, 2002, 07:24 PM
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No, you should not have spoken up.
Jun 13th, 2002, 07:45 PM
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No, these people are so caught up in their emotional crisis that anything disparaging said by you would only further their lack of control.

What has worked for me is to give them a looooooong, disapproving stare as though they are the star feature in a freak show. Which they are.
Jun 15th, 2002, 05:46 AM
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To Nation.., Shadow and Duke:
No need to be rude. If you don't like the question, don't answer it. No need to be A-holes about it, is there?
Jun 15th, 2002, 05:55 AM
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Speaking to BigMouth wouldn't have helped anything, I agree. But you'd be surprised how much good it does sometimes to connect with someone who has been the target of such lousy behavior and try to make their day better. I might have said something to one or another of the Swiss Delta employees on the order of, "I'm sorry there are such awful people, you handled it so well, have a better day, thank you for your help, etc."

Pleasantness makes a difference sometimes, and might remind people inclined to have stereotypes about Americans that SOME of those stereotypes aren't negative.
Jun 15th, 2002, 07:16 AM
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Marcie, First of all, why would you think that someone else's behavior has anything whatsoever to do with you. Its not like the woman you're talking about is someone officially representing the U.S. If someone is stupid enough to generalize about Americans because of one American's comments, that's their problem. If I stand next to a Frenchman who has B.O.---which happened to me two years ago while at CDG---do I then assume that all French men stink? Secondly, I am tired of Americans apologizing for other Americans' behavior.
Jun 15th, 2002, 08:28 AM
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The irony is that if you keep your mouth shut and observe all the etiquette, they may never know that you are an American so the loud rude people become the symbol.
Jun 15th, 2002, 08:54 AM
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Marcie I hate situations like that no matter what the persons nationality is....Not so long ago I was on a flight where a couple was being extremely rude to some of the other passengers on the plane. I wanted to say something to them like "Would you please lower your voice you are disturbing what would otherwise be a pleasant flight". I kept my mouth shut because I had this vision of someone "losing it" at 35000 feet in the air.
Remember situations such as that remind you that courtesy and good manners never go out of style. It is a reflection on those people who have bad manners...the bad manners speak volumes about that person...
I am glad that you had such a nice vacation...focus on your vacation us a trip report)
Anyway I just wanted to write to say I know how you feel....situations like that make me uncomfortable...
Jun 16th, 2002, 12:45 AM
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Marcie, who do you think you are... the behaviour control police? Why don't you just mind your own business! It is the noseymongers as yourself that need to be put in their place. Shame on you for speaking so ill of your own kind. What an embarassment you are!
Jun 16th, 2002, 12:56 AM
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Hey Marcie, since you "just can't get this off your mind" why don't you get some psychiatric help before you really go bonkers!
Jun 16th, 2002, 07:42 AM
Hulk Hogan
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What you should've done is grabbed the [email protected]#% and thrown her on the floor. Your fellow international travelers would've jumped in:

The Germans would've pounded the snot ouuta her. Afterwards they'd deny knowing anything about the incident.

The French would've kicked her like the sissy-boys they all are.

The Italians would've run.

The Polish would've beaten themselves up.

The Russians would've grabbed somebody else and slapped them around while you were distracted.

The Brits would've put up a token effort until other Americans joined in and saved the day.

And the Swiss would've gone about their merry way making lots of money while you killed each other.
Jun 16th, 2002, 09:47 AM
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Marcie has issued a clear warning to the entire international community that she will not maintain her politeness the next time she spots an ugly American.

Therefore, when Marcie is in the vicinity of an overseas airport, the following is essential. I must not make eye contact with anyone, and never elevate my voice greater than a whisper, lest Marcie overhear me.

I must not say anything except "Yes Sir" and "No Sir", and look apologetic because I don't know how to say these phrases in High German.

If I find that I am developing an uncontrollable rage at the rude and incompetent airport security people, and I cannot suppress the urge to speak my mind, I should do so using a fake French accent, lest I enrage Marcie.

If Marcie does become enraged, she may roll her eyes at the security personnel and then be slapped because that gesture means something entirely different in Swiss culture. I don't know that this is the case, but I can't take the chance.

In addition to the risk of being slapped by security personnel, Marcie will be upset for a minimum of twelve days and she might even hold up a sign declaring that she is a nice person despite the fact that she is American. This might cause people to laugh at her and I wouldn't want to be responsible for that.

Of course, if I am in an American airport, I can be as loud and obnoxious as I want, and Marcie won't even notice.
Jun 16th, 2002, 10:06 AM
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to: ConcernedFlyer ([email protected])
I think someone needs to take you out of your pathetic misery. What are you smokin? Kris
Jun 16th, 2002, 10:30 AM
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Re: 'I just felt like holding up a sign saying "we really are nice people and please don't judge us by this obnoxious lady...'

That's interesting in light of the post this past week where two *Americans* seemed to be judging all Swiss people based on the unfortunate, and seemingly obnoxious, actions of two people: a cab driver and a bus driver in Lugano. Oh yeah, and also one Swiss waiter who apparently told them he felt Americans were racist and needed to "get over" 9/11.

Jun 16th, 2002, 10:39 AM
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I think we've beaten this one to death.

Jun 16th, 2002, 10:44 AM
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Marcie, you might have spoken up, but not to suggest that she should not be complaining. As others have suggested, she would have heard you telling her you think she is fundamentally wrong as a person, as opposed to someone who is taking the wrong approach to solving her problems. Besides, a confrontational approach would have exacerbated the lady's confrontational behaviour, not calmed it down.

Any of us have the right to at least ask for what we want, this lady is no different. It doesn't matter whether you or I agree with what she's asking for. The problem is that she has got it through her head that the only way to do this is by being loud and difficult, and furthermore to people who have no power to change policy.

Therefore, it would be in both her interests and yours to suggest an alternative. For example, you could politely suggest that if she really wanted to make an effective complaint, she needed to make it to the people who were in a position to do something about it, namely the management of the airport. You could also emphasize that the most effective complaints are made in writing. (This is perfectly true, and it would not be necessary for you to add that such an approach would also be in your interests, since it wouldn't disturb people such as yourself and the airline attendant, neither of whom are in any position to address the smoking policy one way or another.)

Jun 16th, 2002, 10:52 AM
won't say
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Concerned Flyer - That's too funny. Especially the part about not noticing the same if you're in an American airport. It's true, we're used to that sort of thing here. I think Marcie did the polite thing by not speaking up. However, I probably wouldn't have been so polite. In my "loud American voice" I would have complained about "loud American complainers", shook my head and laughed.
Jun 16th, 2002, 11:05 AM
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As an international flight attendant for a major US airline, believe me when I say that we see it all. I'm sure the airline employee handled it well, as did you!
When we are in a foreign country, we are like little ambassadors representing our land of origin. Every country has their stereotypes, some times correct and most times incorrect. I for one know that when I am on foreign soil, I really do try to always put my best foot forward....especially when I am still in uniform but not at an airport. I feel that I'm not only a little ambassador for my country, but also for my employer. I think we try to behave well "at home" as well, but even more so when we're in "someone elses' home"! Marcie, You sound like a classy lady, who probably had every right to shutter at improper behavior regardless of where it occurred. Sherry
Jun 21st, 2002, 09:51 AM
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your response reminded me of an article I read which confirms what you said....people in their "work" uniform are known to be more considerate while shopping, driving, or whatever they're doing because of reflecting upon not only themselves but also their employer. I suppose this also holds true of drivers who have company logos on their cars.
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