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Old 01-26-2014, 09:09 PM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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I've not visited Germany, but my German friend told me that even most shopkeepers or service people are often serious, not friendly or even rude, and they seldom smile. I've been to Italy, some smiled, but others have also observed Italians were not as jovial and extroverted as expected, and often reserved and not that friendly. The UK isn't particularly friendly like some Australians or Americans, but pretty polite at least. I guess I'm used to people smiling, being friendly.etc, but then again in some Asian countries it's a bit like how my German friend described Germany, being not only coldly business-like but often brusque, gruff, to the point where many would think they were rude or annoyed at you. An example is a stone-faced older lady in Singapore getting visibly annoyed when I did not understand Mandarin in a mini-mart.

What is it like in the other European countries in general? Does it vary between cities, city/country, age, place, situation?
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Old 01-26-2014, 11:58 PM
FBF
 
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Germany and Austria's customer services are not the best since as they explained:

"Pays poorly."

France, as well. Especially if you do not attempt to speak French to them (I was treated a bit better speaking in French even though they knew I was struggling).

Labor laws also give them more protections from their employers of being easily fired compared to North America.

In higher end areas, they are a bit more polite and MIGHT smile, but nevertheless it is not part of the culture because they are often direct.

The UK is often fake polite because its people are often passive agressive (and possibly less protections from being fired compared to most of Continental Europe) !

Mostly the English, the Scottish I find not as stuck up to a degree.
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:09 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
9,781 posts, read 16,184,264 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FBF View Post
Germany and Austria's customer services are not the best since as they explained:

"Pays poorly."

France, as well. Especially if you do not attempt to speak French to them (I was treated a bit better speaking in French even though they knew I was struggling).

Labor laws also give them more protections from their employers of being easily fired compared to North America.

In higher end areas, they are a bit more polite and MIGHT smile, but nevertheless it is not part of the culture because they are often direct.

The UK is often fake polite because its people are often passive agressive (and possibly less protections from being fired compared to most of Continental Europe) !

Mostly the English, the Scottish I find not as stuck up to a degree.
I didn't find the UK 'fake polite'. I'd say they're sorta similar to Australia, but less friendly. Some here criticise Australian customer service but seriously, more friendly than the UK. Plus you don't get the ridiculous extremes of the US, with some people being downright nasty to you for no reason. We're still pretty influenced by British mores.
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:16 AM
FBF
 
572 posts, read 688,965 times
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I think both the US and UK as fake polite and friendly to strangers and customers because employers could penalize you if you are not even if you are able to do the job:

And due to culture:

9GAG - What The British Say vs What The British Mean vs What Foreigners Understand

Granted, it is good not to have your face yelled at like in certain areas, but at least those people mean what they say whereas with the UK (and North America)....you do not always know what they are thinking or where you stand with them especially if you want to socialize with them.

Last edited by FBF; 01-27-2014 at 12:31 AM..
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Old 01-27-2014, 05:27 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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I think the Brits are polite but don't seem overtly sugary or obsequious in the way some Americans are. Of course some are, but it doesn't seem the 'British way.' They might hold their tongue more, for I feel the British do have a judgemental streak, and might not tell you what they think, but I think if you know how to read them you can sort of tell where you stand with them.
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Old 01-27-2014, 05:39 AM
 
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People in this part of the world don't like other people laughing or smiling at their face. Not considered educated. When people here travel to the US, they are flabbergasted by those cashiers and waiters with their smile synchornized with their cash register.
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Old 01-27-2014, 05:47 AM
 
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"sugary" ... "smile synchronized with cash register"... I don't mind ... I find it much better than the often rude, entitled attitude in Continental Europe ... some will say "oh but they don't mean it, it's hypocritical?" ...and ... aren't civilized mores a vast hypocrisy after all (but that hypocrisy makes life in society possible)!
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Old 01-27-2014, 06:05 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
9,781 posts, read 16,184,264 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigeonhole View Post
"sugary" ... "smile synchronized with cash register"... I don't mind ... I find it much better than the often rude, entitled attitude in Continental Europe ... some will say "oh but they don't mean it, it's hypocritical?" ...and ... aren't civilized mores a vast hypocrisy after all (but that hypocrisy makes life in society possible)!
Yes I prefer friendliness. I mean of course, they're not always thrilled to see you, but I think there's nothing wrong making an effort to be nice and friendly and put on a smile. It doesn't mean you're fake, it just means you respect the customer to at least be courteous to them. And it doesn't mean you have to act all excited to see them, just a friendly, congenial attitude, not a grumpy attitude where it seems they're bothering you.
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Old 01-27-2014, 06:41 AM
 
Location: 59N
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The many young Swedes working in Oslo offer pretty good service.
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Old 01-27-2014, 06:55 AM
 
Location: Norway
222 posts, read 269,364 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Postman View Post
I've not visited Germany, but my German friend told me that even most shopkeepers or service people are often serious, not friendly or even rude, and they seldom smile. What is it like in the other European countries in general? Does it vary between cities, city/country, age, place, situation?

I prefer shopkeepers/employees to stay in the background and let me explore what the shop has to offer. I dislike those who are all over me as soon as I enter the shop: "Can I help you?". For me that is rude. If I need help, I'll ask for it. Culture thing, I guess.
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