Monday, 14 July 2008


One of the most simple but pleasant things a Brit notices in America is the politeness of people in general and shop workers in particular. False or not I do like the politeness and general air of happiness it engenders.Whilst shopping yesterday in a hardware store I was asked by a male assistant if I was having a good day?...using my admittedly pathetic English sense of humour I replied yes...then I said.."well average really"...then I ended with "well awful, as my dog just died" The guy look horrified and completely ill at ease.....I think the crap English attempt at humour compounded by my rather thick scouse accent is to blame....just saying sure will have to do in future......NOTE...for Vinogirl and others I would like to point out that no dogs actually died in the making of this post.


Alfie said...

I was in our local family run garden centre, just outside of Ormskirk last week. I've only shopped there for over 30 years since I moved to the area from Hunts Cross in 1977.

We arrived at 5.10pm - the sign on the front said they shut at 5.30pm, so that gave us 20 minutes shopping time to pick out the tropical fish we wanted for our tank.

As soon as we arrived, I sort of noticed an atmosphere. We appeared to be the only people in the place apart from the staff. Some jobsworth shut and bolted the entrance door behind us, but never mind, we sauntered over to the fish counter and asked someone if we could have some fish.

"No" came the reply. "The lights are all switched off and I cannot see well enough to find them"...

"Can't you switch the lights back on then?"

"No, it's too late..." came the reply... "You can come back tomorrow"

I told him to shove it and walked towards the exit.... It was locked. The woman on the till told me to leave through the staff door.... Before I went out, I turned to her and asked what time the garden centre closed...

Without a hint of irony, she said "5.30pm" - Although how you can still be open with both entrance & exits closed and with over 15 minutes 'til official closing time defied my ability to work out.

Thud said... Britain we seem to think serving people is demeaning and it shows in the often surly attitude.In california I find the shop workers on the whole rather cheerful...maybe they hide it better but the result is a much happier shopping experience.

phlegmfatale said...

I like when people keep it light and cheerful, but sometimes the temptation to yank a chain is simply too great, yeah? Glad you didnt lose a mutt!

Dreamer girl said...

As a former seven eleven worker and McDonalds drive thru worker while supporting myself through college, I have to admit I craved having conversations that were simple and absolutely meaningless. It seems like there is less politeness though in American society. We are too fast paced. The other day I had a clerk that was absolutely having a bad day and made it very clear that she was not in the mood to wait on me. I simply said, "bad day, huh?" What a difference it made. I guess we all need personal occasionally.
P.S. My dad is like you about cracking the humor. Yet, it is embarrassing that he still flirts with the young waitresses when we go out to eat. Yikes!