i think the thing that makes me angriest about the entire culture of people being forced to set up online fundraisers for things like medical treatments and basic necessities is that at least 99% of the people who donate are people who are ALSO struggling but just slightly less, people who think “well i was saving this $20 for lunch this week but this person who needs chemo could probably use it more”, while a single billionaire could fund every online fundraiser in existence and not even notice a dent in their wealth






















Natalie Portman being confused by the fact that you have to say “hi” to someone before starting a conversation in France got me like ?????

“I feel there’s a lot of rules of politeness and codes of behavior there you have to follow. […] A friend of mine taught me that when you go in some place you have to say “bonjour” before you say anything else, then you have to wait two seconds before you say something else. So if you go into a store you can’t be like “do you have this in another size,” or they’ll think you’re super rude and then they’ll be rude to you.” [X]

#wait you don’t do this is other countries??

So that’s it guys. French are not rude, we just don’t like it when people don’t say “Hello” or “Hi” when they start a conversation. 

Don’t everyone say “Hi” before they ask something to someone? What’s next? Saying please is also a french thing or others countries does that too? 

Canada is similar. We say sorry and please. The Hello thing seems strange, but it actually makes sense.

Bro, this threw me for a loop when I moved up north. Like in the southern United States you say “Hi, how are you?” And then make a few seconds of small talk before you ask your question or order your food and when I went to Connecticut they were like “What do you want?” Without any hello or anything. In other places they just STARE at you waiting on you to place your order and gtfo.

I laid my hand over my chest the first time, and the only way to describe my look was “aghast” before I said “Good lord!” My husband said it’s the most southern thing he’s seen me do. He thought it was hilarious. But…. Like??? That’s rude as fuck??????? Don’t y’all say say “Hello” before throwing your demands at someone??

maybe this is why everyone thinks new yorkers are rude

this is absolutely why ppl think new englanders r rude. no one has any fucking manners

african culture, at least in ghana, demands you greet a person before you ask them something. if youre in an open market they may even ignore you if you dont.

We do this in Australia as well. If you just started straight off saying “yeah I want XXXX” we’d think you’re rude as all fuck.  You say hi, then make your request.  It’s basic acknowledgement of the other person as a person rather than some random request-filling machine.

Huh. Speaking as a New Englander, I usually go with “Excuse me,” but sometimes “hi” or “hey,” but with no pause – it’ll be, “Excuse me, hi, I was looking for X?” From my POV, it seems rude to get too chatty and waste some stranger’s time; I assume they have better things to do than make small talk with me, so I just get my request out there so they can answer me and get back to whatever needs doing. I always thank folks for their help afterwards, if that helps?

(The rules of etiquette are strange. People say New Englanders are rude and cold, but once during an unexpected snowstorm here in Seattle, my car got stuck and I was standing by the side of the road at a busy intersection in the snow for half an hour waiting for my housemate to come pick me up, and not a single person stopped. Back in Massachusetts, every other car on the road would’ve been pulling up to check to see if I was okay, if my phone was working, did I need a lift, etc.)

No but this was the first thing my cousin told me in France? you never ever ever start a conversation with anyone, not even like “Nice weather today, huh?” without saying Bonjour first. You HAVE to greet them or, just like Ghana, they’ll ignore the shit out of you, you rude little fucker

(And “excuse me” or “pardon me” doesn’t cut it. you still have to open with bonjour)

[and I can’t speak for New England but coming from Chicago and then moving Out West where the culture is VERY influenced by the South and DETERMINED to think of themselves as small town folk… I HATE when I have to make small talk before ordering food??? Like, if it’s a coffee shop that’s pretty much empty I’ll chit chat for a few seconds, but I’m still not going to make inane conversation about the weather unless the weather is extreme.

In a big city it is rude as fuck to waste my time making small talk with me when we are not even friends or neighbors??? I am here to get shit done. There are four other people in line behind me, and I don’t want to waste their time. I am here, I HAVE MY ORDER ALREADY DECIDED BY THE TIME I GET TO THE FRONT BECAUSE I AM NOT A CAVE WOMAN, and I am being polite by saying both Please and Thank You and not wasting other people’s daylight.]

I live in a small northern city, and I feel it would be rude to engage someone in more than maaaaaybe a sentence of small talk before placing my order. In addition to feeling I was wasting their time, I’d feel like I was demanding emotional labour (small-talk is emotional labour for *me*) that they weren’t being paid to give.

so bizarre.  New Yorker here.  Saying hi, how are you, etc before these kinds of commercial interactions is what’s rude to me – because ffs, there are people in line behind you, we have lives, move it along.  It’s really just a dramatic cultural difference – but borne of a real practical necessity.

Oh my god saying ‘hi’ takes less than A SINGLE SECOND YOU ARE NOT WASTING ANYBODY’S TIME

In Spain you have to say hello to people before you talk to them even people who work in retail deserve that bare minimum courtesy hello??

Transplanted New Yorker here, and the feeling here is: people who work in retail deserve the bare minimum courtesy you would afford anyone else, which is to not waste their time.  You maybe say a half-second “hi” and/or possibly “excuse me” to be sure you have their attention, then you get to the point as quickly and concisely as possible.  You don’t wait to get a “hi” back, you probably don’t ask “how are you”, you definitely don’t talk about the weather.  You smile and keep your tone of voice courteous-to-friendly, you say please, you thank them when you’re done, and you do. not. waste. their. time.

Except ”time” is really only shorthand for the concept:  you don’t intrude on their lives more than you have to.  NY is a very very crowded city which allows for very little personal space, so New Yorkers have developed a form of courtesy that involves minimizing our unavoidable intrusions on each other.  Which is why we hold doors without making eye contact, and why we tend to feel that in any interaction with a stranger, it’s actively rude to do anything but get to the point immediately.

Interesting discussion of regional differences in conversational convention.  But the amount of “my way is the right way; everyone else is super rude and also wrong” going on in this post is giving me hives.  

Hey.  Listen.  "Polite” and “rude” are relative concepts.  Something you were taught was rude may not be seen as rude elsewhere, and might even be the polite thing to do.  Conversely, something you might have been taught was polite might be seen as rude elsewhere.  Saying “no one has any manners” about a group of people whose culture and, by extension, whose conversational expectations work differently than yours is really arrogant. 

In the US the thumbs up means good job or great. In France and Germany it means one, they start counting with the thumb instead of the index finger. In Greece it’s an obscene sexual gesture.

This guy I knew in college worked with the campus d/Deaf/HoH group and told a story about the dinner they had to welcome everyone in. They were trying to tell this little old lady what one of the dishes was, something casserole I forget what kind, and she was getting really flustered. Finally they figured out they were speaking to her in ASL and she was from South Africa. The ASL sign for whatever it was (spinach maybe?) in South African Sign means sex. They were offering this little old lady a sex casserole.

There’s an Italian toast ‘chin chin’, mimicking the sound of the glasses clinking together. It becomes hilarious when Japanese folks are around since in Japanese chin means penis.

As for the South, I will bet you anything that how we have conversations at the register stemmed from the homestead days when a farmer would come in to town maybe once a month and this would be the only time they’d get to talk to someone they didn’t live with. I like talking with customers! If I can get them to smile then it’s a victory and I have a better day for it. It only becomes emotional labor if they’re an outright ass or are sexually harassing me. But in the big crammed city of New York it makes sense to take the get your shit and get out approach, people have a subway to catch. Out here I had to drive myself anyway since it’s fifteen minutes to the edge of town from where I live, so what does it matter if I spend an extra minute at the register?

It’s important to be aware of the differences and ultimately there’s a degree of ‘when in Rome’ that has to happen. Someone who moves from Greece to the US is going to be startled by the amount of thumbs up but ultimately they’re going to have to adjust. Someone from the US is probably going to be shocked that telling someone they did a good job was taken as an insult and they similarly are going to have to adjust. Mom’s a damn Yankee transplant and said it was weird moving to the South and having cashiers younger than her daughter call her dear, but that’s just what we do. Sweetheart, darling, honey, sugar, they don’t have overtly romantic/sexual connotations here. As long as there’s not a leer attached to it if a guy calls me ‘sugar’ when I’m at work it doesn’t parse as a flirt because it’s not one, it parses the same as if he called me ‘miss’. But when a busload of Californians came through it took me three people to realize that ‘baby’ was not flirting, it was just California.
NOTHING is universal.

This is the biggest place I’ve ever worked so it took some getting used to, like any skill, but even being socially awkward it’s easy to tell what scripts to follow. Test the waters, if they don’t respond then okay this is a move them through kind of person, be quick and efficient and to the point, feel good when they smile at ‘last question I promise, do you want your receipt’. If they do then pull out the five small talk scripts, get a smile, feel good when they laugh at the cat small talk script.

It’s also important to note that claiming your culture’s way of doing polite right is a fantastic way to fall into some really bigoted nonsense. In Puerto Rico the personal bubble is much smaller than in the US proper, like RIGHT at your elbow close. I had a cashier who was super uncomfortable because our steward was getting in her personal space constantly and he was pissed off because he was trying to HELP her with moving orders why is she mad at him? Once I sat them down and explained the difference they both had this aw shit moment because from their own standpoints they were being polite and from the others’ standpoints they were being rude. After that they were fine, when he got a little too close she’d say ‘whoa man my bubble’ and he’d laugh and shake is head and step back.

Lots of non-white cultures have things like that, particularly since white America has serious problems with sexualizing ANY physical contact to the point we’re all touch starved. The normal speaking voice is at a higher volume or it’s more acceptable to show your emotions or gesture when you speak. None of this is WRONG, but when people star getting into ‘my culture is the only right culture’ then guess who comes out on top? It ain’t the little guy.

One of my labmates was from Poland, and she had a tendency to come off as kind of abrupt and brusk, verging on mean. In particular, when she was providing feedback on a presentation or paper she could come across as SUPER cutting. Which was not her intention! From the way she would explain it, we had a running joke in the lab, “it sounds nicer in Polish.”

And this is actually true; there are scientific articles comparing the cultural contexts for communication! It’s really neat.

So in (most parts of) America, we equate indirectness with politeness. “Excuse me, would it be possible for you to perhaps pass me that salt, if you don’t mind?” The more roundabout you are, the more we consider that a signal of social courtesy.

In Poland, not only is indirectness viewed as rudely wasting the listener’s time, but directness is viewed as communicating intimacy and friendliness. “Give me the salt.”

…It sounds nicer in Polish. 🙂

Omg I love this

The Effects of Capital, Labor, and Class on Local Etiquette Across International Boundaries