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In Italy it's charming, in America it's not

 
 
Gala
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 09:18 am
When people crowd you out in the check out line.

The cashiers do all the work at Trader Joes, they unload the cart and then they bag it.

I like to bag my own stuff, mostly cause it gives the cashier a break. Well, don't you know, during the holiday season, people are more aggressive than usual? The more affluent customers act the worst.

I'd say the most stressful part of the holiday season is other people.


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Type: Discussion • Score: 8 • Views: 3,203 • Replies: 42
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engineer
 
  2  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 09:31 am
@Gala,
Why is this charming in Italy?
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 09:40 am
@engineer,
kinda sorta wondered that meself

as for folk in public, that's why there's ipods, no matter what's going on around me at the mall, i'm walking along a river in ireland with carolyn mark (or perhaps i'm shearing sheep in the outback, or.......)
0 Replies
 
Gala
 
  0  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 09:59 am
@engineer,
Cause Italians have no sense of personal space and it's accepted. In the Us we draw sharp boundaries. Also, Italians aren't rude like Americans.
dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 10:11 am
@Gala,
Gala wrote:

Cause Italians have no sense of personal space and it's accepted. In the Us we draw sharp boundaries. Also, Italians aren't rude like Americans.
you're kidding, right?
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 10:24 am
@Gala,
Gala wrote:

Cause Italians have no sense of personal space and it's accepted. In the Us we draw sharp boundaries. Also, Italians aren't rude like Americans.


I don't know when you went the last in an Italian supermarket (or European).

Generally, neither in Italy (nor in Germany or some couple of other Europeans I went shopping) cashiers unload your cart, fill your bag - you have to do it all yourself.
What you find, however, is that a cashier goes for seniors weighing the fruits and/or vegetables when those people forgot it to do themselves.

Ques are longer here in the season as well - I avoid them, and go shopping at 7 am or later then 8 pm Wink
Gala
 
  0  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 10:24 am
@dyslexia,
Quote:
you're kidding, right?

No.
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 11:24 am
@Gala,
This was my experience while shopping in Italy (it was in the Levi's store).
Personal space issues aside - this guy was funny and polite. He even posed for a picture for me.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k46/aidan_010/Lucaandtheheadlessmodel.jpg

But language wise, the Italian language is very fast-paced and aggressive so it took me a day or two to realize that they weren't all really irritated with me - that's just the speed and tone of voice in which they spoke. I felt like I had to speed everything up while I was there.
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 11:31 am
@Gala,
Gala wrote:
Also, Italians aren't rude like Americans.


you must either be living in an extremely unpleasant part of the U.S., or have rose-colored glasses on in regard to Italy/Italians
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 12:02 pm
@ehBeth,
I've suffered some rude italians but I somewhat see what Gala is getting at, the jostling for position at, say, the bank not being so much against you as self-forwarding. But I haven't been there since '99, and not in a bank there since '93.

I've had a lot of italians go out of their way for me/us, easily cancelling any rude stuff out on multiples of occasions.

Still, maybe I live a charmed life, I don't run into really rude people here in the US so much either. Even in the famously blunt New York City I found people to be generally nice enough.

All bets are off when people are in automobiles, either place; people can be rude as hell here in the US. My experience driving in italy is relatively short, and not in big cities - I found them aggressive and fast but don't remember rude. I assume plenty are though.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 12:07 pm
@Gala,
I remember skiing a couple of years ago, and having to go "single" with a European gentleman.

He commented how nice it was to have nicely delineated queues, and how cooperative people were in getting through the queue.
Gala
 
  -1  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 12:12 pm
@ehBeth,
No, I don't have rose colored glasses when it comes to the Italians, they're chaotic and hectic and like to be in big bustling crowds, but they do for the most know how to enjoy life more than Americans.

I do not live in an unpleasant part of the US, only an extremely affluent city (I am not one of the affluent). Affluent people are the most demanding and have a sense of entitlement more so than people who come from humble backgrounds.
0 Replies
 
Gala
 
  -2  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 12:14 pm
@aidan,
Italians love America. Well, maybe less so since G. Bush, but nonetheless, they really do think it's the land paved with gold. You're picture is accurate, especially considering the heavy influence of Catholocism, they're not hung up about sex, either.
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 12:14 pm
@Gala,
Also, I'd end up going to a different grocery store.
0 Replies
 
Gala
 
  0  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 12:17 pm
@ossobuco,
Some are rude, but nothing like the pushiness in America. I'd say Italians aren't as efficient as Americans, but they have La Dolce Vita, which is very much an aspiration for them.

Plus, the food tastes so much better than it does in the US.
0 Replies
 
Gala
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 12:18 pm
@DrewDad,
Definitely more orderly in the US.
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 12:27 pm
@Gala,
I also think part of it is that people are more attuned to being polite to people they consider to be visitors (maybe, sometimes and depending on how they view that visitor).

My general impression has been that English people are more polite and more open to interaction and conversation in a restaurant or in a line at the grocery store, etc. But English people I've discussed it with think Americans are generally more polite and friendly in casual or service-oriented situations like grocery stores.

My theory is that it's the status of visitor. Maybe we take more pains with people we feel are visiting, whether it's trying to make a good impression or assuming they may need help whereas if you're American in America, you expect that other person to know the ropes and get it done and I gather it's the same in England from what people in England have said - if you're English in England- they don't assume you need any special treatment or help, and it's not automatically forthcoming.

So maybe you do feel more catered to when you're the visitor.

But I also think that as Americans (especially on the east coast) you do learn how to get what you need and that directness is the best and fastest avenue to productivity. When you live there you recognize it for what it is and learn how to respond in kind.
New Jersey/New York people are some of my favorite people in the world. You always know right where you stand with them.

I also agree - my experience is that Italians do love Americans and they aren't hung up about sex- and they do seem to have a very nice lifestyle and general attitude and philosophy about the pleasures of life.
I could definitely live there.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 12:33 pm
@aidan,
"So maybe you do feel more catered to when you're the visitor."

That was probably part of my experience both in Italy and in New York City. On the other hand, I've at times had italians come up to me on the street and ask directions, as I'd gotten over the years to look less like a tourist. They'd show surprise when my italian was wretched, but then listen since I usually knew the answer.

I guess I should add that in many ways I'm a visitor to this planet..
Gala
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 12:58 pm
@aidan,
I'm an East coaster and I have a hard time when I travel to the West, where people are more overtly friendly. When I lived in the Midwest and people were courteous it confused me.

One time while at the supermaket cross-walk in the Midwest a car stopped not only to let me cross, but they waved to, my typical reaction was: "What's wrong with them?"

You're right, you do know where you stand with East coast people, and I prefer it this way. Just as the pushy women in the Trader Joe's was standing in my way, I gave her a curt "excuse me" and she bustled back, she had no venom toward me, as we're all just sort of used to abrubt behavior.

I will admit though, I get exasperated when people intentionally hold up the walking side on the escalator of the subway, they're just being jerks. And I'm not talking about tourists who don't know the subway etiquette.

We are kinder to visitors. I lived in Italy, but was still treated well. The only thing I found odd was how they gave directions-- once my Italian improved I'd do random samplings, where I'd ask about 5 different people at a time where a location was. Even if they didn't know what I was talking about, they'd just make it up. They could never say--No lo so.
0 Replies
 
Gala
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 01:00 pm
@ossobuco,
I also have to remark you live in a pretty mellow place, New Mexico. Life moves at a slower and easier pace.
 

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