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Thread: polite society

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    BJ
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    polite society

    Russians have a reputation (according to several articles and books I've read!)for being very friendly to people they know yet surly and awkward with those they don't. Is this true? Has the 'service with a smile' concept been adopted? What difference have American style food outlets had on the way customers are dealt with?

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    Wow, I've never heard about this

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    Separate the two questions, as they are distinct, if obviously related.

    First is the question of behaviour towards strangers or towards new acquaintances.
    Second is behaviour towards customers/clients in service situations.

    As to that latter question, I'd definitely say there's a big difference between Russia and Britain. I've visited about 25 countries in total (mostly in Europe) and the service, on average, was much surlier in Russia than anywhere else. But there's no bad will, it's just a lack of responsiveness.
    This is rather a difficult point to explain without oversimplifying or stereotyping or whatever. Plus I suspect it's changing, although I'm not really sure.
    One thing I can mention is that if you visit the same shop multiple times, the dyevushka often does get a bit more friendly eventually.
    Море удачи и дачу у моря

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    Is this true?
    It depends. I think, you will be confused when make your first touch for Russian reality. Moscow is not only capital of Russia; also, it is a giant node of Russian transport system and most overpopulated city of Russia. Don't be surprised if cop in the street check your documents. Mine first feelings of Moscow were a black/white world with dirty and ruined buildings. Too many of Russian people are used to be careful and live "с фигой в кармане"* but you will be amazing of this people when you get closer with them.
    I recommend you St.Peterburg for first visit. There are really great architecture and very affable people.

    * - I even don't know English expression.
    Я танцую пьяный на столе нума нума е нума нума нума е
    Снова счастье улыбнулось мне нума нума е нума нума нума е

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    Re: polite society

    Quote Originally Posted by BJ
    Russians have a reputation (according to several articles and books I've read!)for being very friendly to people they know yet surly and awkward with those they don't. Is this true? Has the 'service with a smile' concept been adopted? What difference have American style food outlets had on the way customers are dealt with?
    Just about how rude should I be towards everyone on this forum for people to finally understand that WE ARE RUDE. Have you got a banana in your ear or what? And what the hell is 'service with a smile'? Is it when they grin at you like retards while serving you a BigMac or something? Good show we don't have this in Russia yet. I hate it when they do it abroad - why can't those people understand I do not wish to inspect their fillings and bridgeworks. I go to cafes to eat but they will do everything to give me an indigestion. If the food is good they will frighten me with their decaying teeth.
    Show yourself - destroy our fears - release your mask

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    I'm with Vendingmachine, though I'll avoid the sacrasm

    Initially I was quite taken aback by the surlyness [sic?] of Russians in service industries, such as hotels and so on, but it didn't take long before I started to appreciate the honesty of it.

    I mean, we all know that the lass serving us doesn't really give a damn 'how we are doing today', all she cares about is getting home to see her boyfriend when her shift is finished, or whatever, so why should we expect her to pretend that she does? I don't think that's about rudeness, I think it's a case of doing her job correctly without attaching all that yank-style BS bonhomie we are plagued with in this country and elsewhere.

    Maybe that's just because I'm fairly surly myself.

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    I mean, we all know that the lass serving us doesn't really give a damn 'how we are doing today'...
    No, I meant another thing. You can really suffer rude from some category of people. Some people really like to hurt you. They do this not because they hate you but because they like it. Ask Russians about "Швейцар".
    It is not a problem for me solve any question with Russians (especially with girls ). One little laugh or joke for them can tell much more then any menace.
    Я танцую пьяный на столе нума нума е нума нума нума е
    Снова счастье улыбнулось мне нума нума е нума нума нума е

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    Quote Originally Posted by BETEP
    I mean, we all know that the lass serving us doesn't really give a damn 'how we are doing today'...
    No, I meant another thing. You can really suffer rude from some category of people. Some people really like to hurt you. They do this not because they hate you but because they like it.
    Like I said, we're bloody-minded.
    Quote Originally Posted by BETEP
    Ask Russians about "Швейцар".
    Dunno what you're driving at here. What is so special about щвейцары? Note that I don't come in contact with many, I kick doors open myself.
    Show yourself - destroy our fears - release your mask

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    What is so special about щвейцары? Note that I don't come in contact with many, I kick doors open myself.
    If you are Russian you know what I meant. “щвейцар” is not only who open the door. I would make special chapter in psychology for this kind of people. The main features of them are uneducated, greedy man who has a little power over you. The best example is Jim Carrey as a cable guy.
    Я танцую пьяный на столе нума нума е нума нума нума е
    Снова счастье улыбнулось мне нума нума е нума нума нума е

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    Quote Originally Posted by BETEP
    What is so special about щвейцары? Note that I don't come in contact with many, I kick doors open myself.
    If you are Russian you know what I meant. “щвейцар” is not only who open the door. I would make special chapter in psychology for this kind of people. The main features of them are uneducated, greedy man who has a little power over you. The best example is Jim Carrey as a cable guy.
    Nope, I dunno what you were trying to say. But like I said before, I don't rub shoulders with швейцары on a daily basis so I wouldn't know. What kind of power does a швейцар have? If you're trying to say he may refuse to let you in, well, that's what he's there for - to welcome respectable patrons and guests in and kick out potential trouble makers. First line of defence, innit? And by the way, who the Friar Tuck in 'ell is Jim Carrey?
    Show yourself - destroy our fears - release your mask

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    Jim Carrey is an unfunny American comedic actor. I've seen the movie The Cable Guy, and I have no idea what it has to do with щвейцары. Perhaps BETEP would like to explain?

    Yeah, the service girls in Russia are rude as hell. And I appreciate it, dammit. If they don't fake smile at me I don't have to fake smile back at them.

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    Nope, I dunno what you were trying to say.
    It’s because you are kidding, or you are not Russian. I found some lines about it.

    Иерархия приводит и к тому, что начинается с одной стороны - невероятный страх перед высшими ("Смерть чиновника" А.П.Чехова), с другой - гонения на занимающих более низкое положение, хладнокровная жестокость к ним ("Острова и капитаны" Владислава Крапивина). Такие гонения на более низких по статусу встречаются, к сожалению, очень часто. Одна из самых уродливых форм таких гонений - "синдром швейцара", когда человек, не имея особого образования, уровня и квалификации, но зато имея самую минимальную власть, пользуется этой властью на полную катушку. Именно по этому такое отвращение возникает к разнообразным службам охраны и т.д. - потому что они укомплектованы людьми, способными принести большой вред, несмотря на то, что в общем-то являются ничтожествами. Близки к этому и многие формы злоупотребления властью без всяких соображений пользы, когда желание только одно - удовлетворить собственное чувство власти.

    Those italic lines below are the words of Борис Гребенщиков ("Огонек" 1990 год). He is saying about a trip to the New York.

    Я дико боялся. Когда ехал и первое время там. Потом расслабился. потому что ничего страшного со мной не происходило. У нас же у всех комплекс швейцара. У всех советских людей. Ты все время ждешь, что кто-то тебя постукает сзади по плечу: "А вы что здесь делаете? Пройдемте!" И выгонят. Это у нас в крови. В этом сущность великого эксперимента: взять страну и из нормальных людей сделать некую социалистическую общность - советский народ, в котором каждого в любую минуту можно откуда угодно погнать, и он примет это как должное.

    I don't rub shoulders with швейцары…
    Швейцар is only particular case. He is a symbol of this phenomenon or syndrome.

    First line of defence, innit?
    What kind of line was protected by Шариков?

    I've seen the movie The Cable Guy, and I have no idea what it has to do with щвейцары.
    The cable guy has a little power over guy named Steven and wants to be his friend by all means. Throw away any sentiments and look to this cable guy from another side. He can do something and he can do nothing. What would you do if somebody claims some money over the cost (like a tip)? I think you will go to another “somebody”. But, situation is you do not have another “somebody” as a result he has a little power.
    Take a look by the “cable gay” eyes. The man, who has a fix salary and doesn’t have any reason and possibility to grow, is full of hate. His clients can only disturb his mind silence and the little power over you is only one real thing he has.
    Я танцую пьяный на столе нума нума е нума нума нума е
    Снова счастье улыбнулось мне нума нума е нума нума нума е

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    Quote Originally Posted by BETEP
    Nope, I dunno what you were trying to say.
    It’s because you are kidding, or you are not Russian. I found some lines about it.
    I'm sorry, but if you think that a Russian person should immidiately understand your literary allusions, otherwise he isn't Russian, you're very much mistaken. I don't read much, I had now idea what you were talking about (I don't even now, to be frank, because if you're thinking what I'm thinking I don't understand what it has to do with being or not being Russian).
    Those italic lines below are the words of Борис Гребенщиков ("Огонек" 1990 год). He is saying about a trip to the New York.
    Я дико боялся. Когда ехал и первое время там. Потом расслабился. потому что ничего страшного со мной не происходило. У нас же у всех комплекс швейцара. У всех советских людей. Ты все время ждешь, что кто-то тебя постукает сзади по плечу: "А вы что здесь делаете? Пройдемте!" И выгонят. Это у нас в крови. В этом сущность великого эксперимента: взять страну и из нормальных людей сделать некую социалистическую общность - советский народ, в котором каждого в любую минуту можно откуда угодно погнать, и он примет это как должное.
    I don't think highly of Grebenshikov, and I don't know his works to quote from. I had absolutely no idea what you were talking about and that it was a quote from Grebenshikov. And I bet few other Russians would've guessed. Also, reading this quote now, I think that no matter how screwed up Grebenshikov is, it gives him absolutely no right to extrapolate his screwedupness (Gawd, how did I think this one up?) onto others - why doesn't he bloody speak for himself?

    [quote:14txs6bo]I don't rub shoulders with швейцары…
    Швейцар is only particular case. He is a symbol of this phenomenon or syndrome.[/quote:14txs6bo]
    А вы, батенька, психиатр?
    [quote:14txs6bo]First line of defence, innit?
    What kind of line was protected by Шариков?[/quote:14txs6bo]
    What's Bulgakov got to do with it?
    Show yourself - destroy our fears - release your mask

  14. #14
    BJ
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    Rude Russians

    Boy, I opened a can of worms there didn't I? I haven't got a banana in my ear. Sorry but I'm a new member and didn't realise this had all been discussed before. It seems as though many/some Russians are delighted to be thought of as rude by others. I too am not impressed by the American 'have a nice day' statement but if you are served by someone who smiles it is surely preferable to be being greeted with a scowl?
    What happens when Russians live outside their country. Do they still maintain their 'attitude'?

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    I grew up in the US, and I don't think it's preferable to be greeted with a fake smile. I mean, I guess I'd rather someone didn't arbitrarily give me the Evil Glare of Death for no reason, but if some service employee is having a cruddy day, I don't expect them to pretend they looooove me. What's the point? It doesn't make the food taste any better or the mail get delivered more quickly. Go ahead and be scowly, service employees. I worked in a restaurant. I know it blows.

    I think you're getting the false impression, BJ, that all Russian service employees are unpleasant all the time. There are plenty of them who smile or act friendly. It's just that they don't seem to do it for no reason as often as Americans. Most of the time when I got friendly service it's because the employee was just joking around with coworkers, or was flirting with me, or just seemed to be having a good day, or whatever. Natural happiness instead of just Service with a Smile. Basically, actually showing what they feel instead of running around like a Stepford Wife all day.

    Anyway, an artificial smile looks like nothing so much as a teeth baring to me, and that's just unnerving.

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    Ey up, BJ. I, like you, like to read. Tell me, BJ, do you work at a coal mine? Do you keep pigeons? How can I best be rude to you? Should I swear? No. Oh yes, I know just the thing to say to you, your being a tyke and all: Lancashire is much better than Yorkshire. Red Rose rocks, White Rose sucks.
    Show yourself - destroy our fears - release your mask

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    Quote Originally Posted by VendingMachine
    I'm sorry, but if you think that a Russian person should immidiately understand your literary allusions...
    But I'm absolutely sure that any Russian person knows what is up in his country.

    Quote Originally Posted by VendingMachine
    I don't think highly of Grebenshikov, and I don't know his works to quote from.
    I don't think highly of Гребеньщиков too. However, IMHO, his main thought was extremely correct. Set your eyes on the date of the interview. It was 1990 year. In a year Russians will be gone away from the Baltic, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, ... The centuries old empire was ruined over some years.
    Take a look for the some driver's traditions. It's happened several times per a year in USA. Some car driver goes out from his car to the policeman without a permit. How do you think which country those drivers come from?
    IMHO, those facts, at long last, have one root - addiction to hierarchy, exiguous choice and insignificant feedback.

    Quote Originally Posted by VendingMachine
    А вы, батенька, психиатр?
    I see you are writer, not a reader.

    Quote Originally Posted by VendingMachine
    What's Bulgakov got to do with it?
    May be you also think that Гоголь slandered Russia by "Ревизор"?

    Quote Originally Posted by BJ
    It seems as though many/some Russians are delighted to be thought of as rude by others.
    You are not right.

    Quote Originally Posted by BJ
    What happens when Russians live outside their country. Do they still maintain their 'attitude'?
    You did not get the thing. The most of Russians are very opened and pleasant people but they are contrasted with other Russians. The most of Russians don't like and even afraid to converse with officials, cops, and other power-handled persons. I'm sure all described by me "nightmares" are in your country too but situation aided to grow up them in Russia. To understand this one you should know too much. I saw several stories by BBC about Russia and I know that we look at the same thing but our perceptions are different. I know that all that BBC told was right but also I know many of BBC didn’t talk.

    Quote Originally Posted by BJ
    I too am not impressed by the American 'have a nice day' statement but if you are served by someone who smiles it is surely preferable to be being greeted with a scowl?
    The part of problem is covered here. Do you want a smile from a men/woman whose month salary equals a cost of full car tank of petrol in Europe? You could meet even an ex-professor as a seller in a marketplace.

    I agree with Линдзи when he said: "I think you're getting the false impression, BJ, that all Russian service employees are unpleasant all the time".
    Я танцую пьяный на столе нума нума е нума нума нума е
    Снова счастье улыбнулось мне нума нума е нума нума нума е

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BETEP
    Quote Originally Posted by VendingMachine
    I'm sorry, but if you think that a Russian person should immidiately understand your literary allusions...
    But I'm absolutely sure that any Russian person knows what is up in his country.
    Am I supposed to see the world around me through your eyes? We're all different though we obviously share or used to share one country. I see things differently and so do millions of others, you can't possibly speak for everyone so do us a favour, mate, knock it off, all right?

    Quote Originally Posted by BETEP
    I don't think highly of Гребеньщиков too. However, IMHO, his main thought was extremely correct. Set your eyes on the date of the interview. It was 1990 year. In a year Russians will be gone away from the Baltic, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, ... The centuries old empire was ruined over some years.
    I live in St Petersburg, I'm not particularly interested in what goes on in other parts of the country, let alone the ex republics. I simply don't know and frankly, don't wish to know. Again, you were alluding to his works I had never read. How was I to know? Maybe some other smart c@@@ has written something different, so what? Am I to be aware of everything that's being written/talked about?

    Quote Originally Posted by BETEP
    Take a look for the some driver's traditions. It's happened several times per a year in USA. Some car driver goes out from his car to the policeman without a permit. How do you think which country those drivers come from?
    Search me. Iceland perhaps?

    Quote Originally Posted by BETEP
    IMHO, those facts, at long last, have one root - addiction to hierarchy, exiguous choice and insignificant feedback.
    What facts? Well, have it your own way, you're obviously the kind of person who always knows best.

    Quote Originally Posted by BETEP
    May be you also think that Гоголь slandered Russia by "Ревизор"?
    OMG, what's this got to do with it?
    Show yourself - destroy our fears - release your mask

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by scotcher
    I mean, we all know that the lass serving us doesn't really give a damn 'how we are doing today'
    I don't quite agree with that, though there are certainly some (maybe even a lot) who don't give a damn, there are also those who are really sincere and caring, just because they love people in general and think that each customer deserves to be treated with care and attention. But I don't consider a smile a necessary attribute of polite service, for me it has more to do with the voice intonation and the general expression on their face. Personally, I'm very sensitive to rudeness (I mean real rudeness, not mere surliness), when a salesperson or an official is being rude to me I'm afraid to ask another question and will try to avoid the interaction with this person the next time.
    Quote Originally Posted by scotcher
    all she cares about is getting home to see her boyfriend when her shift is finished, or whatever
    The fact that she is waiting for a date with her boyfriend or for some other pleasant event can even boost her willingness to be polite and nice (depends on the person of course).

    Btw, when I've been to Europe I haven't noticed much difference in politeness of service people there and in Russia (before that I thought there was a big difference).
    "Happy new year, happy new year
    May we all have a vision now and then
    Of a world where every neighbour is a friend"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Friendy
    Btw, when I've been to Europe I haven't noticed much difference in politeness of service people there and in Russia (before that I thought there was a big difference).
    Which is correct. In Europe, it is next to impossible to fire a cashier (say) no matter what, and the job is not all that fantastic, so if the guy is in a bad mood, that's it. The shittier the job, the grimmer they are.

    Not so in the states. There anybody can often be fired without any reason whatsoever, and there are just too many guys in the streets only too willing to replace you, because any pay is better than the joke called "welfare".
    Jonesboro, Arkansas. Mean, stupid, violent fat people, no jobs, nothing to do, hotter than a dog with 2 d--cks.

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