Saturday, November 26, 2005

A greater evil

As of today I am letting go of a prejudice. Since childhood I have made jokes about American people being ignorant. I vow never to do it again. Should I become drawn in to an American-bashing conversation in the future I will interject with, 'but American people are so friendly and polite!'.

Yes, it's official. I am living in the rudest country on earth. Last week I was verbally assaulted by a waitress for rearranging the dishes on a restaurant table. Yesterday I was screamed out of the dry cleaners (sans garments) because it was a couple of minuted past closing time. And the stuff I had came to collect was hanging right behind the staff member as he shouted at me! What's more, it was Friday evening and the shop doesn't open until Monday.

The contrast with my laundromat in Hong Kong couldn't have been more poignant. They were open till midnight seven days per week. If I caught them as they were closing they would open the shop again for me. They were friendly and always rounded down the weight of my washing, telling me that I was a good customer.

But the prize for customer service goes to my bank where I was told the following, 'We can't give you a good bank account because we don't know anything about you. You've just moved here and you don't have full time work. It's better for you to go to another bank because we can only give you the basic account which isn't any good.'

I did try going to another bank but they couldn't schedule an account opening interview until over two weeks later. I gave up and returned red-faced to the original bank for a basic account. Over a week later my account details have just arrived through the post.

My extensive contact with immigrant groups over the last couple of weeks has confirmed my thesis. The longer people stay here the ruder they get. I'm on my guard. Infact, I'm determined my to abuse my position as a language teacher to make this country a friendlier place...

5 comments:

miriam said...

i give it a few weeks. wait for your vitamin d deficiency to kick in. then you will become just like the rest of them...

Anonymous said...

oh, and regarding banks, comm bank has just admitted that following its extremely expensive customer service 'which bank' campaign, customer service satisfaction levels are actually lower.
so you are not alone.

joe said...

yes, i'm getting there... negativity is taking over, starting with this blog...

i just went back for the dry cleaning. it cost 23 pounds (!) for five items and the guy then dropped one on the floor as he was getting them off the hanger. He didn't even apologise and left me to dust it off when I got out of the store!

to top it off... the clothes all smell of adhesive after being hung in the key cutting/shoe repairing/dry cleaning store over the weekend.

miriam said...

hmmm... may have to stick to self cleaning attire only. bummer. 23 pounds is rip rip wood chip

Vincent Chao from London said...

I had the same experience as yours. I was rejected by HSBC to open a bank account for the same reason before, which never happens in Far East! Generally i think most english people are quite friendly but reserved. They don't work very hard. On the contrary the Hongkonger are more rude and ignorant.