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In other parts of the world there are specific customs when it comes to paying your local grocer or the hotel bill.
In France, most retail transactions are handled like this. Your bill comes to you on a tray. You pick it up and look at it and then you place your cash or credit card onto the tray and return said tray to the cashier. The cashier will then return your change or cash slip on the tray for you to take or sign.
In China and many other Asian countries, like Singapore, Hong Kong (OK, technically it's part of China but it's a Special Administrative Region), Taiwan and Japan, the cashier will present your bill with both hands and you should accept with both hands. When presenting cash or credit card for payment you present with both hands. It's a sign of respect from one party to the other.
Unfortunately, here at home, anything goes.
Save that for some other form of international relations. What I'm talking about is speaking a foreign language. When you travel to another country, not England, you should try to speak like the locals. Don't assume that everyone can speak English. Even if they can it's still nice to try out the basics. Need I remind you again? Hello, Good Bye, and Thank You!
I was in France this past summer with a dear friend of mine who is extremely smart and well educated but doesn't speak French. Unlike me of course. In any case, everywhere we went he spoke English to shopkeepers, waiters and strangers as if they could understand. Sometimes they did, but more often than not, they appeared confused and put off. Of course they would, can you imagine if someone came up to you and just started speaking to you in some other language?
A couple of weeks ago, I was in this upscale pet store, zoomies, with my daughter and our little dog. An elegant, bejeweled older woman started speaking to me in Portuguese. She was smiling big time so I knew she smiled back thinking,, "Um, yeah, you're in New York so you need to speak English." I'm not some xenophobic populist. I just didn't understand what she was saying and didn't think that I really should have to know Portuguese in addition to the three languages I can already speak, quite competently I might add! When I told shook my head and said sorry I don't understand, she called upon her daughter, also bejeweled and tanned in a very I have lots of leisure time kind of way. Her daughter, clearly not wanting to get involved, told me that her mom really liked our dog and was wondering if he was some kind of English something or another. I, not having so much leisure time, explained that he was a long haired chihuahua. They were less than impressed. He is rather big for a but I have papers! Ok, the point is that what if someone came up to you in your hometown and started speaking to you in a foreign language? Wouldn't you feel a bit put off? So don't do the same if you have a passport unlike a certain vice presidential candidate (oh sorry, she got one two years ago?) and choose to travel abroad. Be a world citizen not just an American citizen.
Oh yeah, for the record, I am a proud and patriotic American.
I just got off the phone with one of my BFF's, let's call her Lacey. I hadn't spoken to her in quite some time so I was missing her counsel and company. One of the reasons why I seek her counsel and company is because she is so very refined. While we were chatting on the phone, I was in the comfort of my own home and she was online at the pharmacy. She told me she had to get off the phone and call me back since she was about to pay for her purchase. I admire that a lot. I cannot stand to see people chatting on the phone, loading their reusable shopping bag and trying to pay for their purchase at the same time with an in the flesh till operator. What's that person supposed to do? Their job is hard enough, ringing up yur purchase of US Weekly, a snicker's bar and and anit-bacterial ointment without you pretending like they're just some payment machine.
Now let's see if Lacey calls me back!
Quite frankly, I like to avoid human interaction as much as the next misanthrope but if in front of me, I will pay the respect that is due to a person that provides me a service and that means I say hello, thank you and good bye. Acknowledge that they are a person. They'll appreciate it. Trust me.
During the summer, when we're not jetsetting around the world, we summer locally on an island wonderland where are friends come to visit.
This past weekend our dear friend, Greg (who's name has been change) came with his delightful partner, Earl. You have to take a ferry to this island and luckily there's a bar at the ferry terminal to help you pass the time. When Greg went to get his second drink, someone bumped into him on his way out and you can guess what happened. Greg's drink went all over the floor! Tragic for sure. After a perfunctory apology, Mr. Bumpers went along his merry way. Luckily, the bartender was very kind and generous and replaced Greg's spilled milk, um, drink. Thank you nice bartender's of the world!
What Mr. Bumpers should have done was offer to buy another drink. And in case you were wondering, Greg was watching where he was going.
As you know I've not attended to my blog for the past several months. I was traveling on holiday in France, China and Hong Kong. I learned a lot about different customs in those countries and I would like to share them with you. These tips will help you fit in better when you travel to those areas of the world so look out for them.
You may be asking, "Why do I need to learn foreign customs/etiquette?"
The answer is simple. You should respect other cultures and you don't want to come off as a bumbling bumpkin.
I'm back after a long summer hiatus! I have a lot of adventures to share with you. However, before I tell you about what I learned on my time off, I advise you never to take your shoes off during a business meeting.
This morning I attended a seminar at a law firm that my company uses as outside counsel. Though we are a client, I put on a suit and tie, fashionable of course. Usually Iwear business casual but I thought it would be nice to dress up and put on a pretty face. Let's face it, people are nicer to you if you pay the bill but they are even nicer if you pay the bill and look nice too. As I've said again and again, your dress and hygiene is a sign of respect for those around you. This makes a big difference in business.
If you look at the photograph, you'll notice that you can see the foot of your run of the mill conference table and the feet and shoes of the person sitting next to me. Gross! This was a presentation at a fancy law firm which I think merits a certain level of decorum. Read, don't take your shoes off. It's off putting and disturbing. Especially because I was sitting there in my Paul Smith suit, constricting Aquascutum tie and dress shoes. Sure I would have loved to attended the seminar in shorts and sandals but I didn't. I sat properly and listened attentively while suffering in my business wear.
I advise you to do the same the next time you attend any business meeting that doesn't take place in your bedroom.