Making Basil Fawlty Seem Helpful & Polite...
If you have never visited the Czech Republic before, there is something you should be prepared for...rudeness!
It's an often discussed topic, and there are a number of theories to explain the phenomenon of blunt, blank faced, belligerent, sarcastic, huffing and puffing, tutting and eye-rolling, hostile, lazy and sheer bloody-minded rudeness foreigners frequently encounter in this country.
I've spoken to Czech colleagues about it, and it's reassuring to know that they suffer from the same kind of thing, and are quite embarassed or angry about it.
From the waitress who wants to finish sending her text message before belittling herself to take your order, to the middle-aged jobsworth on the till at Tesco's who rations out the shopping bags as if they're her own personal property, the backward-thinking mentality when it comes to 'Customer Service' is almost universal in this town.
No joke - it actually becomes a talking point when you receive friendly, decent service once in a while!
It's a weird trait of the Czechs, who once you get behind the stony, unsmiling facade are one of the most generous people I've met.
There's no real way of dealing with it, other than to take it and get on with your day - there's no point trying to admonish someone for rudeness, or trying to explain that YOU are trying to spend YOUR money in THEIR establishment, thereby paying THEIR wages or contributing to THEIR profits.
They simply don't see it that way. They'd sooner watch you walk out the door after waiting fifteen minutes in an empty restaurant than cut their conversation short to come see what you want.
Even after living here for eighteen months, some altercations can leave me infuriated or sometimes quite shaken up! Last time was when I got told off in the supermarket for not putting a divider on the conveyor belt between my shopping and the person in front...
Just laugh it off is the best advice I can give - sometimes the rudeness can reach farcical levels, so enjoy!