#1 6-1-2017 4:09 AM

changer7
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cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

Hi All,

I've just recently returned from a trip to Sydney, Australia. I'm originally from Chicago.

The trip was great, but it seems that people are quite hostile. No one makes eye contact or greets you. If you try to make eye contact with people, they look away in constipated shame, as if you have committed a crime.

This is especially true for young people. Even in retail stores, it seems waiters have to go out of the way to smile or even be hospitable. People just seem constipated and vile.

any comments?

thanks

 

#2 6-1-2017 5:26 AM

CMTinPHX
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

Winter blahs?

 

#3 6-1-2017 6:17 AM

stefmuts
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

CMTinPHX wrote:

Winter blahs?

Haha was thinking of that too! Ruined New York for me ...

 

#4 6-1-2017 7:46 AM

margunn
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

I didn't feel that at all in Sydney. It seemed to me that people was friendly. But then again I'm from Norway,he he. We are not known to smile to strangers

 

#5 6-1-2017 8:02 AM

TravelingChris
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

I had the opposite experience in Sydney. Everyone I met at stores/restaurants/etc were very friendly. Then again I'm from the east coast of the US, so the bar isn't set very high smile

 

#6 6-1-2017 10:21 AM

shavy
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

It just your imagination, I been to Sydney twice I find people were friendly.

 

#7 6-1-2017 11:39 AM

Kathrin_E
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

You were probably expecting 24/7 smiles the American style. But there are many parts of the world where people  don't do that.

 

#8 6-1-2017 2:17 PM

osgoodst
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

you gotta work on your "smile at me" face

 

#9 6-1-2017 2:35 PM

ulis
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

Had the opposite experience in Sydney, was there 35 years ago and 2 years ago

 

#10 6-1-2017 8:06 PM

danly
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

shavy wrote:

It just your imagination, I been to Sydney twice I find people were friendly.

That's a bit rude don't you think? Everyone has different experiences, and I bet changer7 wasn't delusional nor was he having visual hallucinations at the time.

Sydney is a busy, hectic city - just like any other metropolis in this world. I'm sorry that OP had a bad experience, but as an Australian, I can see it happening. I personally find that if you take yourself out of the hecticness and fast-paced environment of Sydney, people tend to be more laid-back and friendly.

I found Singapore to be the same.

 

#11 6-1-2017 8:16 PM

changer7
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

thanks for replying danly. You're right, everyone paints such a bright picture, but it seems that the encounters I have had were inhospitable and pretty much that of getting the cold shoulder so to speak.

In some retail and hospitality settings, people, especially young people go out of their way to NOT make eye contact. And when eye contact is made, service just seems robotic and inhumane. No please and thank you, no manners at all. In public transport, to give someone a seat on the train, it is like i never even existed. The " Why should I shudder to even say thank you"

 

#12 6-2-2017 12:56 AM

sarahelaine
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

Different places, different cultural norms. A good waiter in America would be seen as irritatingly intrusive in Europe, a European waiter would be seen as cold and unhelpful in the USA. My northern British friends view southerners as rude and unfriendly, my southern friends view northerners as weirdly in your face and nosy. What's normal about giving up a train seat in one place- say for a woman- can be viewed as actively offensive in another place. And one city's friendly interaction is another city's creepy flirting it weird overfriendliness.  For the record, Chicago has to be the single warmest and friendliest city I've been to and I'm not surprised other cities feel unfriendly by comparison. But you can't expect every city to be the same. And part of what's great about travel is when you figure out why this city or that city isn't opening up for you and work out how to tweak what you're doing so it does.

 

#13 6-2-2017 2:04 AM

TravelingChris
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

sarahelaine wrote:

Different places, different cultural norms. What's normal about giving up a train seat in one place- say for a woman- can be viewed as actively offensive in another place. But you can't expect every city to be the same. And part of what's great about travel is when you figure out why this city or that city isn't opening up for you and work out how to tweak what you're doing so it does.

Good point. In Korea for example, you're expected to give up your subway seat for the elderly. If you don't you'll be scowled at. I once tripped on bus steps and spilled my beer on an old ajuma (wasn't even drunk, just clumsy). I found out quickly that that doesn't go over very well as she smacked me!

 

#14 6-2-2017 4:51 AM

gingerbatik
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

changer7 wrote:

thanks for replying danly. You're right, everyone paints such a bright picture, but it seems that the encounters I have had were inhospitable and pretty much that of getting the cold shoulder so to speak.

In some retail and hospitality settings, people, especially young people go out of their way to NOT make eye contact. And when eye contact is made, service just seems robotic and inhumane. No please and thank you, no manners at all. In public transport, to give someone a seat on the train, it is like i never even existed. The " Why should I shudder to even say thank you"

Sorry to hear about your bad experience.
Personally I think Sydney is a nice place with friendly people and I been there many times especially for a long weekend holiday, and it is my favourite overnight stop over to Asia or Europe.

Maybe you met many young people on a working holiday visa from all over the world, and they just there to earn some money without the need to givi any good services since tips is not necessary, unlike in USA where they give good services and try to communicate with people.

But possible, some people have a busy life or stress or they have a very bad day.

I hope you have a better experience next time on your holiday wherever it is smile

 

#15 6-2-2017 7:12 AM

grandmar
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

I have only been to Sydney once and it was 5 years ago in July - so in the winter.  I would think it was a little early to have the winter blahs.  I didn't find any problem with people being unhelpful, but I obviously NEED help, and I was traveling with my young very attractive granddaughter, so maybe that was the difference. The hotel people were extremely helpful, I had to go and figure out how to have a phone that worked (because I had been given wrong information by Verizon), and the phone people did the best they could to figure out something that would work (I eventually just bought a phone), and the bus people and the ferry people were very helpful.   But I didn't notice whether people smiled at me or not. 

The one place I found shop people who were completely uninterested in making a sale was in a museum in Norway.  I tried my best to make purchase, but no one would make eye contact or acknowledge that I was there.

 

#16 6-3-2017 3:57 AM

gingerbatik
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

grandmar wrote:

The one place I found shop people who were completely uninterested in making a sale was in a museum in Norway.  I tried my best to make purchase, but no one would make eye contact or acknowledge that I was there.

Hi Grandmar,

I personally prefer to be left alone when browsing the shops so I can wonder on my own without the sale assistant following or point things to me. It iritate me when the shop assistant do that and I would immediately leave the shop.  If I want to buy something I will just take the stuff to the cashier and pay there.

 

#17 6-3-2017 7:44 AM

grandmar
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

This was a museum shop and everything was locked up in a display case.  The 'cashier' was also in a kind of kiosk.  I wanted to look at something to see whether it was what I wanted, and I could not get them to even look at me so I could ask about the item.    Communication was completely cut off.

 

#18 6-3-2017 8:53 AM

tombom07
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

Let's not forget our individual differences.

As somebody who works in customer service/hospitality, I try to be a nice customer when the shoe is on the other foot. You never know who is having a bad day or may be going through a tough time.

I'd like to think that when I'm at work (most of the time) I am giving great service. I know there have been one or two occasions in my current job where I've received complaints. Not completely unfounded, but from my perspective both customers were rude to me first. Tolerance is one of my strengths but sometimes it's hard to bite your tongue & if I'm not in a great mood sometimes I can just snap, be too direct, or maybe not be as assertive as I should be. It doesn't mean I'm bad at my job or a horrible person, but that one person may have that perception of me whereas the regulars love me & often return as we've established a rapport. Most people will probably be indifferent & not remember me once they've left.

Whilst there are going to be clear cultural differences across the world when it comes to this sort of thing, we can't tar all people from one place with the same brush.

Last edited by tombom07 (6-3-2017 8:55 AM)

 

#19 6-5-2017 5:11 AM

changer7
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

Thanks for replying.

It just seemed that a lot of people had a glum look on their face. Young people, especially in retail places, just trying to make eye contact seemed a criminal offence. I mean what sort of store assistants go out of their way not to greet or make eye contact. It's like people have no courtesy. Forget the checking out game, all you get back is a constipated look regardless if you were a $10k Armani suit.

 

#20 6-5-2017 6:26 AM

Sept922
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

I have found every single place I have been to to be full of open nice people with one exception. I have been treated warmly everywhere but I feel because I am a charming open warm person that helps to put out a welcoming vibe. Without being pushy. I am in Cyprus at the moment and staying with folks who live here. I have been all over the island and crossed the UN zones across the north and have interacted with UN people, northern Turkish occupied locals and other Cypriots. They, being in a divided country with politics of reunification always a hot topic, are a slightly suspicious lot. They don't have the warm open American style of service. It takes a few times to warm them up but I have met many people. I also have several Aussie friends and have never heard from others that they had any issues whilst visiting Australia similar to the OP's. But being from the midwest and going abroad can be misleading. People from small towns think New Yorkers are rude and I find it not true at all. But then again I don't even want to hear "how Ya'll doin" all the time either when I am in the south of the US. Normal courtesy as said by many is a cultural thing.

Last edited by Sept922 (6-17-2017 1:07 PM)

 

#21 6-6-2017 6:36 AM

nolan
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

Give a smile and don't expect reciprocity. If ever they do smile back, then good. If not, then just remember that it takes far fewer muscles of the face to smile than to frown. Hence at the back of your mind, those who don't smile as much will grow old and grumpy way faster than the norm! (as compared to some of my TravBuddy friends who age gracefully and full of zest in life).

 

#22 6-6-2017 5:22 PM

jacobi
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

changer7 wrote:

Hi All,

I've just recently returned from a trip to Sydney, Australia. I'm originally from Chicago.

The trip was great, but it seems that people are quite hostile. No one makes eye contact or greets you. If you try to make eye contact with people, they look away in constipated shame, as if you have committed a crime.

This is especially true for young people. Even in retail stores, it seems waiters have to go out of the way to smile or even be hospitable. People just seem constipated and vile.

any comments?

thanks

Gee, I don't know where to begin with this without it sounding like I'm attacking you, which I might say would be a better definition of the word "hostile" than the way you have used it. Aussies are generally pretty laid back and try not to be "in your face" like many Americans I found to be when I traveled there, not that I really cared, but there's a difference definitely in the personality of the average Aussie and average American.

 

#23 6-7-2017 5:00 AM

planxty
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

I appreciate that it is many years since I was in Sydney (1991 to be preise) but I found the people there to be perfectly hospitable as, indeed, I did whilst hitchiking from there to Cairnsand previously in Perth.  There is only one country in the world where I have had consistently negative experiences and I shall not name it here for fear of giving offence.  I was only there for a day thankfully thanks to their national airline srewing up, had one meal and came home with dysentery from it whilst no-one I interacted with seemed to have the slightest idea that they were in the hospitality business at all.

I have visited a reasonable amount of countries and have had very positive experiences in all of them bar the one mentioned abouve.  Maybe it is just the way I approach people.  I literally have friends all over the world now which I count as a great gift.

The point has been well made above that different nations and cultures have different ways of going about things and surely that is much of the reason for travelling, to learn about these differences.  It would be a very boring world if everyone was the same so "vive la difference" as I believe the French say.

 

#24 6-7-2017 10:15 PM

gemmapurcell
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

I don't believe that at all in Sydney.I think it's just your imagination.

 

#25 6-9-2017 7:02 PM

changer7
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Re: cost of a smile in Sydney Australia?

Grandmar is correct, the feeling I got in sydney is that you can't even look at people you don't know even if you are not trying to flirt with them. No one seems approachable, people just put on an arrogant face like they don't know you. It's like no one is human and in their own world. This is especially true amongst young people who go to university.

If you try to look at woman to make a conversation with them they just look away as if you stole something, people are not approachable.

It's not my imagination. It feels like a robotic society with no courtesy. Even on public transport people don't show any manners like excuse me, and don't even say thank you or make eye contact.

 

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