In Poland you say hello. To everyone! I mean really, you do! I used to think my husband was super embarrassing when he walked in to shops in Dubai and said a bright and chirpy ‘Hello’ to the sales assistant or any worker who happened to be nearby. Now, after a little over a year in Poland I get it, and I also do the same!
Everywhere you go, bank, post office, small shop, you walk in, you say Dzien dobry. When you have paid, you say Do Widzenia. Yes, even in the bank!
The post office one is crazy, you actually walk in and say hello to the other people in the queue, not to the person working there. If you are not the talkative type you may get away with a nod. Its weird how courteous people in poland are, yet if you smile at someone they will think you are totally bonkers.
Im a smiley kinda girl, I guess its what I do, I smile at everyone (ok, maybe not everyone, but lots of people), and this seems to almost frighten polish people. I guess its a bit like the ‘no eye contact rule’ in London on the tube! But say hello you must!
So here I am, like a total lunatic. I happily say hello to the other customers when I walk in to the post office or a bank, I say hello to the security guard at the door of any building, and bye when I leave. I say hello to the joggers outside of school every morning, and the old lady who walks her dog. I say hello to the ladies at the till and the other patients in a doctors waiting room. I say hello to pretty much everyone. Not in Tesco though, its to big, to many people to say hello too! Only the security guard and the till person gets a hello in there. I also say hello to anyone before addressing them. So if I need help in a shop I would say, ‘Dzien Dobry, do you speak english’, rather then ‘Excuse me, do you speak english’? Unless its someone very young, then chances are they know english well and wont be offended at the lack of a hello!
And with that I bid you Do Widzenia! Im off to IKEA where I will say hello and goodbye to a ton of strangers 🙂
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Latvia was the same with the smiling! But most of the time they just grunted at you, if that 😉
Grunting is better then nothing I guess, depend on the actual grunt!
Hi there! Here in France it’s also pretty common to greet everyone. Maybe it’s not as over the top as Poland but it’s totally normal to arrive in a doctor’s waiting room and address everyone with a bonjour, sometimes in line at the post office. Definitely when you arrive anywhere like the pharmacy or bakery. I feel like those over 65 or so do this even more frequently. Most shopkeepers will make it a point to say hi to you when you enter their store. It’s quaint and polite and I have to say I’ve gotten used to it, although people look at me like I’m nuts when I go back home to the US and say hi and bye and thank you, see you soon at Target. Hahaha.
I think I wrote a similar post on smiling. I do it all the time. People here in Serbia think I am weird and fake. But it is just me. And I can’t stop myself. I also confess singing to my little girl in public. Staring ensues. I can only imagine what people think of such a happy person in this sometimes gloomy place. But life is what you make it. I want to make mine happy!
Dobar Dan! 🙂 Is what we say here.