Garethw87 wrote:Although I did have a good time and most people were unbelieveably rude for no reason whatso ever.
And for the record I'm not one of them, getting totally wasted, go to all the bars, hit on all the girls type people. Just simple things like trying to buy some snacks at the local store!
Can I chime in? I'm not Slovak either...
I think in Hungary you can still get two types of customer service -- absolutely wonderful and friendly, and the well... more socialist type.
I experienced both of these the first time I went there right at the airport. My luggage was not on the conveyor belt in BUD. So I asked a supervisor in English if that was all the bags from the flight. She looked at my shoes with an annoyed frown and gave me a dismissing yes. So I went to the lost baggage counter. The woman there was like a spoiled teenager (she was middle aged), kept loudly sighing and frowning and even rolled her eyes once when she took my description of my bag. She hated dealing with me and let it show. Then I was directed to another counter where they keep bags that have been found. There I was met with a young, remarkably cheerful and friendly woman who gave me the biggest smile and pointed my bag out for me. She smiled with me in my happiness to have found it, and gave me some friendly comment.
I walked away thinking I had probably already seen a lot of Hungary in a nutshell. I realised that the women sitting at the counters in the airport probably don't get paid very much. In practically unionless Hungary, their jobs could be really unflexible for all I know. So I understand that excellent customer service is not necessary something they feel like giving. I also realised that the grumpiness was probably some kind of attitude remnant from the socialist era. And I realised that the younger generation would probably be very different, more customer-oriented.
Now after many visits, I don't think it's so much of a generational issue, it's just random. And most customer service is friendly. I do notice that many Hungarians get very, very shy when they realise I can't spek Hungarian. It's like they don't want to look at me. They turn their comments to my Hungarian boyfriend and then they don't look at me again, or say goodbye when I say it (in Hungarian).
But I think customers themselves can also be a bit rude. This is also probably a cultural difference, so I'm not sure. But in grocery stores or supermarkets, people don't always greet the cashier. If the cashier greets, they don't always greet back. They don't even look at her/him. This was a bit of a shock to me, as here in Finland it is a kind of obligatory ritual to greet the cashier and she is trained to look at you and greet you as well (usually with a smile). It's very rude not to do it as a customer. On the other hand, I'm sure many customers also do greet back. I'm just saying that, if you work all day and many don't greet back, you understandably loose your cheer and stop making the effort.
On the other hand, greeting the personel in shops (like bookstores) when you enter is something not done consistently in Finland, whereas in Hungary, I've understood that shop keepers expect it. My boyfriend sometimes has to remind me, saying "you didn't greet back?", and usually that means I've forgotten to look towards the cash register desk at the other end of the store and completely missed the greeting in the first place.
I must seem rude in those situations.