My last post about being back in the UK, if I may be so bold to say so, read slightly glum.
So, I got to thinking – what did I love about being back in the UK, and what surprised me?
The thing that really made me go ‘Oh, I don’t think I ever clocked that before’ was how jolly friendly many of the British customer service folk were. Honestly, they weren’t all miserable and down in the dumps! They were super friendly and chatty. For me that was a certain thing that took me by surprise. Yes, really.
The reason this surprised me was that I am v v v v v used to the American way of customer service – all smiles and ‘How are you?’ (and in the USA they are not really wanting an answer. FYI, just ‘Good’ as a response will suffice, and on occasion ‘Good, how are you?’, but you don’t really care for an answer at this point cos they are smiling in their customer service smile way anyway and they’ll just say ‘Good’ whether things are good or not…).
(Side note: The exception to this is Tom in Walgreens, Clarksville, USA, who is the cheeriest, most sincere chap I have ever met, and who, if you go into Walgreens with your sunglasses on, shouts ‘ Welcome to Walgreens – oh my, it’s a celebrity!’ (Cue you to take off glasses.) And then ‘Oh no, it’s not, it’s you! Well, welcome to Walgreens anyway!’ Tom is a diamond 🙂
Anyhoo, yes, charming the Brits were! The lovely chap and his ma in the local corner shop, who called everyone ‘darling’ about 50 times in a sentence. ‘Oh, darling, the Maltesers are out of date, you know, darling, so help yourself, darling. And if you need any bread, darling, the delivery is tomorrow first thing, darling, and I always want to make sure you have a fresh loaf, you know, darling.’
And the lovely train conductor who asked where I was heading and had I had a good weekend. I was so surprised that I almost didn’t know what to reply. I had, of course, had a smashing weekend in Bristol.
And the lovely young waiters and waitresses who asked why I needed a take out bag – was their sitcky toffee pie not good? And me having to explain how it works in America with take out bags, and that they’re a good thing; my son just can’t finish it right now, and no, I don’t think we’ll take the clotted cream with us, but thanks for asking!
And the charming waiter in Bill’s in Cheltenham who was very happy to take pictures of me and my friends, and chat to my friend Rachel about her cats (many pussy jokes cackled about, of course).
I wonder, thinking back, if this has always been the case in Britain, and perhaps I just didn’t acknowledge it before, or does it just feel genuine in comparison to the American way? Or is it a new thing and folks in the UK are realising the benefits of being cheery?
Anyway, whatever the reason, I like happy Brits. Let’s keep it that way 🙂