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Are people from Madrid friendly or just plain rude?? PLEASE...

planet earth
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Are people from Madrid friendly or just plain rude?? PLEASE...

My friends just came back from Barcelona and they hated it, they said that the taxi driver wanted to rip the off and people were extremely rude and unpleasant. They also complained that food in Barcelona was way $$$... I am not going to Barcelona, however I am going to Madrid and wanted to find out if rudeness is like that through out Spain. I leave on Jun 11 to Madrid for 5 nights and also will be visiting Costa Del Sol!!! Any feedback!!!! Will appreciate!!!

planet earth
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11. Re: Are people from Madrid friendly or just plain rude?? PLEASE...

Hey Brennabee, Since you being so rash I guess people from New York should all stay home and hibernate. As you could see I am from New York myself. Hey, maybe we can't handle all the culture mumbo jumbo. Funny, I've been to Asia and Asian man would not give up a seat for a lady and a pregnant one that is and their lady spouses walk right behind them with out them saying a word but hey that's their culture and its just the way they are. For you to say that we Americans or New Yorkers are have no idea about culture, you must not be for real. America is a melting pot of cultures and people, specially in New York. Are you sure you're from New York and not the Twilight Zone? No desrespect!!!

Washington DC...
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12. Re: Are people from Madrid friendly or just plain rude?? PLEASE...

The rudest European hosts by far are the French and the Swiss. These people absolutely hate the Americans. That being said, Americans are second only to the Germans as being the most obnoxious travellers.

I can't imagine the average Madrid resident could possibly be any ruder than your average New Yorker or Parisian. I have heard nothing by favorable reviews about the Spanards when it comes to hospitality. I will be making my first trip to Spain this summer mainly because I've heard such good things about how polite and friendly the Spanish are.

Barcelona, Spain
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13. Re: Are people from Madrid friendly or just plain rude?? PLEASE...

Well, for a start, there must be something between friendly and plain rude (like neutral!). I've already given my opinions on the Barcelona-specific points in the other post re BCN but this thread has brought up more general questions about cultural differences between Spaniards and Americans and more specifically Spanish waiting staff vs US practice. Here no one will come to your table with a big smile and say "Hi I'm X and I'm serving you today" (subtext "and you will be paying me 15% for this at the end for the meal"). Such familiarity is not the European way and Spanish waiters can be particularly abrupt at times. Even sometimes in places where they know you (I go to the same bar/cafe with a friend every Wed. after dropping our kids at school and the service there is still pretty impersonal).

As an aside, I would say that in small shops where they know you it is different and here I would disagree somewhat with the Canadian poster. In neighbourhood shops you do hear banter, questions about health, comments on children, politics even sometimes etc between customers and staff . Of course this slows things down for the other customers waiting so has its down-side too!

Back to restaurants: service in restaurants may be perceived as slow between courses. This is because a meal is something to be enjoyed at leisure. Even a menu del dia (the speediest 3-course option) is likely to take an hour. Spaniards enjoy the "sobremesa", the chance to chat around the table. If you're in a rush, you go for "fast food".

My other general remark would be to emphasise something already mentioned which is that the concept of service culture, the idea that the customer is right, is totally lacking here. Spanish customers do not complain (it takes us foreign residents for that!). My husband's attitude is typical: I won't complain, we just won't go back another time.

I've read the odd post about taxi drivers trying to rip people off here but I think it's very rare. It certainly doesn't get a mention in guidebooks to Spain (as it does for Lisbon, Prague etc) unlike the topic of pickpockets, so i think it must be a rare exception. Fares are metered and there are established supplements (posted in the cab) for luggage, airport departure, call-out.

So relax, enjoy the more leisurely pace. Thousands of north Europeans (hundreds of thousands in fact) have moved to Spain to live because they find this, or the idea of it, extremely attractive!!

Madrid
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14. Re: Are people from Madrid friendly or just plain rude?? PLEASE...

It is a topic too, french are rude with everybody, not only with americans, ask in spain about them, je je

Spain is a very touristic country and I must say that the impression about americans like bad travellers is not true, at least I have never heard about it. Everything depends of the own experience, if you ask a person of some areas of mallorca about english, they will tell you that they are violent and drunk, if you ask other people in other area they will tell you that germans are a thousand times worse,...all depend of the experience that you have with people from a determined country.

I think spanish are rude in the first contact but it is a question of manners, after the first impression I think it is easier to establish human relationships here, longer and deeper than in other places.

But this is only my experience and I suppose each person has a different one.

Barcelona, Spain
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15. Re: Are people from Madrid friendly or just plain rude?? PLEASE...

Two more points about (poor) customer service ethos here , particularly in shops but also public offices and banks. Big moans of mine as it's very much the norm : staff conducting a personal conversation together while serving customers (or if you're unlucky while standing to talk and not serving!).

And the one that really gets me: giving priority to a ringing phone over a queue of people standing waiting to be served. In my job as a readers services librarian it was drummed into staff that people who have physically come to you have priority over those on the phone. Always.

However my most recent experience of appalling service was in the cafeteria of a Marriott hotel in Amsterdam where staff kept us waiting about 10 minutes when there was a table free from the moment we arrived but they didn't want to clear it for us to sit down (another order; more work!) Yes, they knew we were there and weren't by any means off their feet; overstaffed if anything for number of tables. In the end we left and got something at the baker's to take back to our apartment. We had the feeling the service for the rest of the meal would have been as poor. Not that I did a post in A'dam forums about it though!

London, UK
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16. Re: Are people from Madrid friendly or just plain rude?? PLEASE...

Name me one nationality that doesn't have a stereotypical view on at least one other nationality. It is just too easy to generalise, and your view on a particular nationality is always going to be very subjective. On more than one occasion when travelling with my partner, we have come away with two completely different views on the locals .

But whatever you do, don't let someone else's (even if they are your friends) generalisation stop you from going somewhere. At least go with an open mind and form your own opinon, isn't that what travelling is all about?

south orange, new...
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17. Re: Are people from Madrid friendly or just plain rude?? PLEASE...

I agree with the last post. Take a look at what the US is up to in the world-the work of Bush, and you wonder why you are treated rudely in Europe? Please, we are all lucky we are not spit on when we walk the streets. I'm going to Europe this summer with my husband and teenage son, and I am buying clothes so that we look as un-american as possible. And we are taking Italian lessons so that we can attempt to communicate without english. I still expect some anti-american sentiment.

Dorset, UK
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18. Re: Are people from Madrid friendly or just plain rude?? PLEASE...

My husband and I were in Madrid from 4th to 9th June and had a thoroughly enjoyable stay. We were there to visit our student daughter who is working there for six months, so we experienced the city both as a non Spanish-speaking couple (this was my first trip to Spain), and also when accompanied by a Spanish speaker. At no time did we feel threatened (we stayed in a hotel on Gran Via) or that we were being ripped off. We used the taxis extensively as I have health problems - they are easy to hail in the street, cheap (cheaper for 2 than using the Tube in London), and we were always taken directly to our destination.

I think Riknpat have it absolutely right - don't expect the 'have a nice day' culture, but don't take the lack of a smile as rudeness. We saw much genuine warmth where our daughter is a regular customer. We're keen to return to this vibrant and colourful city.

Kamloops, BC...
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19. Re: Are people from Madrid friendly or just plain rude?? PLEASE...

lilybelle264 --

I can't imagine where or how your friends found rudeness among the Spanish.

Wherever I have gone either alone or with my husband, I have had nothing but courteous and friendly behavior.

I use the international rule of good travelling: I smile and greet the person, ask if they speak English, por favor, and then get on with things. A smile and good manners have carried the day for me in a dozen countries, and Spain is not an exception. I've been well treated in Barcelona, Madrid, Granada, Toledo, Seville, Jerez, Arcos de la Frontera, Ronda, and wherever else I have gone.

20. Re: Are people from Madrid friendly or just plain rude?? PLEASE...

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