El Grumpy Gringo - Manners Maketh The Man (or Woman)

Published on 6/25/2007 in Spanish Culture

Manners?  No one seems to have them these days! 

I stood like a prat holding open the door of a local eatery last weekend for at least six people.  Not one of them so much as looked at me, let alone said “thank you.” 

Call me old fashioned but if I’m in a shop or bar I like to be greeted with a smile (even a false one would do) and a ‘hello’ or ‘hola’. And, after handing over my hard earned money to the assistant, a “gracias” would be nice.  Instead the change is slapped on the counter and they carry on chatting to their friend without so much as looking at you.

Then there are zebra crossings!  Like a true Brit I actually stop to allow pedestrians to cross, do they smile or wave their appreciation – do they hell!  Most of them glare at me then saunter across as if I’d got nothing better to do than wait all day for them to cross.  On the other end of the scale, if, as a pedestrian, I want to cross on a zebra crossing, no-one will stop to let me go – I was once nearly mowed down by a Guardia Civil car when I was half way across the road! 

Why they bother to paint zebra crossings in the first place is beyond me – a total waste of paint.  And what paint do they use for God’s sake? It doesn’t last more than five minutes.  Recently speed bumps were laid all the way through our village and yellow lines were painted to warn motorists to cut their speed.  Within less than a month the paint had worn away and now unsuspecting motorists, who are driving at faster than a snail’s pace, almost go through the roof of their car.

Mind you the look of shock on their faces sometimes makes me chuckle – so it can’t all be bad!   

El Grumpy Gringo
Owners Direct Group

Written by: Susan Pedalino

About the author:

Women In Spain

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Island babe said:
Wednesday, July 4, 2007 @ 4:16 PM

People call Fuerteventura backward, but if thats what happens when countries develop, lets stay as we are. You can cross the road anywhere here and they will stop, everyone says Hola (perhaps not the English and Germans quite so often). We love it here, its so friendly.

midasgold said:
Tuesday, June 26, 2007 @ 11:17 PM

Hows about lane discipline at roundabouts ?
I now use the same (bad maners) as the natives - just head straight for the required exit - regardless of any lane - as trying to follow the correct procedure ,just confuses them.

Roberto said:
Tuesday, June 26, 2007 @ 6:15 PM

Zebra crossings do have one very important use in Spain - with all their coastal towns being overrun with conscientious law abiding Brits, there's at least still somewhere for the Spanish to park!
Manners, and perhaps more importantly, respect, have more to do with breeding than nationalitiy, I think. Yes, there are a lot of rude and disrespectful Spaniards around - but there's plenty of ignorant Brits as well. Personally, I hate them all!

almerisol said:
Tuesday, June 26, 2007 @ 12:31 PM

personaly i think grumpy is correct, what a load of ignorant people there are here, basically it comes down to lack of education, as i find the people in the cities like madrid and barcelona have more manners. it does not apply to everyone and some are very well mannered here and even take the time to smile and be courteous , don't knock the Brits at least we say please and thank you.

happy in spain said:
Tuesday, June 26, 2007 @ 9:44 AM

Personally, I do not have any problem with the Spanish people. Just greet them with a smile and they will bend over backwards to help you. My problem is with the Brits. I find them very aggressive, rude, and they can do nothing but "whinge"
Recently there was a poll in Europe to find the worst "whingers". The Brits came second, I just cannot believe that they did not come first.
Not so proud to be British

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