The Florida blog – UK and USA differences

So here we are, once again, sat by the pool. It’s the first real day of laziness today following a week of sight seeing.

The first few days here were especially hectic and within minutes we found that the hotel was overbooked. We got shifted to another similar hotel a few yards down International Drive, but it wasn’t the news we wanted to hear following an 8 hour flight. We did sort it out in the end and we’re now back in the hotel we booked.

When things like this happen I tend to notice the differences between the American and UK/European lifestyle and attitudes. Here in Florida our hotel problems were dealt with quickly and efficiently with the reception and management being incredibly courteous and pleasant throughout. Manners and enthusiasm seem to flow so easily here. Walk into a clothes shop here in the US and a member of staff may say, “Hello, how are you today”, then they’ll say ,”Have a great day” when you leave. Within a few days this becomes infectious and you’ll find yourself both replying (instead of just nodding or smiling) and expecting it wherever you go. Then you’ll get the sudden urge to start saying hello to strangers yourself. It’s infectious, which is good in my book.

Sure, it may just be the tourist area we’re in, however I rarely see people in TGI Fridays or Pizza Hut being so utterly natural when welcoming us into their restaurant in Britain. In the UK the staff of these same restaurants make it look like an effort, like a bad actor trying to impress a casting agent.

It’s not just the staff at the restaurants here either. Most of the American population are equally outgoing and friendly. Get in a lift / elevator here in the US and the guy next to you will ask you how you are, or he’ll wish you a cheery “Good Night” or “Good Morning” depending on the time of day. Back home in the UK you’ll be lucky to get eye-contact with your fellow lift passengers, let alone any form of conversation.

Why is this so? Is Britain turning into a grumpy, competitive nation? I’ve certainly seen the difference at first hand with Americans on holiday in London. “Hi!”, they’ll say as they step towards the Tube ticket booth, “How are you this morning?” they’ll ask – only to be met by a grumpy ticket agent ignoring the pleasantries and asking what “zone'” they need to get to. The American people here probably have already formed their opinion based on TV appearances from Gordon Ramsey and Simon Cowell