Coffee and Russian Smile Realizations…

I was having a cup of decaf coffee last night while eating dinner with Sveta. With the weather so blistering cold hot coffee is good anytime of the day. I just wish that caffeine would not keep me up all night. So I must live with decaf…

The conversation turned to the Russian people. Sveta is always interested to hear what I am thinking when it comes to Russian’s. I was on the subject of Russian’s and the service industry. You know, customer service and all that bull…

The Russian service industry is a perfect match for my personality. I spent years in America working under the pretense that when a customer walks in, there better be a smile on your face and customer service like they are at your home. I came to Russia and found the opposite and I was in heaven…

Sveta says that I am more Russian than she is on customer service. I am a: “Leave me alone and when I am ready, I will ask for help!” – type person. You smile at me and ask me 10 times, do I need help and I will walk out the door and never come back. For you see I have already studied what I want and the fact that I have entered your doors means that I have one specific item to look at and most likely know much more than the sales persons does about that item…

I realize that this is against the American way of life and process. But it is me. That means to me, Russia is a wonderful place with her quirks on customer service…

Now all this rambling brings me back to what I was talking to Sveta about. The people in the local stores smile at me. This is not a fake smile but a genuine smile. I am well known to them and a regular customer. They even come running to help me get plastic bags for the fresh veggies. They have to because I will destroy half the bags with my big hands trying to get a bag off the roll… 🙂

The point is that they know my habits and try to help without being obtrusive. They really are glad to see me. The smiles are real and not a forced fake smile that I had to pound into my service personnel in America. I despise a fake smile…

I know that in your mind is the thought: “They act that way because you spend money!”…

Het! If you know anything about Russia, then you would know that is not a true statement. Russians could care less if you came into buy something or n0t. In fact the usual look when you walk into a business is “Go away and drop dead please! Can’t you see that I am busy talking to my boyfriend on the phone?”…

So I have learned to give the “Don’t worry but you drop dead also, I know what I want and will get it myself” look. Other words ignore them and when you pay, throw the exact money on the counter and leave. Never say a word and act like they are an idiot…

But this new treatment I was receiving had me puzzled. Then Sveta cleared it all up…

Sveta after listening to me ramble. Explained that they accept you and that you are a part of their life now. They are really glad to see you and that type of inter-reaction takes much time to develop. Sveta said that the forced smiles in America made her feel strange and uneasy. Smiles in Russia are not given out freely. They are earned and are sincere…

It kinda made me feel good inside that I get one of those rare genuine Russian smiles that are very hard to come by…

That is why I love Russia…

In Russia a Lack of Smile is Deceiving

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