This sign on the London Underground reminding people to respect the British culture

This sign on the London Underground reminding people to respect the British culture

Being from the southern US were we greet and smile at almost everyone we come in contact with, it takes me a few self reminders to change my behavior when visiting places where this is the norm.

It's hard to grasp if you've never lived in a dense, expensive city.

There were several years of my life when I was literally only ever alone in my bedroom or in bathrooms. I shared apartments with roommates, commuted on public transit and busy sidewalks, had an open floorplan workplace. So much of my time and energy went to mandatory socialization and to negotiating shared spaces that I had zero interest in small talk with strangers. And when I've lived elsewhere I've been that chatty, greet everyone, extroverted person- it was circumstances more than culture that made me seek internal solitude. I love living in the city but lack of privacy does weird things to you.

2 seconds is a fucking eternity to maintain eye contact with a stranger.

This is faker than a fake thing

People getting chased down for a tip? Can't say I've ever seen or experienced that

I like that line to opposite effect. Even a dog can speak, but the difference between a Southerner and a dog is latter can learn to be quiet.

Never thought about city life in that way. Well said

In Canada you can look at strangers on your commute as long as you do one of two things: Smile, or say sorry.

True. A glance at most and anything more will result in a "the fuck yous looking at?" (In NYC anyway)

I'm from St. Louis, but my sister lives in Manhattan. When I visit, I can't take it for more than a few days - it really begins to wear on me that I'm never more than 10 feet from another human being at all times. Feels claustrophobic.

Yeah that's definitely not normal even by US standards. Tipping is definitely not required by law, so if someone skunks you like that you'd usually just call them a jackass in your head and move on. Chasing them down for not leaving an optional tip is how you convince a customer to never come back.

Joke time:

Tourist in New York was looking at a his map and couldn't find his destination. He stopped a random New Yorker and asked, "Excuse me. Could you tell me where I can find the Empire State building or should I just go fuck myself?"

I thought it was kinda obvious

Yeah, no. This is not British culture. They met a rude person. If someone introduces themselves it's common courtesy to introduce yourself back, and most people I've met do so while smiling and shaking hands if prompted to.

Sexual frustration from urban solitude.

A NY Times correspondent who was stationed in London for a couple of years wrote a piece when she finally moved back to the US for good, mostly about the different personality between British people that she had gotten used to. For example it would be considered very strange to introduce yourself to a stranger unsolicited. She was at a party and an American friend was with her, and she dared him to introduce himself to another person at the party. He went up to another man and said "Hi I'm Steve' and the English guy replied "Is this a joke?"

Like small talk with the checkout clerk at grocery stores in NYC. Coming from the south seemed so rude to me at first but realized the volume of customers they see its all about efficiency and not holding up the line. When I came back home after several years Id get annoyed at having to make small talk again.

This is a fake sign. It uses the correct London Underground font but it's not a real sign.

I am a cashier in the south, we hate small talk as much as you do but managers usually require it. I've had multiple customers complain about me when I worked in my home town for not smiling enough.

Probably a guy in drag that wants to wear you as a skin suit.

You get used to it. Took me a year or two before it started to feel comfortable to me.

Now I highly prefer it and find my midwestern giant-suburb style home city to be absolutely infuriatingly boring and inefficient at pretty much anything that matters.

Different strokes and all that of course.


Judging by the replies I would say that not many people get joke.

Never experienced that. New Yorkers may be surly, but they're not that rude.

These two types of people are abundant in my canadian city and it's pretty fucking.

Man, I need to visit your city!

Agreed. When I greet someone I know/work with in the south and they don't say anything back I get to drop my favorite line. Even a dog can speak

Jesus you actually say this out loud to other people?

Londoner for 20 years. Moved out two years ago. At first I was like uh i miss the city... now I think why the hell did i move there in the first place ? people are rude, it's polluted, nowhere to park.. ever.. overpriced housing, dangerous... the list goes on and on... I still work there but I don't wish to raise my kids there. And now I have a 4 bed house for half the price of my 2 bed London flat.

I maintain eye contact and smile so no one will want to sit next to me.

It's a great way for the server to get fired

Forced to smile, the south sounds horrible.

It gets old faster than you would expect.

Oh wow, that's rude as fuck, and definitely not the norm here. Most restaurants add an additional gratuity, usually 18%, for "large" groups. That's normal. But to be hassled for an additional tip? Hell no, that's rude.

London culture, not British culture.

Forced to smile

Sounds like an interesting book title about American retail.

You can tell by the way it's floating in midair.

It absolutely doesn't. What gets old fast is empty streets and everything closed early every night. Never in 20+ years have I been tempted to move back to a small town.

As a Londoner I find that when people complain about us being rude it's because they simply have refused to acknowledge certain cultural norms that you get in London, especially the way you talk to strangers. I have no trouble talking to strangers be it at parties, on trains etc.

If you are say in certain Asian countries, then you are aware of cultural differences and adjust yourself accordingly. I wouldn't call someone as arsehole because they react to me not following social norms.


A dollar is fine, that bartender is just a douche.

I don't know if urban solidarity is just snobbery or if friendly people make me want to shoot myself. These two types of people are abundant in my canadian city and it's pretty fucking.

edit: super friendly like sir u/Asirr's comment

This sushi restaurant in the US automatically added an 18% gratuity to my bill, and I thought fuck it that's fine we were a little rowdy, but then right after I leave, I hear "oh wait King_Joffreys_Tits!" walks over "did you not leave a tip?"

Fuck you for having the nerve to automatically add a tip and then pretend like you didn't. I just said no you guys already added a large tip for yourselves and you didn't deserve more

The most southern of burns.

Probably the TFL maintenance crew as that's not an official sign :)

it's just an unfortunately flawed system.

This only applies in UK cities though. In villages we will tip our hat and give a welcoming "good day" to passers by. It has to be welcoming unless it's someone you don't like, as good day can mean just about anything in England

Perhaps it's possible that people prefer different things.

Some one has tried to peel it off

Or a way for the higher ups to avoid paying a full wage to these workers. I'm pretty sure it goes back to blacks in the us working around the civil war and not getting paid a wage or something.

You're a work colleague, not friends. I don't want to talk to my colleagues outside work to be fair (am Brit), but I'm a self confessed miserable bastard.

But, why would you want to talk to someone? I don't understand.

Yeah i'm in the south and really wanna live in a city when I graduate, it'll be nice seeing nightlife and busy streets as the usual.

I don't like tipping, but sever hourly pay rate is typically below minimum wage. Tips are intended to be a form of merit based pay determined by the customer upon the quality of service provided.

I tipped $1 for each beer I bought when I was in a bar in the US. I asked an American friend why the bartender was looking so pissed off and he told me that $1 wasn't enough and I should have been tipping $2 per beer.

As a non-American that just made me want to say "well, fuck that" and tip nothing from then on. The whole system is immensely dumb.

Londoners are too used to living 4 people to a flat and having 0 privacy they can control at home and then going through crowds and then going to an office where they have to act social. It's enough sociability dealing with that crap constantly 24/7 with no end. I definitely get pretty fucking tired of being social to everyone when you have 0 privacy.

It's not the same in the North of England. Christ, if you get talking to some old dear on the bus you'll never fucking get away. Last time my car was fucked i had to get a bus in to town and this woman was going on and on. She ended up explaining her Christmas pudding recipe to me. In June..

The fuck do i need to know this for, lady??

Every sign on the tube has its corners peeled off. I have no idea why

Exactly this. I'm from a smallish town and I moved to NYC. if everyone did all of the things that were expected(ish) where I'm from in NY nothing would ever get done. People mistake it for rudeness sometimes but if you ever need directions or the time or to bum a smoke (you should probably offer a buck on the last one because they're crazy expensive) everyone is usually super friendly. Its just that you can't talk to everyone you interact with.

there is wifi, Talk with your phone

I love the south, just can't wait until I graduate so I don't have to work in retail/customer service anymore.

Also worth noting that the supposed victims of this system, the waiters, actually prefer it. Unless you work at a really unpopular restaurant or are just really bad at your job, you'll make more in the US than you would at whatever "living wage" the government comes up with elsewhere.

England is my city

Big if true

My guess is that people probably try to peel them off /s

No we really don't, you just generalised 8 million people.

I wouldn't say that especially at a party, in the street I might be like Erm. But I'd be polite.

Wow, I would just tell you to fuck off. What a prick. Other's lives don't revolve around acting how you want them to.

i love the american tourists in london who end up bringing the entire train carriage into friendly conversation.

Actually, a 5 cent tip would probably get you chased down lol

This is not British culture.

Not general British culture, no, but it sounds par for the course for London. Londoners generally have two settings; asshole and cuntasaurus.

Only time I've been courteous.

Me: Smiles Doing alright?

Them: My sons daycare just called because he's throwing up. He's been having a fever and diarrhea since yesterday but thought he was okay. Kids, right? laughs

Me: I'm never doing this again.

1/5 will not do again

This is a spoof sign, you do spot them sometimes on the underground

my mom did tell me to try everything at least once

I've used it once. It's an effective way to show you didn't forget to tip and to show them they suck as waiters. If the girl chased me down I'd say she earned all 5 pennies.

I hate the American tourists who try to bring the entire train carriage into friendly conversation. I have to work with one all day. Enough is enough.

Jokes on you because we'll give you directions and tell you to go fuck yourself in the same sentence.

Yeah you're not far. Just go up about five blocks, make a left and go fuck yourself. Have a nice day!

Maybe people who put them up rip the corners like that to make it seem like someone tried peeling it off and failed, thus discouraging anyone from actually trying to peel it off. The conspiracy thickens.

My family just moved from St Louis to Stamford, CT and I after the first month I was completely convinced people were jerks....turns out they are there for work and just don't want to be bothered. My daughter and I still smile and say "hi" to everyone we pass but some people still give us those looks of "why the eff are you talking to me?" You can take the boy out of the Midwest but you can't take the Midwest out of the boy :]

It's actually kinda comforting. If anything goes amiss, people are around to help. If I scream loud enough, somebody will hear.

In the boondocks, not so much! It's a bit too isolated and creeps me out a bit. Anything can happen.

This has nothing to do with what country it is in. This is simply life in a high-density population. You'll never have more privacy than in a big city, and never have more strangers up in your business than in a small town.

It helps to pat the seat next to you while raising your eyebrows at the same time.

This is how elevators work

You sum it up very well. I'm living in Washington DC, splitting a 650 sq/ft studio with a roommate. I work in congress all day on the public side of things, you wouldn't believe the abuse people like into individuals they don't know based off a perception they've mucked up themselves. I go from being praised and abused, told to kill myself by 'true americans' to classes all night.

I've almost forgotten what it's like to have a moment of real quiet in a space that is truly my own, to be human again. I love being social and meeting new people, but damn I've forgotten what it's like to be just me and not have to answer to a constant social contract and state. I can't wait to move.

I oscillate from the two lifestyles but being surrounded by nature is less lonely for me. I don't expect birds too rest on my shoulder or lizards to wave at me but being surrounded by people I have no connection with is depressing... unless I am seeing friends everyday of course.

Inb4 all the people who don't live in dense urban cities calling Londoners assholes for not socialising. As someone who moved to London to study you have to understand it really is a different mindset in busy, bustling cities. I'm not getting on the tube because I'm going out "adventuring" I'm doing it because it have to get to my morning lecture; it's just another part of the grind. The way I would describe it is would be like going up to someone who is studying and trying to talk to them, it's the last thing they want. Especially in London full of "busy" people who have been on their feet the whole day, and have been packed into a shitty outdated train line like a sardine, I wouldn't be surprised if people are a touch grouchy when someone tries to schmooze you.

I have noticed a shift in my demeanour living in London; I have less patience for things (specifically the general public) and am more assertive in things like pushing through crowds and in busy congested situations. I guess it rains true that you're a product of your environment, but when all that stuff is your 24/7 it's no longer cute or funny or quirky when people are laughing and holding/blocking trains doors so their friends can get on or standing in the middle of escalators/streets chatting it up.

Noone's going to mention how much better the service is though?

I was thinking of lines like: "Go bother a dog, then."

yes. well said. but people who grow up in big cities can't imagine life outside it. Many Londoners for example have never left the M25... and think everything outside is inferior.

If you're striking up a random conversation in the UK, only 2 types of people will reply; Old lonely women, and people who find you attractive. Even then it's not a guarantee, however the vast majority of the country will politely make small talk to the worst of their ability in the hopes you'll leave them alone.

What gets old fast is empty streets

I don't think I've ever heard somebody complain about a lack of traffic, but I guess it takes all sorts to make a world.

Woah, don't threaten this guy with a good time

Or you are just that weirdo staring at people...

It sure is. Ripe for abuse for a number of reasons.

I grew up in a pretty rural area and moved to Chicago. I can't imagine going back.

If you do both do you win an award

Aye the replies suggest people think this is real!

I live super close to manchester city centre (1 mile out), and I get the best of both worlds.

Although it's also ghetto as fuck, but I grew up here so I've only been stabbed once!

Am from the the South and lived in NYC a couple years. You don't talk to strangers on the street, but once you go to a bar you can easily strike up a conversation that's probably more in depth than you would have with a stranger in the South because people aren't inherently suspicious of strangers. People in cities just hate street urchins.

Close. Developer 😁

For real though what a twat. "How dare you do something I don't like, now I'm going to inconvenience you because I can." Petty is the perfect word.

Yep, you get much more than a normal minimum wage as a server. I lived in Seattle for a year and I worked at a Japanese ramen restaurant, and I was averaging between $20-25/hr. Ramen isn't even that expensive, I can't imagine how much I'd have made in a really nice steakhouse. I don't even know Seattle's minimum wage, but I know it's not >$20/hr.

In the US the employer is required by law to make up the difference if tips dont get you to minimum wage.

"Canadian of the Year For the Month of July"


That is illegal and they should file a complaint with the department of Labor and/or sue.

I have. Long story short, we were billed incorrectly, was told the amount was more than on the receipt. We didnt argue because there was like 10 of us and the difference was like 20 bucks. We made up the difference, and left a small tip. (Service wasnt great anyway) Was in the parking lot getting into our cars when the manager comes rushing oit the door hollering about how the waitress works hard and deserved a proper tip. One of the girls who didnt even order anything gave her a $10 bill just to shut her about. Ive never had such a bad experience at such a "reputable" establishment.