How to Look Like a Jerk-Ass American in a Foreign Country:

  • Pay for a $13 cross stitch chart with a hundred dollar bill. Sigh dramatically as the assistant tries to scrape together $87 in change for you.
  • Never say please or thank you for anything.
  • Demand that the shop assistant ring you a taxi. When she explains that THIS ISN’T A HOTEL, insist that she’s being difficult and she really does know the phone number.

And you wonder why some of us pretend to be Canadian…


Add yours →

  1. And why some of usually don’t admit our second citizenship to the world at large.

  2. I guess the other way is to complain consistantly about your customers so you make people not want to patronize your store incase we catch you on a bad bitchy day!!!!!

  3. Hey Anon, you know another way to tell the Americans in the crowd? They’ve got their girlfriend’s back! So if you got something to share with the class then use your real name. What are you hiding?

    Anyway, Kris, it’s not just the Americans who pay for stuff with ridiculous notes. We get people at the library who pay for like $2 fines with $50 notes. And we only start our day with $40! ug. I feel your pain.

  4. ouch! I’m thinking people are coming to the shop and being wierd just to see if they can make your blog.

    i’m in ur shop, makin ur blog

  5. Err.. what’s wrong with asking for a taxi? Politely, of course, and ideally already knowing the number. I do this all the time, and stores are always happy to oblige.

  6. That customer needs a major attitude re-adjustment. What a total ass wipe. I do agree with Amy, though – This isn’t an American problem, it’s a people problem. Retail is one of the most thankless jobs around. I’ve dealt with rude people of all nationalities in Australia, where the culture of entitlement runs rampant. That said, Kris, did you know for sure that customer was an American and not Canadian? Something to think about. I hope you don’t become one of those American ex-pats that develops a chip on your shoulder because it’s what all of the cool kids in Australia do…

  7. I worked in customer service for over 10 years. Rude people are EVERYWHERE! A friend of mine told me something that usually made my harder days more bearable. She said that whenever a customer was being particularly difficult she would put on her biggest smile, yes them to death and think that this was only a few minutes of her day. When that miserable customer left, he/she still would be his/her unhappy self, but my friend still got to be her fantastic self. Here\’s hoping for better customers tomorrow.

  8. Interesting responses! First off – I didn’t actually deal with this customer. I was in the office pretty much all day. It was one of the other staff members who came downstairs at closing time to despair that she needed to come across some nice Americans really quick or she’d be in danger of thinking we were all jerks. “What?!” I exclaimed. She’d apparently had a parade of them all day that were just completely obnoxious. “Are you sure they weren’t Canadian?” I asked. She was sure. Then she told me the story, and the woman was even more imperious and jerky than I made her sound here.

    And the thing about the taxi is, there’s a hotel with a taxi rank about 100 feet out our front door! This woman just didn’t want to wait with the rest of the hoi polloi. (And she made a big deal out of name dropping that they were going to the Intercontinental Hotel in the Rocks, which is very posh.) Whatever.

    And it’s not that I have a chip on my shoulder; it’s really not. I actually hang out with plenty of Americans here, and I’m constantly defending us to everybody else. I complain about them in the shop mostly because I notice them more and I expect them to be on better behavior (because there are a lot of people in the world looking for any excuse to think ill of us). So when a tourist lets me down, it annoys me. Has nothing to do with having a chip and everything to do with expecting better behaviour out of people. I’m too much of an optimist and I get pissed off when people disappoint. The rest of the world has a stereotype about us, and a lot of American tourists don’t seem to do much to dispel it.

    (And I didn’t know you were a secret Yank, SlythErin!)

  9. Also – note my title. It wasn’t “How to look like an American…” I’m not saying this behaviour is typical of everybody. It was “How to look like a Jerk-Ass American…” I suppose if you want to argue the point, I could have left out American altogether. But the point was that this person’s behaviour made an Australian think ill of my nationality. I could’ve rewritten it as: “How to fulfill every bad stereotype people might have about us”, but that’s too long and not funny enough. So there.

  10. You know, i thought when i first met you, i thought you said were Canadian…. 😉

  11. At least they didn’t try to pay with US currency (it happens) and then get irate because Sydney isn’t an American town. I mean, WTF?

  12. Americans?. One example. In Lapland, Finland, winter, about -20 C (-4 F) some American tourist was very worry how reindeer (some was close to us) live in night. I say that there is a lot of space where they can go and then they (tourist) say that I’m a cruel and not a human at all. What you can do? I think you need to check what you teach in school 🙂

  13. Actually, Bex, a lot of Australians seem to presume that I am. I usually respond that I’m American but I’ll take that as a compliment, because it means that I’m not acting like an asshole. 🙂

  14. I tend to take the same angle as tina’s friend. Lots of people suck, but I know that once they leave my store, they’re gone. I don’t have to go home with them, but someone does. I’m just happy I’m not that person. 🙂

    I’ve also noticed that most people think we’re Canadian unless there’s an obvious southern accent. Weird.

  15. That’s because it’s a secret. 🙂

    My mum’s American. She came out here to teach for a year, met my dad and stayed. They lived in the US for a bit but came back here in the end. So I’ve got dual citizenship.

  16. Thinking Americans are Canadians is often not really a mistake at all – it’s a deliberate default assumption that comes about because Canadians can be so darn touchy about being mistaken for Americans. Saying “I’m sorry, I thought you were Canadian” to an American almost never causes offence, but doing it the other way around tends (in my experience) to produce a rather different result…

Comments are closed.