Common courtesy in Buenos Aires



seeker said:
The reason that I think this meme is fruitless is because you can´t change a culture by forum-moaning.
With all due respect, I do not think that she was trying to change the culture here as much as pointing out problems she is having with the culture here.

seeker said:
btw, I wish the women would bump into me:p
You can be bumped all you want riding the subway between 8.00-10.00 AM on the A line. :)


citygirl said:
Really - while I don't find people rude here, I do think there is definitely a difference. People bump into me *all* the time (women a lot more than men) and never say they're sorry. Again, for me, it's a common courtesy to say excuse me when I am passing someone but I don't find that to be true here. And I don't find people smile a lot at all here. When they're interacting with you, yes but take a look next time you are walking in the street. I would be willing to bet you see a lot of angry looking people (they probably all just got done standing in line at the bank;)) And in fairness, I wouldn't describe NY as a city where people smile a lot either.

It used to bother me (especially the bumping into me), now I just shrug and accept it. But I still say excuse me if I inadvertently bump into someone - basic manners IMO.
IMO in some big cities where there is a problem with security (theft) people are a little suspicious of people smiling, bumping or doing something for them for no reason.

I like what you have to say about the lack of smiles here (It is not going to change you). I try to find smiles in my conversations with the people I interact with during the day.

It was like this morning, when buying some bread. The lady behind the counter was not smiling. I was smiling at her and would not stop. Eventually, she gave me a big smile. It was beautiful.


Scelesta said:
Wow- I think this is the first time I have ever heard New Yorkers referred to as friendly. New yorkers are pretty much universally known for our assholeish, always in a rush, generally inconsiderate behavior. I love NYC, but I avoid midtown like the plague- I have been gratuitously punched on the street, have had people shout at me for no reason, and am made generally uncomfortable by all the negativity I feel in the air. Maybe your friend was in brooklyn?? People tend to be happier there. Or the west village? And the only reason sales girls are so friendly is because they have been instructed to ask that of every person who comes in the door. I personally cannot stand it when I am descended upon by the sales people and talked at incessantly until I am forced to say no in such a firm way it almost seems rude.

Does anyone else feel like I am kind of stating the obvious?
Wow, I'm sorry but I have to know what provoked that response (punched AND shouted at - for NO reason)??? I think that the reason you can't stand midtown is because of all of the tourists.
I have lived here for 32 years and have not had any problems like you mention. We are actually very friendly and yes, like most cities, we can be a bit guarded - however usually if you smile, we smile back. As for the shops, yes sometimes the salespeople are there to make a commission but not in all places. Usually what works for me is "no thanks, just looking".
cujodu said:
My 72-yr-old neighbor downstairs visited the USA for the first time last month, upon her return we talked at length about how difficult the people are here in Argentina, as now she has somewhat of a reference of what I've had to adjust to. She was absolutely floored when walking down the street in NYC and a young passer-by smiled at her for no reason. Every where she went she had stories about how nice people were, about how in a city as big as NYC people can still walk down the sidewalk without pushing and shoving each other, how some one in a store says "hello, can I help you?" when you walk in, all these things that never pass in BA. I went back to the USA also for a month recently, the first time in 2 years and I was also amazed at how friendly everyone is, and I think it was amplified after living here and having been away from it. Something I never appreciated while I was there, until I lived some place where the people are so coarse like BA.
I agree. It took me years of hanging out in Buenos Aires to figure out that happiness is never going to happen there. With the exception of people who are married into Argentine families, or people who are students, most of the foreigners are there because for some reason they wanted to leave their country of origin.

I am in the States at the moment. I had forgotten just how friendly the people are here. Of course, I am generalizing. We have alot of jerks too. But, most people are friendly. I just got back from vacationing in The Hamptons. Now, for anyone looking for happiness....... I would suggest giving it a try.

What can't be beat though in Buenos Aires is the fact that you can linger in a cafe or restaurant for hours and nobody bothers you. This is a luxury that we do not have in the States where turning over tables is considered customer service.


Hmmm. I suspect people have very different standards they measure happiness by.

Last time I went to london, the first thing that struck me as we got on the tube back to heathrow, was how miserable and pissed off everyone looked. I tried to say hello and thankyou when I bought a sandwich, only be looked at with a blank look of incomprehension followed by a silent passing of my food, change and receipt.

I have no idea who portenos are measured against. Evidently they aren't measuring up against some quasi-divine chosen race who beam genuine smiles of joy at every passing stranger, but to me people here are genuinely friendlier than I've met in europe, asia or the US. Maybe I have a peculiar facial feature or personality quirk that elicits a sympathetic response.... I really don't know.

Completely echo the view of someone earlier - I evidently live in a parallel universe to some people here...
Rescueme said:
There are some things that I just don’t understand here in this city that I live. I have had many experiences with porteños that would lead to justifiable homicide in some parts of the U.S.A. What I don’t get is how the citizens of Buenos Aires have a total disregard for each other as if that is the way things are supposed to be. Not only, Not only do they let their dogs sh1t on the sidewalk but they turn the other cheek when they sh1t on each other.

This Sunday morning my dumb ass family next door plays her music at 0900 in the morning. Of course it is loud enough for the whole building to hear it but no one says anything about it. If I knew how to speak dumb a$$ I would have been there telling them to shove it up their ass. But what surprises me is the fact that no one says a damn thing to these asses because it is the way life is here.
An associate of mine once gave me this analogy which I think sums up your point completely. The remark was this: "That the way the Argentines drive their cars would be the same way they treat their fellow human beings."