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Differences Between France and America: Service With A Smile

Day #62/365
Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: Tarter Time Photography


Part II Summer Series:  Differences Between France and America; Service With A Smile

The Summer Series will run until the end of August, highlighting cultural differences between France and America.  I am currently in New Jersey with my 4 kids for the summer.  We are laughing and enjoying the cultural differences between France and America.  We have been here about three weeks, so we are really getting used to happy smiles, but for the first week after touching ground here, all the smiles were really a big cultural smile shock.  Because in France, smiles from customer service employees, (even if these employees are often competent) are hard to come by.

My kids love love love all the smiles from everyone here, everyone seems so friendly.  “Everyone seems so nice”  they say.  My kids smile back to everyone, they chit-chat, I do it too, I am starting to get used to all these smiles.  Perhaps this friendliness is only “fake” or superficial (taking comments from how some Europeans see these American smiles and friendliness) but I love it…It makes me feel like I can approach employees in stores, wait staff, anyone…to ask questions, to ask for service, without feeling that I am bothering them.  Smiling is good for the environment (the mental environment!) and the wellbeing of each person.  It is addicting! A smile is overrated and yet is so simple.

What do smiles and good customer service have to do with our overall health?  A good mental health includes being around a positive environment with low amounts of stress.  Smiles help to have positive energy and decrease our stress! It is so refreshing to experience this easiness and this is a good contrast to the French employees who never seem to greet with a smile.  (Well, this is only half true…there are smiley French customer service agents as there are unfriendly American employees).  Let’s remember that a smile is addictive, frowns are negative.  Has anyone felt the same as me when traveling between countries?  Would love to hear if you agree or disagree by commenting on your personal experiences.

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4 Responses to Differences Between France and America: Service With A Smile

  1. Kathi July 28, 2010 at 23:54 #

    Now I really have to smile big! Thanks Mary!

  2. mbrighton July 15, 2010 at 04:11 #

    Kathi! Thanks for your comment. There is actually a wonderful place that has amazing customer service…The Ocean County Library! We love that place, my kids and I…what a treasure. Thanks to all the employees there who do a great job!

  3. Kathi July 15, 2010 at 02:23 #

    I had to smile when I read this. Thanks for appreciating good customer service, American style!


  1. Suzanne Saxe-R, Ed.D - July 14, 2010

    Differences Between France and America; Service With A Smile: Cultural Differences Between France and America Incl…

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