The Truth About Tipping (Trinkgeld) in Germany


Much of the online English-language tipping advice for Europe – and Germany in particular – is wrong. This is understandable when you realize that even most native Germans get restaurant tipping all wrong.

The Myth That Won’t Die
If you ask the typical German about how tipping should work in a German restaurant, the standard answer is to just round off the amount of the bill to the nearest euro. If the Rechnung comes to 33.40 euros, they’ll tell you to round that off to 34 or 35 euros, but never more than two or three euros Trinkgeld. Some Germans are even more stingy with tips than that! They will tell you that wait staff in Germany are well paid and the Bedienung (service charge) is included in the bill. But this is a stubborn myth (and lame excuse) that somehow never dies. Only if the menu clearly states that the service charge is included in the prices (Preise inklusive Bedienung) is that true, and that is almost never the case. But there is also an important distinction between Bedienungsgeld and Trinkgeld, which we will explain below.

restaurant menu

A doorside restaurant menu in Germany. Is a service charge included in the prices? Usually not. PHOTO: Hyde Flippo

The Truth
Germans who are better informed will tell you the truth: The wages earned by a Kellner/Kellnerin in Germany are among the lowest of any profession in the country. Food servers in Germany start out at a minimum-wage level of just under nine euros per hour brutto (gross, before deductions). Experienced waiters/waitresses can earn from 10 to 12 euros per hour, depending on the location and the type of dining establishment. A new waiter in Bremen earns on average about 950 euros a month before deductions and tips. The German average is 1,646 euros a month. More experienced Kellner/Kellnerinnen can earn up to 2,400 euros monthly. The average annual wage for a food server in Germany is 18,000-21,000 euros, not including tips. (Wait-staff wages in Austria are lower; those in Switzerland are higher.) Whether experienced or not, a food server working in a German restaurant depends very much on tips from customers to bring their income up to a more reasonable level. If you consider 10 euros an hour, or 18,000 euros per annum “well paid,” then you have rather low expectations.

Brutto Gehalt

One online source lists the average monthly (€1,570) and annual income (€18,841) of a waiter in Germany, before tips. The amount can vary widely, depending on the city and/or Bundesland, but food servers rarely earn more than 20K euros annually before tips. IMAGE: www.steuerklassen.com

Trinkgeld vs Bedienungsgeld
When Germans claim that the pay for German wait staff includes a service charge, that is rarely true. Even when it is true (and clearly stated on the menu), it is only valid in a very limited sense. In some German states (Bundesländer), the contract wage agreement may include a certain amount for “Bedienungsgeld,” money included in the menu prices that is intended to pay a restaurant worker for their table-waiting services. But you, the paying customer, need to understand a key legal and financial difference between Bedienungsgeld and Trinkgeld.

Under German tax law, Bedienungsgeld (“service money”) is a mandatory service fee that restaurant customers must pay, since it is included in the menu prices. That means it is subject to income tax, and that tax is deducted/withheld from the food server’s pay. It is not “tip money”! On the other hand, Trinkgeld (tip money) is a voluntary “gift,” an extra amount of money willingly given to the food server as a reward for his good work, and is therefore not taxable! Which one of these two forms of remuneration do you think a German food server prefers?

Oddly, Germans who travel abroad (most of them!) seem to understand that the poor underpaid waiters and waitresses in the United States depend on tips. German tourists in North America know they need to tip 15 to 20 percent, because the wait staff in US restaurants get so little basic pay that they can only survive if they are well tipped. German tourists then return home and resume their miserly tipping habits, not realizing that German food servers really don’t earn much more (before tips) than their American counterparts. In both countries, most wait staff earn only minimum wage or a bit more before tips.

Cafe Tomaselli, Salzburg

A restaurant in Salzburg, Austria. Wait staff in Austria generally earn even less than the German average before tips. PHOTO: Hyde Flippo

THE ORIGINS OF THE TERMS “TRINKGELD” AND “TIP”
TIP: The etymology of the English word “tip,” in the sense of a gratuity, is uncertain. Etymologists cast doubt on the most common origin story: In 1688 Edward Lloyd opened a coffee house in London. A collection tin on the counter bore the words “To Insure Promptness” (TIP), which later led to the term “tip” (or not). Later (1771) the coffee house became the center for the Society of Lloyd’s of London, which used the term “insure” for its insurance business. Other “tip” explanations are also doubtful. The first written use of the noun “tip” for a gratuity appeared in 1755.
TRINKGELD: The origin of the German word is much clearer. The literal meaning of “drink money” for gratuity is also found in other European languages: pourboire in French, drikkepenge in Danish, and napiwek in Polish. The practice of “drink money” can be traced back to the Middle Ages. Trinckgelt (in Old German, later also Trankgeld, Trunkgeld) first appeared in 1372 as the Latin term bibalia in Prague in the weekly construction records for the cathedral there. The workers were given “drink money” as part of their pay. Nobles would also give drink money to peasant workers and field hands as a small reward, with the intention of providing money for drinks. A synonym also used at that time was Biergeld (beer money).

I first wrote about restaurant tipping in Germany a few years ago for our Dining Out in Germany guide. In the first version of that guide I unintentionally perpetuated the falsehood of the well-paid food server in Germany, but also the truth about cheapskate German tippers. After all, it was what Germans had told me about tipping. They should know, right? Wrong.

Not long after the German Way dining guide appeared online, I received an email from a German restaurant owner. He pointed out that although most Germans think their waiters are well paid and don’t need tips, that is not true. The wait staff do not receive any service-charge money from their employer that is separate from their wages. The round-up-to-the-nearest-euro tip is ridiculous. Food servers in Germany indeed do depend on tips. Would I please correct the tipping guide to reflect reality?

Wow. I didn’t expect that! So I did some research. I soon realized that the restaurant owner was right. Germans have no clue when it comes to wait-staff wages and tipping. But why? Why are so many Germans ignorant about the pay their Kellner and Kellnerinnen receive? Why doesn’t the German restaurant industry have a campaign to better inform Germans about the reality of staff pay? Is it because owners/managers just don’t want to publicize the fact that they pay their workers so little? Why doesn’t the DEHOGA Bundesverband (Deutscher Hotel- und Gaststättenverband), the German association that represents the hospitality industry, reach out to educate Germans on tipping and wages? (Well, for one thing, DEHOGA isn’t even sure it likes Germany’s relatively new minimum wage law.) The fact remains that too many Germans mistakenly believe that tips don’t matter that much to German food servers. Hence, the cheapskate German tipper.

I find myself constantly arguing with Germans about tipping. They insist that Kellner/Kellnerinnen are well paid in Germany, and don’t expect more than a few euros tip. When I tip 10 or 15 percent in Germany, they insist that I’m being way too generous. But they really don’t know the facts. A one or two-euro tip is fine if you’re only ordering a cup of coffee or tea. Otherwise you’re just being as miserly as the typical German restaurant diner.

Why You Should Tip Your Food Server in Germany
Regardless of the reasons outlined above, a tip is an indication of respect and good manners. Do you really want to be the jerk who is too cheap to leave a token of appreciation for the service you received? If you have ever waited tables, you know it is a demanding job requiring certain skills that not everyone has. True, there may be a food server now and then who doesn’t deserve a tip, but that is the exception, not the rule. Anyone who has dined in a restaurant (and paid attention) knows that good waiters or waitresses earn every cent of their pay. Don’t imitate the skinflint Germans who don’t seem to know that.

How to Tip in Germany
Among other cultural differences, the German way of tipping in a restaurant is different from the American (or French) way. You do not leave a tip on the table in Germany. You have to settle your bill with your food server, and you include the Trinkgeld amount during that process. Yet another reason to be proficient with your numbers in German!

For more about how to tip in a restaurant, see our Dining Out in Germany guide.

Other Kinds of Tipping in Germany
As always, your tip should reflect your satisfaction with the service provided. It’s not mandatory. Some suggested tip amounts for other situations:

  • Hair salon (barber/hairdresser): 10 percent
  • Hotel maid: 2 to 4 euros per night
  • Hotel porter: 2 to 3 euros per bag; more if you have a lot of luggage
  • Restroom cleaning lady: Pay the posted fee (50 euro cents and up); keep change on hand for Germany’s “pay to pee” system.
  • Taxi driver: 5 to 10 percent, depending on the level of service
  • Tour guides: 5 to 10 percent

I have worked for tips in the past. Ever since then I have had a different attitude about tipping, no matter where I am in the world. If you are into insulting people and denigrating their work, be a stingy tipper. But if you appreciate the hard work of a person providing service to you, show your respect by offering an appropriate tip – especially if you plan on returning or becoming a regular customer (Stammkunde)!

HF

Days for the Frauen and Männer

Holiday Alert! It is Muttertag (Mother’s Day) this Sunday which means elegant brunches and bundles of flowers – no matter which side of the pond you are on.

Mother’s Day in Germany

My 1st Mother’s Day Photo: Erin Porter

But the history of the holiday in Germany, Switzerland and Austria has a unique European slant. Switzerland was one the first European countries to introduce Mother’s Day in 1917. Germany wasn’t far behind with observance beginning in 1922 and Austria in 1926.

The holiday became official in Germany in 1933 under the Nazi regime, highlighting the importance of having more Aryan soldiers. Mother’s Day still takes place on the second Sunday in May, though das Mutterkreuz – a medal given out for multiple children – has fallen out of fashion.
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Austria and Germany: Worlds Apart


Billy Wilder (1906-2002), the noted Austrian-American film director (Double Indemnity, Stalag 17, Some Like It Hot), as famous as he was, used to complain about how he was frequently misidentified as German. Americans often get Austria and Germany mixed up. Sometimes they even confuse Austria with Australia! Thus the joke T-shirts and signs found in Austria with a “no kangaroos” logo. Silly Americans!

Salzburg

The Hohensalzburg castle seen from the padlock bridge in Salzburg, Austria.
PHOTO: Hyde Flippo

Never really that good at geography, Americans, even if they can find Austria on a map, also tend to be ignorant of the many great and subtle differences between the small Alpine republic (population 8.4 million), known as Österreich, and its much larger neighboring republic to the north, known as Deutschland (population 80 million). Austria is only about the size of the US state of South Carolina. Germany is slightly smaller than Montana. In some ways, the two countries can be compared to the United States and Canada, or the US and Great Britain (with the sizes reversed): They both speak the same language, but with significant differences, and they share a common history that has made them friends, yet has also left them worlds apart.

More at The German Way
Austria (culture/history)
Austria for Tourists (travel info/sights)

Even English-speakers with a modicum of German can hear the difference between the lilting, almost musical tones of Austrian German versus the less lilting, more crisp sound of standard German (Hochdeutsch). Bavarian, on the other hand, is very similar to Austrian. (Bavaria being a state in Germany, yet not quite part of Germany. Rather like Texas in a way.) The difference between Austrian German and standard German is similar to the difference between the drawling language heard in the US South versus the more standard English of the US Midwest or West.

Book: Streitbare Brüder

One of several recent books about the differences beween Austria and Germany is entitled “Quarrelsome Brothers.” See more books below (in German).

Yet, for a country so small in area, Austria has an amazing variety of dialects and regional differences. A remnant of the much larger former Austro-Hungarian empire, Austria today is one of Europe’s most prosperous nations, but there are in fact three Austrias. Austria No. 1 is Vienna (Wien). Unlike Germany, which is also made up of many regions, Austria is heavily dominated by its capital, with 2.3 million people living in the metro area. Austria No. 2 is made up of a few other cities, none of them anywhere near as large as the capital. Graz (265,000), Linz (191,000), Salzburg (148,000) and Innsbruck (121,000) are the only urban centers with a population over 100,000. The third Austria is the rural, small-town Austria that stretches from the western Vorarlberg that butts up against the Bodensee (Lake Constance) and Switzerland, to the fascinating eastern lowland and lake region (Neusiedler See) that borders Hungary and Slovakia. There are also many regional dialects in Austria, ranging from Vienna, with its own distinctive sound, westward to Vorarlberg, with its Alemannic/Swiss dialect. The country is divided into nine provinces (Bundesländer), including Vienna.

Many years ago, when I first laid eyes on Austria, I thought the country was one big national park. It may be small, but Austria has more scenery and panoramas per square kilometer than any place I’ve ever seen. Austria really is a scenic place. It’s one reason the Germans like to visit Austria as tourists. (Germans make up 40 percent of the tourists going to Austria each year.) They find the country quaint and folkloric. But Germans who live and work in Austria soon learn that they need to adapt to a more leisurely, laid back life style that is very different from Germany. Like Billy Wilder, Austrians do not like being categorized as “German” in any way, shape, or form. They also hate The Sound of Music and the kitschy, oversimplistic image of Austria it conveys, although that doesn’t stop some Austrians from exploiting the movie/musical for tourists in Salzburg.

In the chart below I have listed some more differences between Germans and Austrians.

Some Differences Between Austria and Germany
Cultural and Other Comparisons
GERMANY AUSTRIA
Germans consider the Austrians amusing, charming and quaint. Austrians consider the Germans humorless, arrogant and rigid.
About 32 percent* of Germans are smokers. Non-smoking laws are enforced. About 43 percent* of Austrians are smokers, but it seems like much more. Non-smoking laws are NOT enforced.
German Terms
Brötchen
Kartoffel
nicht wahr?
ein bisschen
Tomaten
Johannisbeeren
Schlagsahne
Austrian Terms
Semmel
Erdapfel
gell?
a bisserl
Paradeiser
Ribisel
Obers
Germany is roughly divided evenly between Catholics and Protestants, few of whom go to church. About 75 percent of Austrians are Catholic. They and the Protestant minority (4 percent) rarely attend church.
Germans have no pejorative term for Austrians. Austrians often use the disparaging term “Piefke” (“Kraut/Prussian”) for a German.
Smoking Rates (Percentage) (WHO, 2008)
Austria: 43% – males 46.4%, females 40.1% – Germany: 31.6% – 37.4 (males), 25.8 (females)

Part of the Austrian tendency to bash Germans and Germany stems from Austria’s inferiority complex as a once much larger, now tiny country with a tenth of its large neighbor’s population. Austria also has a bit of a historical split personality. After World War II, Austria pretended it had been a victim of Hitler, rather than a willing participant after welcoming Hitler (an Austrian, but don’t tell anyone!) and the Nazis with open arms in 1938. Here’s how one American observer put it:

In the constant onslaught of Germany-bashing, there is a harsh undercurrent. During World War II, Austrian-born Hitler was embraced by his home country, and Austria and Germany together constituted the Third Reich when Austria famously voted for “Anschluss” [“annexation”]. After the war, though, Austria rewrote their constitution and their history, claiming that Austrians were Hitler’s “first victims.” One gets the sense that while Germans have been doing their best to atone for their part in the atrocities, Austrians have been doing their best to forget they had anything to do with it. Thanks to these legal and historical maneuvers, Austria avoided shouldering the consequences that Germany faced after the war. On one hand, the snide remarks about Germany allow this hypocrisy to be clouded by a shield of imagined difference. – Ten Things to Know About the Viennese (Part 1) and Part 2 by Kate Wiseman

Austria declared itself a neutral nation in 1955, but following the fall of the Soviet Union, Austria modified its definition of neutrality to accomodate a changing world. It allowed overflights for UN-sanctioned action against Iraq in 1991, and now participates in the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). When Austria joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace in 1995 and later participated in peacekeeping missions in Bosnia, it began to really bend its neutrality. The issue of possibly becoming a full NATO member is controversial, but the only part of the Constitutional Law on Neutrality of 1955 that remains fully valid today is not allowing foreign military bases in Austria.

Austria joined the United Nations in 1955, the same year it once again became a sovereign nation after World War II. Vienna is home to a major UN office complex.

In 2011 the Academy Award-winning actor Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained) appeared on Conan O’Brien’s late night talk show. When asked about the differences between Austria and Germany, Mr. Waltz, who can claim both Austrian and German citizenship, said it was “like the difference between a battleship and a waltz.” When Mr. O’Brien asked about the cliché that Germans have no sense of humor, a smiling Mr. Waltz replied, “That’s not a cliché.” Waltz was born and raised in Vienna, but he has a German father and an Austrian mother, giving him a unique perspective on the topic.

While the Germans don’t seem to be all that obsessed with their southern neighbor, they aren’t beyond a jab now and then. In 2008, when Austria and Germany were opponents in the European Cup football (soccer) championships, the notorious German tabloid, Bild Zeitung, published an article listing 30 reasons “why Austrians are often idiots” (“30 Gründe, warum Ösis oft auch Dösis sind“). Some of the reasons translated into English:

“Your flag is red-white-red so you can’t hang the thing upside down.”
“Only 8.4 million people can understand your language.” (adding some of the vocabulary differences listed above)
“The most famous Austrians are either dead (Mozart and Falco) or they’ve emigrated, like Arnold Schwarzenegger.”
“Austrians are so shy, they only kiss their women on the hand.”

I’ll close with this humorous comparison that has a certain grain of truth to it:

What’s the difference between a German and an Austrian?
The German wants to understand Austrians, but can’t.
The Austrian understands Germans, but doesn’t want to.
Quoted in “Germany/Austria: Divided by a common language” by Filip Gańczak (www.presseurop.eu)

HF


BOOKS: The only books on this topic are in German. Three of them are listed below. They can be purchased from Amazon.de using the links shown.

Streitbare Brüder: Österreich: Deutschland / Kurze Geschichte einer schwierigen Nachbarschaft
(Quarrelsome Brothers: A brief history of a difficult neighborhood)
von Hannes Leidinger, Karin Moritz, Karin Moser
More about this book (Gebundene Ausgabe) from Amazon.de (€21.90)

Piefke: Kulturgeschichte einer Beschimpfung
von Hubertus Godeysen
More about this book (Gebundene Ausgabe) from Amazon.de (€24.90)

Servus, Piefke: Was sich ein Wiener in Deutschland so denkt
von Severin Groebner
More about this book (Kindle) from Amazon.de (€9.99)
More about this book (Gebundene Ausgabe) from Amazon.de (€12.99)

Playing tourist in Stuttgart

My day was brightened last week by an out of the blue email from an old friend; she was in town for six hours and wanted to see both Stuttgart and me. I don’t often play tourist in my own city and never with a time limit, so putting together a plan was necessary.

There is a lot on The German Way about Berlin, living in Berlin, what to do in Berlin, but less about life down here in the south. So I thought I’d share my plan for anyone wanting to start to explore Stuttgart, there is plenty more to see than just the city centre but on this day there wasn’t time for places like the Porsche Museum.

Stop One – Hauptbahnhof (main train station) – Our meeting point anyway since she had just got off a train. I waited with two coffees in hand, working out that we hadn’t seen each other for at least fifteen years and hoping that we still shared the same sense of humour. When she arrived also holding two coffees I knew we’d be fine. The Turm (tower) of the train station is an often overlooked free attraction, it houses a museum which shows the history and future of transport in Stuttgart and a stunning panoramic view of the city. Continue reading

Harvesting Germany’s Wild Garlic

Germans and their food obsessions. We are getting deep into Spargel season, but I am still stuck on the last seasonal mania, Bärlauch. Alternatively known as Allium ursinum, ramsons, bear leek, or wild garlic – all of these names meant nothing to me before coming to Germany.

Wild Bärlauch Photo: Ian Porter

The fixation with Bärlauch isn’t quite as strong as the all-encompassing Spargelzeit, but it still sneaks its way onto every menu and farmer’s market. In the last few years, I’ve been treated to Bärlauch the traditional German way, harvested straight from the forest. I’ve never felt more German.
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Guten Tag, Frau Schmidt

In the office the other day my colleague was in a quandary. “But I don’t know whether to write ‘Du’ or ‘Sie’”, she said, brow furrowed, “I’ll have to text my friend and find out what she says to her.” The “Du” / “Sie” under discussion was a cleaner, recommended by a friend. My colleague had the mobile phone number but no knowledge of the cleaner’s age or general attitude to linguistic formality. For non-native speakers and students of German, the “Du” or “Sie” dilemma is all too familiar, but here was a born-and-bred German stumbling through the same maze of uncertainty.

The assumption that Germans just know this sort of detail – imbibed through years of interacting with aged relatives over Kaffee und Kuchen – no longer holds true. Customs have changed: some Germans and some parts of Germany have become less formal, it seems. The challenge now lies in knowing which ones. My colleague did not want to offend an older lady with the informal “Du”, nor to come across as a fusty stickler for tradition with a bright young thing. “If only I could write to her in English,” she bemoaned, “A simple ‘you’ would be so much easier.”

In the olden days – a mere fifteen years ago would suffice – the answer would have been clear to all Germans. “Sie” for anyone older, a stranger, or a distant acquaintance; “Du” for close friends and family. Neighbours and colleagues would fall into two camps. Those you had an intimate friendship with who had offered you the “Du”, and a brief “Sie“, plus head-nod on the stairs for anyone else.  Continue reading

Berlin’s Abandoned Tempelhof Airport Becomes a Vast Park


I first wrote about Tempelhof Airport when I was living in Berlin, just before the air terminal shut down in 2008. In fact, my post about Tempelhof’s closing (now deleted) was one of the very first German Way Expat Blog posts. Berliners’ “nein” vote in an April 2008 referendum had sealed the historic airfield’s fate. It ceased operations as an airport at the end of October 2008. But, as with most things in Berlin, the decision on what to do with the now-idle airport remained in limbo for some time. Proposals ranged from developing the large site and using it to provide badly needed affordable housing, to leaving the grounds largely untouched as a park. (Thankfully, the airport terminal building is landmark protected and can’t be torn down. Guided tours are offered for individuals and groups.)

Tempelhof field aerial view

Tempelhof Field covers 386 hectares (954 acres, 1.5 sq. miles) including the terminal structure (303 ha without the buildings). PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

Tempelhofer Feld
For a long time after its closing Tempelhof’s huge airfield was fenced off and unavailable to the public. But today Tempelhofer Feld (Tempelhof Field) is a popular park that attracts Berlin families and people of all sorts to its expansive, open environment on the grounds of what was once Berlin’s only commercial airport until the new Tegel airport opened in 1974.

Tempelhof gates

The boarding area of the Tempelhof terminal in 2007, just before the airport closed down. PHOTO: Hyde Flippo

Before Tempelhof Field first became an airport in the 1923, the area was a military parade ground. When the parades ended, Berliners took over the field as a park on weekends and holidays. Today the former parade ground and airport has been returned to its function as a park. The vast Tempelhof park now features six kilometers (4 miles) of asphalt-paved former runways and taxiways for recreational use. Where aircraft once took off and landed, visitors today can walk, jog, bike, skateboard, and rollerblade. The grass-covered fields around the former runways and taxiways are now popular for picnics, sunbathing, kite-flying and other leisure pursuits. (Also see Chloë’s post about Three Great Berlin Buildings That Used to be Something Very Different.)

Old Tempelhof runway

The former runways at Tempelhofer Feld park today serve as a recreational area for bike riders, joggers, and anyone who wants to enjoy the famed “Berliner Luft” (Berlin air). PHOTO: Hyde Flippo

The Tempelhof Field park is so large it can take 20-30 minutes just to walk from one end to the other. That’s why many people prefer to ride a bike or use something else with wheels (skateboards, scooters, etc., but nothing motorized) to navigate the vast field. It usually requires several visits over time to visit the entire area of the park, not counting the terminal complex.

Tempelhof’s heritage-protected terminal building complex stands largely empty today, but parts of it now are used to house offices for Berlin’s police department, the Berlin traffic control authority, a kindergarten, a dance school, a stage theater, and various other agencies. More recently, in October 2015, the hangar area became home to about 1,000 refugees – first housed “temporarily” in tents and now in cubicles. (Berlin’s refugee housing policies have come under heavy criticism, quite justly.) At its peak, Tempelhof’s hangars housed about 2,500 refugees. In February 2017, the city announced that 600 remaining refugees would move out of Tempelhof by the summer, with all of them rehoused by the early fall. As with any announcement by Berlin officials, one should be skeptical, but for the refugees’ sake let’s hope it’s true. Even after all refugees leave, Hangar 5 at Tempelhof will continue to serve as a refugee intake center (Ankunftszentrum). A new and controversial “container village” on the Tempelhof grounds is supposed to remain there only for two years. Continue reading

How to tell when Germans are really being rude versus just being German


If you want to confirm the fact that the internet is not improving people’s IQs, just type “rude Germans” into your favorite search engine. Boom! You’ll get over 1.9 million results, most of which were written by morons. (But “rude French” pulls an amazing 39.1 million results!) Few of these online commentaries run counter to the usual “rude Germans” rant and the negative stereotype that so many Americans, Brits and others have of Germans. Even fewer of these web articles, forum posts and blogs offer any useful, helpful information on the topic of “rude” Germans, French, or other Europeans.

The Rudest Countries
I recently saw a CNN online article that listed the “10 Rudest Countries” in the world. As usual, France took first place in the rudeness race. Germany only came in fourth, right behind the UK. The USA placed seventh. But a survey like this, by the skycanner.com cheap flights travel site, is subject to all sorts of distortion, including cultural biases, language difficulties, personality differences, and ignorance, to name just a few.

What a person perceives as rudeness may only be a cultural misunderstanding. What is considered rude in one country or culture may not be regarded as rude in another. But every culture has people who are rude, no matter which culture it may be. Certain impolite behaviors are unacceptable in almost any culture. Sometimes an expat or traveler is actually right to consider someone rude! Continue reading