07 March, 2010

Rude people in Norway

Everyone talks about how the rude people in Paris are. Strangely enough I never had a single person be rude to me or act indifferent. But yesterday we found both types in of all places, Norway. I have only heard good things about this country, or maybe the people I know are prejudiced. We were shocked.

It started when I wanted to take a tour of Oslo. We were supposed to gather at the Radisson hotel and wait there. I went in and registered and told the woman behind the desk I would wait until she called me. It was way below zero outside and frankly I was hoping to avoid standing outside in the freezing cold. She agreed and I sat down right in front of her with my book.. The time came and went and nothing. When I asked again, I was told I had never registered, and when I pointed out the person who had taken the registration, she turned her back on me. I honestly don't think I was impolite, but maybe it was something I said."There's another tour tomorrow," I was told. We were leaving late in the afternoon. Thanks guys.

I was going to help Dick out  and check out of the hotel. I told the receptionist and she said,"Somebody has to pay half the charge." The school was paying for Dick, and yes we had to pay, but it was the way it was said, as if I were going to run out the door without paying the bill. I said my husband would have to take care of it. She answered, well, if he must.  Okay, maybe my face was green or my hair wasn't combed properly.

Then when we got on the bus, I asked to have my backpack, which was terribly heavy, put in the baggage compartment. The driver snapped at me. "No, we don't do that!!" But from the airport, the man did put it in with the baggage.

Then at the airport, we put our luggage up on the scale. The woman said, "You have three bags."  "Yes," Dick said. "But you're only allowed one. You have to pay for the other two." she said. "Yes," Dick said, and pulled some bills out of his wallet. "We don't take cash. If you want to pay cash, you have to take your luggage over there and get in that line." I am looking for a sign that says only credit cards. There was no sign. But we shrugged and pulled out the credit card. The hanging bag is usually put in a box, and Dick said that. "If you want a box, you will have to queue in that line over there. Needless to say we will never take Norwegian Air again.

Yes, I was upset. After I thought about it, I realized that I was also different. In France, hearing all the negative stories, I engaged everyone. Smiling, complimenting the clerk or waiter, I didn't let them distance me and therefore making it easy for them to be rude. When we left France, I crawled back into my shell, expecting things to go smoothly. These service people should not have been rude, but I could have made more effort as well. Yes, in this case you can blame the victim. Communication is a two way street.


  1. Perhaps you just misunderstand people?
    The situations you mentioned are in service-business, and maybe the service-culture is just different?
    And on the airport, I think maybe the system is different, perhaps you're just not used to it. But I also think it's weird that there weren't proper signs. That sounds unusual.
    Maybe you'll have better luck some other time. :)

  2. Of course, that's possible. But I have been living abroad and traveling since 1963, so I am not lacking in experience. However, I will keep your take your suggestion into consideration.