• Soon after I first moved to New Zealand, I had an experience at the local shops.

    I held the door open for an older lady as I entered the post shop. (Post office) She said thank you and I said you’re welcome.  Then she looked at me funny. I assumed it was the accent.

    Up at the post shop counter I asked for some “international stamps, please!”

    And after I had purchased them, I said “thank you!” and turned to leave.

    But the clerk stopped me.

    “You’re from Canada, aren’t you?”

    I agreed that I was.

    She nodded.  “I could tell. You’re so polite. Americans aren’t.”

    It happened like that fairly frequently. People would declare they could tell I was Canadian, and not American just because I said “Please” and “Thank you.”

    And in one case, “Sorry.”

    I had just apologized for my loud daughter at an indoor event for the umpteenth time. (She likes to sing. A lot.)

    An older gentleman had been watching with a grumpy look on his face for quite some time.

    “Sheesh,” he finally said.  “You bloody Canadians. You don’t have to apologize for EVERYTHING, you know.”

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November 2011
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