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Intercultural Challenges
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Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences
60.3877538, 25.656131800000026
Topic Customer service in Hungary

I have been studying Hospitality & Tourism in Budapest, Hungary for 5 months and it has been joyful overall. Though there is one issue that I still haven´t really overcome.

The customer service I am used to and what I usually expect didn´t really match up here in Hungary. In Hungary smiling and politeness isn´t part of the customer service equation in most of the cases, especially at the grocery stores. Instead of being welcomed and feeling comfortable most of the times you get the feeling that you are a burden and the quicker you get out of sight the better. First I thought it was just because I was a foreigner but even after I learned the basic vocabulary to survive at the grocery store for example I was treated the same way.

Even in my local store that I visited multiple times a week I couldn´t get a smile out of any of the clerks even though they must have realized I´m a regular customer. 

I found this very weird because Hungarians themselves are actually quite friendly but for some reason in these customer service situations they seem to take a totally different attitude. I´m not saying that every place in Hungary offers bad customer service, there were a lot of exceptions to that and they felt even better after the bad experiences, but unfortunately a large part of your interaction in grocery stores etc. can be very dreadful.

As a customer I expect smiling and at least a feeling that I am welcome there and as a customer I also try to be polite and nice. It didn´t work in Hungary that much but I learned to cope with it by lowering my expectations and just not being that nice myself, not rude of course but taking a more of an neutral attitude. 

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