INTA course on politics and economics Blog # 1

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June 4th 2009
Published: June 4th 2009
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When I go abroad, one of my main expectations has to do with how people are going to treat me and welcome me into their country. The fact that Argentina is a Latin country made me think that its people would be very friendly and welcoming because of Latin nations’ well known reputation as being very warm and affective; however, I was surprised to experience the complete opposite in Buenos Aires. I would not generalize but I must admit that a good amount of Argentines or Portenos are not that friendly or helpful towards foreigners and tourists. Whenever they notice that a person does not speak Spanish and has a different accent, many of them tend to become very impatient. This behavior becomes more evident at restaurants where, I think, the service needs to be outstanding. I understand that even though tipping is regularly practiced, it does not represent the serves’ main source of income, but at the same time, the fact that serves are the face of the restaurant or establishment, their attitude towards costumers should be better than it is. I have been to other Latin countries where the habit of tipping is not really expected or practiced, and yet, the service is much better than in Argentina, or at least in Buenos Aires.

I could not help asking locals what they think about my experience and perception. Many of them have not been able to give me a clear answer. All they have told me is that this is “Portenos’ thing”. They say that once one goes out of the city, towards the providence, or to another region of the country, it is a completely different story. I understand that people from capital cities tend to be a bit drier and less warming, but not to the extent I have encountered while being in Buenos Aires. Giving a good service, especially at restaurants does not always have to be seen as a way of projecting a friendly image to costumers, but to me, it has to be reinforced, at least, as a business strategy.


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