I think it would be fun if RG ran a ‘cultural faux pas in…’ series so I’m going to kick things off by asking: What are some cultural faux pas in London?
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Standing on the wrong side of the escalator when you’re getting the tube, especially in rush hour… Not sure if this is really cultural, but it’s definitely annoying!
Personally, I think doing your scones wrong is a huge faux pas, but then I’m from Devon so it’s obligatory to care about these things! In case anyone’s wondering, the Devonian (ie correct, don’t listen to those Cornish!) way of having a [plain, not fruit] scone is to cut it in half, put on lots of clotted cream, then put jam on top and enjoy. I’d say never do jam then cream, but that’s where most Brits differ, I think. Pretty much everyone can agree that preparing it like a sandwich or eating the whole thing with a knife and fork is just wrong…
I remember the horror of being served a cream tea with whipped cream in Japan, and the confusion of having to tell foreign students at a summer school that you have a cheese scone with butter, not jam!
Following on from the Rebecca’s escalator item:
- Not ignoring absolutely everybody on the tube
- Stopping in front of the ticket barrier to find your Oyster card
- Joining the end of a queue without asking everyone in the vicinity if they’re in it (even when they’re obviously not)
- Daring to pay in exact change without first checking it three times and then saying ‘I think that’s right’… and then waiting while they count
- Going south of the river ; )
On the subject of tubes and trains…
- not offering your seat to a pregnant/disabled/elderly person
- walking through the barrier on someone else’s ticket after yours flashed “seek assistance”
- leaning against the central pole in the tube carriage so no one else can hold onto it
(this one really frustrates me, especially as I’m too short to reach the bars across the top of a carriage)
> walking through the barrier on someone else’s ticket
Ha, this exact thing happened to me at Charing Cross station yesterday. I’m not ashamed to admit that I wished a disproportionate amount of misfortune onto the person who did it…
Wow, enjoying these cathartic threads!
Adding to the tube-based annoyances, my bugbear (alongside those already noted) is how it’s always the rudest, most impatient jostlers of the throng making their way out who first, spend an age looking for their ticket, then simply stop dead in their tracks a pace or two beyond the barriers to check where they are – causing an unseemly bottleneck.
Why so desperate to exit the tube without even a vague idea of where you’re heading afterwards? They can’t all be claustrophobes…
Please tell me this experience isn’t unique to me!
There are so many.
• Attempting to pronounce Leicester Square without prior training. And visiting it after about 7pm at the weekend.
• Running through Kings Cross at rush hour screaming “BUT WHERE IS PLATFORM NINE-AND-THREE-QUARTERS”
• Eating at an Aberdeen Angus Steakhouse or the Rainforest Cafe.
• Trying to order shots and/or cocktails in the pub. Wine, beer and gin are your only options.
• Putting padlocks on the Millenium Bridge.
• Excitedly asking people on the street if they know Kate and Wills.