Thursday, June 22, 2006

Open Door Policy

Seoul was ranked 32nd in the world in hospitality, but the details of the study point out it may be deceiving. The test included:

Reporters performed three experiments: "door tests" (would anyone hold the door open for them?)

Problem is the act of holding the door open is unusual, and more than that the person holding is seen as a little unusual. It’s just not in the palette of polite acts in Korea, if not in Asia.

I am reminded of the first time I was in this neck of the woods, a short trip to Japan. I was in the city of Niigata, and was exiting a large department store. There was a large bank of entrance doors, about 10 or so. I was exiting from the extreme right.

Approaching me was two girls, and I did the instinctive thing, I pause a bit and held the door open for them. The saw the scene and stopped dead in their tracks. They turned to each other, and as if by some telepathic agreement they made an immediate bee-line to use the last door on the left, 10 or so doors away.

That, coupled with another, lead me to believe it was not just a pointless act but a socially awkward one.


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