Croatia, Pakistan, Russia top list of ‘non-smiling’ nations

May 2nd, 2010 - 1:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, May 2 (IANS) Croatia, Pakistan and Russia have topped a list of countries where people sitting behind shop and office counters have a surly attitude and find it difficult to smile.
Only 34 percent of shopowners and officials in Croatia and Pakistan smile at people, while Russia came second with 65 percent, a poll conducted by Nextep agency said.

Russia has many stereotypes of the “surly babushka” behind the counter, who scowl at potential customers, Moscow News reported Friday.

The agency asked shoppers to look for hints of happiness as they bought their daily bread in shops across 14 countries, the report said.

The people found a third of Russian staff were stony faced, with 65 percent people scoring on the “smile-o-meter”.

Tourist office staff were among the least welcoming, it said.

Sweden offered the happiest shops, with 87 percent of staff flashing a dazzling grin, followed by Latvia with 86 percent and Estonia with 84 percent.

“Russia’s apparent misery is a reflection of working conditions, particularly in the hard-pressed tourism sector and fast-food restaurants,” the report said.

“We are often asked how to teach people to smile, but you cannot teach it,” Dmitry Levitsky of the Retail Training Group was quoted as saying.

Managers have to learn to keep an eye on their staff’s moods and cheer them up if necessary, he said.

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