Skip to comments.Why are people so nice in the Deep South?
Posted on 01/24/2013 6:23:56 PM PST by FoxPro
I have lived in Las Vegas and Los Angeles for the past 5 years.
I drove down to Huntsville, Alabama to work on some software, with a friend of mine.
I have never been to the "deep South".
I have been here for 24 hours.
It is really a bit of a culture shock after spending a day sorting things out, here.
Everybody is "Yes Sir" and "No Sir" with people differing to you with "Am I in your way?" and "Can I help you find something?"
Well, this is exactly what happened to me today.
I sat down to get to work, on my computer and the battery in my mouse dies.
I move my mouse and the arrow is just there, not moving.
It always happens at the worst of times.
So I drive down to Kroger's grocery store, walk in, stand there, trying to figure out if I should turn left or right, in my hunt for the "Battery Center".
Well this very large man walks up to me, he is wearing a Kroger badge and below his name it says "Manager".
He intones "Can I help you?"
I said, a bit jaded "Yes, I need ONE AA battery, but I know I will have to buy a 12 pack, but that's just the way things go."
He motions me over to a check stand, grabs a 4 pack of AA batteries, tears it open, pulls out one battery, hands it to me and says "Merry Christmas."
I am stunned...
DO YOU REALLY THINK THIS WOULD EVER HAPPEN ANYWHERE IN LOS ANGELES? Really?
The guy made my day and it is a seemingly small gesture, I will never forget.
But this guy knows I will probably spend $100 or more, at this Kroger's, in the next few months, than I would have otherwise.
He knows that this small act of kindness will be recouped many times over in the near future.
This gentleman knows all about not being "Penny wise and pound foolish."
I think I will like being an Alabamian.
If WalMart doesn’t have it, you don’t need it.
At least you remember. When my sister finally came home she didn’t have a clue...
Years ago my husband and I moved to central Maine. Pretty cold and snowy area. We drove in our little Pinto and one afternoon slid off the road. A big truck with four big men pulled up in front of us, All got out with a nod but no words, pointed us out of the way and one steered and pushed and the other three pushed and the car was back on the road. they did not say one word to us. We tried to offer monies but just saw them drive off.
This was, we discovered, the rule of the road, in the area, something like leaving the camp door unlocked and provisioned in alaska for whomever might need to stay.
Over the years we became part of the folks who stopped, nodded and pushed. There was great comfort in knowing that the next car would help when stranded miles from nowhere.
I would call Huntsville more like mid south than deep south. It’s northern Alabama which is closer to east Tennessee — a longtime Republican holdout going back to the Civil War — culturally, than the deep plantation South. Furthermore, Huntsville is a big time techie mecca with more PhD’s per capita than Silicon Valley thanks to its defense industry connections. Lots of international types around as well thanks in part to its excellent engineering oriented university. That particular Krogers serves the upscale Madison area where all the engineers live. That said, it’s still Alabama and the southern culture is very evident.
Can you point me to a place that serves this in the Huntsville, Alabama area?
I’d always heard that Bob Jones University was the buckle on the Bible Belt.
BTW....the original Bob Jones, and several of his progeny did and do hue the strict Baptist, anti-charismatic line. But a while back I heard that one of the Joneses in the line of succession had jumped the tracks and was a stalwart charismatic. Anyone know anything about that?
At least you remember. When my sister finally came home she didnt have a clue...
Hey, she’s my sister too! When’s she due? (as if I didn’t know.)
No sale regarding your suggestion they don't ask for drivers licenses at Texas car rental agencies...Total BS.
The moral? We are as surprised at cynicism as you are at openness.
Ya would have received the same response from white woman.
Ya see it's not cynicism for a car rental company to ask for your freaking drivers license, just like they do in Texas...LOL!
It's simply common sense...This isn't 1950s America, regardless of where ya call home...
My Sister married a Naval Aviator and they have been all over the United States as well as most of the world. She says the rudest people they have met are from San Francisco.
They are retired and now spend 6 months every year in some country usually in Europe. My Sister says the Scots are friendliest people in Europe. The last two years they spent in Hungary. At first they got a bad impression as no one would offer to help you if you obviously did. Then they got to noticing that if you actually asked them for help, they were very forthcoming. They even asked a student for directions and he spent the whole day driving them around showing different attractions and then refused any money.
Hahaha! Why...we just love on everybody!
It’s “old school”, and tells you alot about upbringing.
I attended a private school in Huntsville in 1964. Something had just happened that caused these church schools to spring up all over Alabama. As a first grader I was ignorant to the greater issues at the time.
The basic politeness you refer to is still found in the southern expatriot community, white and black as you travel America.
In increasing infrequency, I should add.
Great people everywhere in the metroplex :)
“Funny, I have a merchant in Texas like that, but he
is from California.”
I have lived in California all of my life, small town,
rural California, that is. Kindness and friendliness
abounds. Where it doesn’t is where rural communities
have been invaded by city dwellers, sad to say.
All Californians get a bad rap for the outrageous
actions of the dominant large city folks. If the truth
be known we proud, small town California hicks are
not so different than Ruralville Anywhere, USA.
I think the biggest difference in people is between
urban and rural, as opposed to state or region.
I was in NYC my h.s. senior year (1977) with an exchange student and her mother. They spoke minimal English. Apparently, we took the wrong way to the subway... We stopped at a corner store to ask directions... The store owners did not speak English either... At some point, I encountered a man and asked for assistance. He told me that I must not be a local because of my smile...
To Be a Virginian
either by birth, marriage, adoption,
or even on one’s mother’s side,
is an introduction to any state in the Union,
a passport to any foreign country,
and a benediction from the Almighty God.
That TOTALLY depends on what context it’s used in. Most of the time it’s used as a term of endearment. But in rare cases it is a polite way of saying “oh, that dumb@ss”.
Pretty much the same in any state, generalities being what they are.
In the 23 years of my work experience, my first job, our company had facilities in various parts of the country including NJ and AL. The people in AL were the nicest folks and very polite. They would get us lunch and they brought some good food especailly BBQ.
However, the NJ facility, when we were there, we constantly had to walk on eggshells. We were told that we had to be very formal and demure, we were also instructed to dress much nicer and that even included weekends. We were in NJ for two weeks too install new system. And when installing the new system, we had to constantly ask permission to do this and that. The funny thing, for lunch, they always bought us fast food and for dinner, we did dinner on our own and excluded them.
Our last night there, we went to a very nice place to eat with the NJ folks. It was the kind of place where there were no prices on the menu. One person in our group ordered Filet Mignon and I ordered lobster. We were told thanks for hard work and were more than welcome to order anything on the menu. Two weeks after we got back to Indy from the NJ trip, I got called in and got chewed out about the lobster. The general manager (GM) was pretty livid that I ordered lobster and how I haven’t paid my dues to society and I need to know my place. My response back was if the GM felt I didn’t deserve to eat at a nice place, he should have been upfront and said so, of course I would have something to say to him afterward though. Nothing was ever said about the filet mignon.
In later years of my career, I have found that I don’t care to deal with people from the US Northeast especially New Jersey. Not nice people and they vote democrat too ! And the executive types are the type I don’t care to deal with. In my current job, I had to deal with a NJ customer and it started with a phone call from an East Indian and I pushed back and then the phone changed changed immediately and I was dealing with an Executive VP and he just started barking one order after another laced with threats such as filing a lawsuit and criminal charges if I didn’t fix his problem this instant. A real POS if you ask me. My manager and legal got involved.
When I worked at Lockheed Martin, we had counterparts in Gaithersburg, MD and they were a PITA to deal with. They plan things out but they never tell what they are and they expect you to drop whatever you are doing this instant and do work for them. I even politely asked them if they can tell us what is being planned so we can be prepared and get some work done ahead of time so it can be done well instead of having to do it in a hurry. They gave a curt response back they were not going to work that way and insisted that we are expected to be at their “beck and call” whenever. When it came to vacation, they told us that we don’t start vacation until Saturday morning and we were expected to be available into Friday night for whatever work they wanted done. And I really pissed them off when I left like on Thu afternoon or Fri morning after I had my 40 hours. They usually call me 5 minuted before I am ready to leave with bunch of work that they wanted done and I told them to find someone else to do it or it can wait until I got back. How they knew, we were required to put in our availability time in our calendar.
The gist of it, I don’t care to deal with East Coast people especailly with their entitlement mentality and having to constantly have to be very careful in how I dealt with them since almost anything can set them off and they demand to talk to your manager.
> Im in East Texas (edge of the South) but I telecommute with teams in NYC, New Jersey, and Chicago and there really is a big cultural gap. We are obsessed with being polite, they are obsessed with being politically correct (to the point of rudeness*).
It’s nice, isn’t it? I live in Houston and some people are nice here, but when we were south of Lafayette, the people couldn’t have been nicer.
“The least Multicultural societies are most often the nicest.”
Sociologist Robert Putnam wrote a very interesting book about exactly that, called “Bowling Alone” ...
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