Monday, March 28, 2011

Everything I Learnt About American’s I Learnt From TV

Part One, Telephone etiquette

There’s a stereotype out there that Americans are rude, snobbish people, but I’ve gotta say that every American I’ve ever met has been really nice and friendly. Pissed off that others naturally assume they’ll be a jerk, but nice nonetheless.
So this isn’t going to be a ‘bash the Americans’ blog, but one that will pose a question that has plagued me for many years.
Do Americans say “goodbye” when they hang up the phone? On every television series, every movie, no one ever says goodbye when they’re done talking! When the conversation has ended, they just hang up, that’s it. No, “see you later”, no “nice talking with you”, just “that information was really helpful” BEEP BEEP BEEP.
Maybe it’s a cultural thing, maybe writers think that there’s no time to add those two syllables into the script, but either way it’s annoying.
In Australia, we end the conversation before we hang up the phone. It’s not always “goodbye”, but there’s some specific hint that the conversation is over. On TV, that never happens. The conversation winds down, but it is never truly ended, like on Hawaii 5-0 (2010):
Danno: “I’ll be over in two hours.”
And that’s it; that’s the end of the conversation. It wasn't like he said "I'll see you in two hours, bye", just "I'll be over in two hours".
I’m waiting for the time when a person gets cut off half way through a conversation:
“Alright, Kowalski is being hidden in the mines, so-”
*rings back*
“Dude you just hung up on me”
“I thought we were done!”
“I was in the middle of talking”
“You gave the vital plot point; I didn’t think there was any need for more talk”
“Well, I was gonna invite you over for dinner, but now-”
“son of a-”

You get the point. Do real Americans do this? Is it not correct to end a phone conversation with a salutation in the United States? Put it in the comments, or if you have had this similar thing happen to you, share the story below.


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