Fact #1: I think the Dutch people are polite.
I really do. Not sweet and nice like Brazilians - that would be too much to ask to other civilised nationalities. But the Dutch are correct when dealing with customers, for example. Not rude- and not over considerate either. Normal. Civilised.
Fact #2: I live in the NL for more than ten years.
I have get used to the Dutch way.
So why-oh-why... do I still get annoyed/a bit sad when I am confronted with the way they - sometimes - say things ? Like... lecturing on me.
Example number 1:
Yesterday was a windy, cold afternoon and I left home (withouth wearing a scarf) to pick up my little girl.
I couldn't bare waiting at the school patio - too cold for my neck and hands. I decided to go inside to use the restroom and then peak inside my daughter's school box situated on the corridor. Maybe there was art work to be taken home, maybe her "friends book" was back, maybe it was time to check the situation of her gym clothes ... And then the teacher left the room hand in hand with two kids - and a line of kids behind her. The teacher was actually giving one hand to my daughter, but as soon as she (the teacher) saw me she looked to the other side ignoring me and went to the patio. I mentioned my girl's name to grab her attention.
When I was at the patio I mentioned to the teacher and my girl, smiling: "Hey, haven't you ladies seen or heard me ?" To what the teacher replies, irritated: "Kids are expecting the parents to be outside. It is rather interesting when she can find you outside. OUTSIDE !"
(Moral of the history: the protocol here goes above any common sense or exception.)
Example number 2:
I am going to a gym since the beginning of this year. Three times a week, fitness and on the weekends, Pilates. I love the place, the location, the friendliness of the owners and all coaches/receptionists. I am punctual and I respect their rules. I clean the machines after using them. Since my first day there I was told that when going to the fitness room I have to use (fitness) shoes and not sport shoes I regularly use outside on the streets. I 100% agree with that. So I go inside the gym, greet the receptionist, insert my card in the machine, grab a heart measurer and go to the girls' room to wear the correct shoes and dress me on.
So far so good.
Up to one day.
I come in and notice that near the entrance door there is a rack with some shoes on it. "Maybe it is for the coaches", I thought. I do my normal ritual, greeting the receptionist, inserting my card, asking her a heart measurer and addressing myself to the ladies room. I go to my Pilates lesson. When the lesson is over the receptionist approaches me, with hands on her hips and a serious face. She addresses me in a rispid and loud tone of voice:
- It is not allowed to enter the fitness wearing the same shoes you were wearing when outside.
- I know. I have had these on especially for the lesson.
- I mean, it is not allowed to enter ANY dependencies of the fitness. You have put your shoes on when you were in the ladies room. You have to wear them immediately after crossing the entrance door. It is a new rule. It is on the newsletter. Maybe you should check our site more regularly ? There is a new rack near the entrance door. Haven't you seen it ?
- Oh. I thought it was for the receptionists, maybe.
- No. It is for EVERYONE.
- Sorry. Nobody had told me. And I have been away for some days. BTW... why are there still racks for the shoes in the ladies room ?
- Ahn... to place the bags, for example. But ONLY the bags... Understood ?
I strive for being an excellent client. I greet everyone, receptionists and other fellows. I have a little towel for my hands to avoid my sweat dropping all around and spreading bacteria and lethal infections. I am punctual. I clean the machines after using them. I am economical with the absorbent paper. I use only two squares of it. And I spray on it only twice. Two squares of paper and just two sprays of the cleaning product - exactly as three warning papers glued on the wall tell me to do. I have the most expensive membership (an "all-in card"). But maybe I am too naughty - cause I once walked two meters from the entrance door to the ladies rooms wearing my infected Italian leather shoes. Somebody had to put me on the right track.
Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.