Sunday, October 2, 2011

Etiquette Tip

Here's a little tip that might save my fellow American expats a bit of embarrassment:
It is expected that you will offer the (insert any type of worker who comes to your house) a cup of tea.  A biscuit to go with it would be nice as well.



I must admit that I did not offer our movers anything.  We didn't have a kettle, or any cups for that matter.  Movers must be used to this, because they brought their own!

But every gent who has shown up to fix something at my place since then has been offered (and accepted) a cup of tea.  With milk, thank you very much.

I am still a bit uncomfortable with this tradition.  It's just not part of American culture.  Am I supposed to sit with him and have a chat while he drinks the tea?  Do I offer it upon arrival?  In the middle of the job?  Or at the end as a way of saying "thanks"?

This ritual is further complicated by the fact that we have exactly 4 cups in our house.  Two are teeny tiny demitasse cups we bought to make babyccinos for the kids.  One is a standard white cup which we bought because the mugs in our old apartment didn't fit under the fancy coffee machine.  And one is a big cup with the words "Yummy Mummy" on it, purchased at the Mother's Day Stall last year by my darling daughter.  Can you picture a middle aged plumber with a few missing teeth sipping tea from a "Yummy Mummy" mug?  Neither can I.  That's why my sweet husband has to use the Yummy Mummy mug for his morning coffee.

I've got to have that one cup ready at all times.  You never know who might drop in for a cup of tea.


27 comments:

  1. Now I know what to get you for a house warming gift!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You have a coffee maker? I was prepared to travel half-way around the world with instant coffee again. Instead, I guess I'll bring my own mug.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have always done this too, if not a cup of tea or coffee - at least a soft drink...however I notice the younger workers seem a bit uncomfortable when asked so I am guessing that it's a dying tradition....here in Australia anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  4. For real? Hmm...the logistics are too confusing on this one, what type of tea, as you said when? to sit or not sit? I think I will continue to embarrass myself with my lack of manners until you suss this out entirely! They can have a Coke for take away in my house :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for the laugh Sis. Your blog always keeps me entertained.

    ReplyDelete
  6. wow, that is so funny. I wouldn't be comfortable with it either, that's for sure. Totally weird! I guess it is good to be social...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Aren't you the lucky one! Here in SA they take a tray of tea into the street for the guys working on electric cables on behalf of the city. They don't even come to your gate, net alone into your house.

    I think it's awesome though. People are forgetting to appreciate their fellow man. We're so busy focussing on our interests that we miss a choice opportunity to connect with another human being, in the flesh, as opposed to through a multimedia device, so this tradition is really nice one - it gives us those few minutes to meet a stranger and be human.

    ReplyDelete
  8. So interesting how cultures and etiquette differ from country to country. I appreciate your frankness over questioning the subtleties of the tradition, ie, "do I offer tea when the repairman first walks in, the middle of the job..." Happy SITS day!

    ReplyDelete
  9. So fascinating. I've always wished to we had a tradition of afternoon tea. I love it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I can't imagine having a cup of tea with a plumber or repairman. However, it would be hilarious to see one drinking out of a "Yummy Mummy" mug.

    ReplyDelete
  11. That sounds like a delightful tradition ... but then again, I love sweet snapshots of hospitality!

    Enjoy your SITS day! :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. At first I was thinking how glad I am that we don't have traditions like that to live up to here in the US. Then I thought it might be nice if we added a little civility and consideration into our daily expectations.

    Good luck. And I think you need a new mug -- just for the handymen.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I don't drink coffee either so the North American tradition of offering coffee is even foreign to me. How many mugs of tea do you suspect these fellows drink each day? LOL

    Happy SITS day to you!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow...it's always interesting to me to find out these little idiosyncratic tidbits about other cultures. Who knew??

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hopefully you never have more than 4 workers at a time AND all your mugs are clean. Interesting tradition! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hopefully you never have more than 4 workers at a time AND all your mugs are clean. Too bad none of them ever let you snap a pic with the Yummy Mummy mug. Too funny!
    Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Love this quaintness! Thanks for the tip and cheerio!

    ReplyDelete
  18. So interesting. I work with several Brits, and I'm always fascinated by the cultural differences between two countries that are so very similar. I often forget that while we share a common (basically!) language, we are very different otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This made me laugh! Having grown up in England, I'd say offer when someone arrives, and if they're doing a long job (longer than half a day) then the easiest way to go is to point them in the direction of the kettle/teabags/milk/sugar and let them help themselves. I've never known a workman sit down to take a drink - they just get on with the job with cuppa in hand. And you can pick up extra mugs about 4 for £1 so you maybe want to stock up so your husband doesn't have to use the pink one... ;)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wow, what an interesting custom! Thanks for enlightening me. Can't wait to get to the UK, myself!

    Visiting from SITS Girls :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. When I went to Europe the milk in the tea surprised me. I'd heard of milk in coffee, but tea? Really?? :) Here from SITS and a new follower too!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Good to know. Hehe I make my tea in my coffee pot. Actually I mainly just make tea in it because I use my single cup coffee maker for coffee.

    ReplyDelete
  23. That is something I would have never thought of.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks for the "heads up". I just know that knowing this will come in handy one day. What I wonder is, what type of tea it their typical tea of choice?

    Again... Happy Belated SITS Day!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh my, now I know why workers here in the US look at us strangely when my husband offers them a drink! Back in the UK it's just considered good manners to offer Tea to anyone who enters your home. I don't know why, but we were all brought up with this tradition. In fact, if you visit anyone and they don't offer you tea or coffee, it is considered quite an affront. Similarly if you are offered a drink as you visit a friend and you refuse, that is also seen as bad manners ~ better to accept and just take a sip or too. Thanks for sharing, I've learned something new!, Sally xx

    ReplyDelete

 
Blog Design by Edub Graphic Art and Design