Bad customer service is famously common in Hungary... there really isn't an awful lot you can do. You hardly want to start an argument with a ticket collector, or a shopkeeper, or a barmaid, just because they look like they've spent the entire day sucking on a lemon.

Anyway, at thehub, we're a bit sick of it, so we've decided to start sticking up for ourselves! In a small-minded, cowardly way! We're going to put a handful of these situations on the site, an intermittent naming and shaming (... having said that,
we probably won't get their names, and furthermore, as they're hardly likely to read this, they probably won't feel ashamed). We also want photos of the culprits, if we can possibly get away with taking one. This time, I couldn't.

So, Miserable People in Shops number 1, then. The following took place last week, in Match supermarket near Blaha...

Tuesday. 10 00 am. Who was miserable?

First, the cashier. Then me. But I wasn’t miserable before I met the cashier.

What was wrong with her?
Don’t know. When we first met she seemed fine, grumpy, but perhaps that’s what you expect. Working in Match first thing in the morning would make anyone grumpy. Initially, things were going very well… she scanned my food, I moved down to the end of the checkout to put my food in a bag. A familiar routine.

So where did it all go wrong?
Right about then. I was at the end of the till with a 5,000 forint note. But, she didn‘t turn around to take it. Instead she stood with her back to me, as if I'd magically disappeared.

Don’t know. Maybe she didn't like turning around because the staff in Match aren't given swivelly chairs. Making her a non-swiveller. So, she refused to turn around and haughtily tapped the little plastic shelf designed to put money on. I was obviously, foolishly, cluelessly, standing in the wrong place.

Where should you have been standing?
Slightly to my left and a little bit forwards.

How did all this finish?
I stood slightly to my left and a little bit forwards.

Did it make her happy?

Match Supermarket is in the square at Blaha. To get there, come out of the red metro's left hand exit onto Rakoczi. It's on the corner.

Andy T.


  1. kiss said...

    Hey, i know that place. And once i had the same story there. :(  

  2. Adrien said...

    Living in Budapest since the past two years, I encounter(ed) this rude attitude, I would say, 70% of the time, no more, no less.

    I imagined one day to print out stickers "Watch out - rude service" and stick them on any new noncommercial-awful-service-place I would have discovered... but then thought that such boycott would mean for me to end up drinking my coffee in the Four Seasons.

    But why is a simple smile so expensive in Budapest?

    Communist legacy?
    You won't find it widespread to such an extent in Slovenia, Romania, Croatia, Serbia, Ukraine or Slovakia.

    I'm learning Hungarian and showing my efforts, but it provokes similar antipathetic reactions. In other neighboring countries, offer a few Slovenian, Romanian or Russian words to your local unfriendly waiter and you'll get an amazement or a smile back. In Budapest, forget it.

    My Bulgarian bus driver or my Albanian post officer earns half of their salary.

    With a tiny hope, we could imagine the next generation of managers imposing friendly-service rules to their employees. This would definitely help their economy: with a costless smile, they could attract customers, make tourists come back and help expats feel more at home!

    But what are they waiting for?!?  


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