Originally Posted by Kasper
As someone who eats at a lot of Dennys and Waffle Houses (buffets too)around the country and cheese steak places when at home, I guess I really shouldn't comment on this thread. But one thing that does bother me is not in restaurants but at my local bank. They now have a manager greet you inside the door telling you his name and asking what he can help you with. Before this bank was bought out the people who worked in the front would say hello in a way that felt like it wasn't part of their job. That was much more sincere than what they are now taught to do but maybe it's just me.
Originally Posted by globetrotter
I think that this started in japan, and I like it, myself
This practice is a matter of custom in Japan, but the person greeting the customer is never a manager and is always dressed in a uniform of some sort to distinguish them as someone performing a comparatively menial service. Their job is classified as uketsuke
, which basically means "reception," though its use is somewhat broader than the equivalent English. These people are very helpful and often streamline processes for you and help you save time.
Following custom and common practice, the uketsuke
and waitstaff at restaurants will always speak using the politest forms of language in all circumstances. This would be equivalent in English to saying "would you care for [such and such]" instead of "do you want [such and such]," but the degree of complexity and sophistication has no English equivalent, and even the difference between "vous" and "tu" in French does not even begin to compare.
At any rate, in Japan you will never be addressed by anyone provding service in a mode of language that might suggest familiarity. You are under no obligation to reciprocate the polite language, but I almost always do.