What Cara Delevingne’s Interview and Czech Plastic Bags Have in Common

I saw the Cara DeLavigne cringe-worthy interview. I watched it at least five times. It’s so interesting. It’s so interesting how cultural differences ended in crossfire. Could that be where war begins from?

Anyways.  Cultural Differences.  I remember the night I stepped out of the airport in Prague after a long flight from the USA.  Prague was going to be my new home for at least one year. I was terrified, scared, excited, and nauseous. It was 8:00 pm Prague time and my driver took me to the place I was staying at. I checked in to my terrifying hotel and went in alone. Knowing that I only had X amount of money to last me until I got a teaching job I decided to go to the grocery store that I saw on the drive in for dinner.

That trip to the grocery store was such a memorable trip, I opened the doors and I couldn’t read ANY labels. I realized I didn’t have a stove or even a microwave at my hotel so I bought stuff to make a sandwich and proceeded to check out. The woman who was at the register appeared SO uninterested and not the least bit welcoming. I had NO idea what she was saying to me. I’m pretty sure I saw a few eye-rolls. I thought everything she said sounded rude and short. She told me something in Czech with raised eyebrows and motioned toward the plastic bags. I took them and started to fill what I had bought in the plastic bags and she snatched the bag away and laughed and literally POINTED at me. The man after me was laughing too and I felt my face grow hot. I was really horrified, seriously though I was. I ran out of there and back to my scary hotel where I was like…what HAVE I done and how can I return to the United States tomorrow?

Long story short, I had committed theft by stealing the bags of the man who was behind me who had PAID for the plastic bags when I had not paid for plastic bags. Because I come from a land where plastic bags are free. I’m sure the cashier actually thought it was pretty funny and wasn’t being malicious after all… But I certainly felt attacked and offended. I feel that is where the anchors on Good Morning Sacramento had erred. They were offended, and they took it personally that Cara seemed bored or uninterested because of her British sense of humor and body language. Which I GET. The truth is my interactions at the grocery store never really improved from that experience. Many of my experiences at Albert’s (Czech version of Albertsons) were negative but this is solely a cultural difference and had nothing to do with whether or not the cashiers liked me or enjoyed my company. And frankly, who cares if they like you!? I was there to buy cereal, and they were there to have an interview and do their job.

So I suppose what I am saying, or what I would want to say to the anchors on that interview is…to TRAVEL. Travel and meet people who make you question your own customs and way of living.  There are several different ways people from all different countries and cultures communicate and you simply must be exposed to this if you’re going to have a career where you deal with different people. In a world where you can have a news interview on television from New York to Sacramento or Hong Kong to Saudi Arabia everyone should improve their cultural competence to avoid the awkward situations of Czech plastic bags and cringe-worthy public interviews.

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