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Vancouver, you rude bitch.

January 17, 2008

Vancouver, Dear Internet, seems to me to be a sadly rude city. I say this in the nicest way possible, it also happens to be my favourite city, but we’re still assholes. I am, at present, comparing the Counterside experience between Caffeine and KW Coffee, and sadly, Vancouver comes out poorly.

I’m forced to admit that my own hometown, my fave place out there, is a shitty city to serve.

When I first made it here, I didn’t entirely note that the folks here were, in general, more polite than those back home. I guess this comes down to not noticing a good thing until it’s gone, ’cause I sure as hell missed the Eastern manners set when I got back home and started making the peeps there their coffees.

To be fair, I like that Vancouver knows it’s shit when it comes to coffee, I cannot deny that. Many customers know enough to challenge a poorly made coffee, as they’re well-entitled to do. They can give intelligent feedback related to the shot or the milk, even if they can’t tell exactly what was done wrong, they certainly can identify that there’s something wrong.

That’s cool, really, it is.

What’s not so cool is ignoring attempts by counter-staff to be friendly, or avoiding the “new one,” or ordering while not even facing the counter, in between words in a phone call, mid-conversation with other people, or from the far side of the store. All of which are things I experienced while I was back at Caffeine, and none of which I see at KW Coffee. At all.

So, I guess, a word to the wise, beloved city. Try manners. They’re cool, really, they are. They’ll help us keep our “calm & laid back” reputation, our repuation as chill, friendly people. A reputation I seem to be getting full benefit from out here as “The BC Kid.”

Dealing with your caffeine jones is not more important than basic courtesy, try talking to the kid making your drink. Odds are, they’re pretty interesting. They’ll like you more, too, and that will lead to perks. Every now and again, a drink will come out bigger than you ordered, or maybe you’ll get that soy milk for free, or whatever. Free day-old cookies? Awesome, they have “free” in the name, there. See, simply put, it’s not hard to finish your mobile conversation before you reach the till, or at least ask them to wait. “How’s things?” isn’t just a routine question, and “Hello” isn’t exclusively a way of letting you know it’s your turn. Even if you want to rattle off the standard, anemic, “GoodAndYou?,” at least acknowledge that they went out on a limb to see you as more than a mere customer, but as a person as well.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2008 11:58 am

    yes, i’ve often heard we are not a very friendly city. i’ve found other cities way more friendly but that could also be because i’m traveling and more bold? either way, i think Vancouver is known for being snobbish and too high on themselves and people who move here often find it difficult to make new friends.

    I’ve never found people on the street to be particularly unfriendly, in fact, nearly the oppoisite, in that we’re less reserved and more willing to talk to a stranger if they ask something, and I’ve heard the same from tourists, but the complaint from people in a position of service is one I’ve heard before – we’re just not that nice to people on the other side of a counter from us.

    We seem to be known for three or four things out here – mountains, pot, a shitty nightlife, and a laid-back attitude.

  2. January 19, 2008 8:45 am


  3. Tara permalink
    January 20, 2008 9:51 pm

    Shitty nightlife is confined to large cities. Head to smaller ones and you’re GOOD TO GO.

    Yeah, if you love the same two bars over and over and over and over and over and the same tiny scene that leaves you with nowhere to go if you get Done with it and a serious lack of variety of people who can actually party.

    Vancouver doesn’t have shitty nightlife, the tourists just think so ’cause all the good stuff is off-the-regular far enough that they don’t hear about it, admittedly, our “regular” clubs are pretty generic and dull, but it’s the other stuff and house parties and odd events that make it awesome.

  4. January 21, 2008 12:28 am


  5. Tara permalink
    January 21, 2008 6:10 pm

    Problem with those is that you need to know the people who can get you there. It’s like a…cultural treasure hunt. Totally worth it and, in the end, what everyone SHOULD be doing, but still work.

    …”work”…? Nah. Shit just comes together. It’s a pain in a new place, but then it’s just a matter of starting your own.

  6. January 21, 2008 6:41 pm

    A response.

  7. John permalink
    February 15, 2008 1:29 am

    I’ve been in Vancouver twice in the past month. Each time was about four days. At first, I thought my “American” aura incited anger and rudeness. However, on this visit I made every attempt to be nice, no matter what. While walking down Howe Street, a woman stepped out of a building while looking in the opposite direction, I couldn’t avoid her as she body slammed me. She told me to watch where the #$%^ I was going. I offered a frail “excuse me.” This was met with another tirade. Then there’s the homeless. Boy! I’ll tell ya, living in San Francisco for 16 years, I thought I’d seen everything. I had a guy follow me for 6 block yelling “Give me a 20 so I can feed my family.” He only gave up when I approached my hotel on the waterfront. So, I Googled Vancouver +Rude. I wasn’t really surprised that the number of returns. It’s really sad. The Olympics are coming to Vancouver, yet the BC government is going to pay volunteers. Paid volunteers. Add that to a long list of oxymorons. Unfortunately, I will be making many more trips back to Vancouver over the next year. My world will be confined to a two block area for minimal adversity and rudeness. There’s only a slight bit of glee that my $6.25 Peppermint Mocha from Mink gets expensed back to the profiteers of the Olympics.

    For all that I bitch and moan, it’s not ALL bad. If you’re in the right areas (Most of it that’s not downtown, that is.) we’re fairly polite folk, though I’m slowly coming to realize that we have a few more crazies and a … different … sense of manners. Not in the same vein, but in the same sense as the Brits – newcomers often think they’re far ruder than they genuinely are, merely because of the combination of an odd culture and a wierder sense of humour. Though, to be fair, I’ve never gotten cussed out by someone on the street. Unless I or they were drunk at the time. I do things offhand out here in Ontario that are rather … faux pas, but totally normal back home. …They’ve learned to tolerate me.

    I suggest staying out of Deep Downtown as much as possible. The hobos are assholes, the people seem to think life should be taken seriously, and the wealthy yuppies make life miserable and unpleasant for anyone they can. Hit up Granville (Downtown & South), West Broadway & West Fourth, Main Street, and Commercial (With an open mind; that is. Commercial looks a lot scarier than it really is.), if at all possible. If you need to do business downtown, well, that bites. But hang out elsewhere, they tend to be nicer. …By Vancouver standards.

    • Sanjea permalink
      October 14, 2011 11:31 pm

      It sucks that you have to come back. I live here and am embarrassed for anyone that has to visit and experience the rudeness in this city. It’s awful. I have been ‘bodyslammed’ many times. The people here seem to think the world owes them something and should bow down to them. The hobos are assholes and seem to really think the world owes them something. Driving here is another nightmare all together. If I didn’t love my job and my partner, I’d be outtahere.

  8. February 15, 2008 1:53 am


  9. Sarah permalink
    October 11, 2008 10:56 am

    I completely agree with your opinion. I’ve lived in Vancouver for about twenty years now, since i was 14 and it wasn’t until i started visiting Calgary, where my boyfriend is from, that i realized just how much people suck here. Other parts of Canada just seem so much more laid back, easy going and, well, friendly. I want to defend my city, but i see instances every day to back this up. I took my son to mcdonald’s last night and was appalled, seriously appalled at what i witnessed. It was the supper rush, it was packed and some lazy ass people that didn’t want to get out of their cars got their orders parked because of the business. They came in and started ranting at the poor underpaid underage staff. It was disgusting. Here was this forty year old man belittling and berating this girl who couldn’t be more than 17 years old. I couldn’t hold my tongue, i knew she couldn’t say anything, so i did. I said ‘if people weren’t so damn lazy and got out of their cars, there wouldn’t be this problem right now.’ To which he said ‘who the f*&k asked you?’ Seriously!! What has happened to this province? I say that because this in Mission, not Vancouver. It’s spreading. I was still relentless, i kept on smiling at him and said ‘you feel good right now? all that anger?’
    Everyone has bad days, but we need to realize that our energy that we put out affects the person we’re inflicting it upon. I’ve lost faith in this place, i really have. I’ve been to england, i’ve been to France, they were nowhere near as rude as Vancouver. I’m embarrassed to say i live here.

    What I’ve found in the course of the comparison is that, well, Vancouver has terrible manners when we feel we’re in the right. As customers, as clients, as people in a power position, we apparently feel nothing but entitled, and see fit to take what w can out of any situation.

    But I’ve also noted that the combination of odd sense of humour and a different approach to manners has masked the fact that Vancouver is nicer than much of the rest of Canada, just dramatically ruder about it. We’re more fun and less annoying to talk to, and I’ve hit far more generousity in Van than anywhere else…

    • May 2, 2010 3:47 pm

      Well it seems I’m not the only one who experiences things like this. Except mine seem to be in places like Tim Hortons. Same crap, different pile is all.

      I moved to Vancouver in 1988 from Toronto, where I was born and raised. Before coming out here, I had traveled extensively. I had lived in Montreal, Cape Breton Island, PEI, Halifax, Calgary and Edmonton. I had also spent 2 years in Europe and Southeast Asia. Vancouver and most of the Lower Mainland, is the rudest city I’ve ever visited next to New York.

      Vancouver was fine up until about 1994. Then…something happened – it got too damn big for it’s own good. At least, that’s how I see it. It was almost overnight that people suddenly picked up this “holier than thou” attitude. No longer could you just strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere, without being looked at like a piece of crap. It seemed to catch on too and spread outside of Vancouver.

      We reside in Delta now and while things are slightly better, a person really has to pick and choose what places they shop at to get the kind of service they should. We have our favorite Farmer’s Market in Cloverdale and the people there are so nice. They know how to serve the public and go out of their way to do so. Due to that, they get lots of business and people come from all around to shop there. Their prices are pretty good too and that certainly helps.

      To Earthman Xosha Rosp – I agree about the rudeness of people who come into the coffee shops etc. The ordering while over the phone, the lack of acknowledgment toward the staff and whatnot. I see it all the time and it ticks me off as well. I have worked those positions in my life too. However, here’s something to keep in mind – I’ve tried to engage with the staff of places I frequent. 8 times out of 10 I’m met with not much more than a dirty look most of the time. I shower, look after myself and hey…some tell me I’m even handsome. LOL. But still, most people give me attitude if I go to talk to them. It deters a person from opening to another person. Try to keep that in mind when you get don’t get much response from a customer if you can. A lot of the people I meet here really think their crap doesn’t stink and unfortunately, it causes people to withdraw. All the best where you are now though!

      I think we’ll be moving out of the province soon. We’ve had just about enough of the huge growth and lack of civility. We have some great friends here and not everyone has a bad attitude, but the negative numbers outweigh the positive ones from what we can see.

      • chris geeeeee permalink
        July 25, 2011 8:12 pm

        wow you hit it on the head with that post, i am glad to see someone else saw the change too.

    • Sanjea permalink
      October 14, 2011 11:35 pm

      Ewwww! It’s spreading?! At least you have some friends. I have none. I have had supposed ‘friends’ but they were fly by night.

  10. October 15, 2008 1:51 pm

    Replied some more.

  11. nfc permalink
    May 21, 2010 7:50 pm

    Vancouver has very poor service due to poor/no training provided by the business.High taxes: gst/pst,relatively small market/population,difficult to make a profit….especially for small business.
    Go to the bank,retail store,etc,they never say “thank you”. ..If we took all our money out of the bank,they would go out of business…
    It seems Vancouver people/business have a sense of entitlement…
    I have noticed this change in poor service/rudeness inVancouver in the last 10 -15 years…
    I guess Vancouver does not want to grow up!

  12. Hardanger permalink
    August 27, 2010 10:17 am

    Well, for what it’s worth, I’ve been in Vancouver for three days. I’ve been living in Montreal for five years and I’m originally from New York. I know from bad manners and this city tops them all. From getting yelled at by a passing car because I mistakenly took one step into the street when a light was changing to the stretchy-faced woman I had to have a fight with last night because she thought it was entirely appropriate to talk incessantly about nothing during a performance, I am so done with Vancouver, you’d actually have to pay me to return. I really don’t get it — I was expecting good, old-fashioned Pacific Northwest manners a la Seattle. Not here.

  13. chris geeeeee permalink
    July 25, 2011 8:07 pm

    hey I am a born Vancouverite, and yes this city is beautiful but a great many of the people are obnoxious arrogant condecending self important stupid self absorbed greedy whiney oblivious to the outside world (and the gall is they trash talk americans for being that way…Look in the Mirror!!!!)fake rude and finally just plain a-holes with delusions of granduer. Sadly I watched this city change into this during the early nineties, before it was a great town a fun town with many different scenes going on, we used to laugh at the dicks on dicks crowd (Richards on Richard)those uptight yuppies were the minority then now they are the majority and dont be fooled by someone dressed like a hippie either they are just as bad just different clothes same superiority mentality I got so sick of it I moved to vancouver island, believe me Victoria is 1000x cooler but please dont tell them lol! anyhow I am aware of this problem and for sick twisted laughs & just to be friendly, I go out of my way to start conversations with them its funny how scared, snooty, or insecure many of them really are and almost try to run away from you, and the continual phony im sorries for everything is starting to chap my ass too. Whew what a rant! that has been on my chest for 20 years. so what im saying is a polite nod a little smile and maybe….. i know its tough…….a quick hello could be good Im just sayinn…………

  14. Sanjea permalink
    October 14, 2011 11:41 pm

    I think you were reading my mind when you described the people here. Haha. I used to live on the Island myself and remember coming over in the late eighties and it was great! Yes it did seem to change in the nineties. I wish I could move back to the island but I have stuff keeping me here.

  15. Janet permalink
    May 7, 2013 12:01 am

    I have traveled and lived all over the world. Nowhere have I had trouble with people except in Vancouver. Definitely the rudest city I have ever visited. People are absolutely obnoxious, condescending, and incredibly hostile and arrogant. A truly toxic environment (except for those people who fit in). I shall never visit this hell hole again.

  16. Mrs. B permalink
    August 22, 2013 1:49 am

    My only consolation in my four days there was that I knew that I could soon escape the sheer volume of jerks by going home. Mean and arrogant…..nice combination you have going on there Vancouver.

  17. July 9, 2014 5:57 am

    Agree , yes rude jerks , sick bitches , manly women , no fem females , cross dresser women ,,,,,,,,,,,rude …nosey , just plain creeps , but where are they from not original Vancouver!
    These rude jerks , mangina , aggressive heartless ones are from ALBERTA, ,,,BIGOTS , REDNECKS …..ONTARIO ,,,,,, EASTERN CANADA ,,,, USA …. GERMANY…… NOT FROM VANCOUVER ! It is all the new rude a….holes …moving here since 1992 that Vancouver has become a plate of shit …..unhuman scum white trash ,,,,,and assholes from around the world that make Van. B.C a worms hole !
    MAY the mega thrust earth quake look after all you creeps !

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