Thursday, June 22, 2006

Polite New Yorkers, Thankyou

New York, despite a reputation as a fast-moving, tough-talking town, ranked as the world's most polite major city, a survey says.

Outscoring large cities in 35 countries, New York proved best in three tests of courtesy, a survey by Reader's Digest says.

Reporters for the magazine conducted a "door test," to see who would hold open a door, a "document drop" to see who would help pick up dropped papers and a "service test" to measure if sales staff said thank you for a purchase.

Four-out-of-five New Yorkers passed the courtesy tests, the magazine says.

"It certainly contradicts the popular stereotype that a lot of people have about New York," international editorial director Conrad Kiechel said.

Specifically, 90 per cent of New Yorkers passed the door test, 55 per cent passed the document drop and 19-out-of-20 sales staff passed the service test.

Coming in a close second was Zurich at 77 per cent, Toronto at 70 per cent, and Berlin, Sao Paulo and Zagreb, Croatia, all with 68 per cent.

Following down the list were Auckland, Warsaw, Mexico City, Stockholm, Budapest, Madrid, Prague, Vienna, Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, Lisbon, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Manila, Milan, Sydney, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Ljubljana, Jakarta, Taipei, Moscow, Singapore, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Bucharest and Mumbai.

The more than 2,000 tests of behavior showed that people under 40 were more courteous than those over 40, men were more polite to other men and women were more polite to other women.

The region that most lacked courtesy was Asia, where eight-out-of-nine cities tested finished in the bottom 11, Reader's Digest said.

It conducted the tests in the most populous cities in 35 nations worldwide from late February to mid-March.

Mr Kiechel says people around the world tended to offer the same explanation for their polite behaviour.

"People said they were polite because they had been brought up to be that way," he said.

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