Perhaps living in London, one of the rudest cities on Earth, has given us a twisted perspective, but it seems to us that Czech waiters are getting a bad rep. Here’s a typical comment from a 2004 column in the Independent:
I thought French waiters were rude until I went to Prague. I saw a bullet-headed Czech waiter terrorise a French family, who asked if they could have half a meal for a small child without paying the full price. “Is not possible,” the waiter repeated over and over. “Is not possible. You better go now.” Whether this is Czech behaviour or post-Soviet behaviour I’m not sure, but the phrase “Is not possible” seems to be the motto of all Czech restaurants, hotels and taxi firms
On our recent holiday, we had geared ourselves up for sullen indifference at best; Fawltyesque rudeness at worst. Would we get shouted at? Insulted? Ignored?
In short, no. We found all but two waiters fairly friendly. A couple of the better ones were, well, downright cheerful – almost as if there was a spark of genuine human feeling behind their professional smiles.
It might have helped that we’d mustered a few words of Czech (“Hello”, “two beers, please”, “thank you very much”).
Of course, another possibility is that, having noted the uniform disgust with which their manners are regarded across the internet and print media, some of Prague’s bar managers and landlords have had a word with their staff:
“OK, impromptu staff meeting… I’ve had a crazy idea. I thought we’d try making our customers feel comfortable and happy here. Apparently, that goes down well. Weird, I know, but there you go. Let’s give it a try, see how it pans out.”