Home » Commentary » American Tourists Less Arrogant?

American Tourists Less Arrogant?

This New Yorker cartoon (from September ’08) makes me wonder, were American tourists really arrogant before? Isn’t that what we always said about the Parisians? In my own experience, I’d say 90% of Americans visiting France are not arrogant at all. But the other 10% sure have made an impression! The most mortifying moment for me was when a tour client tried to pay for a coffee in Deux Magots with a $20. “Sorry, we don’t accept dollars,” explained the manager politely. “But you can keep the change, it’s worth more than the €5 coffee!” That’s debateable after commission and the hassle involved, but it was just the assumption — likely leftover from the days when “everyone” around the world accepted US Dollars — that the Dollars were preferable to Euros. I mean, if a Mexican came to America and offered 150 Pesos (just over $10) for a $2 coffee at Denny’s, do you think anyone would even consider taking it?


Click here to post a comment

Have something to say? Join the conversation!

  • Hi Vivek,I think you missed the point. I didn’t say 90% of American tourists are not arrogant. I said that in my experience (meaning my American clients) 90% are not arrogant. This, of course, refers to how they act towards the French while here. Who knows whether they’re arrogant in their minds and hiding it well!And as for the Parisian arrogance, that’s a whole different conversation. 😉

  • It’s strange that 90% of American tourists are not arrogant? It’s better to have a survey done to know the reality rather than sprinkle numbers you "feel" are correct.I am not Parisian. I do live in Paris. I also know that Parisians are arrogant, but not as much. There’s a degree of arrogance in everybody…if you see what I mean.Au revoir!

  • I had to laugh at David’s comment. I can only guess he was being ironic in the spirit of an article on arrogance.For the record, if that Denny’s was in San Diego (where I lived off and on for 14 years), they most certainly would have accepted Mexican pesos. Most native San Diegans would agree that America’s Finest City is actually a suburb of Tijuana. Maybe not downtown, but you could definitely get by with pesos in Chula Vista, San Ysidro, National City, and the areas around downtown.

  • It’s a common belief amongst older people that the dollar is accepted everywhere.I took my mother to Paris a few years ago and she insisted that she didn’t need Euro, and that her dollars would be accepted.I thoroughly disabused her of that notion and converted her dollars at the bank I was working at.

  • A few years ago in Cologne, Germany, a colleague insisted on lunch at McDonald’s. Because he had just arrived that morning, he hadn’t exchanged money yet, and laid a $5 bill on the counter.I told him that they don’t accept USD, to which he replied "That’s ridiculous! It’s an American company!"I didn’t travel with him after that.

  • I saw the same thing happen a few years ago in Edinburgh – another tourist town – increasingly irate American lady trying to pay in dollars at an upscale dept. store.Here’s the thing though, what happened to all those stories in the press a few months back about 5th Avenue stores starting to accept euro’s? Was that all just ‘press’ or is it now accepted practice?Just curious.