5 Romanian etiquette rules
In my previous post I mentioned I would make an entry related to etiquette in Romania. So, here it is! These are stuff I either saw myself or was told.
In Romania, you take your shoes off when entering your own home, or the home of those close to you - friends and family, unless told otherwise. It helps with keeping the house clean(er).
You keep your shoes on when you go visit people you're not very close to - say, if you meet the parents of your partner for the first time. Some of these people you don't know very well, might ask you to take your shoes off when entering their home.
- why should I take my shoes off? If it rained, chances are your shoes are dirty and your host doesn't want their floors or carpets to get dirty, especially if the house looks as clean as a 5 star hotel room.
In the past, when paying a visit, it was a sign of good manners not to go empty handed. People were usually bringing something symbolic, like flowers, something sweet, or something to drink. The "something sweet" was something home made, but bought stuff were also OK. A casserole of home cooked food also works well - remember this is something symbolic. If the younger generations do this these days, it must be because they grew up seeing their parents do it.
While this habit might seem weird for some, consider that Romania used to be a communist country and during the regime the living conditions were harsh. For some people it would have been a financial burden to receive and entertain guests, so the guests were considerate towards this effort by bringing something to the "party."
This applies for when meeting them in the common areas of the apartment building, as many Romanians still live in apartment buildings. If you happen to meet any of your neighbors, they will say "hello" and the polite thing to do is to reply. Easy, right?
When visiting friends, you might encounter their neighbors and they might say "hello" even if they don't know you. It costs nothing to reply back with a "hello." Greeting random people they see waiting around their building is not that weird since many Romanians are renting out their apartments. Your friend's neighbors might think you're renting a place there and you're new.
All cashiers I went to, would say "hello" to all their customers, me included. They would also say "bye bye" after giving them their change and receipt. The client is supposed to answer to both greetings. This gesture sure doesn't cost nor time nor money. I generally say "thanks" before leaving. I sometimes add "have a nice day" as well.
Let' assume you're supposed to receive 7.37 ... well, let's just say you'll receive 7.35 instead, and demanding the extra 0.02 is nowadays considered a bit weird, if not quite rude. The cases when you'll receive your full change is rare (I only saw it happening at one supermarket- Kaufland) The coins of the 0.01 value (1 ban) are generally disregarded by most people. I don't think the 0.05 coins (5 bani) are too popular either.
Don't ask me how much money I lost this way. However, you'll be surprised to learn or see just how many Romanians simply leave all the coins in their change to the cashier. They might take the 0.5 coin (50 bani) but not the 0.1 coins (10 bani).
disclaimer: i don't own the pictures in this post, they belong to their respective creators. i just found them online.
© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.