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My take on Poland - My Top 10


Louis75 2 | 7
19 Aug 2013  #1
Hello world

I have come to Poland to meet my relatives for the first time and to enjoy a 3 month holiday. It felt so good to step off the plane and set foot on this sacred land. I was overwhelmed with joy and happiness.

Anyway I am not here to get all sentimental. I just want to share some of my personal observations and experiences from the past week. Some of the observations will be familiar as they have been discussed in this forum before but this is my opportunity to present my take on things.

So here is my top 10.

1. Polish drivers - Sorry but you are all crazy. I don't care how good a driver you are please stop speeding and taking unnecessary risks like overtaking on busy roads. Btw on my second day in Warsaw (last Saturday morning) I saw a car wrapped around a pole almost cut in half. It would have been a miracle if anyone survived.

2. Random politeness and pleasantries are not part of the norm in Warsaw or so it seems. I said "dzień dobry" to a few strangers and got a weird look back each time.

3. Polish people seem to chain smoke a lot. Well some of my relatives certainly do.

4. In all the shops the beers in the fridge were warm. I couldn't get a cold bear from any of shops around Praga. I guess the shop keepers don't really give a **** about their customers and are more concerned with cutting down their electricity costs.

5. I was shocked to learn that you can buy alcohol almost anywhere 24 hours a day. Sorry but that is wrong on so many levels.

6. The only Asians I saw in Warsaw were at my hotel. I was so amazed to hear them speak perfect Polish. Mind you I have only been here a week.

7. It is perfectly acceptable to dump empty beer bottles in public places. Apparently the local kids collect them in exchange for grozys. It makes sense to leave the bottles in a places where they can be found easily.

8. Polish people are very sensitive about politics. I will not go there anymore ;)

9. Warsovians appear materialistic and like to show off. It is like the wealth has gone to theirs heads.

10. For a predominantly catholic country there does not seem to be a lot of love and compassion going around. People seem to be out for themselves and don't have time for those in need.

So what do you think?

Louis
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
19 Aug 2013  #2
5. I was shocked to learn that you can buy alcohol almost anywhere 24 hours a day. Sorry but that is wrong on so many levels.

please explain.

should there be particular time for buying and drinking ?
mochadot18 14 | 241
19 Aug 2013  #3
In the U.S you can't Purchase alcohol In new york from 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. Although it varies other states are more strict. Alcohol may not be served before 12 Noon on Sunday. Around here ALL bars must close by 2am so after that you cannot purchase anything.

And yes this is a good thing to have as why should anyone be purchasing alcohol as 4am anyway??????

And also here in New York no grocery store can sell any hard liquor. So you cant purchase hard liquor after about 10pm from stores or if you go to a bar then 2am.
50%Polish
20 Aug 2013  #4
I agree with #1

wow, I drove from Wroclaw to Krakow, Krakow to Radomsko and back to Wroclaw.

It wasn't long before I was passing everyone, my competitive side came out on the A4.
pierogi2000 4 | 229
20 Aug 2013  #5
And yes this is a good thing to have as why should anyone be purchasing alcohol as 4am anyway??????

Because they work nights

I dunno, most of what you said has truth to it.
mochadot18 14 | 241
20 Aug 2013  #6
UMMMM YES what I said is 100% true, I work in new york and so I know when I cant sell it to people. But ill post the link for you anyway.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_laws_of_the_United_States

But while is some areas the whole 2am curfew on serving may be to early as 2am isnt that late but we dont need bars to be open 24/7 and bars to still be serving drunk ass people at 6am in the morning. But it does very state to state and even communities can decide weather or not to be a dry town and such.
Meathead 5 | 470
20 Aug 2013  #7
10. For a predominantly catholic country there does not seem to be a lot of love and compassion going around. People seem to be out for themselves and don't have time for those in need.

Because it's a catholic country there isn't much love or compassion going around. The mindset of the devout catholic: Very angry, very intolerant.
pierogi2000 4 | 229
20 Aug 2013  #8
But while is some areas the whole 2am curfew on serving may be to early as 2am isnt that late but we dont need bars to be open 24/7 and bars to still be serving drunk ass people at 6am in the morning. But it does very state to state and even communities can decide weather or not to be a dry town and such.

Eh. I agree to a point. I've seen first hand how much power the conservative right has in the USA. I grew up being able to consume alcohol on San Diego beaches. Then following some fights and childish drinking by out of state visitors on 4th of July, the alcohol was banned.

If the society is mature enough, then such regulations aren't needed. I didn't encounter any issues in Berlin although there are 24/7 hour bars, 72 straight hour open clubs and drinking out doors in public is allowed. It is the social norm that empty beer bottles are placed on the street corner next to a trash can NOT inside the trash can.
OP Louis75 2 | 7
20 Aug 2013  #9
Apologies I have not figured out how to use the quote function using an iPad.

To Wroclaw, yes I believe the selling of alcohol should be limited between 12 pm to 11 pm and only be made available through licensed outlets. It should be more expensive to.

Poland has a serious problem with alcoholism which needs to be dealt with urgently. Tough love is needed as well as education to change people's attitudes over time.

Just my honest opinion.

Louis
mochadot18 14 | 241
20 Aug 2013  #10
Haahah louis you and your ipad...... you can't quote when using a cell phone or any kinda tablet
mafketis 20 | 7,180
20 Aug 2013  #11
2. Random politeness and pleasantries are not part of the norm in Warsaw or so it seems. I said "dzień dobry" to a few strangers and got a weird look back each time.

Yeah, you only say "dzień dobry" to people you know. I used to get weird looks until i figured that out. They're liable to not regard it as politeness but as forcing your presence on them.

4. In all the shops the beers in the fridge were warm. I couldn't get a cold bear from any of shops around Praga. I guess the shop keepers don't really give a **** about their customers and are more concerned with cutting down their electricity costs.

There's also the fact that most Polish people are a little skeptical about drinking things cold (besides vodka). I learned to drink room temperature beer and cola in Poland, stay long enoug and you will too.
RevokeNice 15 | 1,860
20 Aug 2013  #12
To Wroclaw, yes I believe the selling of alcohol should be limited between 12 pm to 11 pm and only be made available through licensed outlets. It should be more expensive to.

I can only purchase alcohol from 11am to 10 pm and a six pack of half decent brand named beer costs me 10 euro (and thats cheap here!). Alcoholism is through the roof. The alcohol culture needs to be changed in some European countries, you wont do that by passing silly nanny state laws. I can walk into a shop at 9.55pm, clearly drunk, and purchase ten litres of whiskey. No issue. A lad finishes an evening shift and pops in after me to pick up a bottle of wine to unwind at 10.01 - thats against the law!

Look at Spain for examply, you can buy beer wherever you go and stay out clubbing for 24 hours if you want. Wanna beer with your McDonalds breakfast at 7am - no problemo! Alchol abuse is very rare. If you see someone clearly drunk, its usually a tourist.

Also, if you look at countries with a strong alcohol culture you will note that one theme remains consistent, that they all have harsh winters and or a lot of rain. Its a big factor.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
20 Aug 2013  #13
Look at Spain for examply, you can buy beer wherever you go and stay out clubbing for 24 hours if you want. Wanna beer with your McDonalds breakfast at 7am - no problemo! Alchol abuse is very rare. If you see someone clearly drunk, its usually a tourist.

Likewise here - if you ignore the people on the fringes of society, it seems very rare to see out and out wasted people. Compared to Ireland or the UK, Poland is remarkably sober.
poland_
20 Aug 2013  #14
Anyway I am not here to get all sentimental. I just want to share some of my personal observations and experiences from the past week. Some of the observations will be familiar as they have been discussed in this forum before but this is my opportunity to present my take on things.

Louis75, I have read your top 10 in order to understand what is your background where do you come from?
OP Louis75 2 | 7
20 Aug 2013  #15
I am PoLish but was born / raised in Sydney. It is my first time to Poland. I am loving it.
poland_
20 Aug 2013  #16
Ok Louis75, your top ten are spot on, enjoy your time in Waw and I look forward to hearing your top 100 in three months,enjoy.
RevokeNice 15 | 1,860
20 Aug 2013  #17
Likewise here - if you ignore the people on the fringes of society, it seems very rare to see out and out wasted people. Compared to Ireland or the UK, Poland is remarkably sober.

According to a London Press Associated study showed us that 48% of Irish men, 40% of British men, 22% of Polish men and just 9% of French men binge drink at least once a week. The French drink 14.2 litres of pure alcohol a year, one of the highest in Europe. The difference being, they tend to take their time with their alcohol consumption and spread it out over an evening eating or what not. Where as we try to consume as much as possible in a short time frame.
Peter-KRK
20 Aug 2013  #18
I am loving it.

Despite top 10?

BTW.
Your observations seem to be local and sometimes the effect of bad luck.
This "Russian" style of live which includes showing off the money and wild drivers attitude is more popular in some regions and much less popular in the others.

Lack of random politeness is common in Poland. That's true. But saying "dzień dobry" to a stranger (and may be with a foreign accent) could be considered as an uncommon behaviour, not as a politeness.

Smokers don't consider the other non-smoking peoiple. That's the main problem.
A fridge in the shop (not designed only for dairy) is a new discover in Poland. It is no more than 25 yo. No everyone get used to it. And of course - costs. But I remember only one event with unplugged fridge in a small shop.

We can buy beer 24/7 but no closer than 100 m from a church in return.
Missing Japs with cameras? Welcome to Cracow! In Poland we have mostly assimilated Asians from Vietnam. One of the most beautiful women I know, my neighbour Vietnamese knows Polish no worse than me.

Condition of Polish society and its history, class divisions and their style of life is a vast matter. From the other side: drinking, smoking, littering, rudeness is like driving. It is enough 1% of drivers misbehaving to spoil whole picture.

Love and compassion have been the last catholic features during last 2000 years, I am afraid.
OP Louis75 2 | 7
21 Aug 2013  #19
Peter,

A lot of what is on the list are things that amused me (like the warm beer in fridges, how people react to pleasantries and the lack of Asians around). It was just for a laugh. Nevertheless I agree with with what you say and I thank you for enlightening me.

On a serious note the two things that struck me immediately is the dangerous driving and the availability of alcohol. I am sure everyone agrees these are serious issues in Polish society.

Warszawski,

Thank you I am already having a fantastic time here :)

Btw there will not be a top 100 but I may post some highlights of my trip later.

Here is one now - Polish vodka Zubrowka is the best in the world :)

Cheers (or better still "Na zdrowie!")

Louis
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
21 Aug 2013  #20
the availability of alcohol. I am sure everyone agrees these are serious issues in Polish society.

Not really. There's much less in the way of drunken trouble here compared to the UK/Ireland, and Poles generally can be trusted to buy alcohol at all hours. It would be insane for most Poles if they couldn't pop to the shop to buy beer whenever they wanted - and I doubt you'd find much support among anyone living in Poland to restrict alcohol sales. Alcohol gets abused here by people who wouldn't really be affected by night bans - they get up early to drink and go to bed early.

As for the driving - it's downright fun when you get used to it. For instance - my drive home late at night is along a 4 lane road with a 60 speed limit. I can do anything up to 85 without much fear - the road is wide, empty and sightlines are great. Or another part of the road is a 90 limit, but is so well designed that doing 110 is no issue at all at night.
poland_
21 Aug 2013  #21
Your observations seem to be local and sometimes the effect of bad luck.
This "Russian" style of live which includes showing off the money and wild drivers attitude is more popular in some regions and much less popular in the others

Peter Krk, I am going to have to disagree with you here, with new wealth and easy money comes champagne lifestyle, this is not a Russian phenomenon, its been happening for decades if not centuries the world over. In the UK & US you had yuppies & dinks in the 80's acting in the same way after the "pivot of change' of the 70's. Poland is nearing its end cycle of massive growth, with it will come change as has happened in other countries, one of the fastest growing businesses in Poland circa 2013 is Biedronka.

A fridge in the shop (not designed only for dairy) is a new discover in Poland. It is no more than 25 yo. No everyone get used to it. And of course - costs. But I remember only one event with unplugged fridge in a small shop

Most of the fridges in shops in Poland are given as free by the drinks companies its a form of advertising, it is only in Poland I have seen dairy produce in a Coca Cola display.This tells you more about the attitude of the shopkeeper they are willing to take anything for free and treat it as their private property. Its states in lease agreement of most drinks companies if you use the fridge for other products you will be charged a rental.

Lack of random politeness is common in Poland. That's true. But saying "dzień dobry" to a stranger (and may be with a foreign accent) could be considered as an uncommon behaviour, not as a politeness.Smokers don't consider the other non-smoking peoiple. That's the main problem

As a non smoker the subject of smoking on terraces in Poland is bizarre to me, the law states you can't smoke at a bus stop,although a restaurant owner will advice you there is no law against someone smoking next to you while you eat on a terrace. The law actually states you must display smoking areas which most Polish restaurant owners disobey as there is no-one to enforce the rule.

Condition of Polish society and its history, class divisions and their style of life is a vast matter. From the other side: drinking, smoking, littering, rudeness is like driving. It is enough 1% of drivers misbehaving to spoil whole picture.

The style of life in Poland is a simple matter, you do not follow rules. Rules in Poland are to be broken NOT to be followed, then they will tell you its because of their communist past, most of the kids where not even born during socialist times and know nothing other than a democratic Poland.

Love and compassion have been the last catholic features during last 2000 years, I am afraid

Love & compassion has been replaced by greed and jealousy, politics, church & the increase of bad parenting have all played a role in this, since 2005 and the death of JP2 the Polish youth have not had a spiritual father to look up too and be proud of.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
21 Aug 2013  #22
one of the fastest growing businesses in Poland circa 2013 is Biedronka.

I think this is partially because they've done a truly fantastic job of making it a shop for everyone. I do quite a lot of shopping there for one reason - it's the shop with the best customer service and consistent quality within a reasonable drive. I still prefer Auchan for buying things in bulk, but for day to day things, Biedronka is impossible to beat in terms of consistency and standards. They open up new tills quickly, the shelves are always filled, nothing is lying around, they're always very polite and helpful - it's no surprise that they're conquering the market.

The style of life in Poland is a simple matter, you do not follow rules. Rules in Poland are to be broken NOT to be followed, then they will tell you its because of their communist past, most of the kids where not even born during socialist times and know nothing other than a democratic Poland.

Indeed. Works sometimes, other times it drives me nuts. In general though, following rules is just madness - no-one else is!

Love & compassion has been replaced by greed and jealousy, politics, church & the increase of bad parenting have all played a role in this, since 2005 and the death of JP2 the Polish youth have not had a spiritual father to look up too and be proud of.

A very interesting point - especially within the Polish Church, there seems to be a total lack of role models in prominent positions for the younger generation.
polforeigner
21 Aug 2013  #23
Biedronka (Portugese company) is the no. 1 in Poland because it offers the lowest prices, so nothing to brag about. It reflects the low purchasing power of most Poles. I don't go to Biedronka but shop instead at Alma and Piotr i Pawel (and occasionally Marks & Spencer) and I am aware that it is too expensive for most Poles but the (top) quality is beyond reproach. They may have a few "goods" products at Biedronka but basically best to spend money and shop for better products elsewhere.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
21 Aug 2013  #24
Biedronka (Portugese company) is the no. 1 in Poland because it offers the lowest prices, so nothing to brag about.

Except it doesn't. Anyone who knows Poland knows that Biedronka isn't the cheapest at all, particularly for anything branded. The prices of meat aren't usually that good as well, although the quality is high.

It reflects the low purchasing power of most Poles.

No, it reflects a company that has judged the Polish market to perfection. I know you frequently lie on here about the wealth of Poles, but please stop misrepresenting the facts.

. I don't go to Biedronka but shop instead at Alma and Piotr i Pawel

Alma has shocking customer service and their fresh products are of questionable quality at times, and Piotr i Pawel is beginning to have serious problems with customer service too. I like Piotr i Pawel in terms of range and prices, but the service is enough of a problem to discourage me from going there. Biedronka's employment policies (employing older women who want to work hard/well in exchange for relatively good salaries for retail) also are in stark contrast to Piotr i Pawel's tendency to hire young people with attitude problems.

and I am aware that it is too expensive for most Poles but the (top) quality is beyond reproach.

Hardly. Piotr i Pawel are in many locations in Western Poland and isn't seen as 'expensive'.

They may have a few "goods" products at Biedronka but basically best to spend money and shop for better products elsewhere.

See, your arrogance and ignorance shines through again. Do you know where many of the Biedronka own brand products come from? Ah, that's right - exactly the same producers as more expensive products.
poland_
21 Aug 2013  #25
A very interesting point - especially within the Polish Church, there seems to be a total lack of role models in prominent positions for the younger generation.

The lack of role models in church and politics is a worrying situation for PL, the youth can only gravitate to media and many I would not class as role models for the youth.

Biedronka (Portugese company) is the no. 1 in Poland because it offers the lowest prices, so nothing to brag

I buy fruit,loose nuts and Casillero del Diablo wine in Biedronka. The fruit and nuts are always fresher than other supermarkets because of the turnover & the CDD is a great deal.We do most of shopping at Carrefour out of loyalty.

My point about Biedronka it is considered a brand of the lessor off, yet it is still the fastest growing brand in Poland this represents a change in consumer behavior due to economic climate. Simple question to the naysayers why is Biedronka winning and Tesco losing?

Hardly. Piotr i Pawel are in many locations in Western Poland and isn't seen as 'expensive'.

Most international supermarket groups are finally having to count the pennies after blowing a fortune on a space race.The last decade has seen the progress of the hypermarket revolution which has now come to an end.

The one thing you guys are not getting here is Biedronka is convenience store, it is not competing in the choice category of Carrefour,Alma & Piotr Pawel. Biedronka is positioned between Auchan,Tesco,Aldi & the local corner shop. It has the price of low end supermarkets and same product line as a corner shop. If you measured revenue at Biedronka per m2 against all other stores you will find they are winning the space race in PL.
Jam13
22 Aug 2013  #26
I've been in Poland for 2 years, I see/experience all of those things you mentioned in your list.

Road rage and dangerous drivers are a dime a dozen here. I can't count the number of close shaves I've had with people not giving themselves enough time to over-take, coming very, very close to a head-on with me coming from the opposite direction. Not to mention the amount of tragic crash scenes I've driven past. I just got back from a road trip that took us through Warsaw - thought I might die, seriously scary and so not fun! Be careful on the roads here, only drive when you feel 100% alert and keep a look out.

The materialistic showiness is not just in Warsaw, I live in an area that you would not expect this from and yet it exists! People feel they need to compete to survive here - happens in all aspects of life; work, kids, material belongings...

Hehe yes, warm beer. Actually in many corner shops you can only by warm drinks and melted ice-cream. Not sure why, but perhaps it's because people are afraid of cold drinks and drafts here - bad for your health apparently. It makes me laugh - open a window on a warm day when there is a bit of a breeze and watch everyone jump up to shut it.

Try this with a Polish person - say something positive/good about Poland, they will then proceed to tell you why you are wrong and the negative/bad truth, then say something negative/bad about Poland in support of what they have just said, they will then proceed to tell you why you are wrong and the positive/good truth...seriously makes me laugh - it happens in relation to Poland in general and the cities people live in.
OP Louis75 2 | 7
22 Aug 2013  #27
Hey Jam yes I have already experienced the negative attitudes haha... And you are right about the Poles (talking about my family mainly) being sensitive to the cold which I find surprising considering the harsh winters they experience here.

I will certainly be taking extra care on the road. You know Australia has somewhere between 400-600 fatal road accidents per year on average. I think it's getting much lower. The Polish news mentioned that there were around 400 serious accidents just last weekend! So very frightening.

May I ask where you are in Poland?

Louis
Jam13
22 Aug 2013  #28
I'm in śląskie - we have spoken over email, you have more info there :)
Foreigner4 12 | 1,769
22 Aug 2013  #29
Try this with a Polish person - say something positive/good about Poland, they will then proceed to tell you why you are wrong and the negative/bad truth, then say something negative/bad about Poland in support of what they have just said, they will then proceed to tell you why you are wrong and the positive/good truth...seriously makes me laugh - it happens in relation to Poland in general and the cities people live in.

100% True.

Actually in many corner shops you can only by warm drinks and melted ice-cream.

I honestly believe they don't want to pay the electricity costs during the day and turn the refrigeration units on at night...I can't think of any other scenario:/
OP Louis75 2 | 7
22 Aug 2013  #30
Oh yeah! I thought your handle was familiar but it just did not click!

I will be making a move soon. I will let you know when in your neighbourhood :)

Louis


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