1) I've noticed that some Russians use their middle finger to point to things! While it's still not a good idea to stick your middle finger in someone's face, I noticed that even children as young as 1 year old use their middle finger when asked to point to various letters, numbers, etc. To me it feels so awkward! Does that mean that this is something learned?
2) Totally different topic: customer service. I rarely meet a Russian store employee who is visibly overjoyed to be helping a customer. You don't get the impression that they want you to make a purchase. On the other hand, what's surprising is that they try to help you find a bargain. Everyone understands that the cost of living is really high here. I was buying a train ticket and asked for a certain train number and the woman helping me said, "Oh, that's going to be really expensive. Let me look for an alternative." Maybe I looked like someone who didn't have a lot of money! Or maybe she had to sell those seats anyway. I don't know. It felt like the opposite of the States where they act polite but trick you into spending more money than you had planned.
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