When we were living on our sailboat in the Caribbean , we quickly noticed for the most part that the local inhabitants of the islands were really quite shy.
There was a right way and a wrong way to approach them... the wrong way is the ugly American way, of asking for something without so much as saying please.
Here's the right way to do it... and this applies not only in the Caribbean but any time that you are a visitor in a foreign country... let me repeat that, when you are a visitor, act like a visitor, you are the guest and they are the host.
We quickly learned that walking into a store or an office and not going through this three-step process was considered rude by the locals and sometimes hindered what you are trying to accomplish in the first place.
First step... when walking into a store or office, it is your responsibility to say good morning or good afternoon.
The second step, after they had replied good morning or good afternoon, is to ask how are you today?
The third step, after they reply okay or fine is to hesitate.
They they would almost invariably reply after these three steps... how may I help you?
Do those three things and it's smooth sailing.
We saw time and time again, a tourist would walk into a shop and say I need this or do you have this... no please no greeting, that is considered rude.
By the way you don't have to be in a foreign country to be polite... it does not hurt nor is it condescending to say good morning or excuse me prior to making a request... it's good manners.
I witness rudeness, almost every day in the US.
We have enough problems as a nation as it is to add fuel to the fire by being rude to one another.
Here is a picture that we took of a Maxi taxi driver on one of the islands... the 14 passenger vans, that most locals and almost all sailboat cruisers used to get around the islands.
Without exception, when entering a Maxi taxi, it was expected that the new passenger would always say good morning or good afternoon... it's just the way they treat each other, and a little politeness will go a long way.
We received countless tips, directions and suggestions from locals while we were in these ever present 14 passenger vans... If you are polite, we found that the locals would bend over backwards to help visitors to their islands.
Thanks for reading overseas etiquette...show some kindness right now.