An article in The Syracuse Post-Standard is ruffling feathers, but it's less a blind condemnation of Southern Hospitality than a service piece afflicted with hokey generalities. For Southward-bound Orange fans attending the Final Four, a staff writer offers this: "Georgia isn't a whole other country, but there is definitely a different culture to embrace ? Welcome it with open arms or risk being That Rude Yankee in Atlanta. And by the way, hardly anyone actually calls the city Atlanta." She's right. We prefer Trafficsburg, Humidton, Diversity City, Hillbillyville, Antiyankeeapolis — or any other ATL stereotype we can forge into a moniker. Conan O'Brien is slaying his opening monologues this week using nothing but Atlanta/Georgia clichés. All this begs the question: What would you rename Atlanta, if you had to use stereotypes?
Below, some highlights from the newspaper piece. Part of it seems like solid research or life experience, while other bits could have come from "Steel Magnolias" ...
Southern living at its finest: Slowww dowwwn
"In New York, customer service is chop-chop fast. Everyone is fast. Life is fast. It's different in Atlanta. You're on "South time," not "North time." Customer service will get to you as soon as they can, meaning after they help the person in front of you, genuinely ask them how their day is, ask them how their life is, answer the phone, take a sip of water, answer the phone again, find a pen, smile and then finally get to you. They'll smile the entire time, so smile back. Restaurants do things the same way."
Ma'am and Sir
"In New York, we call people by their first name. Generally, not in Atlanta. Everyone is either Ma'am, a Sir, or Miss Maria, Mr. Andrew, Miss Sally, etc."
"Traffic sludge is a part of life in Atlanta. To figure out how much time you'll really need, double or triple your mileage to gauge your true time. If your hotel is 10 minutes from the Georgia Dome, give yourself 20-30 minutes in traffic. At least. And remember, this is the South. People are friendly. Drivers don't honk horns in the South. They 'tap' them, like a gentle nudge to get out of their way. They also let you in...when you realize you need to be four lanes over."
· Your Official Guide to Atlanta: Travel, hotels and blending in with Southern culture [The Post-Standard]
· Syracuse newspaper encourages Final Four travelers to embrace a 'different culture' in mysterious Atlanta [Creative Loafing]