My (Latest) Ugly American Moment - InformationWeek
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2/13/2008
12:12 PM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
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My (Latest) Ugly American Moment

In traveling to 20-some countries, I suspect I've inadvertently offended someone in nearly every one. Anyone who does business internationally dreads the moment they'll make some cultural gaffe. It took me one day in India to put my foot into it, all too literally.

In traveling to 20-some countries, I suspect I've inadvertently offended someone in nearly every one. Anyone who does business internationally dreads the moment they'll make some cultural gaffe. It took me one day in India to put my foot into it, all too literally.I visited a Tata Consultancy Services office today with a small group. The TCS team greeted us kindly, and the group paused for photos in the front lobby. As we then went to enter, I stepped ahead -- and put my foot firmly in the middle of a piece of artwork laid out lovingly on the lobby floor, crafted of loose flower petals. Only now it had my size 11 footprint dragged grotesquely through it.

flower artwork
The TCS team quickly and graciously brushed it off as nothing, trying to put me at ease. My fellow Americans had no end of fun harassing me. I continue to be mortified at being an oaf.

Have your own tale of cultural clumsiness to share? Post it here, and join the club.

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