Received With Two Hands

There aren’t a lot of Asian people in this part of New Hampshire. Actually, the only time I’ve seen Asian people is when I go to Chinese restaurants. Of course, these are all Americanized, but I still enjoy eating some familiar food once in a while. I don’t normally eat take-out at home, so this is a treat. Most of my Asian food is cooked by my mother or bought in Chinatown.

When I did a school project on an Asian county, I learned about the correct way to give and receive business cards. Normally in the US, you give the business card and put it in your wallet or your pocket. In Asia, you give the card and receive the card with two hands. Once you get it, you are supposed to read it before you put it away. You can put it in your wallet, but you can’t put that wallet in your back pocket and then sit down. That represents that you’re sitting on them.

As I offered my credit card to pay for my take-out, I didn’t notice how the cashier took it. But I did notice that when she gave it back to me, she offered it with two hands and a small bow. It might not be a business card, but it was treated the same way, as I’m sure cash would be handled. It was interesting to see something I had learned in action, but more importantly, how different cultures do something. If I hadn’t read it I wouldn’t have thought twice about handing my business card to someone with one hand, or felt offended if they didn’t read it. Seeing it happen in real life made me realize how important it was to understand different cultures. They might not be offended if you don’t give your business card with two hands, but if they expect you to and you don’t, it could lead to a misunderstanding.

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