The other day I listened to this NPR podcast called Invisibilia. The podcast talks about the intangible forces that shape human behavior. In this episode specifically they talked about the first McDonalds opening in Russia. In Russia at the time during the 90s life was hard. They talk about how in schools in Russia at the time students learned that the American smiles they saw on tv and billboards were fake and its worse to fake the smile then to show the reality of life being hard. In addition, at the time customer service did not exist at restaurants. Servers would turn people away. They customers would have to impress the waiter so they would serve them. These meals were expensive and took several hours. So when corporate westerners went to Moscow to interview people for the job they asked them if they could smile. Then they would also ask if they could say phrases like ‘have a nice day’ or ‘see you next time.’ These positive and friendly phrases were a lot to ask for Russians at the time. But it did happen and on opening day around 30,000 people came out to McDonalds in Moscow. By people smiling and being nice it created a positive atmosphere. In turn people continued to come even just to hang out and spend time with friends. It was a very interesting podcast so if you have an hour in the car or something check it out. The episode is called The New Norm.