Cultural Musings

The 6 Most Common Polish complaints

You may have heard that Polish people complain a lot. And it’s true. It’s like a national pastime. The important thing to remember is that people complain as a way to bond, greet each other, feel comfortable around each other. It makes them feel like they can relate to one other because they have the same problems. Having a history of hard times after hard times, it makes sense. And anyway, everyone complains, right? But Poles have their own special complaints, tailored to the issues we often face here. Let’s take a look.

The weather. If you don’t like small talking about the weather, don’t even think about coming here. Because people don’t really start conversations with “how are you?” this is a common way of starting a conversation. Get used to it. Welcome to my day, a least 8 times.

How much something costs. Of course everything costs too much. Flats, cars, gas, clothes, all things which cost more in Poland than in America. With low salaries and high costs/taxes, it’s not hard to understand why this is a common complaint.

The fact that English has so many tenses. Ok so maybe this is just because of my job but please stop complaining to me about things I can’t change in the English language. It wasn’t me who created them!! Take a moment to consider the complexity of the Polish language… that’s something to complain about.

Politics. The problem with politics in Poland is that most people feel as if there are no decent options, so even during election season people don’t seem terribly enthused about one candidate or another. I guess they’re just jaded. Fortunately, that makes it so there’s always good material for complaining.

Long lines at the doctor. Truth be told, this is something to complain about. If you want to go to the GP, you of course have to wait some amount of time before seeing the doctor. I think that’s pretty much normal everywhere. Annoyingly, in Poland, there’s like no such thing as appointments for the doctor, it’s just a matter of who gets there first. As for specialists, there’s probably a figurative line meaning you have to wait a couple months before seeing someone. That’s public health care.

Products made for the Polish market. People seem to think that they’re literally the worst on Earth. This is something I’ve thought about a lot, for god knows why. But honestly I was just trying to figure out where this idea comes from. People truly believe if something was produced for a different market, especially the German one, that it’s much higher quality than in Poland. This may be true for various reasons. Maybe the product is cheaper here or maybe the norms are different for different countries? Either way, this is a strong belief. That’s why so many products tout German quality and for sure they sell better.

Nowadays I’ve become to polonized that it doesn’t bother me, but when I first moved here, it was hard to deal with the negativity in the place of the positivity I expected. You can especially hear me complaining about the weather along with everyone else. So what do you complain about? Did I miss anything in your expert opinions?

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  • Reply Juliusz 28 May 2016 at 10:50

    I feel like the last one is more common on the West of Poland because it’s easier there to get products from Germany.

    Also I think we complain much about public transport (especially railway), media, neighbours, other countries basicaly anything is good reson to complain.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 28 May 2016 at 15:47

      Ah yes you brought up some good ones! Trains are a big one, that’s true. Neighbors too 🙂

  • Reply hurricane 29 May 2016 at 00:20

    Speaking of complaints about English language – you have used the word ,,jaded” and in the dictionary there are 3 possible translations of it that are mutually exclusive, so I can’t be sure ,,co autor miał na myśli”

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 29 May 2016 at 07:08

      Hah ok well jaded means you’ve experienced something too often and now you’re just bored of it or sick of it. it’s a great word 🙂

      • Reply hurricane 29 May 2016 at 16:20

        Thank you. I personally don’t like explaining ,,foreign” words using the same language, but at least everything is clear now. 😛

  • Reply Kacper 29 May 2016 at 01:20
    “We are, in many cases, taking class one products into the UK and class two into central and eastern European food markets.”
    This seems to be something more than just an idea.
    Having said that, I don’t think that it’s true for a lot of products.
    That belief about better quality/durability of Western products might be a remnant of the previous system. Many things produced in PRL were worse than their Western counterparts. That’s why many Polish companies use foreign sounding brands.
    Interesting thing is that due to planned obsolescence today some of these things prove to be better (at least in terms of durability). I have seen refrigerators produced in communist Poland still working today – that’s at least 26 years.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 29 May 2016 at 07:11

      Kacper – Yeah I think you’re right about it being a remnant of the old system. That makes a lot of sense. There are also still Maluchs on the road! Those things have survived a long time too 🙂

  • Reply Nancy Southers 10 June 2016 at 00:14

    In America we complain about the same things…even the weather in Florida;)!!

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 10 June 2016 at 20:35

      I know! we’re ridiculous 🙂

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