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Just put up a sign

Back before the 2008 financial crisis, I did a short stint working for a real estate developer in Dublin, Ireland. 

Most of our projects were in Ireland, but our consultant teams were sometimes from all over.

One day we were having a meeting with our architect from Germany and we started talking about a particular project’s green space.

But this wasn’t the sort of green space that was supposed to be actively used. It was a green space that, I guess, you were just supposed to look at and admire for its greenness. 

So one of my Irish colleagues asked, while referencing the proposed design: “How are we going to keep people off the grass?”

Our German friends didn’t immediately appreciate the concern and responded with: “What do you mean?”

Irish: “How will we stop people from walking and hanging out on the grass?”

German with serious face: “Oh. We will put up a sign.”

At that point, every Irish person in the room just started laughing and more or less said: “Yeah, that’ll never work.”

Cultural differences can be subtle.

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