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Further Comparison of London and Los Angeles

November 13, 2000

The interesting essay by Peter Whittle ("Under Big Ben's Gaze, Boorishness Rules," Nov. 7) made me smile, having recently returned from London.

One thing he forgot to mention was the seemingly oblivious attitude Londoners have in regard to smoking. They smoke in tube stations, pubs, queues, on trains (even in "nonsmoking" cars), in restaurants and hotels. Many days I showered and shampooed twice, in a vain effort to rid myself of tobacco smell.

PAM WRIGHT

Pasadena

*

A year ago last May my wife, daughter, son-in-law and I spent 15 days in London on vacation. One of the traits we most admired in the merchants of that city (whether at a pub, dry cleaners or hotel) was the lack of that chirpy, mindless sociability that you find in the States. These shopkeepers possessed--for want of a better word--a certain dignity.

They were unfailingly polite and efficient (we didn't experience a single example of rudeness).

The reference to the American ethos of "customer is king" makes me wonder if Mr. Whittle has done any shopping lately. Or has tried to read his telephone or utilities bill. Or has attended a multiplex theater. "Marketing as king" would be more like it.

If Mr. Whittle prefers having a teenager mindlessly chirp out, "Have a nice day!" rather than having a reserved adult man or woman nod politely, he's absolutely correct in his premise: He belongs in L.A.

DAVID MACARAY

Rowland Heights

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