Hilariously, Penn Students Named Most Polite in Nation

Add a new stereotype for Philadelphia, please: Politeness! Joining Penn in the top-10 most polite colleges: University of the Sciences, Temple, and Drexel.

If there’s one reputation Penn students have, it’s being impolite — especially to workers in the service industry. Penn kids reportedly tipped 40 cents at McGlinchey’s earlier this year. Other waiters and waitresses have similar tales of rudeness and cheapness.

And it’s not just food service. “I sit at this post and some of the kids just glare and keep it moving … no ‘good morning,’ ‘good afternoon,’ or anything … where are some of their manners?” AlliedBarton security guard told the Daily Pennsylvanian in 2012.

But, apparently, Penn kids are nice to delivery people. Really nice. Best-in-the-nation nice.




A new survey from GrubHub and the Huffington Post's Spoon University ranked the 10 nicest colleges in the country, based on how frequently students used "please" and "thank you" in the special orders box. Penn came out on top.

Really. Penn.

Have Penn kids turned a leaf in their behavior? Is this a new beginning of a polite Penn where students will tip well, will say hi to their security guards, and won't try to cut in on the cute girl who's already talking to me, c'mon! (Um, not that I know from experience.)

If this reporter's skepticism is any indication here, then … no. But there's more to this: A bunch of schools in town are polite! Four Philly schools made the list in all.

  • 1. Penn
  • 3. University of the Sciences
  • 7. Temple
  • 10. Drexel

Plus: The College of New Jersey, which is less than an hour from Philly, was fifth.

So where's all this Philadelphia politeness coming from? It's not like we're known for it.

Maybe it's this: Perhaps the students at these universities know delivery can be tricky: Sometimes you get the wrong food, sometimes an order gets forgotten. And writing "please" and "thank you" is a good way to try to make sure everything goes smoothly. So maybe they're just being polite in order to get something in return. Nonetheless, politeness for one's own self-interest is still politeness, so: Good job, Penn kids!

Or maybe it's this: Obviously, charting how often someone writes "please" or "thank you" in the special instructions box isn't much of a way to measure politeness. Maybe the Penn kids slam the door in the delivery driver's face afterward. "Thank you," they say, sarcastically. Or perhaps they were raised right by their caregivers and told to always say "please" and "thank you" and it hasn't made them a better person at all and this list is bullshit.

Or, maybe, just maybe, we've been unfairly maligned as rude. The City of Brotherly Love is just that, and we're the most polite city on the planet — and outsiders lie about us because they're jealous of how nice we are.

Yeah, that's it. It's that last one. I can only end with one note: Thank you for reading this article — please leave a comment if you'd like to!

[Huffington Post]

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  • Jayfar

    Or maybe they write “please” and “thank you” in lieu of generous tipping.

  • Anonymous

    I would highly disagree with this statement. I just moved to Philadelphia from New York and spent my first 3 months living in the Radian apartments (UPenn off campus housing). Every day my first week, I would enter the elevator and smile or say hello to the other person inside (you know, so it wasn’t awkward) and received blank stares back with no acknowledgement of my salutation or smile. My friend from St. Lawrence county in New York came to visit one weekend and also would greet people and was met with the same acknowledgement. She asked me why people were so rude. The only time I ever experienced a friendly interaction was when a male student was wearing a Mets baseball hat. I complimented him on his hat and we chatted briefly about sports from the 10th floor down to the lobby. Before I left he asked if I was from the South. I said, “No….New York.” He replied very quickly, “Oh! I’m sorry you’re just friendly and the only people who ever really talk with strangers here are from Texas.”

    Case in point- This is not the most friendly school AND you don’t have to be from the South to be friendly.

    • Well Duh

      Maybe you shouldn’t have moved into the wealthy foreign/old money apartment building.

    • imeanrlytho

      You live in the Radian? You mean, that extremely overpriced dormitory that all the spoiled rich brats live in? Yes, do go on, I totally value your opinion.

  • Rocco Lamagela

    They must of come from elsewhere to attend Penn!

  • Hanna

    Or maybe in a school of 10,000 not everyone’s behavior is the same.

  • comeon

    Does this magazine have anything better to do than to hate on Penn?

  • Anna

    Philly Mag hates Penn students — and yet they’ll keep hiring them as interns to do free labor for them. Stop being such hypocrites. Love, a former Penn intern.

  • pelyas

    Pretty sure Penn kids tip way better and are far more polite and well-mannered than your average Philadelphia resident. Don’t see how one story about a 40-cent tip (where the waitress was complaining about having to make kamikaze shots) proves otherwise.

    • iambillgates

      Before I went to Penn I Worked At The tgi fridays. A lot of bad tips…not sure if the customers were Penn kids though.

  • Penn Alum

    Phillymag continuing to needlessly foster community division between Penn and the rest of Philadelphia via stereotyping large groups of people based on a small, unrepresentative subsegment.

    Let’s bring Victor Fiorillo into this article and see if he can fail to check facts and generate more hate against Penn again. Wait, you already did by linking to his poorly researched, un-corrected, and un-factchecked piece about tipping at McGlinchey’s! Good on you.

  • Laura

    Okay, guy who freely admits in this article that he’s annoyed because one time some Penn kid started talking to a girl he was trying to sleep with, please keep on stereotyping Penn students based on a handful of stories about a campus of 10,000. Please.

    Some real objectivity going on here!

  • iambillgates

    You actually covered a story about a tip?