Two years ago I was waiting for a Delta/Alitalia flight from JFK to Milan. The waiting room was full of Americans and Italians. Two friendly flight staff members came forward in person with a microphone to describe the boarding procedure in an attempt to get people to pay attention. They did it in English and then in Italian. First we will board group A, followed by group B. You can find the letter in the top right corner of your ticket. And so on.
Since they were actual people, most of the Americans stopped what they were doing and more or less paid attention. The Italians in no way lowered their volume or gave any indication of listening. The time came to board. "Group A," called a friendly flight staff member. All the Americans with "A" on their tickets got in line. And all the Italians (ALL THE ITALIANS) also got in line. The friendly flight staff explained the procedure again, asking all the non-group A people to please step aside. Then they called Group B. The exact same thing happened again. Every Italian in the room, plus all of Group B got in line. "No, sir, see where it says D on your ticket? Please step aside," etc.
Now, lest you think I am poking fun at the Italians with this little tale, I am not. Ok, I am, but not entirely. Americans, even if they are not the most excessive rule-followers in the world (ahem, Germans), generally believe that, if there are rules, they are probably for a good reason, and the fastest way to get on the plane will be to follow them. Italians, who live among the ruins of the various empires and other bossy authorities that seemed like good ideas at the time generally believe that, if there are rules, someone has been paid off, and if you want to fly today, you had better get your ass on that plane by your damn self.
I'm with the Americans when it comes to Delta Airlines, but the Italians do have a point.