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S/O: Talking to strangers. US vs UK: The poll!

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I was inspired by this thread http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=129538.0.

Basically, I don't want strangers to talk to me for no reason. I am specifically not talking about times when somebody needs to talk to me (like asking directions), but about people approaching me to ask things that aren't urgent, or just to chat. I'm just not interested in those kind of interactions, and I actually feel a bit uncomfortable. I assumed that this was the prevailing cultural norm in the UK, but maybe it isn't.

To this end, I have created a poll. Please read carefully, and click the relevant option for your country! I realise that there will be differences within countries, so this is going to be a very broad brush picture, but I was trying to keep the number of options sensible! Also, this obviously excludes other countries, simply because I was mainly interested in the UK/US differences because of the other thread.

I'm with you, and I'm American. I feel very uncomfortable when strangers try to chat with me, though I'm okay with people asking for directions and the like. Fortunately, I live in a large Canadian city, where small talk with strangers is decidedly not the norm.

Usually, there's something like a request for directions or an observation on a shared experience ( watching a ball game in a sports bar, remarking how nice the peaches on the produce counter look) that starts the conversation. 

I would seriously doubt the motives or the sanity of a stranger who starts up a random conversation. Perhaps it's because I live in a major city but such an action would be more likely to trigger suspicion than spread joy. 

I do sometimes indulge in small talk, like this morning when I was in my local garden centre, and I chatted to the workers about how their cost of delivery was much better and cheaper than a large chain of DIY/Garden suppliers, but generally I am not too keen on being engaged in conversation with people at bus stops, especially since I seem to attract the odder types. On occasion I have talked to older people in super markets quite happily, as I think it could be that they live alone, and get no chance to talk to many people.

I've noticed lately that women have been coming up to me, complete strangers, and striking up conversations about items I'm browsing or are in my cart, or my clothes or kids, whatever. I don't mind talking to the very young lady about whether strawberries are in season, but I hate standing trapped while my ear is chatted off by a person telling me all about her granddaughter's love of rainbows.

This never used to happen. Now it's a common occurrence--a stranger sees something we have in common and just HAS to comment on it. Drives me batty!

--US, small town raised, currently living in said small town.


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