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spyguy

Observations about the US + Merkins

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25 minutes ago, Bossybabe said:

They say they speak American, a language that doesn't exist. 

Yes it does.

The Bible was written in American.

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They think a 20% service charge is reasonable.

They also don't show the actual price of anything. Just booked a hotel room. By the time they had added every conceivable tax, surcharge etc the price was almost 50% higher. Ryanair could learn a thing or two.

And if I buy a $1.99 coffee I expect to hand over $2. I do not expect to be told it is $2.12 with tax by an assistant that looks at me like I am an idiot.

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2 hours ago, CunningPlan said:

They think a 20% service charge is reasonable.

They also don't show the actual price of anything. Just booked a hotel room. By the time they had added every conceivable tax, surcharge etc the price was almost 50% higher. Ryanair could learn a thing or two.

And if I buy a $1.99 coffee I expect to hand over $2. I do not expect to be told it is $2.12 with tax by an assistant that looks at me like I am an idiot.

What he said!

I see a pair of jeans in Sears and think "what a good price" only to find them asking me for more money at the till.

It's the same as all shops here pricing ex VAT and then charging a locally variable rate of VAT at the till.  It's dishonest and I'm glad we don't do it here.

Quick caveat that I like Americans and the US; it's just not perfect.

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I like Americans and enjoy spending time there but there is sometimes a wtf moment that I don't normally get in mainland Europe. The only time I've ever been stopped by a cop was for walking in California. There was a diner about half a mile from our motel so we walked over for our evening meal. As we were walking, cop drove by, spun around and came back to question us. I explained that yes, we did have a hire car but I was going to have a few beers and didn't want to drink and drive. He seemed surprised, advised me that I would be fine to take the car and departed.

The constant tipping is a pita, especially since you have to maintain a supply of low denomination notes to do so and travel money is issued in big denominations so it can be awkward when you first get there.

On one occasion we ordered a meal with a side salad and were served the salad as a starter which was both puzzling and amusing.

In Boston I tried to order two drinks for myself (beer and chaser) and was refused. Only allowed one at a time apparently.

American cars are as useless at corners as the stereotype suggests.

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When the states first properyl into my view i nthe early 90s- following news, working with Americans - the following were very true:

- Beer was sh1t. No exception.

- Weed laws would see you looked up for life.

- Almost fundamental laws on relgion and being gay.

Today:

- Beers very good. And theirs choice.

- Its easier to buy dope in he US than it is in the Nlands.

- You can marry a bloke or a woman.

Of all those, I think the Beer is the most surprising.

Oh, one things still true:

Merkins sweets - bar Reeces - are utterly sh1t.

A Twinkie is the most revolting thing Ive ever tried to eat.

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9 minutes ago, ntb said:

I like Americans and enjoy spending time there but there is sometimes a wtf moment that I don't normally get in mainland Europe. The only time I've ever been stopped by a cop was for walking in California. There was a diner about half a mile from our motel so we walked over for our evening meal. As we were walking, cop drove by, spun around and came back to question us. I explained that yes, we did have a hire car but I was going to have a few beers and didn't want to drink and drive. He seemed surprised, advised me that I would be fine to take the car and departed.

I stayed in a really nice bit of Miami once. Every day I walked down to the diner for breakfast half a mile along this beautiful tree lined road in perfect weather. Every single time, at least one person stopped and asked if I needed a lift (assuming my car had broken down). Lovely people, but absolutely baffled by the idea of someone choosing to walk.

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4 minutes ago, spyguy said:

When the states first properyl into my view i nthe early 90s- following news, working with Americans - the following were very true:

- Beer was sh1t. No exception.

- Weed laws would see you looked up for life.

- Almost fundamental laws on relgion and being gay.

Today:

- Beers very good. And theirs choice.

- Its easier to buy dope in he US than it is in the Nlands.

- You can marry a bloke or a woman.

Of all those, I think the Beer is the most surprising.

Oh, one things still true:

Merkins sweets - bar Reeces - are utterly sh1t.

A Twinkie is the most revolting thing Ive ever tried to eat.

Plus they have a very relaxed attitude to spelling and punctuation.

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The first time I went in a Wal Mart was a surprise. Not only were guns and ammo for sale, there were all manner of goodies you just wouldn't see over here. Rocket motors and rockets, a full range of car batteries and to my wife's bafflement, the 12v bilge pump that I bought.

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53 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

What he said!

I see a pair of jeans in Sears and think "what a good price" only to find them asking me for more money at the till.

It's the same as all shops here pricing ex VAT and then charging a locally variable rate of VAT at the till.  It's dishonest and I'm glad we don't do it here.

Quick caveat that I like Americans and the US; it's just not perfect.

 

It is an annoyance in the States but at the same time you get a feel for the costs of doing business, from a tax perspective.

I guess the approach is as much out of pragmatism as anything, an bricks and mortar retailer would spend a long time producing the price lists etc for every local tax regime they sold into.

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Despite having 'dating' explained to me, I still dont really understand. Neither do Americans.

One level of dating Id just regard as having a beer + chat with a girl.

Other levels Id regard as sleeping around rather than dating.

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5 minutes ago, Bossybabe said:

I thought that was Hebrew. Or Aramaic. Or something ancient. 

Jesus was from New York state.

 

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1 hour ago, Frank Hovis said:

What he said!

I see a pair of jeans in Sears and think "what a good price" only to find them asking me for more money at the till.

It's the same as all shops here pricing ex VAT and then charging a locally variable rate of VAT at the till.  It's dishonest and I'm glad we don't do it here.

Quick caveat that I like Americans and the US; it's just not perfect.

I think there would be riots in the uk if petrol stations did that.

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I find surprising that a lot of normal things seem to be more expensive than in Europe (flights, groceries, services) but certain less common things which would be expensive and in tiny quantities in Europe are sold cheaply in bulk in USA, leading to the impression that it is all cheaper.

 

(Haven't been there, just from what I read)

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Another thing I find odd is hotel bedrooms. Why do so many of them have two double beds in them - what is that all about?

Which couple goes on holiday with friends and shares a bedroom?

Surely holiday is a great time for playing the odd game of Mr Wobbly hides his helmet? With the kids / friends in a bed two feet away? Really? 

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I haven't been to the USA since 2006, but here are my observations:

 

1.) Customer Service is excellent, bordering on cheesy. I initially thought that all the niceness that store staff exude at the checkout was false and mocking, but over time realised they genuinely are just that nice and friendly.

2.) People seeem to fall into one of two categories when it comes to health, they are either extremely fit or extremely unfit, not much of a middleground. The people are so used to seeing either that neither catch their attention anymore where as I could not stop gawking, especially at the huge fatties.

3.) They don't like walking anywhere. I saw many people who would get back in their cars to drive a few hundred feet to the next store rather than just walk there. No wonder so many of them end up morbidly obese.

4.) Religion is everywhere, or at least it is in Florida. Huge billboards advertising Churches, street preachers on the corners of busy junctions screaming to nobody in particular about fire and brimstone. I found it both bizarre and hilarious at times.

5.) They play their national anthem at any given opportunity.

6.) They salute the troops at any given opportunity - this got quite tiresome in the theme parks where they would make you stand for the national anthem and salute the troops before EVERY SINGLE show be it from watching Shamu to watching a stunt car go around a mock film set.

7.) TV is unwatchable - Commercial breaks every 5 minutes grows very annoying fast.

8.) They put salt on everything in huge quantities, almost as bad as the Germans.

9.) The wealth divide is very noticeable. One minute you are driving past homes that look like mansions with very well dressed people walking around, then the next you are driving through a ghetto or trailer park where you can actually see the dirt and grime on people.

10.) If anyone thinks you are Irish or Scottish they flock to you and never stop with the questions. You always get at least one person that feels the need to tell you about their Irish or Scottish ancestors and they'll use that as a type of bonding thing with you. This happened a lot with me since I am Geordie and get mistaken for Irish or Scottish all the time. Funny thing is, if you tell them you are actually English 9/10 will lose all interest in talking to you.

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US lotteries - they advertise these massive prices... but then if you want a lump sum they take a massive chunk off the prize... then they charge you state taxes... then they charge you national taxes... You can end up with 40 to 50 percent of the advertised jackpot.

Last year an Iraqi won about 6 million in one of the few states that do not pay state taxes for wins... He then left and cashed the cheque outside of the US thus avoiding a load of taxes that a Yank would pay... and it caused quite a fuss.

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Only gleaned from film and tv so I don't know if it's an accurate observation of real life but....

 

At the end of a telephone conversation they just put the phone down and never say bye. 

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7 minutes ago, The Masked Tulip said:

Tens of millions of Americans have wonky teeth as dental care is so expensive. It is a myth that all Yanks have perfect teeth.

You've been to Arkansas!?

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You get get your tax back at the airport, if you kept your receipts. The Americans are much more honest about this than the EU.:mellow:

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