USA v UK

america

I found this on the interweb the other day;

I was in England again a few weeks ago, mostly in small towns, but here’s some of what I noticed:
* Almost everyone is very polite
* The food is generally outstanding
* There are no guns
* There are too many narrow stairs
* Everything is just a little bit different
* The pubs close too early
* The reason they drive on the left is because all their cars are built backwards
* Pubs are not bars, they are community living rooms.
* You’d better like peas, potatoes and sausage
* Refrigerators and washing machines are very small
* Everything is generally older, smaller and shorter
* People don’t seem to be afraid of their neighbors or the government
* Their paper money makes sense, the coins don’t
* Everyone has a washing machine but driers are rare
* Hot and cold water faucets. Remember them?
* Pants are called “trousers”, underwear are “pants” and sweaters are “jumpers”
* The bathroom light is a string hanging from the ceiling
* “Fanny” is a naughty word, as is “shag”
* All the signs are well designed with beautiful typography and written in full sentences with proper grammar.
* There’s no dress code
* Doors close by themselves, but they don’t always open
* They eat with their forks upside down
* The English are as crazy about their gardens as Americans are about cars
* They don’t seem to use facecloths or napkins or maybe they’re just less messy than we are
* The wall outlets all have switches, some don’t do anything
* There are hardly any cops or police cars
* 5,000 year ago, someone arranged a lot of rocks all over, but no one is sure why
* When you do see police they seem to be in male & female pairs and often smiling
* Black people are just people: they didn’t quite do slavery here
* Everything comes with chips, which are French Fries. You put vinegar on them
* Cookies are “biscuits” and potato chips are “crisps”
* HP sauce is better then catsup
* Obama is considered a hero, Bush is considered an idiot.
* After fish and chips, curry is the most popular food
* The water controls in showers need detailed instructions
* They will boil anything
* Folks don’t always lock their bikes
* It’s not unusual to see people dressed different and speaking different languages
* Your electronic devices will work fine with just a plug adapter
* Nearly everyone is better educated then we are
* If someone buys you a drink you must do the same
* There are no guns
* Look right, walk left. Again; look right, walk left. You’re welcome.
* Avoid British wine and French beer
* It’s not that hard to eat with the fork in your left hand with a little practice. If you don’t, everyone knows you’re an American
* Many of the roads are the size of our sidewalks
* There’s no AC
* Instead of turning the heat up, you put on a jumper
* Gas is “petrol”, it costs about $6 a gallon and is sold by the liter
* If you speed on a motorway, you get a ticket. Period. Always
* You don’t have to tip, really!
* Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Cornwall really are different countries
* Only 14% of Americans have a passport, almost everyone in the UK does
* You pay the price marked on products because the taxes (VAT) are built in
* Walking is the national pastime
* Their TV looks and sounds much better then ours
* They took the street signs down during WWII, but haven’t put them all back up yet
* Everyone enjoys a good joke
* There are no guns
* Dogs are very well behaved and welcome everywhere
* There are no window screens
* You can get on a bus and end up in Paris
* Everyone knows more about our history then we do
* Radio is still a big deal. The BBC is quite good
* The newspapers can be awful
* Everything costs the same but our money is worth less so you have to add 50% to the price to figure what you’re paying
* Beer comes in large, completely filled, actual pint glasses and the closer the brewery the better the beer
* Butter and eggs aren’t refrigerated
* The beer isn’t warm, each style is served at the proper temperature
* Cider (alcoholic) is quite good.
* Excess cider consumption can be very painful.
* The universal greeting is “Cheers” (pronounced “cheeahz” unless you are from Cornwall, in which case it’s “chairz”)
* The money is easy to understand: 1-2-5-10-20-50 pence, £1-£2 coins and £5-£10, etc bills. There are no quarters.
* Their cash makes ours look like Monopoly money
* Cars don’t have bumper stickers
* Many doorknobs, buildings and tools are older than America
* By law, there are no crappy, old cars
* When the sign says something was built in 456, they didn’t lose the “1”
* Cake is is pudding, ice cream is pudding, anything served for desert is pudding, even pudding
* BBC 4 is NPR
* Everything closes by 1800 (6pm)
* Very few people smoke, those who do often roll their own
* You’re defined by your accent
* No one in Cornwall knows what the hell a Cornish Game Hen is
* Football is a religion, religion is a sport
* Europeans dress better then the British, we dress worse
* The trains work: a three minute delay is regrettable
* Drinks don’t come with ice
* There are far fewer fat English people
* There are a lot of healthy old folks around participating in life instead of hiding at home watching tv
* If you’re over 60, you get free tv and bus and rail passes.
* They don’t use Bose anything anywhere
* Displaying your political or religious affiliation is considered very bad taste
* Every pub seems to have a pet drunk
* Their healthcare works, but they still bitch about it
* Cake is one of the major food groups
* Their coffee is mediocre but the tea is wonderful
* There are still no guns
* Towel warmers!
* Cheers

And then I found the response;

england-en

Scott Waters, an American, has caused a stir with a Facebook post sharing his observations from a recent trip to smalltown England. “People don’t seem to be afraid of their neighbours or the government” and “There are no guns” were two of his comments that seemed to help the post go viral. And pretty astute, I thought, was: “Pubs are not bars, they are community living rooms.”

I moved from the UK to the US six months ago, and it’s true what they say: the portions are enormous; there really are 300-400 TV channels; everyone has beautifully white teeth; and nobody can pronounce “water”.

But, at the risk of biting the hand that feeds me, here are a few other things I’ve noticed about the United States. Because, as John Travolta once said, they’ve got everything we’ve got … it’s just the little differences.

1. Customer service is either so warm it’s like you’ve made a new friend for life or so brusque you feel as though you’ve just been ordered back into your cell after your five-minute phone call with your lawyer. There’s no middle ground.

2. You need to tip for everything. If you think maybe you should tip, you should tip. You should be tipping me for this article.

3. If you don’t tip in a restaurant, the waiter or waitress will make a smart remark and your evening will be ruined. I’ve seen it happen.

4. People tip because the waiting staff are paid low hourly rates.

5. The waiting staff are paid low hourly rates because employers have successfully tricked their customers into taking on a significant portion of their staffing costs. If you don’t like the sound of that, all is not quite lost – there is a socialist running for president this time.

6. You can have anything you want, as long as you can pay for it.

7. And as long as you tip.

8. You can fill up your car at a petrol station using a couple of nickels and an old button.

9. Something as tiny and insignificant as a bicycle could never be considered remotely comparable to a car, and to expect it to abide by the same rules of the road is considered utterly absurd by cyclists, pedestrians and drivers alike.

10. Coins have become so worthless that restaurants sometimes refuse to take them – even thieves have been known to turn their noses up at some of them.

11. They’re only really used for the laundromat. Because strangely enough in this land of modern conveniences, it’s apparently too much to ask to want a washing machine in your apartment.

12. Nobody is worried about burglars even though they have fire escape stairs stuck to the outside of their building and the living-room window has been propped open for six months because an air-conditioning unit is sticking out of it. And, no, a flyscreen won’t keep them out.

13. Although I admit it: a flyscreen is a good idea. I haven’t had to kill a wasp or a moth for months.

14. Apartments usually come unfurnished, and Americans think the idea of sitting on someone else’s sofa or sleeping in someone else’s bed is disgusting. Come on – they’re not in there with you. “They might as well be!”

15. Far more Americans than the often-quoted 14% have a passport. But even if the number is low, relative to other countries, the fact is that they can quite happily cover 3.8m sq miles of vastly varied terrain without one. That’s more than double the 1.7m sq miles of the EU , which many British holidaymakers will be visiting.

16. It’s best to think of the police as a sort of occupying army and avoid them accordingly – particularly if you are not white.

17. TV news is rabidly partisan, while the broadsheet press pretends to be objective and neutral. Whereas in Britain …

18. Remember when British leftwingers thought Boris Johnson was too much of a joke to become mayor of London and then he went and did it anyway? That’s what’s happening with Donald Trump and the presidency.

19. That story about the pig was probably the first time anyone here had heard of David Cameron.

20. Celebrities walk around major cities as bold as brass. The other day I sat next to Dominic West, Damian Lewis and John Slattery in a restaurant.

21. Yeah, that’s right. And bragging is considered perfectly OK.

22. And so is telling someone sincerely that you think they, or something they have done, is amazing and fantastic.

23. I mean it.

24. No, really.

25. I’m not being sarcastic.

26. Honestly. That’s just my normal voice.

27. A lot of the trains and subway carriages look like whoever built them said, “OK, well, it works – what more do you want?” And left it at that.

28. But basically, you’re lucky in most parts of the country if you have any trains or subway systems at all.

29. If you get out of your car and walk from A to B in Los Angeles or Miami, people will think you are a surprisingly well-dressed and purposeful-looking homeless person.

30. If you’ve got good health insurance, the doctor will give you everything you need … and more.

31. If you haven’t … Oh, God. Good luck to you.

32. A lot of people consider “Oh, God” swearing.

33. Medical companies believe you will respond positively to a TV advert for, say, a sleeping pill that includes 10 minutes of warnings about side-effects that include danger of death, erections lasting more than 24 hours, and the fact that you may find yourself driving a car while asleep and not remember it the next day.

34. If you do need a sleeping pill the slow, ponderous and worthy tones of NPR (National Public Radio) may fit the bill. Do not listen while driving or operating heavy machinery. Or if you have an erection that has lasted more than 24 hours.

35. Americans love telling stories, and they’re really good at it.

36. And they’re really creative with language, especially slang.

37. If you watch European football (soccer) here, it’s a morning sport, after which you can do other things with the rest of your day. As long as you haven’t kept to your old British football-and-drinking regime.

38. It’s perfectly respectable to drink Coca-Cola or other similar drinks with a meal.

39. Order a cup of tea in a cafe or restaurant and you will be confronted with a glass or mug of lukewarm water with a teabag of some alarming flavour, like pomegranate or boysenberry, floating sadly on the top like a punctured dinghy, and some “milk” that is probably 50% cream, delivered on request. I’m just going to say it once: the water needs to be at boiling point for the tea to infuse!!!

40. Just order a cup of coffee. They know what they’re doing with coffee.

41. If you eat pizza with a knife and fork they look at you like you just ate a sandwich with a spoon. New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, caused major controversy by eating his the European way – the weakling.

42. A plate of Doritos and some guacamole is considered a full meal.

43. Bars don’t usually serve food. Just keep on drinking.

44. But drinking on the street is illegal – except in New Orleans, where it’s compulsory.

45. People still love smoking, and the glowing retro-futurist coloured lights of e-cigarettes haven’t really caught on yet.

46. They have no universally agreed upon way of saying goodbye (a kiss on the cheek would be unforgivably inappropriate and borderline actionable). Most common is just to pause for a moment, perhaps give a barely perceptible nod or slightly awkward wave … and then simply walk away.

47. The weather really means business.

48. Americans are acutely conscious of race, in the way British people are acutely conscious of class.

49. Lots of people you don’t expect to own guns or support the right to bear arms do .

50. No massacre, no matter how awful, will prompt Congress to tighten America’s gun laws. There will have to be a wider cultural shift. Lots of people do care about this. But they’re not sure exactly what to do.