It’s easy when traveling abroad to focus on our own shortcomings as Americans. I think this is in part due to our education from an early age, coupled with the fact that a lot of us stay where we are. It’s well known that most American’s don’t have passports. So, imagine our surprise when we do venture out for the first time to find people that are just as free and happy as we are at home, if not more so.
There are a lot of things I think other countries do better, but on our Independence day, it’s time to focus on the things America has right!
5- PERSONAL SPACE/QUEUE ETIQUETTE-
This may be a cultural preference, but the line is a tried, true, and socially accepted method of fairly deciding who goes first. It’s the reason I love Apple products but hate their store. Just have a queue! There seem to be a few cultures for whom the preferred method is just to wait in a clump then elbow and push their was to the front. Of course, the beauty of the queue is lost in places where it’s appropriate for the person behind you to make physical contact with you. So, God bless the USA for having the space and presence of mind to form a calm line and wait your turn.
4- CUSTOMER SERVICE
This one is a double edged sword. Our tipped positions are a bit ridiculous. There is no reason that an establishment’s customers should be expected to pay the wages of it’s employees. However, you can’t help but notice that the service does improve when the employee’s wages depend on it. There are many places that adopt a “you’ll get it when you get it” attitude. Of course, part of this might be cultural, not many places are in as big a hurry as America, especially during meals, which is kinda nice, but I still like knowing where my next refill is coming from.
3- ALL DAY HAPPY HOUR
I was surprised to learn that in many parts of the world “happy hour” is in fact an hour. No Chili’s two-for-ones! No late night half price apps! I would have a hard time living in that world!
American’s know their way around a bathroom better than anyone else in the world. Our bathrooms are large. Our sinks have one faucet that connects to two knobs for hot and cold, allowing you to mix the water to your exact specifications (I’m looking at you UK!). Our showers are mounted to the wall above head level with enough pressure to get your whole body wet at the same time! Washing your hair with one hand while holding a drippy shower head in the other is just not great guys! Bonus, our public restrooms are FREE. We as a people never carry cash and would simply not stand for the pee fee.
1- ULTIMATE FREEDOMS- CONDIMENTS AND DRINK REFILLS
(photo by Bobby P.)
We grow up hearing a lot about the “land of the free” and on the whole I think we have a lot fewer freedoms than we like to claim. However, there are a couple of freedoms worth fighting for. No one ever should have to pay for sauce with their chicken nuggets. That’s just offensive. What am I supposed to do? Eat them dry? Gross! Free refills on drinks is a God given right! Don’t give me that thimble full of Coke then make me pay for another whenever you get around to it! Seriously Europe, how are you not always dehydrated?
So there you have it. What we lack in places you can take your beer, and swears and penises on tv, we more than make up for with all you can drink soda delivered with a smile.
Happy Birthday America!