Wednesday, 16 March 2005

Assumptions about the USA confirmed and debunked

1. Customer Service in the U.S. is great. False The customer service sucks. They just disguse the crap service by adding 'have a nice day' at the end or 'Hi, how are you today?' to the beginning. They don't actualy give a shit about your day and I wish they wouldn't do it. As for smiling at a customer, fugeddaboudit !

2. Americans are fat because of McDonald's- False Americans are in fact, fat because of Dunkin'Doughnuts. There is one on every block.

3.America is now completely paranoid about terrorists since 9/11. True I passed though so many metal detectors in my ten-day visit that I have been magnetised. Paper clips are now leaping of desks and attaching themselves to me as I pass.

4.American airports suck. True ? call that a duty-free shop. You should be ashamed of yourselves. I thought America was all about making money. How could a nation of entrepraneurs not seek to fully capitalise on the captive audience of the departure lounge with the lure of of a large and well stocked duty free shop?

5. The tax system sucks ? TrueFirst off let me say that in the UK the sales tax (VAT) is included in all price tags. On the rare occasions when it isn't (and I've only ever seen this applied to expensive computer
equipment) it is clearly stated that the price is exclusive of tax. In the US this is not the case. Sales tax is added to the price on the sticker when you get to the till. Poor unsuspecting foreigners are left to wonder why they are being charged $1.04 for their hamburger when the large sign clearly states it costs 99 cents. At this point I would like to reiterate point 1- Terrible customer service. As, when the poor forigner (namely me) points out the discrepancy in price, they are looked at like they are THE stupidest person on the face of the planet and told 'that's before tax' in a sarcastic tone by the most miserable burger joint employee in the universe. Do I sound like I'm American ? Is your brain too warped from breathing in grease fumes all day to figure out that maybe your wired tax system is confusing for forigners?

6. The Shopping is fantastic ?Wrong Not only is duty free shopping at the airport crap there is no duty free shopping in normal
stores. The UK and several other countries which are known for atracting tourists who secificaly want to shop allow foreigners to shop duty-free in all stores. In the UK shoppers can claim all sales tax back by taking their receipts and a completed form to a desk at the airport where they are given a rebate on the VAT they were charged on all valid items of thier shopping. This encourages foreigners to come and spend lots more money in the local economy and boosts tourism.

7. US cities are violent hot beds of crime where innocent tourists get gunned down in drive by shootings. Wrong - Ok, I did see 2 arrests in 10 days (in the UK you'd be lucky to see 2 in 10 years) and a guy walking around menacingly with an exposed knife blade muttering angrily to his mate. But I didn't get shot or mugged or attacked so it can't be that bad.

8. The US is the hot bed of everything new and exciting and cutting edge. WRONG. I was told by several Americans that they look to the UK for new trends ? I guess it's a mutual case of the grass is greener.


  1. Interesting post .... where did you visit in the States? I'm assuming Boston or NYC, but I may be wrong. You're right about everything, although the Dunkin' Donuts thing. It just that all we ever eat is junk food, although DD is to blame as well as Krispy Kreme donuts as well.

    The funny thing is that we do look overseas to see what is cool or hip. All you have to do is slap "European (insert advjective here, like designed or inspired)" and we eat it up.

    Shopping is a joke, especially at a mall in the States (way expensive) and airports are basically highway robbery (I mean $8 for a cheese sandwich in JFK is a bit extreme).

  2. I went to Boston and NYC. The shopping was ok for me becouse the dollar is doing so badly aginst the pound which made most things a good bargin for me (even with the tax). I just wish i had more room in my suitcase!