Only in America

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Only in America

Just a few of America's obsessions and cultural oddities:

bulletCustomer Service


It is not an exaggeration - America is the richest country in the world because everyone wants to be a millionaire and a hell of a lot of people achieve this aim. I've even met one or two myself. Everyone plays the stock market and get-rich schemes are standard fare. I tend to think that the average Aussie likes their money too but usually its as a means to an end. That is, its to buy you a roof over your head and with that to obtain some security. In America its more than that. It appears you are only considered successful if you can stockpile great sums of money by the time you're 55. I guess whatever works for you.


Everything is sweeter in America - or at least everything you eat or drink. Coke tastes different, much of the bread is a dessert item and bakery items (read donuts, danishs and cinibons (cinamon buns)) overflow a large portion of supermarket shelves and are standard fare for breakfast. No wonder it seems like its not just the kids on a sugar high most of the time. There is no solution to this but my advice is to always taste before adding sugar. Even my Dad, the 3-4 teaspoons in a cup of coffee man, learnt this the hard way!


bulletThe named a snow storm 'Winterblast 2000'
bulletThey have siren warnings for thunder storms
bulletI have been sent home from work for heavy rain
bulletI have stayed home from work on a sunny day because of snow the day before!


The second most popular radio show after weather. And boy do they need it. Traffic jams appear out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly. The mystery of why the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel is banked up every single day is still unsolved.


bulletRule of thumb - they tip for EVERYTHING. 
bulletNot just in  restaurants - you're also supposed to tip the following:
bulletbar tenders
bullethair dressers
bullethotel maids
bulletcab drivers
bulletbus drivers (for shuttle buses etc)
bulletcasino croupiers
bullethealth bar attendants
bulletand many more
bulletDeciding how much to tip is simple but bizarre. The standard is 15%. 10% means a bad job (to my mind this should mean no tip) and 20% means a great job. Why they don't just add this onto the bill (aka 'check') and pay their workers more I'll NEVER know. 

Customer Service

US Customer Service is the best and the worst in the world at the same time. Companies instruct their workers in what to say and you usually get a several second spiel at the start of any interaction about how they are there to help you etc. However most of the workers themselves are poorly paid and don't give a sh*t about the company they work for in my experience. Therefore when you say you are not happy and may change companies you get a verbal shoulder shrug and a "whatever" from the other end of the phone.

And postal workers - don't get me started!

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