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(The Atlantic)   Traveling to the U.S.? If invited to a dinner party, bring a gift of wine, but not cash or toiletries   (theatlantic.com) divider line 105
    More: Interesting, United States, Lonely Planet, United States of America, gifts, plastic cup  
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8240 clicks; posted to Main » on 04 Jun 2012 at 1:17 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-06-04 01:20:35 AM
I thought it was best to bring jeans, toiletries and sweets for the kids like I did when I went to Cuba.
 
2012-06-04 01:21:05 AM
what about a cash-full of toilet trees?
 
2012-06-04 01:21:30 AM
www.morethings.com
 
2012-06-04 01:21:34 AM
America: We want you to bring wine or a sixer of beer.
 
2012-06-04 01:28:52 AM
Bring booze. You damn furriners will need it to put up with our superior American ways
 
2012-06-04 01:31:40 AM
I don't care who's party it is, I'm still bringing ass gaskets for the john.
/don't trust those dirty rich people.
 
2012-06-04 01:34:09 AM
I wish dinner guests would bring me cash. I will take all the free cash I can get my grubby little hands on!
 
2012-06-04 01:39:07 AM

Mock26: I wish dinner guests would bring me cash. I will take all the free cash I can get my grubby little hands on!


You say that now, but a bucket of rupees isn't as generous as it sounds.
 
2012-06-04 01:40:44 AM
Taxis are too farking expensive to tip, at least in canada they are, and they don't "expect" a tip either.
 
2012-06-04 01:41:00 AM
I can't read the link because it's not formatted as a paginated "top 10" list.
 
2012-06-04 01:44:02 AM
Also, bring a gun. Everyone else will and you'll just feel silly when a good old fashioned western shootout breaks out and you make such a gauche faux pas as not carrying.
 
2012-06-04 01:45:24 AM
Such tips as "don't hand out cash to dinner guests" reveal what foreign tourists find surprising about coming to America.

Thanks a lot for ruining the gravy train, Atlantic.
 
2012-06-04 01:46:15 AM
when in doubt, just bring hookers and blow
 
2012-06-04 01:48:00 AM
Everything from the article sounds like good advice for travelers. It's amazing to me as an American how common gifts of cash are in Japan. I can easily imagine a Japanese trying to give cash in a circumstance where it would cause embarrassment in the United States.
 
2012-06-04 01:48:34 AM
I'm socially inept enough to be interested in buying a travel book to the USA. I mean, seriously, I don't get it here and I was born in Houston and raised in Dallas.

/I'll move out of Texas once I nail down some decent residual income.
 
2012-06-04 01:52:29 AM
"The combination of shoot-from-the-hip mentality with laissez-faire capitalism and religious fervor can make the U.S. maddening at times, even to its own residents."

They sure as hell got this one right.


dopekitty74: Taxis are too farking expensive to tip, at least in canada they are, and they don't "expect" a tip either.


Now, now. Let's not turn this into a tipping thread. Pretty please?
 
2012-06-04 02:04:04 AM
The part about Americans liking their personal space is right on the money. I cannot stand it when someone stands too close to me. It feels very rude.

"Rough Guide suggests keeping arms-length distance except in the most crowded urban circumstances."

That is exactly right.
 
2012-06-04 02:04:28 AM
As previously alluded to by Fark You I'm Drunk:

mojoimage.com

The ideal dinner gift if invited to an American dinner party.
 
2012-06-04 02:13:11 AM
package the tour guide book with the Death Wish movies and you've got a lovely bon voyage gift for travel-bound friends.
 
2012-06-04 02:13:32 AM
When I was on an exchange in New Zealand, it was amazing how many kids my age (high school at the time) asked if I was in a gang or had been in a shoot out. I had to explain that I was from a small mountain town, and that was about as far as from either of those things I could be. It was a little disheartening how many people found that fact disappointing. It kinda showed me what the world thinks of America.
 
2012-06-04 02:13:54 AM
I have no complaints about anything there. Seem to have hit all the main points.

I guess my two questions are:

1. In what countries is it normal to give toiletries as gifts when visiting someone's home? I know in Japan they hand them out at the train stations (to promote a product) since public restrooms don't have toilet paper.

2. In what countries are "inner cities" a place one should be walking around at night? Every major city I've been to has rough areas to avoid, particularly if you're obviously not a local. Even Japan.
 
2012-06-04 02:17:06 AM

Raw_fishFood: When I was on an exchange in New Zealand, it was amazing how many kids my age (high school at the time) asked if I was in a gang or had been in a shoot out. I had to explain that I was from a small mountain town, and that was about as far as from either of those things I could be. It was a little disheartening how many people found that fact disappointing. It kinda showed me what the world thinks of America.


s3.amazonaws.com
s3.amazonaws.com
The Oatmeal.
 
2012-06-04 02:21:51 AM
factcheck.org, now that's funny.
 
2012-06-04 02:31:14 AM

Cyno01:

[s3.amazonaws.com image 640x481]
[s3.amazonaws.com image 640x523]
The Oatmeal.


I can say that quite a few of them were really surprised that I had not only shot guns, but owned my own rifle. And I have never been asked to say so many different words in my life.

But yeah, I have to say it did really open my eyes to how different things were even in another English speaking country.
 
2012-06-04 02:49:34 AM

Raw_fishFood: Cyno01:

[s3.amazonaws.com image 640x481]
[s3.amazonaws.com image 640x523]
The Oatmeal.

I can say that quite a few of them were really surprised that I had not only shot guns, but owned my own rifle. And I have never been asked to say so many different words in my life.

But yeah, I have to say it did really open my eyes to how different things were even in another English speaking country.


agreed. australia and england both thought it was downright amazing that i not only claimed to be a good shot but owned my own shotgun like i was some sort of cowboy or something. the reality is that it sits in the corner virtually unused.

/also, everyone in australia thought i was Irish from my accent despite being from NY.
 
2012-06-04 02:53:26 AM
The advice I've given most to my students abroad is that it's very rude to ask an American what his religion is or (much worse) how much money he makes.

Saudis find this really puzzling, because from their point of view Americans have very little apparent sense of privacy and will loudly reveal intimate details of their personal lives in the middle of a coffee shop. Yet we turn all Miss Manners over digits on a pay stub.

Forming and respecting a queue is part of American culture that is trained into us from age 5. We never think about it, but some other cultures don't have that, and these people need to be warned. Americans will murder you for cutting in line.
 
2012-06-04 03:28:08 AM

ShannonKW: Forming and respecting a queue is part of American culture that is trained into us from age 5. We never think about it, but some other cultures don't have that, and these people need to be warned. Americans will murder you for cutting in line.


That's not only "American" culture, pretty much all western cultures see it as a huge social no-no to cut in line when there is a queue. I guess the main difference is that in most other places the cutter-in will be verbally told off rather than shot in the face. :-)
 
2012-06-04 03:32:54 AM

david_gaithersburg: factcheck.org, now that's funny.


I suppose you'd prefer foreigners get their political information from Breitbart.
 
2012-06-04 03:46:45 AM

Country Member: That's not only "American" culture, pretty much all western cultures see it as a huge social no-no to cut in line when there is a queue.


Wasn't suggesting the custom was exclusive to the USA. The article is specifically about visiting the USA.

Now that you mention it though, while I was indulging in hyperbole about murdering people for cutting in line, it seems much more likely that an offender would actually be fatally attacked for cutting in line in America than in European countries. Well, West European countries anyway.
 
2012-06-04 03:57:56 AM

Smeggy Smurf: Bring booze. You damn furriners will need it to put up with our superior American ways


F*ck that bring me cash for having to put up with non-amuricans.......
 
2012-06-04 04:14:47 AM
As a resident of an American community with a seasonal influx of foreign visitors, I contribute the following:

1. As stated in the article, personal space is an absolute must. In front, behind, and to the sides. No less than arm's length. Preferably more. This cannot be overstated.

2. Deodorant. Use it. If I can tell you're not from around here just by the smell, then we have a problem. I'm not stereotyping or trying to be inflammatory. At least in my town, this is a common issue.

3. Keep your hands to yourself. Don't touch me, don't touch my stuff. See #1. Arm's length minimum at all times.
 
2012-06-04 04:24:11 AM
I'll admit that like many Americans, I get annoyed by those who are not on-time though that is partially because I do lots of event planning which gets mucked up when many people are late. It's kind of funny that we're like that though because we are so spread out and have a transportation system that doesn't provide for consistent travel time regardless of mode.

Raw_fishFood: But yeah, I have to say it did really open my eyes to how different things were even in another English speaking country.


It's also funny the random words that they'll want explained. Met a couple of guys from Ireland when I was in Tanzania who wanted to know what 'doozy' meant. Of course there are tons of words specific to other English speaking cultures that I need explained to me which probably seems just as random to them.

ShannonKW: Yet we turn all Miss Manners over digits on a pay stub.


Think this comes from our corporate employment system. It is in the company's best interest for those making below aveage wages* for a job to not know what everyone else is making. Only those who are good at negotiating and have a really good deal that would go away if everyone knew about it are the winners in this system. My Chinese coworkers tell me it is quite common back home for someone you just met to ask you about your income.

* CSB: A coworker complained all the time that she made less than everyone else. When I asked how she knew that, she said she just knew, she could feel it. She complaned about it all the time until about a year ago when she was put in charge of a reporting database that gave her access to everyone's salary data. Not a peep since then, not even privately outside of work.
 
2012-06-04 04:33:13 AM

My Bologna Has A Maiden Name: Keep your hands to yourself. Don't touch me, don't touch my stuff. See #1. Arm's length minimum at all times.


Does that mean I can't play with your catcopter?
 
2012-06-04 04:38:58 AM
Oh, and one more thing for Japanese people. If you don't know what you're going to order when you get to the front of the line, LET THE NEXT PERSON GO THE F*** AHEAD. Seriously. The most indecisive people on the f***ing planet, so you'd think they'd have that rule down.
Nope.
 
2012-06-04 04:55:05 AM
I agree with the foreigners, tipping is stupid.
 
2012-06-04 04:55:56 AM

fusillade762: david_gaithersburg: factcheck.org, now that's funny.

I suppose you'd prefer foreigners get their political information from Breitbart.


.
.
Or Foxnews.com
 
2012-06-04 05:25:32 AM

ShannonKW: Yet we turn all Miss Manners over digits on a pay stub.


Well, many employers threaten to terminate you for discussing your pay. Even though such a termination (or retaliation of any kind) would be strictly illegal, even if you signed an employment contract permitting it. But it's still not illegal for an employer to claim that they'll fire you, even though they know that they can't, and many people are stupid enough to believe whatever garbage their employer feeds them, so many people feel legitimately afraid to discuss their compensation.
 
2012-06-04 05:47:47 AM
Expat living in the Netherlands here, and here are the things that people tend to be curious about-

1) Tipping and the general differences in service you end up getting at a bar/restaurant. Those who have been tell me that they find American service to be very "fake" and that it just "creates a servant class." The fact that you never get anyone's attention here or that, you know, a person making a decent wage in a restaurant is still serving you is immaterial.

2) No one believes that you can't just walk out onto the street with an alcoholic beverage. Or the fact that in many states we have Blue Laws, but no issues with drive-thru liquor stores.

3) For some reason everyone's always really curious about Mormons. Not certain why.
 
2012-06-04 05:50:51 AM

profplump: ShannonKW: Yet we turn all Miss Manners over digits on a pay stub.

Well, many employers threaten to terminate you for discussing your pay. Even though such a termination (or retaliation of any kind) would be strictly illegal, even if you signed an employment contract permitting it. But it's still not illegal for an employer to claim that they'll fire you, even though they know that they can't, and many people are stupid enough to believe whatever garbage their employer feeds them, so many people feel legitimately afraid to discuss their compensation.


.
.
You're going to be in for a shock when you enter the workforce one day. There aren't any laws out there protecting you from doing things like talking. I can fire you for no reason at all. In fact that is the best way of doing it.
 
2012-06-04 05:56:33 AM
It must be hard for those heathens to act civilized when they come here.
 
2012-06-04 06:03:51 AM

david_gaithersburg: You're going to be in for a shock when you enter the workforce one day. There aren't any laws out there protecting you from doing things like talking. I can fire you for no reason at all. In fact that is the best way of doing it.


The National Labor Relations Board would disagree. They specifically protect the right of "two or more employees addressing their employer about improving their pay". Their guidance and previous court precedent goes on specially list discussing pay as a protected act for both union and non-union employees.

/ Glad to see you're buying the BS your employer is selling
 
2012-06-04 06:04:38 AM

david_gaithersburg: I can fire you for no reason at all.


You can fire me for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason. But you cannot fire me for an illegal reason, no matter how big an a-hole you are.
 
2012-06-04 06:10:55 AM

david_gaithersburg: You're going to be in for a shock when you enter the workforce one day. There aren't any laws out there protecting you from doing things like talking. I can fire you for no reason at all. In fact that is the best way of doing it.


Relevant court decision with respect to the NLRA
 
2012-06-04 06:42:46 AM
At the risk of opening a can of worms.......

The price you see on the shelf/product is not the price you will be asked to pay at the till. If you see a bag of chips labelled $1, do not take them and hand a dollar to the store clerk and walk out. The store clerk will tell you how much they really are. They are probably more like $1.20. It lends an air of mystery to what would otherwise be a straightforward and dull transaction.

The only reason for this is to piss people off.
 
2012-06-04 06:50:49 AM

Pert: The only reason for this is to piss people off.


And to make the cost of taxes visible to citizens.

I agree 100% that it makes transactions more complicated, and that such complication are a hassle. But one of the goals of applied-at-transaction sales tax is to ensure that consumers know how much of their transaction the state is collecting.

And you can see the exact opposite in credit card transactions; merchants are not permitted to add transaction fees to purchases, specifically because consumers might choose to pay with cash if they could see the real costs of their credit card transactions.
 
2012-06-04 06:59:22 AM

profplump: I agree 100% that it makes transactions more complicated, and that such complication are a hassle. But one of the goals of applied-at-transaction sales tax is to ensure that consumers know how much of their transaction the state is collecting.


When I go shopping in the UK the price on the shelf is the price I pay at the till. My till receipt gives me an item-by-item tax inclusive price. At the bottom of the receipt is a breakdown of how much tax I have paid at each relevant tax level, e.g. 0%, 5% or 20% depending on what I have bought, and the total tax I have paid on the purchase.

Leaving aside that I don't know anybody who ever looks at how much tax is being charged, what's wrong with that? It works in most other countries that I've visited (and there are quite a few of them).
 
2012-06-04 07:04:54 AM
I once took a linguistics course called Discourse Analysis. At one point the professor was explaining how in North America, people will say "we should get together sometime" and it doesn't really mean anything unless you get into specifics, like "Let's go see a movie on Friday". Whereas Europeans might think you actually mean "let's get together sometime".

It blew my mind. And it made me realize that I probably miss out on a LOT of social cues like that and why don't they give a manual out to the socially awkward natives?
 
2012-06-04 07:06:50 AM

Pert: Leaving aside that I don't know anybody who ever looks at how much tax is being charged, what's wrong with that?


If the shelf price doesn't include tax the amount of tax is obvious whether you look or not. That's the purpose of leaving it out; you don't have to check your receipt because the retailer isn't required to pad their prices with taxes in the first place (and in many states in the US, the retailer is not even allowed to include sales tax, even if that was their preference).

I'm not trying to claim that one system is better than another. I agree that pre-calcuating tax reduces transactional hassles. But it also lets the government increase taxes and pass the blame on to retailers. Whether or not that reduction is visibility of taxation is worth the increase in the hassle of transactions is certainly open to debate, and obviously related to how frequently and how much taxes are increased.
 
2012-06-04 07:09:52 AM

Pert: profplump: I agree 100% that it makes transactions more complicated, and that such complication are a hassle. But one of the goals of applied-at-transaction sales tax is to ensure that consumers know how much of their transaction the state is collecting.

When I go shopping in the UK the price on the shelf is the price I pay at the till. My till receipt gives me an item-by-item tax inclusive price. At the bottom of the receipt is a breakdown of how much tax I have paid at each relevant tax level, e.g. 0%, 5% or 20% depending on what I have bought, and the total tax I have paid on the purchase.

Leaving aside that I don't know anybody who ever looks at how much tax is being charged, what's wrong with that? It works in most other countries that I've visited (and there are quite a few of them).


What if the tax rate changes? Then the merchant would have to go through and change all of the shelf prices. I know that local communities around me tend to pass local option sales taxes for things like new public buildings, public services, etc. It's a lot easier to be able to change the percentage rate at check-out than it would be to change hundreds (or thousands) of shelf stickers.
 
2012-06-04 07:09:54 AM
While some of the ideas in the article were a bit laughable, it was actually kind of nice to see a guide book recommend that the traveler change to adhere to local customs rather than expect all of America to change so that the traveler isn't offended, as is usually the case.
 
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