If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(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  
•       •       •

8242 clicks; posted to Main » on 04 Jun 2012 at 1:17 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



105 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

Archived thread

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Last | Show all
 
2012-06-04 07:16:18 AM

Pert: 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.


Oh yeah, I always loved that about the US!
 
2012-06-04 07:24:25 AM

profplump: 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.


Not allowed? Then why does the gas station near my house charge a dime more for credit card purchases per gallon than cash?
 
2012-06-04 07:25:58 AM

Country Member: 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. :-)


What the hell do they do in cultures where line forming is not respected? Is it just a free for all? How does that work?
 
2012-06-04 07:28:51 AM

EngineerAU: 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.


Or perhaps, though a whiny complainer in general, she's professional enough to realize that because of the access afforded her in her new role it would be very inappropriate to discuss salaries.
 
2012-06-04 07:29:35 AM

Guuberre: What if the tax rate changes? Then the merchant would have to go through and change all of the shelf prices.


I'm pro consumer and like my shopping to be as simple as possible, so I'm not TOO worried about merchants having to change shelf prices.

Quite a few places are moving to this system anyway:

www.eltrade.com

profplump: If the shelf price doesn't include tax the amount of tax is obvious whether you look or not


How is it obvious? When you get to the checkout and are told? Maybe it's different in the US, but in the UK we have different tax bands for different types of product (hot food, cold food, books, etc.) and I'd rather not have to remember which rate applies to which product and then work it out as I go around.

I suppose I'm just fatalistic - the government are going to do whatever the hell they want to do with taxes whether I can see them obviously or not. I'm still going to buy those items, so I'd rather know how much I'm ACTUALLY paying rather than how much the store is charging me pre-tax.
 
2012-06-04 07:46:17 AM

Pert: Guuberre: What if the tax rate changes? Then the merchant would have to go through and change all of the shelf prices.

I'm pro consumer and like my shopping to be as simple as possible, so I'm not TOO worried about merchants having to change shelf prices.

Quite a few places are moving to this system anyway:

[www.eltrade.com image 500x200]



Well, that's kind of neat - haven't see electronic shelf pricing around here, but I'll bet we will, eventually. Without those, though, your merchant would have to spend considerably more money changing shelf prices. I'm pretty certain that they would be passing those costs right along to the consumer. I like my shopping to be as simple as possible, too. However, I also like my prices to be as low as possible.
 
2012-06-04 07:46:46 AM

Debeo Summa Credo: Country Member: 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. :-)

What the hell do they do in cultures where line forming is not respected? Is it just a free for all? How does that work?


When I was in India, it pretty much was that way for stuff like getting to a teller's window at the bank, and people just elbowed their way forward. Except that as an obviously foreign visitor, I was bumped to the head of the crowd, as it were. That was an uncomfortable feeling.
 
2012-06-04 07:49:34 AM

Debeo Summa Credo: What the hell do they do in cultures where line forming is not respected? Is it just a free for all? How does that work?


The short answer is that it doesn't work. Any situation in which a large number of people must be served individually by a small number of people turns ugly. There will be much pleading special privilege, buttonholing the supervisor, back stairs hookups for those with connections, and staff are either pushed to the brink of rage or jaded and beyond it all. This happens every time, every day, in airports and bus stations, and it never improves because the people just accept it. It's part of the culture.

If you're one of those people who honestly believes that nothing could make you want to take a human life, buy a train ticket in Lahore or Karachi and come talk to me.
 
2012-06-04 08:00:33 AM

omgwtfetc: 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.


Bring ammo, too. I know that *SHOULD* be a given, but I don't know how many times I've been hanging out with some dang furriners who actually managed to bring a gun with them, but didn't get any ammo because of silly reasons like "I vas afraid of shooting meinself".
 
2012-06-04 08:02:32 AM

ShannonKW: Debeo Summa Credo: What the hell do they do in cultures where line forming is not respected? Is it just a free for all? How does that work?

The short answer is that it doesn't work. Any situation in which a large number of people must be served individually by a small number of people turns ugly. There will be much pleading special privilege, buttonholing the supervisor, back stairs hookups for those with connections, and staff are either pushed to the brink of rage or jaded and beyond it all. This happens every time, every day, in airports and bus stations, and it never improves because the people just accept it. It's part of the culture.

If you're one of those people who honestly believes that nothing could make you want to take a human life, buy a train ticket in Lahore or Karachi and come talk to me.


Wow. I've learned something today I guess. Any place where getting to a train clerk or bank teller (as in Lydia's example above) is similar to getting a drink at a mobbed bar is not anyplace I want to be.

USA! USA!
 
2012-06-04 08:22:52 AM

Debeo Summa Credo: ShannonKW: Debeo Summa Credo: What the hell do they do in cultures where line forming is not respected? Is it just a free for all? How does that work?

The short answer is that it doesn't work. Any situation in which a large number of people must be served individually by a small number of people turns ugly. There will be much pleading special privilege, buttonholing the supervisor, back stairs hookups for those with connections, and staff are either pushed to the brink of rage or jaded and beyond it all. This happens every time, every day, in airports and bus stations, and it never improves because the people just accept it. It's part of the culture.

If you're one of those people who honestly believes that nothing could make you want to take a human life, buy a train ticket in Lahore or Karachi and come talk to me.

Wow. I've learned something today I guess. Any place where getting to a train clerk or bank teller (as in Lydia's example above) is similar to getting a drink at a mobbed bar is not anyplace I want to be.

USA! USA!


I wanna know more about back stair hookups with LA whores.
 
2012-06-04 08:31:58 AM

Debeo Summa Credo: Country Member: 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. :-)

What the hell do they do in cultures where line forming is not respected? Is it just a free for all? How does that work?


I can tell you in China they do queue (probably left over from British/Foreign rule) but it isn't really respected. If you're not paying attention, someone can cut you in line quite easially and culturally, there isn't much recourse. I did make the mistake of trying to argue with a stranger that had taken my place in line but I'm pretty sure I succeeded only in scaring the shiat out of him (I'm 2m tall and had a mohawk at the time).

I've had success with shaming people who cut me in line, but I can't tell if thats just because I'm 1- White 2- Male 3- Foreign 4- All of the above.
 
2012-06-04 08:36:36 AM

Debeo Summa Credo: Not allowed? Then why does the gas station near my house charge a dime more for credit card purchases per gallon than cash?


Because nobody has bothered to report them. Let their payment processor know, they'll lose the ability to take credit cards (they'll find another processor I'm sure). It is part of the merchant agreement. You have to agree that cash and card are the same price. I've never seen a processor that doesn't do that, as I think Visa and Mastercard make them do it.

Most merchants don't care. While cards do cost more up front (usually in the realm of 30 cents per transaction plus 3% of the total) it equals more sales, larger sales, and less fraud so it is worth it. Cash is problematic since people don't like to carry lots so they will choose to buy less from you because they lack the money. Check, in addition to being slow, are rife for abuse since there's no way to check on funds. With a CC, you know the bank will make good on the funds if they approve it, if the consumer has trouble paying them back is not your problem. So the stores make more, despite the fee.

Personally, I probably would turn that store in. I don't mind places that do things like "Purchased under $5 carry a 50 cent fee for credit cards," since they are just trying to cover the transaction cost and that kind of thing might be ok anyhow. But 10 cents a gallon? They are ripping people off, their fees are nowhere near that high unless they are stupid. So I'd let their payment processor know.
 
2012-06-04 08:44:12 AM

sycraft: Debeo Summa Credo: Not allowed? Then why does the gas station near my house charge a dime more for credit card purchases per gallon than cash?

Because nobody has bothered to report them. Let their payment processor know, they'll lose the ability to take credit cards (they'll find another processor I'm sure). It is part of the merchant agreement. You have to agree that cash and card are the same price. I've never seen a processor that doesn't do that, as I think Visa and Mastercard make them do it.

Most merchants don't care. While cards do cost more up front (usually in the realm of 30 cents per transaction plus 3% of the total) it equals more sales, larger sales, and less fraud so it is worth it. Cash is problematic since people don't like to carry lots so they will choose to buy less from you because they lack the money. Check, in addition to being slow, are rife for abuse since there's no way to check on funds. With a CC, you know the bank will make good on the funds if they approve it, if the consumer has trouble paying them back is not your problem. So the stores make more, despite the fee.

Personally, I probably would turn that store in. I don't mind places that do things like "Purchased under $5 carry a 50 cent fee for credit cards," since they are just trying to cover the transaction cost and that kind of thing might be ok anyhow. But 10 cents a gallon? They are ripping people off, their fees are nowhere near that high unless they are stupid. So I'd let their payment processor know.


I don't know. I think it's pretty common at gas stations. It's not like they're hiding it - there are different cash/credit prices posted right on the pumps.
 
2012-06-04 08:45:22 AM

ShannonKW: Americans will murder you for cutting in line.


And deservedly so. We've only recently trained ourselves to not stomp on the fresh corpse so as to ensure a closed-casket.
 
2012-06-04 08:46:01 AM
Tipping. OMFG!!

CSS: For a while, two exchange students from Poland were living with my family. We made the mistake of taking them to the bar without warning them that they'd have to tip. So, after about four rounds, the bartender answered their request for more beer with a "fark you guys." I had to smooth it over (which meant tipping the bartender for 8 beers, apologizing profusely, and trying to explain tipping to people who had never done it before). NEVER try to argue with drunk people who don't speak English as a first language! Especially when you're drunk yourself!

Also, trying to explain baseball to those guys was hilarious: "This guy who is running between the two bases, how does he save his ass?"
 
2012-06-04 08:48:31 AM

sycraft: You have to agree that cash and card are the same price. I've never seen a processor that doesn't do that, as I think Visa and Mastercard make them do it.


Around these parts, there are truck stops along the interstate that advertise completely different prices for diesel cash or credit, usually about a 4 or 5 cent discount for cash, and those signs have been up for as long as I can remember (well over a decade).

It isn't hidden, it's on a huge sign above the place, visible from the interstate, at every location of that chain I've seen. It's only for diesel fuel purchases though.

I have trouble believing that's such a direct violation of their merchant agreement when they are so institutionalized. Not a single traveler has reported them, out of the hundreds of thousands or millions to have passed by over the years? Nobody working for a payment processor or Visa or Mastercard has ever driven by on the interstate and gone "WTF"?
 
2012-06-04 08:50:58 AM

Andromeda: 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.


Like many things in America, that varies greatly state by state.
 
2012-06-04 09:00:53 AM

sycraft: Debeo Summa Credo: Not allowed? Then why does the gas station near my house charge a dime more for credit card purchases per gallon than cash?

Because nobody has bothered to report them. Let their payment processor know, they'll lose the ability to take credit cards (they'll find another processor I'm sure). It is part of the merchant agreement. You have to agree that cash and card are the same price. I've never seen a processor that doesn't do that, as I think Visa and Mastercard make them do it.

Most merchants don't care. While cards do cost more up front (usually in the realm of 30 cents per transaction plus 3% of the total) it equals more sales, larger sales, and less fraud so it is worth it. Cash is problematic since people don't like to carry lots so they will choose to buy less from you because they lack the money. Check, in addition to being slow, are rife for abuse since there's no way to check on funds. With a CC, you know the bank will make good on the funds if they approve it, if the consumer has trouble paying them back is not your problem. So the stores make more, despite the fee.

Personally, I probably would turn that store in. I don't mind places that do things like "Purchased under $5 carry a 50 cent fee for credit cards," since they are just trying to cover the transaction cost and that kind of thing might be ok anyhow. But 10 cents a gallon? They are ripping people off, their fees are nowhere near that high unless they are stupid. So I'd let their payment processor know.


I wouldn't bother. There seems to be a legal loophole. All the gas stations where I live (Northeast) display dual pricing.
I think the wording of the agreement says that they cannot charge a fee for accepting credit. The gas stations state that they don't charge a fee for credit - they give a discount for cash.
 
2012-06-04 09:33:50 AM

Debeo Summa Credo: Wow. I've learned something today I guess. Any place where getting to a train clerk or bank teller (as in Lydia's example above) is similar to getting a drink at a mobbed bar is not anyplace I want to be.


Living in a foreign country (especially a very un-American one) doesn't just teach you about foreign cultures. It teaches you a lot of things about your own culture that you never noticed because you took for granted that all humanity does it that way. Other things about my people that I've learned living away from them:

Rules are important. "You're not supposed to do that" will stop most educated Americans in their tracks.

Americans would rather read than listen. We'll walk past ten men in order to read a sign rather than ask a question. Ask us a question, and we'll tell you to read the damn sign.

Americans love to talk about sex and hear other people talking about it. Some of us like to boast our adventures while others favor condemnations of improper sex, but we all love the topic.

American children are basically housepets with extra legal protections.

Americans like to talk about ideas. An American casual conversation is mostly a discussion of ideas with anecdotes to illustrate it. If you have no ideas, you have nothing to say to Americans, unless you want to talk about sex.

Americans put their private lives on display by trying to get overheard in public. An American arranging a party by phone will talk extra loud so that everyone in earshot may admire his popularity.
 
2012-06-04 09:43:52 AM

The Southern Logic Company: Debeo Summa Credo: Country Member: 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. :-)

What the hell do they do in cultures where line forming is not respected? Is it just a free for all? How does that work?

I can tell you in China they do queue (probably left over from British/Foreign rule) but it isn't really respected. If you're not paying attention, someone can cut you in line quite easially and culturally, there isn't much recourse. I did make the mistake of trying to argue with a stranger that had taken my place in line but I'm pretty sure I succeeded only in scaring the shiat out of him (I'm 2m tall and had a mohawk at the time).

I've had success with shaming people who cut me in line, but I can't tell if thats just because I'm 1- White 2- Male 3- Foreign 4- All of the above.


There is of course the legendary Schwabisch line cutter of Stuttgart Germany. They cut like nobodis business. It's amazing really. All over Deutschland you see well ordered lines, but the moment you go to Schwabia you find people think of ques as more of a suggestion than a rule.
 
2012-06-04 09:50:02 AM

Smeggy Smurf: Bring booze. You damn furriners will need it to put up with our superior the inferior American ways liquor stocked in most homes.


FTFY! HTH!

Guests: Seriously, if you like good wine or beer, bring some (and some flowers, in case your hosts are teetotalers, and it's just nice). A surprising number of households have no liquor, or, at best, mega-brew rice-beer and maybe, if you're lucky, a $5 bottle of white zin. And if your hosts happen to have a great stock and good taste, they'll appreciate your gift anyway (or, even more!).

Hosts: If someone brings liquor, immediately make moves to open it, and do so, unless adamantly, firmly interrupted by the giver-guest! And if you're not a big wine person or don't know how to open a bottle confidently, it's perfectly acceptable to say, "would you do the honors? There's an opener in that drawer over there...." (Unless, of course, you are also an aficionado, and they know it, and you can offer a more interesting alternative -- with a sincere, "we'll put this in our cellar for your next visit -- I already have [something equal or better] open and breathing!") I know people who complain, "yeah, we don't drink [wine / beer / liquor / whatever] and people always bring it... so it just sits on our shelves until we throw it away during a Spring Cleaning purge." Yeah, you know what? They bring it because THEY KNOW YOU DON'T HAVE ANYTHING DECENT AND DON'T WANT A MILLER LITE BUT ARE TOO POLITE TO TURN YOU DOWN -- OPEN IT!

/ personal space: Good
// orderly lines: Good
 
2012-06-04 09:50:15 AM

Pert: Guuberre: What if the tax rate changes? Then the merchant would have to go through and change all of the shelf prices.

I'm pro consumer and like my shopping to be as simple as possible, so I'm not TOO worried about merchants having to change shelf prices.

Quite a few places are moving to this system anyway:

www.eltrade.com



That's farked up.

No, really. The price per ounce and the total retail price are swapped.
 
2012-06-04 09:54:41 AM

Krieghund: Pert: Guuberre: What if the tax rate changes? Then the merchant would have to go through and change all of the shelf prices.

I'm pro consumer and like my shopping to be as simple as possible, so I'm not TOO worried about merchants having to change shelf prices.

Quite a few places are moving to this system anyway:

[www.eltrade.com image 500x200]



That's farked up.

No, really. The price per ounce and the total retail price are swapped.


No they aren't.

10 ounce bag of Tostitos.

Price: $1.89

Cost per ounce 18.9 cents. Multiply 18.9 cents by 10, get $1.89 dollars.
 
2012-06-04 09:57:16 AM

ShannonKW: Americans like to talk about ideas. An American casual conversation is mostly a discussion of ideas with anecdotes to illustrate it. If you have no ideas, you have nothing to say to Americans, unless you want to talk about sex.


Men talk about ideas. Children talk about things. Women talk about other people.

< ducks >

Americans put their private lives on display by trying to get overheard in public. An American arranging a party by on the phone will talk extra loud so that everyone in earshot may admire his popularity hear his situation.

Seriously, people talk about -anything- at high volume just to be overheard. I find it hysterical (for odd values of the word, "hysterical") that hospitals spend millions of dollars training, practicing and enforcing good HIPAA privacy behaviors... while nearly every patient gets in the shuttle/cab/car, sits down, whips out their phone and tells anyone who will answer all about their obstructed colon / diarrhea / cancer / whatever. As loudly as they can.

And yet, Americans are almost unfailingly polite. No one will ever say, "Jesus Farking Christ, lady! No one wants to hear about your vaginal discharge! Hang up the phone, hand the clerk your credit card to finish the transaction and get the fark out of my way!" No, we'll just politely wait in line behind you, and, at worst, glower angrily while reading, again, the tabloid headlines.
 
2012-06-04 09:58:00 AM

Krieghund: That's farked up.

No, really. The price per ounce and the total retail price are swapped.


notsureifseriousorjustreallyreallyterribleatmaths.jpg


/18.9 cents per ounce x 10 ounce bag = $1.89
 
2012-06-04 09:59:15 AM

EngineerAU: 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.


Having spent a very long time in Germany and several years in Japan, I've learned that in the U.S., if you're on time, you're first and you'll be alone for a while.
 
2012-06-04 10:02:54 AM

Silverstaff:
Price: $1.89


Ah! Thank you.

I was reading that as 1.89 cents.

/coffee is brewing
 
2012-06-04 10:14:18 AM

PragmaticSoldier: The Southern Logic Company: Debeo Summa Credo: Country Member: 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. :-)

What the hell do they do in cultures where line forming is not respected? Is it just a free for all? How does that work?

I can tell you in China they do queue (probably left over from British/Foreign rule) but it isn't really respected. If you're not paying attention, someone can cut you in line quite easially and culturally, there isn't much recourse. I did make the mistake of trying to argue with a stranger that had taken my place in line but I'm pretty sure I succeeded only in scaring the shiat out of him (I'm 2m tall and had a mohawk at the time).

I've had success with shaming people who cut me in line, but I can't tell if thats just because I'm 1- White 2- Male 3- Foreign 4- All of the above.

There is of course the legendary Schwabisch line cutter of Stuttgart Germany. They cut like nobodis business. It's amazing really. All over Deutschland you see well ordered lines, but the moment you go to Schwabia you find people think of ques as more of a suggestion than a rule.


Funniest thing I've seen in a while was a smug looking middle-aged ("east") Indian couple get just absolutely railed by a family of 4 for trying to cut them in the line for US customs on my way back from Amsterdam (and Germany/Belgium/France). After spending that long on a plane, nobody was about to let themselves get delayed for another 5 minutes. I also noticed the Indian couple got a pink ticket on the way through so they were going to be spending some time with Latex-Glove Lenny - no idea if it was related or just coincidence.
 
2012-06-04 10:34:26 AM

Lochsteppe: 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.


Hey, a penny found makes you a penny richer.
 
2012-06-04 10:38:00 AM

My Bologna Has A Maiden Name: 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.


#3 is soooo important. Any guidebook to the US or Canada should contain a chapter devoted to it. Get your hand off my shoulder, my back, whatever. When walking down the street with someone you don't need to actually rub shoulders with them. I've had to explixitly explain these points to coworkers that were new to the country.
 
2012-06-04 10:38:43 AM

EngineerAU: 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.


Arguably one of the very best things about civil service work. There's a nice friendly public-access database. You know exactly what your boss makes. When a cohort from another department is coming over, that's the first thing you check to see where he or she falls by comparison to your position (and you know they're doing the same). No games, total transparency.
 
2012-06-04 11:23:48 AM

ShannonKW:
Rules are important. "You're not supposed to do that" will stop most educated Americans in their tracks.


A thousand times this. I've never thought of myself as a particularly diligent rule follower, but don't tell my wife that. She has lived in this country for over ten years now and she STILL gives me grief when I say "you really shouldn't do that" even if it's a case when she REALLY shouldn't do that. The worst was when we were in Brazil (not where she's from but close) and I made the mistake of asking if there were some forms we had to sign to do some particularly dangerous sightseeing. She just about died laughing.
 
2012-06-04 11:27:17 AM
No, Visa doesn't allow it. That places do it doesn't mean they couldn't get in trouble. See Visa's page about it:

http://usa.visa.com/personal/using_visa/checkout_fees/index.html

In some states, it is illegal too, but regardless of state Visa will be displeased with them. Given that Visa has the ability to ban them from taking most credit cards if they really forced the issue (if Visa tells payment processors not to do business with someone, they won't) I imagine they'll straighten up.

I've never encountered this and I would for sure be reporting it if I did. Like I said, I can understand merchants that want the transaction fee covered for small purchases, but if they are going to rip people off and charge more than the surcharge, I'm not going to be nice about it.
 
2012-06-04 11:34:44 AM
"the tipping system is partially responsible for the exceptional quality and consistency of service here"

LOL!! Seriously?! I've had better service in every other country I've been to (which is quite a few over 4 continents). Tipping ensures they don't spit in your food when you come back again.
 
2012-06-04 11:48:03 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.


My wife (who has a masters degree) is a Kiwi. The first time she came to the US, she got excited when she saw a police officer with a gun. "Can we see him shoot someone?" she asked. Later, she got excited when she saw a black person. Then she got excited when we got caught on Hwy 280 in friday holdiay weekend traffic, and spent 20 minutes gleefully taking pictures of the endless stopped traffic.Then she freaked out and started lecturing me when she saw some homeless people in SF.

Of course, my first few times in NZ with her, I 1] could not figure out how to fill our car's LPG tank, 2] stopped in a rural area to take a photo, and set my camera down (to get a stable photo) while holding it, on an electric fence (she still laughs about my eletrocution dance) 3] freaked out when I saw a Weta crawling on my leg, 4] Did not heed warnings about needing sunblock (in February) 5] Got in trouble for drinking a soda while waiting in line at the grocery store to pay for it (and other stuff)
 
MrT
2012-06-04 01:25:14 PM

ShannonKW: Americans would rather read than listen. We'll walk past ten men in order to read a sign rather than ask a question. Ask us a question, and we'll tell you to read the damn sign.


You have no idea what a good thing this is. In the UK, there is a constant incessant babble of useless semi-automated PA announcements that pervade your consciousness and rot your brain from the inside out. The best thing about moving away from the UK was getting some damned peace and quiet.
 
2012-06-04 01:39:39 PM

Pert: 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.


No sales tax in Oregon, so no problem here.
 
2012-06-04 02:37:53 PM

MrT: ShannonKW: Americans would rather read than listen. We'll walk past ten men in order to read a sign rather than ask a question. Ask us a question, and we'll tell you to read the damn sign.

You have no idea what a good thing this is. In the UK, there is a constant incessant babble of useless semi-automated PA announcements that pervade your consciousness and rot your brain from the inside out. The best thing about moving away from the UK was getting some damned peace and quiet.


Are you serious? Every time I go through an airport or train station I hear constant useless announcements about the current threat level and so on. Are you telling me it's worse elsewhere? Because that's the sort of thing that could drive... someone... mad.
 
2012-06-04 02:43:43 PM

the_vicious_fez: MrT: ShannonKW: Americans would rather read than listen. We'll walk past ten men in order to read a sign rather than ask a question. Ask us a question, and we'll tell you to read the damn sign.

You have no idea what a good thing this is. In the UK, there is a constant incessant babble of useless semi-automated PA announcements that pervade your consciousness and rot your brain from the inside out. The best thing about moving away from the UK was getting some damned peace and quiet.

Are you serious? Every time I go through an airport or train station I hear constant useless announcements about the current threat level and so on. Are you telling me it's worse elsewhere? Because that's the sort of thing that could drive... someone... mad.


I think he means outside of airports, where PA announcements are mandatory.

"Mind the Gap" etc

Sometimes the british use those announcements as practical jokes.
 
2012-06-04 02:46:16 PM

ISO15693: the_vicious_fez: MrT: ShannonKW: Americans would rather read than listen. We'll walk past ten men in order to read a sign rather than ask a question. Ask us a question, and we'll tell you to read the damn sign.

You have no idea what a good thing this is. In the UK, there is a constant incessant babble of useless semi-automated PA announcements that pervade your consciousness and rot your brain from the inside out. The best thing about moving away from the UK was getting some damned peace and quiet.

Are you serious? Every time I go through an airport or train station I hear constant useless announcements about the current threat level and so on. Are you telling me it's worse elsewhere? Because that's the sort of thing that could drive... someone... mad.

I think he means outside of airports, where PA announcements are mandatory.

"Mind the Gap" etc

Sometimes the british use those announcements as practical jokes.


Probably has something to do with the fact that half of the announcements in Britain are pre-recorded and just repeat endlessly.

Contrast the Boston T to the Tube where instead of "Mind the Gap" and "Next station is..." in nice polite English you have; "Ne gurgle margle gurrrmint Center"
 
2012-06-04 03:08:14 PM
Everyone saying "but stores would have to change their tags if the tax rate changed, boo hoo". Youve never worked retail, you dont know how farking often stores change their price tags anyway, its maddening and contributed to me quitting my last job.
 
2012-06-04 03:36:03 PM
I know in my state the sales tax will go away once they've balanced the budget.

Because, ya know, the politicians said they'd get rid of it just as soon as possible.

Honest.

/My second cousin told me that.
//can't rem how many years ago that was...
///obvious advice bears repeating - don't let your state adopt a sales tax.
////someone got that 'bears' pic handy?
 
2012-06-04 03:55:03 PM
Advice to traveling Americans:

- Don't mock other countries seemingly-fake money (out loud)
- I realize you're relaxing on vacation, but at least dress nice in the evening
- Driving on the left is surprisingly easy, so don't freak out. Filling up gas ... not always easy
- Forget the idea of a space-bubble and just smile when you don't know what to do
--- Take it easy on the big toothy grins, it makes non-Americans apprehensive
- Try any and all food dishes, but order small portions in case it doesn't sit well with you
- Have fun! I've never met anyone that doesn't wanna chat with an American.
 
2012-06-04 04:22:03 PM

Cyno01: Everyone saying "but stores would have to change their tags if the tax rate changed, boo hoo". Youve never worked retail, you dont know how farking often stores change their price tags anyway, its maddening and contributed to me quitting my last job.


This. Every grocery store I worked in had a full time employee whose entire job was doing price changes. And they still had help from other employees. I use to spend four hours every Sunday morning changing the prices in the alcohol department of Pavilions. It's boring tedious work but there is a lot of it. Tax rates don't change very often, even in local option sales tax happy Georgia.
 
2012-06-04 10:42:55 PM

Wayne 985: Pert: 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.

No sales tax in Oregon, so no problem here.


yeah, but go ahead and touch the gas pump--i dare you.
most of the time no problem, but when youre in a hurry and there is one pump jockey for 16 pumps, then i get a little teed off.
 
2012-06-04 11:45:22 PM

the_vicious_fez: MrT: ShannonKW: Americans would rather read than listen. We'll walk past ten men in order to read a sign rather than ask a question. Ask us a question, and we'll tell you to read the damn sign.

You have no idea what a good thing this is. In the UK, there is a constant incessant babble of useless semi-automated PA announcements that pervade your consciousness and rot your brain from the inside out. The best thing about moving away from the UK was getting some damned peace and quiet.

Are you serious? Every time I go through an airport or train station I hear constant useless announcements about the current threat level and so on. Are you telling me it's worse elsewhere? Because that's the sort of thing that could drive... someone... mad.


OMG never, ever go to Japan then. You will flip tables.
 
2012-06-05 10:55:10 AM

profplump: 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


The Real World says David's right. It's in many contracts you sign that you are employed at will and can be let go for any reason or no reason. Unless you have a great lawyer and keep meticulous records day in and day out, or can fight back with a countersuit.

it's in the company's best interest to find a plausible reason to fire you, though, so you can be terminated for discussing pay even though on paper they say they're terminating you for some other bullshiat reason. They don't like how you do your hair? You came in 2 minutes late three times over six months, they'll claim to fire you for that. You don't put out, or someone is afraid you will put out and tread on their fking-for-bennies territory? That's when the bogus negative performance reviews start. So I guess you're right on that, too. Even if it really is no reason they can't actually claim no reason. But that's letter of law stuff, not spirit of law stuff.
 
2012-06-05 11:11:14 AM

sycraft: Debeo Summa Credo: Not allowed? Then why does the gas station near my house charge a dime more for credit card purchases per gallon than cash?

Because nobody has bothered to report them. Let their payment processor know, they'll lose the ability to take credit cards (they'll find another processor I'm sure). It is part of the merchant agreement. You have to agree that cash and card are the same price. I've never seen a processor that doesn't do that, as I think Visa and Mastercard make them do it.

Pre- CARD Act, yes. Post-CARD Act, it's now allowable to do so.
 
2012-06-05 11:17:12 AM

ISO15693: 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.

My wife (who has a masters degree) is a Kiwi. The first time she came to the US, she got excited when she saw a police officer with a gun. "Can we see him shoot someone?" she asked. Later, she got excited when she saw a black person. Then she got excited when we got caught on Hwy 280 in friday holdiay weekend traffic, and spent 20 minutes gleefully taking pictures of the endless stopped traffic.Then she freaked out and started lecturing me when she saw some homeless people in SF.

Of course, my first few times in NZ with her, I 1] could not figure out how to fill our car's LPG tank, 2] stopped in a rural area to take a photo, and set my camera down (to get a stable photo) while holding it, on an electric fence (she still laughs about my eletrocution dance) 3] freaked out when I saw a Weta crawling on my leg, 4] Did not heed warnings about needing sunblock (in February) 5] Got in trouble for drinking a soda while waiting in line at the grocery store to pay for it (and other stuff)


you're not supposed to do that anyway. that is country.
unless it was a sample you were given by the store,
don't eat or drink anything while you're in line. wait until you've paid for it.

and for god's sake, don't just stash your trash between the goods or on a counter when you're done.

/if your wife is kiwi, don't they have aborigines out there so she'd see black people all the time?
//the rest of the list was cute
 
Displayed 50 of 105 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Last | Show all

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report