Having lived most of my life in Central Europe, where bureaucracy reigns, moving to the ever-efficient United States was a breath of fresh air. However, given the contrast, anything less than sensible quickly becomes glaringly obvious. Here is a list of nine U.S.-centric things that I have found to make no sense whatsoever:
1) Queuing, or standing in line, whatever: At this, the British reign supreme. Maybe people are too chilled out here to care about efficiency, but when you have several different cash registers, the best strategy is to make one queue that forks off. That way, you don’t have to keep looking over your shoulder to see if your friend is closer than you yet (even though I know you all love competition).
2) The lack of security on credit cards: Sure, I like the “it’s just that easy” feeling of swiping my card and getting what I want, but I’d rather that my transaction took a little longer and I was asked for some identification or a PIN number so I could feel safe in the knowledge that if someone stole my card, it wouldn’t be that easy to max it out.
3) Sales tax: Why isn’t it added on before you get to the cash desk? My mental maths is really not good enough for that kind of arithmetic.
4) Tipping: In Europe, a gratuity is customary, but not expected, and if someone gives you awful service, it is not a faux pas to leave off a tip at the end of your meal. It doesn’t make sense to hear threats of giving a really bad tip because the concept of a tip in the first place is remuneration for good service. If a tip really is necessary, then why not do as the French do and include the tip in the cost of the meal?
5) Air conditioning: I mean, it’s lovely that you guys have it, but never before have I had to bring a coat for when I go inside! Brr!
6) Vanity sizing: You’re a size, I’m a size, everyone is a size. Unless you’re INVISIBLE, you’re not a size zero. Period.
7) Comforters: It’s much easier to wash a duvet cover that comes off than it is to find an industrial sized washing machine to wash the entire thing.
8) Halloween: You should be able to dress up slutty every other night of the year and not have anyone say anything about it. On Halloween, you’re meant to be SCARY. Look it up if you don’t believe me.
9) Footpaths, or sidewalks, or whatever: Where are they?
Naomi Rea just discovered size 00 … she gives up.