$3.99? Not bad, I think I might buy it.
Great, that’ll be $4.07.
What the hell?
The above exchange is a result of, well, moronic thinking. Taxes over here for some bizarre reason are kept as a magical secret until the final checkout. The whole time I am actually shopping based on prices I am being lied to. It’s not fun, it’s not friendly, and it’s pretty stupid. If there is a price for something, us foreigners with our “funny ways” usually pay exactly what we expect to. This new number the cashier fashions at the end to mess with my mind isn’t pleasant. Does it not bother any of you? (Is there anyone reading this?) Will there ever come the day where I buy a product in America and the tax won’t need to be added? Unless I’m buying food, or choose to live in Oregon, no. So why oh why is the tax man playing this (definitely not fun) game with me and my wallet? Yes, the pound is ridiculously strong, and you probably think I shouldn’t be moaning about this, but the pound cannot bob and weave to the will of imaginary prices. Not yet.
Speaking of buying things, I have to mention this one item: bacon. Put simply, you have strips of fat here which the supermarkets sell to you under the guise of “bacon,” because it has some loose relation to a pig. It is not bacon. It is fat. Doesn’t your country have an obesity problem? I can’t think why… oh wait, yes I can. It’s because you eat fat instead of food. Now, when I first arrived, I was ready for this sad fact, and had heard Canadian bacon was very close to what we have at home. Not so. This does not even come close – it is a bastardisation of ham, bacon, turkey and some other anonymous flavour. I did actually give American bacon a try. I put five strips into the frying pan with half a teaspoon of oil. It began to float in its own fat. I repeat. IT FLOATED IN ITS OWN FAT. I’m sorry, but regardless of how much taste you get out of it, you will die all too soon from high cholesterol. Let me paint a picture for you of what real bacon is: A sumptuous, meaty, fine, round slice of pork, encircled with a thin sliver of fat to increase that great flavour. Lovely. I have egg sandwiches for breakfast now, and avoid American bacon at all costs.
And after I’ve made my breakfast, if I have time, I like to watch a little TV. Bad move. Adverts over here (commercials – whatever you want to call them) are like an infection. It seems as though I can’t watch a show for more than five minutes without an advert invading, and telling me about some useless invention that could save me seconds in the kitchen, or (actual example) how I could potentially sue my hospital if my child was born with cerebral palsy. Can I not just watch my programme in peace without feeling like the world is against me at extremely regular intervals? Why are all the adverts so excessive? They are either mini-melodramas or cheap pieces of crap put together in Uncle Bill’s shed in front of a green screen. I know TV is the Idiot Box, but seriously, can’t they make a bit more of an effort? In Europe, adverts win awards because they are so enjoyable and well crafted. You genuinely want to watch some of them because they’re like miniature films. America’s only possible saving grace is the Superbowl spots, which are admittedly truly great fun to watch. It’s no wonder more and more people are turning to the Internet to cut through the commercials. Aside from the obvious plus of immediate viewing on demand, it eliminates all the crap in between.
On a more positive note, I love Lucky Charms, Costco and smoothies! Yay America!