Pandagon just had an article about overdraft fees, and this inspired me to list all the things I discovered when moving to the US which I found really weird, annoying and often primitive:
1)To pay your rent and utility bills, you actually have to go to their offices, or those special bill-pay stations in grocery stores. (automatic bill pay from your banking account is NOW the big new thing Wells Fargo is trying to get me to sign me up for)
2)Checks. Probably in existence because of 1), and because there’s no such thing as bank-to-bank transfer.
3)On cellphones, you pay for incoming calls, too.
4)All prices are given without the tax, so being able to calculate percentages in your head (and remembering what gets taxed and what doesn’t, and at what rate) is essential when shopping on a budget.
5)Credit. As in: you need to already be in debt in order to be able to get even deeper into debt; or even do something basic like getting a phone with a contract, rather than a pre-paid.
6)Salespeople on commission; they’re like a pest, especially when you’re a girl in an electronics store; and they STILL don’t actually know shit about the stuff they’re selling.
7)Restaurant service that verges on harassment at times
8)Sporks. Though, I now like sporks for camping; especially those ultimate sporks that also include a knife. They’re like little swiss army knifes, but for eating with.
9)three different kinds of artificial sweetener. everywhere.
10)Liquor stores; especially those with very limited opening hours.
11)Toploading washing machines with like three washing options (cold, warm, hot)
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There’s also a handful of things I liked more about being over here, but they didn’t cause the same level of culture shock :-p
1)At restaurants, being actually able to complain if there’s something wrong with the food; also, the ability to take leftovers home with me.
2)ATM’s everywhere. Whenever I get back to Europe, finding a way to get at my money is always a big pain in the ass. But maybe I’m just not looking in the right spots…
3)grocery stores that are open 24/7
4)Better format for university courses/degrees