We’ve had another installment of 5 Things I Love about being an Expat in America so, it’s now time for 5 Things I Hate. As always, these aren’t things I necessarily hate, just things that I find different/weird/annoying about life here in the States. Ready? Here goes!
1. Cracks in toilet doors.
You weren’t expecting me to write that one now were you? It seems the people who build toilet cubicles in America can’t get their measurements right, ever. Just about every single toilet you go in has a crack between the door and the cubicle frame. Sometimes, they’re so big that if you look at the wrong time, you might actually make eye contact with the person who’s in there. Shocking. Hideous. Just plain wrong. Why would I want to see someone while they are on the toilet? Why would I want someone to see me while I’m on the toilet? Talk about an invasion of privacy. I’m pretty sure it isn’t for safety reasons seen as though the gaps both above and below the cubicle are also huge. Sort it out America, I don’t want to have to accidentally make awkward eye contact with another person whilst they’re having a pee again.
2. Credit card security…of the lack of it.
Using a credit card is as popular and normal as taking a shower here in America. I hardly ever have any cash on me (which can cause some evil looks when I go to the nail salon and have to tip on the card receipt!) and use my cards for absolutely everything, I even use it to buy a coke from a vending machine! However, when it comes to credit card security, America is still living in the dark ages. Nobody ever checks my signature when I pay for things. Occasionally I’ll get asked for my ID which they check against my card but that is very, very rare. My credit card doesn’t have a chip on it or a PIN number (which causes me a shed load of problems when I’m back in Europe, the land of chip and PIN!) sometimes I don’t even have to sign for a purchase. It basically means anybody could use my card to pay for anything, anywhere. Scary. Take note from Europe America and get some PIN numbers installed, or at least check my signature!
3. Sweet bread.
What is it with America and it’s obsession to have everything so sweet? Cakes are laden with sugar, so much so that sometimes I can’t finish a piece and we all know that is a crime! I have to ask for my drinks at Starbucks to have half the regular amount of syrup. First world problems people. But, the thing that gets me the most is the sweetness of the bread here. Seriously, a slice of white bread is super sweet compared to a good old slice of Hovis or Warburtons back home.It’s upsetting when you’re so excited for a slice of toast (it’s a sad life I lead, I know) and when you bite into it expecting some savory, buttery goodness you get some sort of buttery sweet ickyness that is just not nice. Why, America? Why?
4. Shop assistants.
Ok, so I’m a Brit (in case you didn’t know!) and us Brits like to keep ourselves to ourselves. What we don’t like is to be pestered, and America shop assistants certainly know how to pester. I walked into a store just the other day and was, of course, greeted with “Welcome to …” which is all fine and dandy, but, she went on, and on, and on. She asked me if I was looking for anything in particular to which my reply was no, I’m just looking. That didn’t deter her. She then went on to ask me if I’d shopped here before. My reply, yes. Even the one word answer didn’t stop her, or the fact I was rummaging in the rails and only half looking/listening to her. She then asked when I was last in the store! I literally had no idea so answered with a while ago and started to move away from the rack and onto another. Then she asked me my name, which, reluctantly I had to tell her, before she finally gave up, told me her name and said to ask her if I needed anything. Now, I’m all of this good customer service but that was just a little over the top. When I shop, I like to look at stuff without being interrupted. If I need help, I’ll search out a shop assistant and ask them. Maybe it’s just my Britishness but I really don’t like being pestered in a shop.
5. Loud Americans.
Now, I know every nationality is different. I know every person is different. In America though, there seems to be a lot of loud people. Seriously. I definitely don’t need to listen to your whole, big conversation about how you’re going to Florida for the weekend or how you’re about to send an important email that will triple your workload, how you’re planning to stuff your face with Mexican food this evening or that hot date you have planned whilst I’m trying to get some work done. I’m sure I know every aspect of some people’s lives just from sitting in Starbucks for an hour. I know I’m working in a public place and I do expect some noise but I expect it from the person next to me, not the person at the other end of the coffee house! I guess it could annoy me because us Brits are a little more reserved and like to keep ourselves to ourselves. It definitely doesn’t help when you want to concentrate on something though!