1. Morbidly obese people, at every corner.
2. Over the top muscled people, at every corner.
3. Normal sized people, hard to find.
4. Loud talking people, practically everywhere.
5. Homeless people, everywhere.
6. Very dirty streets and major cracks in roads, in poor areas.
7. Very clean streets and smooth roads, in rich areas.
8. Aggressive advertising, everywhere.
9. Fast food cheap.
10. Healthy food expensive.
11. Guns at Walmart.
12. Size of Walmart.
13. Every shop tender’s fake greeting: “HEY BUDDY, HOW ARE YOU!?”
14. Forced tipping.
15. Sugar in/on all possible foods: meat, salads, you name it.
16. Size of food portions.
17. Size of cars.
18. Price of gas.
19. So. Many. Fast. Food. Restaurants.
I guess a basic list for all Europeans coming to the US.
Everyone is too damn happy.
Every single person I encountered who worked in a shop, or served food were ridiculously joyous.
Even before I had landed in the States, the hostess was terrifyingly happy. In a good way.
Moreover, the women serving us in In-N-Out practically sung our order back to us.
Don’t get me wrong — I thought it was amazing. I had never thought people seemed that dreary back in Britain, but compared to America we must all seem so grumpy.
Image Credit: Andres Gutierrez
What the hell? I’m 20 years old and I can’t order a beer? Babies in England practically drink beer from their mother’s teat and I can’t order some with my chicken wings?
This is sacrilege I tell you. No human should be deprived of the pleasure of eating some chicken wings with some craft beer.
Get out of my ass and let me ingest whatever the hell I want.
Me driving to the airport to drop off my wife.
Wife: I’m hungry, I wanna have a cream-cheese bagel before I get to the airport.
Me: Okay, there’s a drive thru Starbucks just around the corner. It’s very unlikely that they have a bagel at 3 pm on a weekday but we can give it a shot. Lets pick up a coffee in any case.
We reach the drive thru.
A very pleasant barista greets me.
Barista: Hello there, welcome to Starbucks. What can I get for you today?
Me: Hello. Can I get a toasted everything bagel with cream cheese?
Barista: Hold on, let me check if we have one.
After a brief moment..
Barista: I’m really sorry we are out of everything bagel. I can get you a plain bagel if you’d like?!
Me: Umm no thanks. Can I just get a tall coffee with cream and one sugar please?
Barista: Sure thing. Come on over.
I drive up to the pick-up counter with my Starbucks app open to pay for my coffee.
Barista: Here you go!! (Hands me the coffee)
Me: Thank you ! Here you go (showing the bar-code on my phone for the barista to scan)
Barista: No you’re good.
Me: Whaaa? What do you mean? This is for the coffee.
Barista: We don’t need that. We couldn’t get you the bagel that you actually came for so the coffee is on us.
Me: Are you sure? I wanted a coffee too with the bagel.
Barista: Yeah I’m sure. Have a nice day (with a very genuine smile).
Culture shock? Not the free coffee but the absolute delight in serving customers with a radiant smile is what I find shocking. This is not the first time I’ve experienced something like this in the U.S. All of us have jobs and we get to vent out our rage in some way or the other sometimes even snapping at our clients. Anything to the contrary I find refreshing and hope to learn something from.