Monday 13 March 2017


What's the first thing you do when you get up and come down stairs? When you walk in the house? I think I am in the majority when I say that I switch on the kettle. So imagine my surprise whilst reading the internet I came across a supposed fact that Americans don't have electric kettles. With globalisation and a shared history I've decided to look at a few other oddities our former colonists indulge in.

I have to say that I have never visited America, I would love too one day, Morticia has been and I do love to hear her stories. Never say never.

Americans call a toilet a bathroom even if there is no bath in there (especially in the case of public facilities).

Tipping? From what I can tell tipping is compulsory in America, we subscribe to the literal term of gratuity, that is is given freely. That said it is only usually customary to tip waiters and taxi drivers, there are no rules, you tip what you feel.

We don't have guns, guns scare us.

Free refills are a bonus when you find somewhere that does them. Nandos, TGI Fridays and a few other eating establishments offer free soft drink refills which I always take as a challenge to get more than my monies worth. I understand that free refills are rife in the US and I celebrate this forward thinking approach to beverages.

Plugs in bathrooms are allowed in America (Morticia told me about this). In the UK plug sockets are illegal (except for low voltage shaving power points), even light switches are a cord you pull so you don't risk touching the switch with wet hands.

Your tax system looks confusing. Do you actually have to work out what tax you owe yourselves? Apart from the self-employed our employers deal with our taxes which are paid as we earn.

What's with the date format? Why Month Day Year? That doesn't even flow. Surely the proper Day Month Year makes more sense? Yes?

You drive on the wrong side of the road.

There are subtle differences in language, that's to be expected, there are different word for different things in the south of this island so it's not so surprising that our American cousins have some odd (to us) terms. Trousers=pants, pants=underpants; Scones=Biscuits, biscuits=cookies; and crisps=chips, chips= fries. All confusing stuff. As far as I know a British smoker should never ask for fags in the States and similarly Americans should avoid mentioning fannies, they don't mean the same.  

I've known about all of the above for some time but the biggest shock was the fact that a nation as big and bold as the United States of America don't have electric kettles. Kettles are such a massive part of our culture and that of other nations I don't quite have the capacity to get my head around it. Someone told me that the US electrical voltage is too low to sustain the humble appliance. I don't know if that is true but I'm sure some inventive American could get around it, after all they invented the Microwave Oven.

Of course my tongue is firmly in my cheek with all this, what cultural oddities do you know about?

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