10 things I hate about you, America.


*disclaimer* I actually do like America (most of the time), or I wouldn’t have come back to visit again. I don’t want this to come across as me shitting on America, because I’m not. So if you yourself are American and would find a list of things that I find weird and/or stupid to be offensive, please don’t read ahead.

Over the past three weeks I’ve travelled (by myself and with others) to 6 main cities across the US. I’ve driven in 4 states, had trouble ordering Mocha’s in 4 states and travelled over 18,000 miles. There are things that I love about America, like their fast food, stores that are open 24 hours and flight upgrades because the airline overbooked (How? Don’t get me started). And there are things that I hate, for example – their coffee.

1. Coffee

One of the things that I missed so much about Australia was our Coffee. It’s the little things we take for granted – I missed you so much my amazing $2.50 student coffee from Salt Meets Cheese.

And so it became my quest to find a good coffee while in America. I googled and yelped and even yahoo-answered to try to find decent coffee in America. I got suggestions from friends, strangers, sales assistants, but I was let down every time I spent my $5-6USD on a shitty coffee. Then the depression sunk in and I became desperate – buying Starbucks ‘mocha-in-a-bottle’ from the 7 Eleven closest to me. Eventually I gave up, the Starbucks ‘mocha-in-a-bottle’ coffee I had been buying became too sickly sweet, and I didn’t want to waste any more of the money I didn’t have in the first place.

I’m sorry America, but your coffee sucks.

In my coffee depression I began to think about the other things that I missed doing or not doing, and so below I’ve written some more observations about things (and coffee) that I hate, or just find weird about America.

2. Bathrooms

Another thing I will never understand is why there is a giant gap between the toilet stall door and it’s hinges. It’s like a giant peep hole to see what people are doing in ‘private’. American toilets already have so much water in them that they’re super confronting to use, and they’re so loud when you flush, it’s terrifying. If you’re really lucky sometimes the automated flush will happen before you get the chance to stand up, letting a nice splash of toilet juice touch your butt.

On the positive side though everything being automated is very hygienic. The hand soap, water, hand dryers and paper towels (and toilets) are all automated, so kudos to you America.

3. Drink sizes/free refills

Drink size ratio – 2:1. To put in in simple terms an Australian size ‘medium’ is an American ‘small’. This is great if you need to get fat, another thing that’s great if you need to get fat are free refills. Free refills are a concept that Australia has yet to introduce (and maybe it’s a good thing we haven’t). Basically if you’re at a restaurant and you’ve finished your drink, they’ll come around and fill it right back up (like they do with water). You can also ask for a ‘to-go’ cup and they’ll bring you a take away cup full of soft drink so you can take it with you when you leave. Good for financial reasons, bad for health reasons.

4. The Imperial System

Firstly, when I’d ask what the difference between a small and a large drink was I’d usually get this response: “Small is 12 oz, Medium is 16 oz”. Like cool, thanks for trying to be helpful, but seeing as you’re literally the only country in the world who is still stuck using imperial measurements, can I please just have a visual of the sizes?

Secondly, miles. My phone would screech at me while driving, “In 3 miles”, “In 3/4 of a mile”, like thanks for trying to help, but I have no idea how far away that is…

Thirdly, lbs/pounds. To me $3 per pound of tomatoes from Whole Foods seems cheap, but then you buy one and it ends up being $1 per tomato. Or when you try to weigh yourself on a pair of scales that won’t convert to kgs. Or when you’re at the airport and your bag can’t be heavier than 50lbs, and I’m just over here thinking about how many tomatoes from Whole Foods that would be.

5. Mobile Service

AT&T is possibly the biggest (if not one of the biggest) phone companies in America. Because I was meeting up with multiple people during my time in America, I had to get a sim card, and for convince I went with AT&T.

It’s understandable while driving through the middle of nowhere in Arizona that my phone service would drop out, but it was weird when my service completely dropped out in Malibu, in one of the biggest city areas (Los Angeles), in one of the biggest countries in the world.

The state of Texas holds the same amount of people as the entire population of Australia, and I’ve rarely had problems with mobile service in Australia (even driving along highways from Sydney to Port Macquarie or to Yass).

With a population of over 325 million people*, it actually surprised me when why my mobile service in America was so shit/so expensive.

Side note: It cost me about $60USD a month (before taxes) for 6GB of data for the month, and unlimited nationwide calls and texts. It costs me $30AUD a month in Australia for 5GB of data and unlimited (including international) calls and texts with Amaysim. (Please note, this is not an ad lol, although I would highly recommend Amaysim purely because they’re cheap, I’ve also had problems with them every time I’ve come home from overseas). Get your shit together AT&T.

6. Tax

Why does it have to be so hard America? Why does it have to change state to state?

Why can’t you just include your tax like every other country? Just include it in the total cost.

I’m just going to leave it at that.

7. Tipping/Minimum wage

Just to make things clear, we don’t really tip in Australia; it’s not expected. If you do tip in Australia kudos to you, but it is rare when we do. So when an Australian comes to America they can be frustrated when it becomes apparent that it’s their job to pay the waiter/waitresses their wage rather than the company they work for. Minimum wage in America varies by state (with Washington state leading at $11USD per hour**), but the federal minimum starts at $7.25USD per hour** (which is why it’s important to tip – that and you don’t want your food messed with).

I understand that tipping is important, but it’s also super inconvenient. Having to calculate your tip after dinner is a bummer. Everyone having to get out their phones to do the math, then adding up the total at the end. All while also making sure their waiter doesn’t pull a dodgy on them and say that they tipped more than they offered up. With a 20-25% becoming the norm in America, it makes eating out at restaurants super unappealing, and I’m starting to understand why America is leading the world in obesity (you don’t need to tip at fast-food places).

8. Dogs on flights

I just have a few questions.

Why are they allowed to fly? What if someone’s allergic? Do they have allocated dog flights? Do they have to notify people there will be a dog on the plane? Do their owners have to pay for an extra seat? Do the dogs have to go through doggy security? If they do, where is doggy security? Do they walk through a metal detector? If they do, do they have to take their collars off? How many dogs can one person take on their flight? Is it one dog per person? Can people take cats on like they can take dogs on? If not, why? If not, what makes cats so different to dogs?

WHAT IF SOMEONE IS ALLERGIC?

9. Starbucks

There’s a Starbucks on every corner of every block in America, no exaggeration. While it’s relatively hard to find a McDonalds, you are guaranteed to be in a 200m radius of a Starbucks at all times and get your 13 teaspoons-per-drink sugar fix***. I love you iced soy chai latte, but Starbucks coffee is death, and Pumpkin Spiced Lattes taste like Satan’s asshole.

10. Over-booked flights

Ah America, if there’s one thing you do very very well it’s not being able to count. Literally (and I mean literally in the most literal sense I can describe), every flight I’ve taken while in America has been over-booked. Sometimes this has been great, I’ve been upgraded to Economy Plus with nicer, comfier seats and more leg space, but sometimes this means that I’ve been stuck in the middle and aisle seats on long-haul flights. Or like on my last flight, been placed in the very last seat in the last row of the plane with the fragrant smell of plane toilets and extra turbulence). The only plus is that if you don’t need to be anywhere at a certain time, they’ll give you money as an incentive to give up your seat (not that I’ve ever done that either). I just don’t understand how you can sell more seats that you physically have on your plane, but it happens…

So America, I’m sure I could think of more things to say about you, but there’s good and bad in every country. There are polite and un-polite people, safe and un-safe places, fattening and non-fattening foods in every country. So you do you America, and we’ll just be on the other side of the world doing us in Australia.

So see you next time America, maybe then you can feel up my boobs instead of my vagina (keep your eyes peeled for me to explain this in another post).

America, you do you.


www.census.gov/popclock/

** www.cbsnews.com/news/a-higher-minimum-wage-for-millions-in-2017/

*** www.cbsnews.com/news/do-you-know-how-much-sugar-is-in-your-starbucks-drink/

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