Main menu: Home Tube Challenge Underground : USA Living in America 50p iPod Music

Ten Things … USA

Ten Things ...Ten things I’ve learnt from over the pond …

1) You can’t be president, unless you were actually born in the country. e.g Arnold Schwarzenegger is Austrian, is governor of California, but could never become president.

2) It’s a well known ‘in joke’ in the states that during presidential elections, it’s always the good looking one that wins.

3) Waiting staff generally get paid the minimum wage ($5.15 in South Carolina ) and are expected to serve well and make up money on tips. Tipping is anywhere between 10 and 15 percent. This is why they are always so damn friendly in restaurants – they want your tip!

Interstates4) Interstates (that’s Motorways to you and me), are all numbered, but did you know that all the ones that run west/east are even numbered, whilst all the ones that run north/south are odd numbered.

(Note, the map here showing Charleston is the one in West Virgina, and not South Carolina – just to try and confuse you).

5) All fridges in America are big. They just don’t do small ones. And all the modern ones appear to have ice dispensers built in. Would you like that cubed or crushed?

Fed ExFed Ex6) There is a ‘slower’ version of FedEx called FedEx Ground. It uses purple and green colours in its logo, as apposed to the classic blue and orange that you’re used to seeing.

7) Garage mechanics share the same stereotypes as UK ones. They all have a greasy rag dangling out the back pocket of their jeans, and when you describe the symptoms of the problem with your car to them (as my ‘tour guide’ had to when their car broke down), they all scratch their chin, shake their head side to side and say “Ooohhh …..”.

Fire Hydrant8) US immigrations are not the unfriendliest in the world. I recalled an experience of when I went to Moscow back in 1998. The Russians are much better at making you feel guilty.

9) You can’t park your car next to a fire hydrant by the kerbside. Breaking this law will get you a fine of around $120.

10) 65% of American men are circumcised, usually within the first few days of them being born. The rate is higher in the Mid West, and lowest on the west coast.

In the UK, it’s less than one percent. I am not one of that minority.

32 responses to “Ten Things … USA”

  1. Ray says:

    F5! first one! GET IN!

    Hope you’re enjoying yourself!

  2. You just know which of these ten is going to get the most comments, don’t you? Let me start…

    It may be true that less than 1% of male babies in the UK are circumcised nowadays but, in the male population as a whole, the proportion is nearer 20%.

  3. Rob(Geoff's brother-in-law) says:

    Do we need to know the “status” of your knob? – Who gave you the
    “USA knob percentages”?…..they’re very good these “tour-guides”
    aren’t they..!

  4. geofftech says:

    Well I am actually back home now … home to a strange world where they all drive on the left and don’t box food up for you. Most unusual.

    (DG – yes, I should of had a side bet : No. 10 will get the most comments without a doubt)

  5. Mark Garth says:

    There was talk a little while back that the conservatives wanted to change the constitution so that Arnie could stand for the Presidency! I don’t know what happened to the idea though. Anyway, down to item no 10, if you pardon the gross pun; who and more importantly why do people research these statistics??

  6. Mark Garth says:

    Oh, yeah and welcome back πŸ™‚

  7. While we are on the topic…. A colleague at work who is a bit of a cricket mad person recently decided to check out the latest score for a game on Unfortunately he mistyped and put in An easy mistake, but a classic!

  8. Mark Garth says:

    Did you buy a digital SLR??

  9. In what circum-stances did you find yourself learning number 10?
    Even Hawaii, it seems, has interstates.

  10. Anthony says:

    7) Oooh, looks like the dolphin flange has busted up through the grub-nuts…

    10) Apparently circumcision immediately after birth is usually accomplished through use of a kind of mild garrotte, rather than a knife. It makes the skin die, rather than cutting the living skin off. Apparently. So I hear.

    I’m not, by the way!

  11. geofftech says:

    My ‘tour guide’ has asked me to point out the following!

    Waiting staff actually earn less than the minimum wage… they might only earn something like $2.50 per hour, and you’re expected to tip them 15 to 20 percent instead to help them boost their pay.

    i.e. My guide would like it noted that they’re not a cheapskate ten-percent tipper when it comes to leaving a tip


    Can we all get back to talking about circumcision now please? Perhaps by starting with this …

  12. 11. And please note, wait staff ALSO have to pay tax on the supposed tip money they do get. It is a very hard job, and an exhausting way to earn a living, so please tip generously !! (In some states they are allowed to pay them NOTHING hourly, yes nothing. Which I think is really unfair.) So G., your Tour Guide is very very correct. Tipping customs are different in the U.S. I always leave 20%, but then I used to work in restaurants.

    The circumcision issue…well, it is a tough call, I think. Doctors definitely encourage it in the States. Told us that in Hawaii, sometimes boys are cut later, when they are older because of the moisture and such in our humid clime, so best to do it now. Hard to know for sure… It was totally encouraged when I had my twin boys. Neither even woke up when it was performed and it did not take but a minute or so each. In one case it was medically necessary, so we thought it best that they ‘match’ each other and the father. Perhaps if I had to do it over, I would not. (I have read recently that there are over 20,000 nerve endings on the foreskin!) Just why are we cutting little boys? But it is too late now, isn’t it?

    In weighing in on the matter as a woman, I would say there are “ups” and “downs” to both ways. Most American men ARE circumcised I can tell you that. I think it is more than 65%. And if I were to admit being with someone who wasn’t, well, those particular individual(s) were men not born in the U.S.

    Well alrightie then… should we take a poll of the Geofftech regulars? Men..are we.. ?? or aren’t we?? πŸ˜‰

  13. Mark Garth says:

    Certainly not thanks, I’ve got all my bits!

  14. amy says:

    Very interesting to hear your points of interest of life in the States. As a Canadian much of it rang true up here too. Although, if I had to do a poll of my past lovers penises I would have to say it is running 50/50. Not a huge pool but there you go.

  15. Rob(Geoff's brother-in-law) says:

    Why the interest in circumcision all of a sudden?, is
    it because THFC are higher placed than they usually are
    come January…….

  16. Mark Garth says:

    Don’t worry Rob, I’m sure that they will get cut down to size as the season goes on πŸ™‚

  17. Mark says:

    welcome back Geoff

  18. Geoff's Cousin says:

    So Geoff’s a fan of a football club based in the part of London with the largest Jewish community.

    And he’s interested in circumcised knobs.


  19. Anthony says:

    Has he even specified that the tour guide is female yet?

  20. geofftech says:

    Right… the survey is ON then! Every bloke that I feel I can get away with asking today, is going to get asked by me whether they’re a t-shirt or a polo neck. Excellent!

    8 people asked so far, (including one of whcih is actually the son of one of the girls at work…), and so far it’s:

    Yes: 3
    No: 5

    More updates as the day progresses …

  21. Circumcision in San Francisco

    Geofftech’s surprise at the high number of circumcised men in the United States reminded me of this little anecdote. On one of my holidays in the USA, I stayed at the cheapest hostel in San Francisco (somewhere down the Mission district) and … [ Trackback ]

  22. #5 – They do do small fridges. When I was an exchange student in Louisiana, I could hire a small fridge for my dorm room which was just big enough to put in some cheese, margarine, water, Coke and cans of beer.

  23. Chris says:

    I don’t tip. I don’t believe in it.

  24. Rob(Geoff's brother-in-law) says:

    #20 – polo-neck!…..mine works fine, a little too well
    recently! In fact, i’m gonna get the whole thing cut off….

  25. Geoff's Cousin says:

    Isnt’ it weird the way Geoff’s mind easily jumps from talking about tips to circumcision

  26. geofftech says:

    15 people now asked!

    Yes: 4
    No: 11

  27. Doesn’t the acceptance of this tipping culture show a complicity in the paying of below minimum wages.

    What would happen if the Americans stopped tipping? Would the restaurants still be allowed to get away with this.

    Also, is this difference accounted for by those who say that America is cheaper? Do they include the tip in their cost analysis?

  28. 18. “Knobs?” That’s a new one!

    19. LET”S HOPE SO!!!!

    24. Chris, you’ll be chased out of every restaurant in the States if you plan on dining without tipping. BTW, not kknowing the mini cab tipping customs in England having just arrived, I tipped the man £10 and he about feel over backwards. On the way to the airport, Geoff told me not to tip as “the cab fare is expensive enough,” but I did anyway because the driver broke his neck to get me to Heathrow as I was so late, in terrible, dead stop traffic. Worth IT to reward for that extra service.

    27. PLEASE do NOT start a new site/project called “Are you cut or are you not!?!” I don’t want to see pictures of you with signs on trains asking that question. *Shiver.*

    26. Have you heard that old joke? Two guys eating in a gay restaurant. One says to the other, “Did you leave a good tip? Other guy: “No, I left the whole thing.” [*Groan.*]

    28. When the IRS charges you taxes on nebulous tips, it’s gone beyond being a cultural issue. Some places make their own adjustments…In Honolulu, which caters to Japanese, who do not tip, the gratuity is automatically added into many tabs. Even when it is, I leave another 15%. It is part of the cost of eating out.

    See this site: for a list of the sinners and saints of tipping.

  29. Andrew says:

    While you were away, Geoff, on BBC3 they showed a documentary on circumcision (in the “Mischief” series, possibly 5th Jan – stumbled across it while channel-hopping), (I think presented by Alan Yentob), and at the end in the credits, all the male crew were labelled (cut) or (uncut) !!!
    me: (uncut)

  30. I can’t believe Geoff is asking people about their knobs …

    For the record me no, my friend yes … 1-1

  31. Richard says:

    Geoff/Kris – does this mean that the minimum wage doesn’t apply to certain professions, or that restaurants just get away with paying their staff less than the minimum wage because nobody checks?

Powered by WordPress