Why Is America Different – Part II
Always Carry Your ID
According to Polish law, you need to carry your ID at all times – however, not many people actually do. Here law is the same and everyone follows it. It’s very rarely that someone leaves their place with no ID. You better have it with you at all times. You should especially remember about it if you’re planning to have a night out. You won’t be admitted to a club if you won’t show your ID (or your passport). Smiles and curtsies won’t do the trick. All you’ll hear will be „I’m sorry”, before you’ll be asked to move over. There will be no special treatment.
In almost every place you’re buying something at, the listed price doesn’t include the tax that will be added to it once you reach the cash register. In New York, it’s more than 8,7%. Even for a Starbucks coffee. And so, even if you’re happy that something seems cheap, in fact it’s much more. It can be a truly unpleasant surprise, especially if you’re making bigger shopping.
With a Coffee in Your Hand
I already wrote here at Just Like NY about New Yorkers’ love affair with coffee. You will get it practically everywhere. It’s available not only in delis and multiple cafes (such as Starbucks, of course), but even if you leave the city proper, the first thing you’ll encounter will be food areas with restaurant chains, such as Cracker Barrel or Red Robin. One of those is naturally associated with coffee: Dunkin’ Donuts. Americans seem to have been born with a paper cup of coffee in their hands.
Speaking of food. Americans love not only to drink coffee in the city, but adore to “eat out”. Correction: they adore to eat, period. I’m not surprised many people mention the problems America has with obesity, for food is EVERYWHERE here and the choice is amazing. There’s not a single street without at least a couple of food places. Not only is food available everywhere here: it’s often quite inexpensive. Taking into account that most people here live “on the run”, I’m not surprised in the least that New Yorkers choose to grab something in the city rather than cook at home (they will always find a food place within seconds). They save time and (possibly) money that way.
As soon as you sit in a bar or a restaurant, first thing you’ll get is tap water with ice. No one will ask you if you want it. No one will tell you to pay for it. Serving it is as natural as handing out the menus. That’s how it is across America. No matter the season, you will always be served water with ice.
Cashiers at the Supermarket
Cashiers always pack your groceries, usually using two plastic bags at once (which always irritates the hell out of me, since I believe even one plastic bag is too much). It often happens they wear rubber gloves. They count the money in a very peculiar way, too. Every single bank note is manhandled so roughly, I’m always surprised they don’t end up in shreds. I think it has something to do with wanting to be accurate at counting. If you happen to have some doubts regarding the price of an item, or you just plan to start an argument, the cashier immediately calls the manager, who clarifies the situation or checks the price you were planning to argue about till you drop.