Ten and a Half Things I find weird in the US

Free refills. I like this one. I think it’s cool. I hate how drinks in Romanian restaurants come most often in a 0.25L bottle. I find 0.25L bottles absurd. But I also don’t have a weight problem. If I did, sticking to 0.25L would seem wise. Especially since common sugar free drinks are packed with caffeine – gotta put something addictive in there, otherwise you won’t make it as a soda manufacturer. I must mention free water here. Something else I like about US restaurants. Why can’t we have this everywhere?

Ice. Whenever you order one of those free refill drinks, you won’t get a glass of soda, but a glass of ice with a little bit of soda in between. I might understand some ice in drinks when it’s hot outside, but certainly not so much ice that the drink I ordered becomes a minor ingredient of the drink I get. And how can anybody justify so much ice when it’s cold outside? Maybe it’s a cultural thing. I say this because I saw ice machines in most hotels I stayed at in the US. When did you see an ice machine in Romania? You don’t even know what an ice machine looks like, do you?

Bread. Throughout the US, bread is crap. You might not know it, but you love bread. Even if you say you don’t eat bread. And you’ll end up discovering your love for bread when you’ll visit the States. Regardless if you prefer 1 RON white bread or 5 RON whole wheat bread, you’ll miss them in the US. Normal bread there is sweet and puffy. Sugar in bread… what the hell?

Food. Having just complained about the added sugar in bread, let’s look over the big picture here. US food is just a combination of fat, sugar and salt. American cuisine (far fetched use of the word) seems to be the dream of a starving kid. Or a cardiologist’s blacklist for his patient. Healthy food feels like a niche – not for everybody. Weird that you have to pay more for less calories. Not that I’m complaining. I actually struggle to not lose weight.

The image above – that’s supposed to be a variation of a burger..

Toilets. Why is there so much water in US toilets? I’m nervous whenever I’m around one of them. They look like miniature swimming pools. Is there something I’m missing? Does that pool of water serve any hidden purpose? Or is it one of those historical things that Americans can’t part with? Like guns or the imperial system.

Commercials. Let’s see now. The radio voice. Extremely happy people. Drugs recommended for any symptom. Everything is fun and perfect. Watching commercials, I get the feeling every little aspect has been studied over and over again with the sole purpose of convincing me how awesome I would be if I buy that product. All of a sudden, I kinda miss those simple Romanian commercials, where a lady gets her dress stained and her friend whips out a 9 kg bag of detergent from her purse.

Misleading phrasing. This is something else I find weird/disturbing about commercials in the US. The words advertisers use are carefully selected so that a product seems a lot awesome-er than it is, but not as much for that statement to become a lie. It must all be either too vague or provable. For example, “we make the best burgers in the world” is most likely a lie, but “we make the best burgers in the world… according to an online poll / a contest / our clients / our staff” is not a lie technically speaking, even though you’re pretty sure there is a better burger somewhere else. I remember reading a product’s label – “94% fat free”. What? It’s either fat free or it’s not! You can’t go fractional with stuff like that. But “fat free” makes you think you’re eating something healthy, so let’s put it on the label, why not? What would you choose between normal fries and 85% fat free fries? Doesn’t really matter, normal fries are 15% fat.

Sport commentators. Watched some sports clips on the long flight to the US and immediately thought about the video below. Such a striking difference between US and Romanian sports commentators. Romanian commentators feel… normal. There are some guys moving a ball around. You get their names and general information about what they’re doing, then a little history, some gossip, stuff like that. Feels like it’s a hobby these commentators have – they get together and enjoy a game, while also talking about it on live TV. Meanwhile, in the US, something BIG is happening or is waiting to happen! You don’t know what and how, but surely something is, judging by the energy and excitement you’re hearing from the commentators.

Prices. “How much is this generic item?” “It’s 2.99”. “I’ll have one please” “It’s gonna be 3.18” “BUT YOU JUST SAID 2.99!!!!”

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