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How "Foreign" is the USA ?

How "Foreign" is the USA ?

Old Apr 9th 2015, 5:34 pm
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Default How "Foreign" is the USA ?

I heard an interesting talk from Stuart Cosgrove on BBC today. According to him the USA is deeply foreign. He was talking specifically about Race Relations and one of the recent shootings by a cop.

His line is that initially the US seems similar because of language etc, but that other attitudes (particularly on race) are deeply alien to those of us from this side of the Great Pond.

What say you ?
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Old Apr 9th 2015, 5:39 pm
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Default Re: How "Foreign" is the USA ?

I'm British so it's foreign to me, not sure about the adjective though?
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Old Apr 9th 2015, 7:06 pm
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Default Re: How "Foreign" is the USA ?

The US is significantly different to the UK in many ways. If all the world spoke English as a first language, there wouldn't be this incorrect assumption that the US is so similar to the UK.
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Old Apr 9th 2015, 7:11 pm
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Default Re: How "Foreign" is the USA ?

Originally Posted by Anian View Post
The US is significantly different to the UK in many ways. If all the world spoke English as a first language, there wouldn't be this incorrect assumption that the US is so similar to the UK.
Anian, what would you say are the biggest differences in your opinion?
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Old Apr 9th 2015, 7:19 pm
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Default Re: How "Foreign" is the USA ?

Two countries split by a common language!

You have to live here to realize all the differences. Here's a few that come to me off the top of my head (I'm at work, so don't have a lot of time)...

Language - yes, it's basically the same, but VERY different!
Work ethics - One to two weeks' vacation for at least the first two years!
Healthcare and insurance - don't get me started on this one!!
Cars - 95% auto to 5% manual - about the reverse of the UK.
Buying stuff - warranties, etc. are grossly different. Buying cars is like going back to the stone age!
TV - some good, some bad, but the Brits still do drama and period peices a LOT better (BTW, there's a new series of Luther coming, YAY!).

That'll get something started.
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Old Apr 9th 2015, 7:36 pm
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Default Re: How "Foreign" is the USA ?

Originally Posted by WJS View Post
Anian, what would you say are the biggest differences in your opinion?
Politics. The US is the most right wing country in the western world by a huge margin. There's a much stronger "I'm alright Jack" mentality and so many people completely forget any help they received to get where they are - attributing everything to their own efforts.
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Old Apr 9th 2015, 7:47 pm
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Default Re: How "Foreign" is the USA ?

I agree Anian.

Guindalf, I don't understand what you mean in regards to buying stuff. I didn't know there was a difference with warranties, are they better or worse in the US? How does it differ buying a car in the US versus the UK?
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Old Apr 9th 2015, 8:31 pm
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Default Re: How "Foreign" is the USA ?

Originally Posted by WJS View Post
I agree Anian.

Guindalf, I don't understand what you mean in regards to buying stuff. I didn't know there was a difference with warranties, are they better or worse in the US? How does it differ buying a car in the US versus the UK?
Generally, the retailer is not responsible if a product is defective and will only accept returns within the first 14-30 days. IIRC, if a product fails within the first YEAR, you can return it to the shop back home. Electronics retailers will also often add a 15% or whatever 'restocking fee' if you return something that's not faulty and in any case, it's you who has to pay return shipping in many situations. This is why Walmart does so well. It has a liberal return policy.

Same is true with (used) car buying. It is the norm to sell without any kind of warranty, especially with the smaller dealers and often with some of the big ones too. If you get down the road and it dies, you can be SOL, which again, is not the case in the UK.

As for new car buying, there are many taxes and fees added to the final negotiated price. I personally, have seen a dealer attempt to add $799 in 'document fees' to the total (not on MY watch!), The advertised price is always plus tax, tax and doc fees, whereas the UK made manufacturers display drive-out pricing. There's also a lot more haggling here than I remember back home.
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Old Apr 9th 2015, 9:07 pm
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Default Re: How "Foreign" is the USA ?

Originally Posted by Guindalf View Post
Generally, the retailer is not responsible if a product is defective and will only accept returns within the first 14-30 days. IIRC, if a product fails within the first YEAR, you can return it to the shop back home. Electronics retailers will also often add a 15% or whatever 'restocking fee' if you return something that's not faulty and in any case, it's you who has to pay return shipping in many situations. This is why Walmart does so well. It has a liberal return policy.

Same is true with (used) car buying. It is the norm to sell without any kind of warranty, especially with the smaller dealers and often with some of the big ones too. If you get down the road and it dies, you can be SOL, which again, is not the case in the UK.

As for new car buying, there are many taxes and fees added to the final negotiated price. I personally, have seen a dealer attempt to add $799 in 'document fees' to the total (not on MY watch!), The advertised price is always plus tax, tax and doc fees, whereas the UK made manufacturers display drive-out pricing. There's also a lot more haggling here than I remember back home.
I had no idea. It really has changed. So much for the old saying of you can sum up the US with one word "Service".
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Old Apr 9th 2015, 9:54 pm
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Default Re: How "Foreign" is the USA ?

Originally Posted by WJS View Post
I had no idea. It really has changed. So much for the old saying of you can sum up the US with one word "Service".
I thought you could sum up the US with one word, "USA! USA! USA!"
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Old Apr 9th 2015, 10:33 pm
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Default Re: How "Foreign" is the USA ?

A lot depends on the perspective of the observer. I see more similarities than most who have posted already above. I see the UK as having as many if not more similarities with the US than it does with Europe. The UK resisted the working hours directive and therefore has much longer working hours than countries in Europe, protections against being fired are much weaker in the UK than in Europe too. Then there is politics where the mainstream parties in almost all European countries are left and center- left, as opposed to right and center-right in the US, whereas the UK has a center-left and center-right party, so half way between the US and Europe.
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Old Apr 9th 2015, 11:44 pm
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Default Re: How "Foreign" is the USA ?

Tax added to prices.
TV with may more ads.
Stop signs.
Someone shot every weekend.
Collecting cans with shopping trolleys.
Crazy rent prices.
Private land signs
Garage sales
Lack of vacation time.
Light switches up side down.
2x4 houses.
Shingle roofs.
Pay before you pump.
Mental health.
Division.
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Old Apr 10th 2015, 1:24 am
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Default Re: How "Foreign" is the USA ?

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Then there is politics where the mainstream parties in almost all European countries are left and center- left
That is an enormous, and untrue, generalisation.

Last edited by london_calling; Apr 10th 2015 at 1:40 am.
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Old Apr 10th 2015, 1:47 am
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Default Re: How "Foreign" is the USA ?

Originally Posted by london_calling View Post
That is an enormous, and untrue, generalisation. ......
Objectively speaking the main/biggest "right wing" parties of France, Germany, and Italy have social, economic, taxation, and defence policies that have more in common with the British Labour party than with the British Conservatives, which is exactly why the British Conservative party has never been able to form any sort of political alliance with their counterparts in the leading Eurozone countries. There have been occasional fleeting signs of allegiances with the "right wing" parties of Spain, the Netherlands, and Poland, but it soon became obvious that even those countries' "right wing" parties were closer to the "right wing" parties of France, Germany, and Italy than to the British Conservative party. ..... Or do you have some other explanation for the similarities between European "right wing" social, economic, taxation, and defence policies and those of the Labour party, and that the British Conservatives have been unable at any point over the past 42 years to form even the slightest allegiance with the European right wing parties?

Last edited by Pulaski; Apr 10th 2015 at 1:50 am.
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Old Apr 10th 2015, 2:04 am
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Default Re: How "Foreign" is the USA ?

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Or do you have some other explanation ... that the British Conservatives have been unable at any point over the past 42 years to form even the slightest allegiance with the European right wing parties?
Are you talking about within the EU Parliament? I'm not aware that forming pan-European alliances has been a serious focus of any party. Not even Labour.
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