Sunday, March 10, 2013

5 Things

I've been pondering this post for a while. But now that I've been back in the States for a while I think I have enough perspective to do it justice.

5 Things that the U.S.A. does better than almost anywhere else:

1. Paper products...whether it be paper napkins, facial tissue, paper plates or toilet paper, no where else in the world does paper right, and certainly not at the price point as the U.S.A.

2. Food and "stuff" everywhere. The ubiquity and availability of food (mostly processed crap, but...), fast food, just "stuff". Strip malls, regular malls, shops etc....there is just "stuff" everywhere.

3. Egalitarianism in day to day life. In general, your order will be taken etc by your place in line, not by how wealthy you look, your family connections, nor by how much lighter (or darker) your skin is than mine (and I'm talking barely discernible shades of exposure to sunlight).

4. The Interstate Highway System...but Europe's autobahn system has almost caught up.

5. Gasoline prices. Complain if you will, but most surveys put the United States at about 10th on the scale of cheap gas...out of like 190 or so countries. It cost more for a tank of gas than it did to rent the car for a week in a couple countries I've traveled to recently

5 Things that are done better outside the U.S.A.
and maybe we could learn from the rest of the world:

1. Dairy products. The variety, choices, quality and cost all suck in the U.S.A. Cheese and yogurt especially so. For example, if you have two choices in feta cheese or any choices in full fat yogurt at your local grocery store, you have it great.

2. Traffic lights & road conditions. Does the U.S. know that the rest of the world has a system that times traffic lights so that if you make one and drive at the speed limit, you will make the rest on that street? Traffic is horrible because our traffic management is stupid. Road conditions are just an embarrassment for a supposedly first world country.

3. Public transportation. Except for in a handful of cities, public transportation is unusable or non-existent. Walk-ability of our cities and suburbs is pathetic too.

4. Internet & cell phones. Outside of war zones, internet in the U.S.A. is among the worst in the world when normalized for cost, speed etc. There is no excuse. Cell phones too, are extremely expensive and the contract thing along with the "locked" phones is just ridiculous. You can thank your corrupt congressmen for the U.S.A. having some of the worst telecommunications in the world.

5. Food choices in general. Our grocery stores are huge, but the vast majority of the shelf space is taken up by just a few products. The "cookie" aisle is almost entirely Oreos, cereal is almost all Cheerios etc. It reminds me of the move "Demolition Man" when all restaurants have become Taco Bell.

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