The US vs. the UK: part 3

I’ve already written a couple of posts making observations on the differences between the UK and the US. Here are a few more.

In Sainsbury’s, bakery items are left on the side, open to the air to make them hard, and people’s breath and fingers to make them unwanted. Tongues are there to select what you want, but it certainly makes the produce less than appetising.

The bakery redeems itself somewhat by being way cheaper than its US equivalent. It’s difficult to find a loaf for under $2.99 in the US, whereas you can get a freshly baked loaf for under half that in the UK: £0.70 for an unsliced loaf.

From baked goods to, er, baked goods. One of the worst aspects of London street life is the prevalence of dog shit. Although it must be slightly nauseating at first, New York dog owners pick up after their animals, turning tiny plastic bags inside out to save any touchage. While there may be some nominal fines for not doing so in the UK, people can rarely be seen picking up after their mutts, which makes for more hazardous walking conditions and a less appealing pavement.

From plastic bags to plastic wrap. UK cling film doesn’t cling too well. Glad Wrap, its US counterpart, while no doubt pumped full of environmentally-unfriendly chemicals, clings like there’s no tomorrow.

And finally, bearing right/left. UK traffic lights are frustrating me as a pedestrian. At a regular crossing, the lights generally have three settings in the sequence: traffic on road 1; traffic on road 2; pedestrians. In New York, you only get two: traffic on road 1; traffic on road 2. The pedestrians walk parallel to the traffic, with the traffic yielding as it turns. It makes for a much more intuitive pedestrian experience.


5 Responses to “The US vs. the UK: part 3”

  1. Mum on May 29th, 2006 10:20

    Thank goodness I shop at Tesco, because the thought of tongues choosing cakes in Sainsburys makes me shudder. JS should supply tongs!!!
    Disgraceful spelling!!! You may be a mathematical genius in my eyes, but I can spell!!

  2. Dan on May 29th, 2006 22:49

    Guilty as charged…

  3. Mario on May 30th, 2006 02:42

    Am concerned with your Mums view that it is disgraceful that you cannot spell – interesting though you are concerned with the accuracy of grammar but not spelling hey ho. Your mum though makes a good point your (endless) whinging about the UK is inconsistent – you talk about the US but actually really mean mostly New York and also the UK meaning mostly London. So if you are going to continue this moaning at least be a little more specific and for goodness sake get out of the city.

  4. elise on May 31st, 2006 09:13

    i had a horrible visual of people using tongues to pick up bread…

    in your defense (US spelling, there), you’ve unfailingly (sometimes to my annoyance) corrected my spelling mistakes.

    mario brings up an interesting point. many times while i lived in Europe, i heard expat Brits saying things along the lines of, “oh, i know America; i’ve been to America–i was in NY (or LA)” as if those cities alone encompass all of the US and its variation (in much the same way that Americans who’ve been to Cancun for spring break ‘know’ Mexico).

    however, you’re speaking from your own, first-hand experience, which just so happens to be NYC and London. knowing that some of the things you’ve posted about in NYC differ greatly from my experiences in SF, i think people with any sort of sense understand that your posts about life in London do not apply to the whole of the UK and should not be extrapolated as such.

    after hearing your endless whinging (mario’s words, not mine) about the US for the past 1.75 years, i’m quite enjoying the shoe being on the other foot. i only hope that one day i can repay the favor (US spelling, again). 😉

  5. Mario on June 2nd, 2006 03:09


    It a shame but not everyone has such good sense. Also I think to suggest Dan was being so sloppy is a slur on the chap he’s the most precise person I know – you only have to look at his teeth to know that!

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