In many ways, England is very similar to America, but in many ways, they also differ from one another. Things such as their society, mannerisms, environment, money and appliances are things that are much different than in the US.
In England, their society tends to be more on display. You can tell someones class by what they are wearing and how they carry themselves. It is much more apparent how people carry themselves in England because you are much more close and personal with people on buses, the subways and even on the streets. What I have realized is that England has a high rate of homeless people. Unlike in America, their homeless people keep to themselves and really comfort themselves in the streets. In England, it is hard to gauge what their societal norms are because everyone tends to be in their own world. Walking past people in the streets, they don’t make much contact with the people around them. In the U.S., people are more friendly and will talk with people around them and network if need be. People are not in such a rush because we do have our own transportation and are more privileged. There are a good amount of homeless people in Detroit but not nearly as many that I have seen in London. The homeless people in Detroit are not afraid to come up to you and socialize. They are a lot more vocal with their needs.
One thing that stood out to me while being in London and what I disliked the most were people’s mannerisms. Many times I have realized that they tend to be quite rude. I’ve been bumped plenty of times and most people don’t care to apologize. I also realized that they are not very cleanly in certain areas. I’ve seen many food servers touch people’s food with their bare hands and then turn around and touch the money that the customer gives them. I’ve also witnessed many people coughing or sneezing and not covering their mouth. I’m not sure if this is a typical thing in England, but, many times when we went to restaurants, the waiter would only check up on us once or twice, and then we would have to hunt the waiter down to receive the check. On the flip side, I would have to say they have the cleanliest bathrooms I have ever seen. I will also say that some people are willing to be helpful. Many times, people have assisted me in carrying my suitcase up a flight of stairs. However, in the U.S., people are very polite and will most likely go out of their way to be courteous to those around them. Occasionally, you will run into someone rude, but that happens everywhere. In America, it is rare that someone does not follow food safety procedures in my experience; that is one thing we pride ourselves on. When it comes to restaurants, your server checks on you consistently to ensure your needs are met. Then again, we do tip in America, so that could be the difference. Unfortunately, our public bathrooms tend to be consistently dirty, and that is something we need to fix.
Another huge difference is the currency. In England, they call their money, pounds, and their $1 bills are coins. In England, they have no tax, which is great! I noticed that tipping at restaurants is also not really a thing in England as well. They may add a service fee but the prices are still low. Their dollar also stretches. For a $1, you can get a liter of water, ice cream, brownies and other goodies. This is great because you are able to stretch your dollar, and considering that their homeless rate is high, this allows for those people to still be able to eat and travel! Another cool thing about England is the fact that a lot of their attractions are free such as museums (Museum of Brands). Here in America, you have to pay for everything that you do. In America, our prices on goods are based off of the pay rate and the amount an average person makes in a year. For an average person, prices on some items are still considered high. In America, we also have to pay taxes which is another cut out of our pockets. When you think about it, it makes sense because it allows us to maintain public services. Some places in London, you have to pay a pound or so just to use the bathroom. I believe that, that would cause a problem in America. In England, it makes sense because their goods have no taxes, therefore, the money that they make off of people using the bathroom, allows for the up-keeping of public restrooms.
Another thing that caught me off guard was how the appliances work in England. Their washers and dryers are all in one in some places. This is cool because one machine does all the work, but it can take three to six hours to complete. The appliance that confused me the most would have to be the stove. To turn it on, you first have to turn the gas on with a switch, then you choose your settings. Their settings are also a lot different. Another crazy thing I encountered was having to turn on the water stream for the shower. In America, these things are always on and ready for use. Some places are a bit outdated because some of the lights you have to pull a string to turn on.
One thing that shocked me was the environment. On TV, England looked so royal and beautiful, but in reality, the streets were really dirty and many stores are ran down. If you want to see the beauty of London, you have to head towards the landmarks or towards the public parks such as Hyde. In America, were have people to keep the roads clean in a lot of states. America also has a lot of beauty in nature.
England has a lot of similarities to America, but its the small things that makes a huge difference.