America Does Know Best

America Does Know Best

Americans have it bad.  Everywhere we go we confront negative stereotypes about us, what we do, and what our country is like.  Rarely are these commentators negative about us as individuals, often saying,”I love Americans” before declaring, “buuut, [insert sweeping generalization here].”  Usually we just listen, nod our heads and let the other person feel self-important, but for the Thanksgiving holiday I’m going to pound my fist on the table and proclaim the things we do better than anyone else.  So let’s pause the football game and raise our turkey leg into the air and give thanks for these things.

1. Free bathrooms. Imagine you’re driving along and need a bathroom, like right now.  You look around and consider your options…because you have options.  The gas station, the restaurant, the grocery store, the pharmacy, the mall…be thankful for the fact that there are free, clean, bathrooms everywhere.  Not only that, but they have toilet paper and soap, all for the value price of nothing!  Announce “only in America” next time you run in to use a free bathroom.

2. Problem Solving. “Don’t like something?  Change it.”  Before traveling the world I thought this was human, now I realize it’s truly American.  Why accept unkept parks?  Streets without lines?  Preventable illnesses?  Why not make ourselves comfortable?  Sure we go overboard at times, but where some people say “that’s life” we see problems to solve.  The citizens of the USA invented things that make lives better around the world.  Say “God bless America” next time you turn on your light, zip a zipper, or use the internet.

3. Labeled Prices. Imagine filling your grocery basket with things, but not knowing how much anything costs.  Now imagine that the price you pay for that sauce may be different than someone else buying the exact same sauce.  How can this be?  Because shrewd vendors work hard to extract as much as they can from you.  You could buy the same breakfast from the same person three days in a row and pay different prices.  Seriously, it’s happened..  Part savvy business, part racism, there is nothing that bothers me more in more places.  Let out a hearty “thanks” in appreciation that we don’t have to deal with this.

4. Customer Service. Beyond waiters and baristas, customer service is a way of life.  It is about “customer centricity”, that a business should serve customers needs and fulfill their wants.  If you can’t do this in America you get a new job.  Makes sense right?  Sadly in most of the world, including Europe, when people don’t like a service the answer is to give the customers less choice by blocking competition or creating “fixed prices” that limit customer choices.  Who loses?  Everyone, including the store owners.  Instead of becoming excellent at something, they go through life doing things poorly  Be thankful that American businesses strive to serve you…because if they don’t someone else will.

5. Living  “Life is Short”. We are busy bodies who strive to be the best, make more with less, to be stronger, faster, better.  It may sound cliche, but traveling around the world has taught me that Americans are programmed this way.  We do things with a purpose, and don’t dilly dally.  We won’t be found lazily sitting around the world as people from much of the world do.  Seen from the outside as a negative trait of Americans, this is something we should be proud of.  Let’s say thanks for realizing that we have one life to live, so we’d better make something of it.

Here’s to Thanksgiving, the NFL, 20 lb. turkeys, and marshmallow covered sweet potatoes.  Today, like all others, we have a lot to be thankful for, whether we’re in Egypt or Omaha, because us Americans do some things better than anyone else.

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Comments

» Stephen Schreck :
Nov 17, 2012

As a world traveler myself, I do get a lot of people that automatically dislike me because I’m American. I do however love it when people say that I unlike the other Americans they have met. I do agree with all your reasons though, especially the free bathrooms lol, Digging in your pocket for change when you have had one to many and are about to die in not fun. Happy Thanksgiving Erica and Matt.

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

Thanks! We find a lot of people say they like Americans, but don’t like the government or some specific thing about the USA. Too often they name something that they saw in a movie or a blatantly false rumor (like we created and spread AIDs…). Overall though I don’t find that hating on Americans is anywhere near as bad as those who don’t travel think it is.

» Mom A :
Nov 21, 2012

BKA here….well done once again…..oh, the things we take for granted, i would think, free voting has to be in the top 10…..we are so thankful for our friends and family as well….you will both be missed at Aunt Barbs, we will say a prayer in your honor!….the turkey photo is at our condo, cool beans….enjoy your hummus and fry bread!….love Dad A

» Kerin :
Nov 21, 2012

I really like this post and how it was written. I feel like I could find it in a magazine. Miss you guys and friendthanksgiving. xoxo

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

Thanks Kerin. Maybe you guys could host friends Thanksgiving in our absence…for us it was just a reason to eat more turkey…

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About the Author

thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.

About the Author
thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.
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