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S/o International people views on Americans


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1 hour ago, YaelAldrich said:

Oh my no.  Japanese customer service makes me swoon!  Makes American CS look like dreck (junk, rubbish).  Although elevator girls in Japanese department stores can be a bit too much.

 

 What’s an elevator girl?

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The discussion isn't are all Americans like this or do the non-Americans on the board think this is what all Americans are like. The discussion is why do those who generalize think this way. Amer

I am not wasting time on disclaimers, since you all know that lumping people into a group doesn't account for the individual. But here's what comes to mind (and when I say "Americans", I obviously do

Don't shoot the messenger; these are not all my opinions: On a geopolitical level: interfering in the affairs of other countries (friend or foe) and generally throwing weight around.  Dominant co

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7 minutes ago, Michelle Conde said:

 

 What’s an elevator girl?

The person whose job is to press the elevator buttons. I have met guys more often than ladies in that role. I tell the person which floor I am getting out and the person would press the button and sometimes remind you when the elevator reach your floor. Nice perk when it’s a skyscraper building of more than 50 storeys high.

More detailed description in the wiki https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elevator_operator

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17 minutes ago, Rosie_0801 said:

 

Gotta ask...

Why doesn't someone build some? 


you would think, right? But it’s basically all nature and any development (even if it’s just a permanent toilet) is going to be seen as building up the area and cause massive opposition and lawsuits. 

Mass tourism is don’t a real harm to many places.

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1 minute ago, Roadrunner said:


you would think, right? But it’s basically all nature and any development (even if it’s just a permanent toilet) is going to be seen as building up the area and cause massive opposition and lawsuits. 

Mass tourism is don’t a real harm to many places.

This is a serious problem in NC with beaches and on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Few beaches provide adequate public restrooms for beach goers and local businesses gripe about beach goers coming in to use their restrooms without being customers. Then there are few, if any public buildings on the parkway, you have to get off at a small town and use the restrooms in their businesses.  I'm betting there would be serious complaints if people started using the beaches and woods as outdoor toilets, but those same people claim building adequate public restrooms are unacceptable impositions on nature.  It's no different than people opposing building of low income housing near them and then griping about the homelessness problem near them. 

People be crazy.

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1 hour ago, Rosie_0801 said:

 

Gotta ask...

Why doesn't someone build some? 

 

My family use Highway 1 which is considered a coastal highway for road trips. The scenery is beautiful and there are vista points (for people to park and take photos). However there isn’t many places to build a rest stop due to the topography  of the coastal highways.

Link to map of rest stops on California freeways for anyone interested https://dot.ca.gov/-/media/dot-media/programs/design/documents/srra-11-apx-c-all-maps-rev.pdf

“Caltrans provides Safety Roadside Rest Areas as a part of the State Highway System pursuant to Streets and Highways Code, Sections 218-226.5. Safety Roadside Rest Areas provide opportunities for travelers to safely stop, stretch, take a nap, use the restroom, get water, check maps, place telephone calls, switch drivers, check vehicles and loads, and exercise pets. Rest areas reduce drowsy and distracted driving and provide a safe and convenient alternative to unsafe parking along the roadside.

The Landscape Architecture Program provides guidance for planning and designing new rest areas and rehabilitating existing rest areas. Rest area projects are designed and constructed by the Department's local districts, with architectural and mechanical support from the Division of Engineering Services, Structures Design. Safety Roadside Rest Area Coordinators are located in each Caltrans District Office and Headquarters.

The Division of Tourism oversees a system of California Welcome Centers (CWC) for the convenience of travelers and tourists. Equipped with comprehensive informational materials and expert staff, each CWC acts as a window into the world of the surrounding region and area.

Statewide Rest Area Locations

Rest areas are maintained and operated by the Department's local districts with guidance from the Division of Maintenance.” https://dot.ca.gov/programs/design/lap-landscape-architecture-and-community-livability/lap-liv-h-safety-roadside-rest-areas

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1 hour ago, Rosie_0801 said:

 

Gotta ask...

Why doesn't someone build some? 

 

No plumbing, sewer, or other infrastructure?

Lack of suitable soil for septic system? 

USA tends to lack public toilet facilities in general, currently a problem with homeless and human waste in a number of places.  But cities do at least have the infrastructure.  Coastal areas often do not. 

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I think “brash” is often a perception associated with American tourists.  

And unfortunately I think most American English accents add to the sense of flat harshness as to sound.  Like short /a/ as an aaah almost slightly nasal sound in American, versus a more common softer ah (sounding like start of the word ostrich as Americans would say it)  sound in most UK English accents. 

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18 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

No plumbing, sewer, or other infrastructure?

Lack of suitable soil for septic system? 

USA tends to lack public toilet facilities in general, currently a problem with homeless and human waste in a number of places.  But cities do at least have the infrastructure.  Coastal areas often do not. 

 

We make raised platform, long drops in such places.

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Patriotism puzzles me.

I mean, I am glad I was born here. I've had good opportunities and a good life from being born here. 

But that was just an accident of birth. I'm fairly certain had I been born in some other first world country I would be able to say the same. 

I think USA has some good ideas. I know that other nations also have some good ideas.

I think USA has some major problems. I know that other nations also have major problems. 

There's no perfect nation. Mine isn't any "better" than any other, nor is it necessarily any "worse" overall. It just is what it is. 

Am I one of those flag waving, America is the BEST kinds of people? No. Because I truly don't believe that. I believe its a good place, among many good places. I even have personal reservations about the pledge of allegiance (This is my deep, dark secret living here in the South, this is unheard of, and I don't tell it to just anyone. My dad would be horrified.) because I am a committed Christian and I find the pledge makes me feel really icky about promising to stand by a country when my sole loyalty should be to Christ.

In general, I find other cultures fascinating. I love learning from them and figuring out what makes people tick, what unites us, what divides us. I don't take differences of opinion personally.

I don't find any of the stereo types written about here hurtful. I've never met any of you IRL, and sadly, I've not had much opportunity to travel internationally, so I doubt I've contributed to the stereotype, unless inadvertently online on this forum.

But back to patriotism. I don't expect other nations to think mine's the best. They likely feel a loyalty to their own culture and country.

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3 hours ago, Pawz4me said:

Well, obviously she was speaking of the country as a whole. I don't watch TV other than news,  haven't been to or watched a movie in well over a decade, and I think most of my political choices over the years would not be seen as too radical by most people in other countries. But at the same time I have to accept that the collective decisions and preferences of the majority of Americans is quite awful. I can't run away from that truth just because *I* am not one of them.

I would say we are not speaking of the country as a whole, but of the small chunk of the USA that gets to communicate what they are / what they value to the rest of the world.

The term "silent majority" has meaning.

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1 minute ago, Rosie_0801 said:

 

We make raised platform, long drops in such places.

 

Interesting.  I’m trying to picture that. 

With a drop for the waste down To a receptacle of some sort that then gets emptied somehow? Composting toilets?  

And steps up to the raised platform?  (Here, if so, that Might result in law suit if not wheelchair accessible. No toilets at all—okay, but toilets not disabled accessible —probably not allowed.) 

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2 hours ago, Melissa in Australia said:

Because it is not interpreted as confidence, but rather as being full of themselves.

i am sad to say but every person from USA that I have met in real life has come across as full of themselves, not as confident. This of course doesn’t apply to people I have met online. Maybe only a certain type of US citizen comes on holidays to my part of Australia

That is likely and not surprising.

If foreign visitors to my parents' rural village were taken as representative of everyone from whatever country, that would be sad.

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2 hours ago, Amira said:

I recall a thread here probably 5 or 6 years ago when the idea of calling people from the US “USians” was almost universally shouted down.  I think the word looks awful.  But honestly, we need a new nickname and I can’t think of anything better than USian.  

US folks.

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9 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

Interesting.  I’m trying to picture that. 

With a drop for the waste down To a receptacle of some sort that then gets emptied somehow? Composting toilets?  

And steps up to the raised platform?  (Here, if so, that Might result in law suit if not wheelchair accessible. No toilets at all—okay, but toilets not disabled accessible —probably not allowed.) 

 

Wheel chair ramps up to a cubicle, that drops down into a receptacle, yeah. A lot of them are composting these days, I think, but I don't know if they all are. There's often a nice, little, solar panel to run a fan, which is a great improvement on the good, old days.

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I think there are a few reasons that unpleasant characteristics can appear magnified among foreign tourists of any nationality--starting with the fact that trecking overseas as a tourist is usually quite expensive and people who have paid a boatload of money for something do tend to feel somewhat entitled in their enjoyment of the thing and so may act more entitled. You're not going to see a lot of humble common folks of any nationality out touring the world because they can't afford it so you're drawing from a more entitled pool to start with.

Not saying that's a good thing but it is a thing.

And to some extent Americans may be overrepresented among rude tourists just because they are overrepresented among tourists in general.

A tendency to talk loudly in our native language and take up lots of space though--frankly I think we are, on average and by comparison with many other nationalities, guilty as charged. Our culture is not one that highly values discrete, respectful behavior. That isn't necessarily a bad thing but it can make us stand out like a sore thumb in places where such behavior is highly valued.

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2 hours ago, Arcadia said:

 

The recent Boeing scandal doesn’t help the image of Americans reporting things as “all good”. 

It might be personality though. The Americans who tend to go with “all good” tend to gravitate towards sales and marketing related job roles. The Americans who “nitpick” gravitate towards roles where nitpicking is essential and crucial like quality control, ICU.

I use to be in project management in an American MNC and I needed engineers who nitpick so that we know whether the tender requirements are doable with minimum liability costs. The stereotype when I was working was that Germans are more blunt about raising issues,  Parisians are more polite in stating the problem, Americans would sugar coat the problem, Thais, Indonesians, Koreans, Japanese would be too polite to say anything. 

I think you are right ... and it's often the marketing folks that get the face time.

In my experience, US people are all too ready to trash the US ... until someone from another country chimes in and agrees, LOL.  Then it's like "you don't talk that way about my brother [whom I just beat up and called 50 names]."

It takes some adult maturity and international understanding to graduate to "here are some areas for improvement."

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11 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

 

But back to patriotism. I don't expect other nations to think mine's the best. They likely feel a loyalty to their own culture and country.

I think that pride in and loyalty to one's own group is actually a healthy human trait. We need community, we need a sense of belonging, and we need the mutual care and concern and sacrifice of others in our group and need to care and sacrifice for the good of the group.

I think it only becomes toxic when contempt and hatred for other groups is used to shore up in-group loyalty, usually as a tool by some authority to strengthen their own power and control over people within the group.

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39 minutes ago, StellaM said:

 

Are you promoting the stereotype that non-US people (pun intended) are credulous and rather stupid ?!

I promise you, I have never though Dallas was an accurate representation of Americans, because even Down Under, we've heard of made-up stories 🙂 Pretty sure we knew it wasn't a doco!

I've had friends insist they know xyz about America because they saw it in a movie.

I've also known guys who got slapped for thinking they could touch girls sitting at the bar, based on movies.  One of them informed me there are no American virgins over the age of 13.

So yeah, some people are gullible.

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I will give an example of a faux pax that I have made in Aus, and it took me 2X to realize it was me and not the other person.

Person 1:  Did you go to Uni?

Me: yes I did

Person 1: Where did you?

Me: State Flagship

Person 1: What did you study?

Me: Child Development and early childhood

Person 1:  Well, you must think you're awesome!

LOL..where did I go wrong here? or, did I just perceive this as an insult and that is actually a positive response? I was not trying to be full of myself I was simply answering questions that were asked.  Perception is a huge thing in language and is why we think certain things about people that are not true.

The other thing was similar but the person responded  "that now all you do is stay home and take care of kids, fat lot of good it did you" this was clearly an insult or to my American ears I perceive that as an insult. Dh thought it was an insult too, so I think it was.

I feel like it's similar to this page ..the person asked the question and i answered.  I try to avoid talking about Uni now and divirt to pass the bean dip.

My dh and my bil went to college so I'm not sure what the deal is.  

When we hang out with family it is all good.  MY QLD family are so so nice.  They do fully embrace bogan lifestyle, but other than the large amount of drinking I really enjoy my time with them.  Tassie where dh is from is absolutely beautiful and hope to have many more trips there.  We have a great time on all the family farms and beaches and sometimes the farms are on the beaches which is so amazing!   I am terrified of blue heelers though.  Whew, farm dogs are amazing, but they are serious!  One of his friends bought a run down vinyard and started a winery, it is so beautiful.  He took a big risk and put in so much work, but it's amazing.  In general I really enjoy our visits.

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I personally, just my own opinion, feel like patriotism here in the US has become something ugly. We don't even stand for the pledge anymore. Well, dh does but he was a Marine so it doesn't feel right to him not to, but he totally supports those who don't. I don't know, I just don't like what I've been seeing in regards to it these days. So I completely understand others looking in and finding that weird.

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8 minutes ago, Mbelle said:

I will give an example of a faux pax that I have made in Aus, and it took me 2X to realize it was me and not the other person.

Person 1:  Did you go to Uni?

Me: yes I did

Person 1: Where did you?

Me: State Flagship

Person 1: What did you study?

Me: Child Development and early childhood

Person 1:  Well, you must think you're awesome!

LOL..where did I go wrong here? or, did I just perceive this as an insult and that is actually a positive response? I was not trying to be full of myself I was simply answering questions that were asked.  Perception is a huge thing in language and is why we think certain things about people that are not true.

The other thing was similar but the person responded  "that now all you do is stay home and take care of kids, fat lot of good it did you" this was clearly an insult or to my American ears I perceive that as an insult. Dh thought it was an insult too, so I think it was.

 

See, situation one here, I'd think Person 1 was being a being a jerk, unless they were intimate friends or family with whom you have a smart arse style relationship.

Situation two, I'd have thought it was a commiseration about student loans, unless there was a history of negativity, then I'd take it as a reprimand for wasting money.

But I'm an Aspie, so what would I know?

(But I'm 98% certain it's them, not you.)

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The full of themselves thing ...

Maybe it's the way we end a sentence on a downbeat instead of an upbeat.  Maybe it sounds more "I know this" vs. "whaddya think?"

If so, it's a language thing and not an attitude thing.

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8 minutes ago, Rosie_0801 said:

 

Wheel chair ramps up to a cubicle, that drops down into a receptacle, yeah. A lot of them are composting these days, I think, but I don't know if they all are. There's often a nice, little, solar panel to run a fan, which is a great improvement on the good, old days.

 

Sounds good.

Im still not sure it would be all that feasible along a lot of US coastal highways.

There are miles and miles of US highways along USA Pacific with steep cliff drop offs to seaward and mountain rising above the road to inland. 

Flat areas tend to have town or cities with facilities, though often not public but necessitating a stop in McDonalds, service station,  or similar.   So, buy a coffee and use the Toilet or top off the petrol and use the toilet are pretty common approaches if there is a town/city. 

 

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3 hours ago, Rosie_0801 said:

 

Considering the shows we export, I can only say it is a mystery I will never fully understand.

My dh and I enjoy Dr Blake. 800 Words not so much. 

Back to the thread. I am seriously surprised at the negative reactions to honest answers to a legitimate question. The non-US posters are simply posting their own experience and impressions. If that’s their experience, so be it. You really can’t argue with someone's experience and impression.  

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2 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

 

Flat areas tend to have town or cities with facilities, though often not public but necessitating a stop in McDonalds, service station,  or similar.   So, buy a coffee and use the Toilet or top off the petrol and use the toilet are pretty common approaches if there is a town/city. 

 

In the places I have been and traveled through, it's not at all common to be "required" to be a customer to use the restroom.  Sure, we have stopped at gas stations or McDonalds (or BK or Taco Bell or whatever....McDs is the most common lol)  to use the restroom, but I don't think I have ever seen any sort of sign saying that restrooms are for paying customers only or whatever.

I have heard of other folks in other areas finding this common.  I think this might be a regional difference around the country.  I remember a thread here where someone was talking about showing a receipt to get the code for the restroom or something like that.  And I think I actually had to ask what that meant.  Most places in the midwest (well, Ohio/Indiana/Illinois/Kentucky....those are the places I have traveled through most.) don't lock their restrooms, or require purchases or whatever.  Occasionally a gas station that has restrooms outside will have keys that you have to ask for............but even those I haven't had to purchase anything or show a receipt.  

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I hope my questions and thoughts haven't been interpreted as a negative reaction.  I fully recognize there are some stereotypes about Americans that are totally true lol.  Even in the midwest where people often pride themselves on being friendly and nice....and often they are....I regularly encounter those people who have absolutely no awareness of anyone else around them.  They have no clue that they are in the way.  

And if Americans are loud..........well I would probably blow out some ear drums lol.  

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28 minutes ago, maize said:

I think there are a few reasons that unpleasant characteristics can appear magnified among foreign tourists of any nationality--starting with the fact that trecking overseas as a tourist is usually quite expensive and people who have paid a boatload of money for something do tend to feel somewhat entitled in their enjoyment of the thing and so may act more entitled. You're not going to see a lot of humble common folks of any nationality out touring the world because they can't afford it so you're drawing from a more entitled pool to start with.

Not saying that's a good thing but it is a thing.

And to some extent Americans may be overrepresented among rude tourists just because they are overrepresented among tourists in general.

A tendency to talk loudly in our native language and take up lots of space though--frankly I think we are, on average and by comparison with many other nationalities, guilty as charged. Our culture is not one that highly values discrete, respectful behavior. That isn't necessarily a bad thing but it can make us stand out like a sore thumb in places where such behavior is highly valued.

I think all of this is very true.  And I think there can come some weird dynamics with group travel that you don't see when people are traveling and planning on their own.  I MUCH prefer to travel with just my family or maybe another couple or something like that on a similar wave length.  All sorts of weird social jockeying and lack of self awareness occurs when you're in a group of 50 on a tour bus.  I was in Spain last summer with a tour group and there were definitely moments I was embarssed to be with that group despite the fact that group was probably more culturally sensitive and self aware than most.  

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I'm not surprised about the negative reaction, just confused,  I'm the OP!!!!

I ASKED THE QUESTION!

But I tend to look at stereo types from a Hmm...That's interesting. Rather than YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT ME! OMG!!! HOW RUDE!

 

But I'm from the South. We don't take ourselves that seriously. We are like that. Yes, we speak slowly. Yes, we are suspicious of outsiders (you aint from around here, are you?). And yes, we eat lots of cornbread and respect our Mamas. But we can laugh at ourselves and mock these stereotypes. 

(Just please don't be condescending and treat us like we're stupid.)

 

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28 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

 

But back to patriotism. I don't expect other nations to think mine's the best. They likely feel a loyalty to their own culture and country.

It depends on what kind of influences you grew up around.  I (Gen X) heard from quite a few authority figures (Silent Gen and Baby Boomer) that "Everyone wants to come to America adn would if they could." and "God has a special relationship with America." The last one isn't unusual in certain Baptist circles. I'm a natural born cynic, and questioning personality type, was from a region with wider diversity, and I read widely even as a kid, so I knew better than that.  I think there are people who don't know better because they don't have those factors going for them and they're surrounded by lack of diverse views.

I'm also from a family with extremely complex, difficult dynamics, so I have a very nuanced view of love, loyalty, and affection alongside amplified feelings to the contrary.   People who come from environments where things are simpler often lack experience being fully aware of the good and the bad together all at one time in full force.  Anecdotally, I would say people who didn't grow up like that are more likely to say things like, "Well if you don't like X about America, then you should leave."  No, rebellion and dissent are ingrained in the national character and founding documents, so I'm just as patriotic advocating change for the better in America as you are waving an American flag and calling it patriotism. About half of my FB friends are on the political and social Left and about half are on the political and social Right, so I see variations on simplistic mindset on a weekly basis in their posts.  I'm not looking forward to election season ramping up.

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1 minute ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

It depends on what kind of influences you grew up around.  I (Gen X) heard from quite a few authority figures (Silent Gen and Baby Boomer) that "Everyone wants to come to America adn would if they could." and "God has a special relationship with America." The last one isn't unusual in certain Baptist circles. I'm a natural born cynic, and questioning personality type, was from a region with wider diversity, and I read widely even as a kid, so I knew better than that.  I think there are people who don't know better because they don't have those factors going for them and they're surrounded by lack of diverse views.

I'm also from a family with extremely complex, difficult dynamics, so I have a very nuanced view of love, loyalty, and affection alongside amplified feelings to the contrary.   People who come from environments where things are simpler often lack experience being fully aware of the good and the bad together all at one time in full force.  Anecdotally, I would say people who didn't grow up like that are more likely to say things like, "Well if you don't like X about America, then you should leave."  No, rebellion and dissent are ingrained in the national character and founding documents, so I'm just as patriotic advocating change for the better in America as you are waving an American flag and calling it patriotism. About half of my FB friends are on the political and social Left and about half are on the political and social Right, so I see variations on simplistic mindset on a weekly basis in their posts.  I'm not looking forward to election season ramping up.

Yeah, I grew up around that. And oddly it just didn't stick. I think this board actually helped me grow away from that mindset. 

Just talking to people from all over helped me realize that Americans are often much more similar that we are different, despite what the media and politicians try to feed us.

I still have family members who believe the bolded. And it's hard for me to be around their kids very much because the kids spout the ignorance. 

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10 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

In the places I have been and traveled through, it's not at all common to be "required" to be a customer to use the restroom.  Sure, we have stopped at gas stations or McDonalds (or BK or Taco Bell or whatever....McDs is the most common lol)  to use the restroom, but I don't think I have ever seen any sort of sign saying that restrooms are for paying customers only or whatever.

I have heard of other folks in other areas finding this common.  I think this might be a regional difference around the country.  I remember a thread here where someone was talking about showing a receipt to get the code for the restroom or something like that.  And I think I actually had to ask what that meant.  Most places in the midwest (well, Ohio/Indiana/Illinois/Kentucky....those are the places I have traveled through most.) don't lock their restrooms, or require purchases or whatever.  Occasionally a gas station that has restrooms outside will have keys that you have to ask for............but even those I haven't had to purchase anything or show a receipt.  

 

Midwest has reputation for great friendliness!  Also may have less tourism?

Some places I come to still have free, non patron bathroom use.  Some have signs saying only for customers.

 I think I usually get something even if no sign.   Though less when dealing with tots who needed facilities right away and frequently. 

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11 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

I'm not surprised about the negative reaction, just confused,  I'm the OP!!!!

I ASKED THE QUESTION!

But I tend to look at stereo types from a Hmm...That's interesting. Rather than YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT ME! OMG!!! HOW RUDE!

 

But I'm from the South. We don't take ourselves that seriously. We are like that. Yes, we speak slowly. Yes, we are suspicious of outsiders (you aint from around here, are you?). And yes, we eat lots of cornbread and respect our Mamas. But we can laugh at ourselves and mock these stereotypes. 

(Just please don't be condescending and treat us like we're stupid.)

 

 

If it helps any, IME US Southern accents often come across as more mellifluous and pleasant to people who speak the native English of some places outside of North America.  Less brusque, harsh, flat and chopped than the American accent from many other parts of USA  or Canada for that matter. 

If you are traveling, I think you should dress for comfort and practicality—but some people elsewhere (France, Italy, IME) can be bothered by the informality (sloppiness?) of American dress.  Even dressed up we may appear dowdy.  Dressed down we may appear disrespectful. 

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8 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

Midwest has reputation for great friendliness!  Also may have less tourism?

Some places I come to still have free, non patron bathroom use.  Some have signs saying only for customers.

 I think I usually get something even if no sign.   Though less when dealing with tots who needed facilities right away and frequently. 

Oh for sure the midwest has less tourism.  When I lived in Indy, we had the race, and people would show up for the race.............and then leave lol.  And I am pretty positive that race fans aren't representative to ANYONE's culture lol.   Beyond that though, I suspect very few people who are flying from places like Australia or England or Japan are going to be flying into Indianapolis or Cedar Rapids, or Dayton, just for a vacation, unless they have family in such places.  We here in the midwest are often called fly-over country and there's a bit of a grain of truth to that.  

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5 minutes ago, moonflower said:

Maybe there is some cultural clash in the idea of "tall poppy syndrome," which I hadn't heard of outside of NZ and overseas posters here. 

 

Who are the tall poppies in this situation?

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1 hour ago, fairfarmhand said:

Patriotism puzzles me.

I mean, I am glad I was born here. I've had good opportunities and a good life from being born here. [....]

Am I one of those flag waving, America is the BEST kinds of people? No. Because I truly don't believe that. I believe its a good place, among many good places. I even have personal reservations about the pledge of allegiance (This is my deep, dark secret living here in the South, this is unheard of, and I don't tell it to just anyone. My dad would be horrified.) because I am a committed Christian and I find the pledge makes me feel really icky about promising to stand by a country when my sole loyalty should be to Christ.

YES and AMEN. I am beyond thankful to live here. Our freedom and relative prosperity should never be taken for granted. 

That said, let's be real. This country started with an unbiblical rebellion that cost thousands of lives. We committed genocide against indigenous peoples. We enslaved hundreds of thousands. We started a war in which we killed each other by the hundreds of thousands. We kill men, women, and children overseas because we want what their country has. Racism is alive and well. 850,000+ humans are aborted every year. And I'm supposed to be all, "Yay, 'Merica?"

The Pledge runs counter to my beliefs as a Christian, too. And, in any case, it is a lie. There is not freedom and justice for all. Anyone who thinks there is isn't paying attention.

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Having just come back from NZ/Australia, staying on the left was hard. I hadn't realized just how engrained years of US public school had made "walk on the right" until I had to remember to do the reverse. I'm just glad I didn't have to drive. 

 

And I'm really hoping we avoided being too "American"! Mostly, I was just trying to blend in. 

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2 minutes ago, dmmetler said:

Having just come back from NZ/Australia, staying on the left was hard. I hadn't realized just how engrained years of US public school had made "walk on the right" until I had to remember to do the reverse. I'm just glad I didn't have to drive. 

 

And I'm really hoping we avoided being too "American"! Mostly, I was just trying to blend in. 

 

Herpetology geek is probably its own special category. 😛

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30 minutes ago, Rosie_0801 said:

 

Who are the tall poppies in this situation?

 

well the idea is that the syndrome suggests that it's not culturally cool to be exceptional or express the ways in which you're exceptional, while in America in many places there's no such cultural pressure, if anything the opposite

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1 minute ago, Rosie_0801 said:

 

Herpetology geek is probably its own special category. 😛

True. We're the ones who probably  annoy people by stopping to take a picture of every single lizard-which, in NSW, seems to be about one every 25 metres or so :). But we'll be very quiet-the better to record frog calls!

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1 hour ago, fairfarmhand said:

Patriotism puzzles me.

I mean, I am glad I was born here. I've had good opportunities and a good life from being born here. 

But that was just an accident of birth. I'm fairly certain had I been born in some other first world country I would be able to say the same. 

I think USA has some good ideas. I know that other nations also have some good ideas.

I think USA has some major problems. I know that other nations also have major problems. 

There's no perfect nation. Mine isn't any "better" than any other, nor is it necessarily any "worse" overall. It just is what it is. 

Am I one of those flag waving, America is the BEST kinds of people? No. Because I truly don't believe that. I believe its a good place, among many good places. I even have personal reservations about the pledge of allegiance (This is my deep, dark secret living here in the South, this is unheard of, and I don't tell it to just anyone. My dad would be horrified.) because I am a committed Christian and I find the pledge makes me feel really icky about promising to stand by a country when my sole loyalty should be to Christ.

In general, I find other cultures fascinating. I love learning from them and figuring out what makes people tick, what unites us, what divides us. I don't take differences of opinion personally.

I don't find any of the stereo types written about here hurtful. I've never met any of you IRL, and sadly, I've not had much opportunity to travel internationally, so I doubt I've contributed to the stereotype, unless inadvertently online on this forum.

But back to patriotism. I don't expect other nations to think mine's the best. They likely feel a loyalty to their own culture and country.

I want to thank you for starting this thread. It has been an ice breaker for me. I've been lurking for a long time and feel like I've gotten to "know" or at least get a feel for all of you here.

I was hesitant to post before for fear of being misinterpreted due to different cultural communication styles. My culture tends to communicate mostly with sarcasm, which can be difficult to decipher using this particular medium.

This topic has forced me to throw caution to the wind and dive right in for good or ill!

I appreciate your graciousness in what can be such a polarizing topic.

Edited by Islandgal
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Thanks to all those non-Americans who were willing to come and share!

Musing now on how closely people I know from other countries do or don’t fit the stereotypes that exist about those cultures.  Our long-term Aussie expat family friend is one of the nicest, funniest people.  She’s also very loud and projects a self-confidence that fills the room (in a positive way).  Now I’m wondering if she has always been like that or if she would consider herself “americanized”, or even if she does it on purpose to try to fit in?

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1 hour ago, StellaM said:

 

It's been an interesting question to think about, answer and then observe reactions to, that's for sure!

Pondering on it some more this morning, I think my perception (right or wrong, and it could be either) of Americans is very coloured by my perception of America (or the USA, more precisely).

I see the USA as akin to a Dad who likes you a lot, so long as you do what he tells you. But if you don't...well, he's not a great Dad after all. 

Married to that is the perception I have of how Americans see us (AU), which is sort of like pets. Like koalas, kangaroos, Aussies - they're all cute!!

So you've got volatile Dad, and a sort of benign dehumanisation of others...and then loud, unaware peoples making themselves very visible (unlike their quieter compatriots) and yeah...we sort of love you and hate you at the same time. #itscomplicated

 

I think US Americans think former English speaking British colonies are more similar to USA than the people of the other former colonies feel, and it surprises the Americans whenever the differences become apparent.  

As a fairly trivial example, I’ve seen US Americans very surprised by things like image of Queen Elizabeth on Canadian, Aus, NZ  money.  It apparently often doesn’t occur to US Americans that Canadians, Australians, NZers..., didn’t have the same sort of revolution and independence that USA did.

And there’s sort of a major US national pride in that Independence, and yet at same time perhaps a mild subliminal wish to be a leading part of the British Commonwealth.  

Maybe not so much the Dad as the older “half” sibling, who broke away, and doesn’t feel quite loved by the cohesive “whole” family, and younger siblings. 

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2 hours ago, dmmetler said:

Having just come back from NZ/Australia, staying on the left was hard. I hadn't realized just how engrained years of US public school had made "walk on the right" until I had to remember to do the reverse. I'm just glad I didn't have to drive. 

 

And I'm really hoping we avoided being too "American"! Mostly, I was just trying to blend in. 

Yeah which side to walk/bike/drive on is really difficult to adjust because our brains are habituated to one way and we don't usually have to think consciously about it.

I spent a year and a half in Japan as a young adult, walking and biking but never driving. The first time I tried to drive after coming back to the US I pulled out onto the left side of the (fortunately quiet residential) road and did not recognize my mistake until I saw a car coming towards me in "my" lane. Didn't matter that I hadn't driven during my time in Japan, keeping to the left of the road had become automatic.

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3 hours ago, scholastica said:

My dh and I enjoy Dr Blake. 800 Words not so much. 

Back to the thread. I am seriously surprised at the negative reactions to honest answers to a legitimate question. The non-US posters are simply posting their own experience and impressions. If that’s their experience, so be it. You really can’t argue with someone's experience and impression.  

I have seen a few negative responses here but most of the responses seem to be by those want to continue the conversation and understand each other.  Perhaps trying to clarify things is seen as aggressive or arrogant in other cultures?   I honestly want to know.  

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2 hours ago, StellaM said:

the perception I have of how Americans see us (AU), which is sort of like pets. Like koalas, kangaroos, Aussies - they're all cute!!

 

Now, I've never been to Australia, but I have met several native Aussies, and watched some Aussie film and television.  And I have to say, at least from my perspective, this does NOT match my stereotype of Australians, as an American.  My stereotype is that Australians are ruddy, rugged and self-sufficient, they without complaint live in a land that seems to be filled with creatures actively trying to kill them.  A stereotypical Australian would quietly brush off a venomous spider who crawled up her leg without comment or making a big fuss.  I've also heard of "tall poppy syndrome" from Australian friends, which would seem to be a difference from the average american.  Again, dealing in stereotypes.  I think a lot of Americans look back with nostalgia and fondness to our period of Western expansion, when we thought of ourselves as more rugged, and self-sufficient, (how much of that was myth or true is irrelevant here), and I think we project some of that in the way we view Australians.  So, we don't just think of Aussies as all cute.  Chris Hemsworth, though, well.....

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4 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

Yes of course, although more minor countries are trained to take it. 

As I said in my first post on this thread (I think I'm on a LOT of block lists, because no-one seemed to read that post with its zillion softening caveats!), I am pretty sure WTM'ers are nothing like my cruise pals. I wouldn't describe cruise man and woman as buffoons either; and the three things they can do is laugh at themselves, don't block the footpath, and drop the volume. Easy peasy!

In the interests of fairness, if you have any recommendations for how I could be a polite tourist in the US, based on the stereotypes you're exposed to about Australians, but clearly understanding that we're 'not all like that' 🙂 you can share with me!!

 

I have almost no contact with tourist.   I'm not even sure what kind of stereotypes there might be.  

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