Etiquette School is in session! > The Ehell Guide to Never Behaving Badly

Culture shock across America

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I saw that we have a Guide for people who travel to other countries, but is there one here someplace for those who move around in the US?   

I think as in all things, that if one is courteous to others, they will be courteous back.

1.  Don't go in saying - your way is stupid, my way is better.
2.  See how other people act, then act accordingly.
3.  Don't make fun of accents, actions, traditions, dress,  food.  Remember, YOU are the one who "tawks" funny, not them.

I am sure others can add to the list, this is just off the top of my head.

Oh Joy:
I would suggest that visitors not be surprised at the amount of unsolicited small talk at stores and such.*  DH (not from the US) is still amazed that strangers make conversation about items for sale, or ask for help reaching something on a higher shelf, or just make eye contact and smile or comment about innocuous topics like the weather.  But he's learned to appreciate it...and even initiate it!   :D

* Of course, this doesn't apply to all regions or places.  Taking cues from those around you is almost always a good idea.

Be polite and observe local customs, ask if you are unsure. But don't go in with prejudice.

I am a NYer, as were my parents before and at least one set of grandparents and great grandparents. I love when people move to NY (or come visit) but it does sting a bit to hear someone say they don't plan to live here forever because "obviously" its no place to raise kids, or to hear people who have lived here for years express now that they are married they "have to" move because they want to raise a family (implying one can't in NYC).

It also stings to hear people moved here but are constantly afraid of crime (we have very low crime) or express shock that everyone wasn't rude like they thought they were going to be. Or worse to witness people move here and be rude themselves and then explain they came here so they could be rude, because all NYers are rude and they thought it would be the culture here (its not, NY is consistently rated a very polite place - we are simply very fast paced, which can sometimes be misconstrued as rude, but its not the same thing).

Laws and customs can vary across the country.

For example in Texas cities as well as the state can add sales tax. So the rate can literally be different depending which side of the street you are standing on. (Are you in Houston, Hedwick Village, or Harris County for example? All three met up when I was in HS and all had different sales tax but you had to picking at details to pick it up.

Listen to locals - if they tell you to take shelter or evacute for the love of everything DO IT. Don't tell Gulf Coast people that a Hurricane is "just a little squall" (Happened to my Dad once)

Honestly after reading some difference of opinions here I would get a driving manual from every state I intended to drive through. For example in Texas if you have to go significantly slower than the limit and are on a HW without an access road - you turn on your hazards. Other people have posted that in their state they would assume you were stationary. (I even turn mine on in some School Zones because the other traffic isn't slowing down and I'm afraid of getting hit or a kid getting hit.)

Try the local specialties - You might find you like grits for breakfast. Kolaches are great and BBQ varies all across the country.

Basically for all travelers - treat everyone you meet with respect.

Years ago I was on PEI, running errands for my Nanna. This included picking up some stamps. I handed the lady exact change - but she told me they X more because of Taxes. I simply appologized for my assumption. She asked me why Americans always assumed there was no tax on postage. I explained the whole States can't tax federal things rule.  We ended up having a great conversation.


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