Author Topic: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here  (Read 44427 times)

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perpetua

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I think it's completely nuts. But some people think it's fun. As long as you're not attacking and trampling other people to get your stuff, I see it as a little weird but ultimately harmless. Many of us also think World Cup fervor is pretty crazy. :)

Yeah, I'm with you on the world cup - I think it's all nonsense. Not all English people are obsessed with football, although a fair few are, I'll grant you that  ;D

I think generally, from the perspective of an outsider - and this is jumping back to the theme of some of the points in the original article - America is seen as a very materialistic culture, with a big emphasis on the acquisition of 'stuff' being a good thing to do. So the Black Friday frenzies kind of fall in with that, in my head. Good to hear some other perspectives from those in the know.

kherbert05

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There is, but often they're not attached to individual schools. The Bromley Youth Wind Band looks to be an independent organisation. Sometimes they have some local funding but a lot of organisations like this are community bands in which members pay a sub to attend.

Again, I'd imagine it depends where you grow up here, too. Where I grew up there wasn't much in the way of music services; there was a peripatetic music teacher who came to the school once a week and we could have individual lessons with him, and there was a youth wind symphony and an orchestra, which were made up of players from all the schools in the district with rehearsals on Saturday mornings in the gym of one of the bigger local schools. I got into that because it was conducted by my music teacher and it was great.

Then there's somewhere like London, where you've got things like the LSSO (London Schools Symphony Orchestra). A player in our orchestra (I mentioned her in the thread someone posted about second hand instruments - the French Horn player) has just auditioned for the LSSO. It's an intensive programme that runs in the school holidays.

Things may have changed since I was at school, about six thousand years ago, but in my school there certainly wasn't anything like the 'music programme' you hear about in US schools. It would be very rare for an individual school to have its own band to the standard of something like Langham Creek (although they look pretty big, so perhaps they're made up of kids from lots of different schools? I don't know), although you might find that kind of standard in the district-run services as described above.

Possibly as a result of all this, community music is very alive and well in the UK. Many decently sized towns have a concert band - which is usually either a brass band or a symphonic wind band. Some of them are of an extremely high standard (others not so much!), and some of these organisations are big enough to have training bands, up through which young players can move to join the main band. When you get into the bigger towns and cities, you'll find several. London has absolutely tons of them, from symphonic wind bands to amateur orchestras to chamber ensembles to the London gay Big Band. They're usually run as charitable concerns and members pay a sub to belong to them, which pays for the running costs. I really like them; I think community music is very important.
No Langham Creek is a single school 1 of 11 High Schools in the Cy Fair ISD. Cy Fair ISD is 188 sq miles.  I'm pretty sure all of the CFISD High Schools are 5A so they have at least 2,090 students in the school.


The UIL  rankings are used to group similarly sized schools that compete in athletics and other competitions (for example there Band, Orchestra, speech, drama, film, journalism competitons)


They are ranked
6 - Man 99 and smaller for football, basketball, Spring meets (athletics)
1A 199 and smaller
2A 200 - 499
3A 500 - 1,004
4A 1,005 - 2,089
5A 2,0900 and up


In Texas often the largest geographical districts - have the smallest population due to large ranches and/or state and federal land/parks.  Paint Rock has 309 square miles and 214 students not 214 high school students PK - 12 they have 214  students. San Vicente ISD has 1,551 square Miles (part is in a national park) and 1 school for  students PK - 8 High School students are bused to a "neighboring" district. I'm not sure how far/how long their commute is.


Band is often the last art cut in Texas - can you guess why?


Think?






Think a little harder?






What is a religion in Texas?






Yes band is the last art cut - because you MUST have a marching band for the football half time show!
Don't Teach Them For Your Past. Teach Them For Their Future

Onyx_TKD

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Wow, that's expensive. They seem to be much cheaper here:

http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/household-appliances/refrigeration/fridges/333_3127_30214_xx_xx/xx-criteria.html

Some of them are obviously a bit more expensive but generally, they don't run to that much.  So a 20% saving on some of these things would only be Ł20-30 - totally not worth getting into that scrum for.

I think the difference probably traces back to the differences between the typical US fridge and the typical UK fridge. For example, the typical refrigerator size in the USA tends to be much larger than that in Europe. I believe there's another current eHell thread discussing the differences. US "fridges" are also typically a refrigerator/freezer combination rather than just one or the other. The ones in your link appear to have no freezers, which would considerably reduce the complexity of the appliance. Finally, it's common for US fridges to have a dispenser for filtered water and ice on the front, i.e., on the outside of the door. This adds yet another layer of complexity and design challenge.

I use to work for the refrigerator engineering division of a major appliance company, and the quite expensive models I worked on actually had barely any profit margin. By my understanding, this is common for refrigerators (at least in the USA). They're complicated and expensive to make, so the price is already high enough to be a difficult sell to the consumer with just a small profit margin. The company's main profit came from the other appliances in the kitchen set, but the set wasn't complete (and thus not appealing as a high-end appliance collection) unless it included a matching refrigerator. The goal for the refrigerator division was basically to break even and be self-supporting as opposed to subsidized by the more-profitable appliance lines.

ETA: MommyPenguin mentioned $2000 for a nice refrigerator. The ones in the appliance line I worked on actually ranged from $2500-$4000. 20% off would definitely be nothing to sneeze at. Especially if the fridge wasn't the only appliance you were purchasing.

It's not the shopping for bargains; that makes good financial sense if it was something you needed anyway. It's the scrum. The frenzy to buy stuff purely *because* it's on sale. There are some really crazy videos on YouTube of 'Black Friday Montages' and half these people don't even look like they care or know what they're buying, as long as they're getting *something* that's on sale just because it's on sale.  Just grabbing random boxes and going "yeah, I got something cheap!!!!" That's just ridiculous.

The other question off the back of this is: are there sales during other times of the year too, or is it limited to Black Friday? Here, retailers tend to have regular sales throughout the year in addition to the January sales (which is just to get rid of post-Xmas stock), so bargain shopping isn't limited to just one period.

Keep in mind that the USA is a big country with a lot of people. So for any nationwide event, there will be plenty of extreme behavior to make up some pretty crazy YouTube montages just due to the sheer numbers of participants, even if that behavior is a tiny fraction of what actually goes on. I personally avoid Black Friday, but I don't enjoy either shopping or crowds. I know other people who do enjoy Black Friday. I actually ended up getting taken along on a shopping trip on Black Friday a couple of years ago. We went in the afternoon, so no camping out. The store was very busy and somewhat crowded, but everyone was very polite and considerate. There were pretty substantial sales on a wide range of items, and a long line for the checkouts. Actually, there was quite a bit of friendly chatting and camaraderie among the customers waiting in the line for the cashiers. Certainly not a normal shopping day, but quite sane and well-organized. It's not my cup of tea, but I can see why it would be quite fun for someone who actually enjoys shopping. The folks I went with took a pretty organized-but-laid-back approach to the whole thing. They had a plan of various things they would like to find/check prices for and browsed a little for good deals on stuff that would be useful to them, but also had nothing they were determined to get.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2013, 10:39:11 PM by Onyx_TKD »

iridaceae

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I love Black Friday shopping. I limit it to things that aren't going to be fought over-like a cheap BluRay player or cheap movies at Best Buy- and go and stand in line. I've had some truly wonderful conversations with fellow line-waiters and enjoy the feel of doing major shopping at 2 AM.

Hillia

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The refrigerator discussion is getting long, so I didn't quote it, but here's a pretty basic fridge in teh US:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Maytag-20-6-cu-ft-Top-Freezer-Refrigerator-in-White-M1TXEGMYW/202851672#.UpI4l8SsiSo.  It goes for $598, or 369 pounds.  It's 20.6 cubic feet and has a freezer, compared to the pricier UK fridge in the previous link, which was 13 cubic feet and roughly comparable in price.

I imagine a lot of the difference ties in to earlier threads about the convenience of shopping.  Because Americans can't walk easily to grocery stores as much as folks in the UK can, shopping trips tend to be much more of a bulk purchase/stock up situation, whereas if you can easily stop by the store every day or two to refill fresh produce, dairy, etc, you don't need the giant fridge to store everything.

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perpetua

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There's a lot of talk about UK folks going to the shops every day or every other day but I don't know anyone who actually does that. Most people are too busy to do that with work and families and commuting and they'll do a big shop at the weekend in an out-of-town supermarket like Sainsbury's or Tesco or do it online and get it delivered. Most folks shop weekly and some will do it once a month or so and stock up.

mechtilde

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There's a lot of talk about UK folks going to the shops every day or every other day but I don't know anyone who actually does that. Most people are too busy to do that with work and families and commuting and they'll do a big shop at the weekend in an out-of-town supermarket like Sainsbury's or Tesco or do it online and get it delivered. Most folks shop weekly and some will do it once a month or so and stock up.

I often do shop every day- I need to get bread at least every other day and get a few other bits and bobs at the same time. I'm lucky in that I work near some shops and can just pick it up in my lunch break. I'll do a bigger shop every couple of weeks. A lot of it depends on how much freezer space you have and if it is convenient to pick things up near home or work.
NE England

perpetua

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There's a lot of talk about UK folks going to the shops every day or every other day but I don't know anyone who actually does that. Most people are too busy to do that with work and families and commuting and they'll do a big shop at the weekend in an out-of-town supermarket like Sainsbury's or Tesco or do it online and get it delivered. Most folks shop weekly and some will do it once a month or so and stock up.

I often do shop every day- I need to get bread at least every other day and get a few other bits and bobs at the same time. I'm lucky in that I work near some shops and can just pick it up in my lunch break. I'll do a bigger shop every couple of weeks. A lot of it depends on how much freezer space you have and if it is convenient to pick things up near home or work.

Oh yeah, I'll pick up bits and pieces every other day or so like bread and milk, but the impression people seem to have on this thread is that we do that exclusively without doing a big shop, when most people I know do, is what I meant. I tend to do a fairly big shop every 2 weeks or so and get it delivered.

squashedfrog

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There's a lot of talk about UK folks going to the shops every day or every other day but I don't know anyone who actually does that. Most people are too busy to do that with work and families and commuting and they'll do a big shop at the weekend in an out-of-town supermarket like Sainsbury's or Tesco or do it online and get it delivered. Most folks shop weekly and some will do it once a month or so and stock up.

***sigh***  that would be me. 
Dh  "Hey squashed frog, we're out of cookies"
Me: Can't be, I bought two packs at the weekend with a four pint of milk and.....
Dh: yeaahhh.... Btw we're out of milk..."

I live in a village where it's impossible to park l so intend to walk and grab a few things I can carry.  We do what's called the big shop every fortnight.   

camlan

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I think it's completely nuts. But some people think it's fun. As long as you're not attacking and trampling other people to get your stuff, I see it as a little weird but ultimately harmless. Many of us also think World Cup fervor is pretty crazy. :)

Yeah, I'm with you on the world cup - I think it's all nonsense. Not all English people are obsessed with football, although a fair few are, I'll grant you that  ;D

I think generally, from the perspective of an outsider - and this is jumping back to the theme of some of the points in the original article - America is seen as a very materialistic culture, with a big emphasis on the acquisition of 'stuff' being a good thing to do. So the Black Friday frenzies kind of fall in with that, in my head. Good to hear some other perspectives from those in the know.

There's also a movement for "Buy Nothing Day," which is a backlash to Black Friday. Buy Nothing Day is the day after US Thanksgiving, although the day was started by a Canadian. Basically, you just don't buy anything. Or only buy things that you need, like food and gas and the like.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Yvaine

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Keep in mind that the USA is a big country with a lot of people. So for any nationwide event, there will be plenty of extreme behavior to make up some pretty crazy YouTube montages just due to the sheer numbers of participants, even if that behavior is a tiny fraction of what actually goes on. I personally avoid Black Friday, but I don't enjoy either shopping or crowds. I know other people who do enjoy Black Friday. I actually ended up getting taken along on a shopping trip on Black Friday a couple of years ago. We went in the afternoon, so no camping out. The store was very busy and somewhat crowded, but everyone was very polite and considerate. There were pretty substantial sales on a wide range of items, and a long line for the checkouts. Actually, there was quite a bit of friendly chatting and camaraderie among the customers waiting in the line for the cashiers. Certainly not a normal shopping day, but quite sane and well-organized. It's not my cup of tea, but I can see why it would be quite fun for someone who actually enjoys shopping. The folks I went with took a pretty organized-but-laid-back approach to the whole thing. They had a plan of various things they would like to find/check prices for and browsed a little for good deals on stuff that would be useful to them, but also had nothing they were determined to get.

This. The "Black Friday is wall-to-wall MMA fighting" thing is yet another thing that's overblown by the media. Is it crowded, sure. But from some of the TV coverage, you'd think getting in a fight was almost inevitable, when really it's the handful of fights each year that make the news. It makes for more sensational TV than people just milling around crowded stores in a civilized fashion.

scotcat60

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Can you explain Black Friday please?

As to the article, one person said they didn't get why people have fitted carpets.  It's all to do with trends and tastes, a few years ago everyone wanted bare floor boards, but when I was young people aspired to fitted carpets, because lino was a sign of poverty, and bare floorboards were considered even worse. Carpet was a sign that you had a bob or two to spend. I grew up in a house  with solid flooring with scatter rugs, and  it was freezing to stand anywhere but on the rugs. As soon as they could afford it, Mum and Dad got fitted carpet, and I've had it ever since.

camlan

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Black Friday has been the term for the Friday after US Thanksgiving for decades. Two reasons--the heavy traffic on streets and in stores because this is usually considered the first day of the Christmas shopping season. Also, the large amount of sales on this day could turn a business's financial picture around, from loses ("in the red") to profits ("in the black").

There have been special Thanksgiving sales for decades. But in the past 10 years or so, some retailers have had huge markdowns on limited quantities of "hot" items, like the latest gaming system or TV or cool new electronic device. They heavily advertise these sales, and open their stores at odd hours, like 6 am or even midnight, thus attracting lots of shoppers, some of whom will arrive very early to the store, and not coincidentally, lots of media attention.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Katana_Geldar

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Scotcat, is that why in the UK you can see carpet in bathrooms?

Diane AKA Traska

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Scotcat, is that why in the UK you can see carpet in bathrooms?

Carpet in bathrooms?  But, one toilet overflow and.. eep... :o
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