Everyday Stuff America Sucks At (Compared To Everybody Else)
There are a lot of not great things about the great U.S. of A. But we're not talking about the big stuff like healthcare or gun control or deciding which handsy uncle gets to become the next de facto Emperor of Planet Earth. We're here to point out all the unnecessary stuff America sucks at compared to the rest of the world, the kind of things that should make us consider cancelling the Fourth of July because we're generally terrible at wiping our butts. Speaking of which ...
Americans Continue To Be Too Uptight To Use Bidets
As per the teachings of the Canadian Americanologist Chad Kroeger, the true American Dream is to have a brand new house on an episode of Cribs and a bathroom you can play baseball in. Yet despite all that room to spare in these cavernous halls of cleansing, Americans are still real anal about not installing bidets.
Bidets have been in use for centuries by the kind of cultures who don't like the idea of digging into your recently soiled buttcrack with only the gossamer promise of a cartoon teddy bear keeping your hand from being streaked by your own effluents. But from time immemorial, English-speaking countries have had an inbred aversion to anything French, and aside from putting an ashtray onto someone's back during a threesome, bidets are about as decadently French as things can get. A reputation that was only strengthened during World War II when American GIs encountered these poop chute cleaners in French brothels, linking immorality to the innocent gift of feeling like you're being cleansed by the trumpeting cherub atop a Roman fountain.
As a result, Americans still tear through toilet paper at a rate of 36.5 billion roles or 15 million trees a year, a dependency that didn't need to happen if its pilgrim pooper Puritanism hadn't scorned a cleaning tool much more copacetic to colons and the climate than those moist towelettes that lie about being biodegradable. It took a worldwide plague and a thousand toilet paper shortage memes for Americans to even start considering squatting over bidets instead of continuing to expect they'd just transition from pieces of wadded paper straight to the three seashells system like a bunch of Stallones.
Who The Hell Still Uses The Imperial System?
The United States of America prides itself on being a young nation, a fresh start, a melting pot that eschews old ways of life for bold new worlds. So of the scant things to cling onto from its English masters, why the furlong did one of them have to be the Imperial system?
What kind of cruel absurdist place would force a child to learn a system where a fluid ounce contains 240 minims, or a yard is the length of one hundred and eight barleycorns? Myanmar. Liberia. The United States of America. And that's it.
The US is one of three, THREE, remaining holdouts in the world that are stubbornly upholding a system of scientific measurements based on the guesswork of some syphilitic English king from the twelfth century. For a brief enlightened moment, the American government did try to throw off the shackles of its wig-wearing old-timey suppressors with the Metric Conversion Act of 1975. But with the switch being voluntary and not government-mandated, the United States Metric Board could not coerce copious conversion converts and the idea was abandoned in 1982, the American public not willing to restructure everyday society and, knowing themselves, invite wholesale slaughter by changing all the speed signs from 55 to 90.
But as annoying as it would be to switch, that Americans remain weirdly proud of being measurement mavericks does take its toll. Especially in scientific communities, which are forced to switch between Metric, a clean, modern system of measurements, and sounding like a Hogwarts alchemist trying to figure out how many pecks of frog eyes are needed to distill a pint and seven gills of potion.
Refusal to join the Metric system has, among others, sent thousands of American children to the ER due to inaccurate medicine measurements, made NASA lose a $125 million Mars probe, and resulted in a commercial Boeing 747 running out of fuel mid-air (which, amazingly, resulted in the first-ever successful deadstick landing and not a mass tragedy). So, Americans, follow your measurement betters and assimilate. Verily, you will find great comfort in the cold, Borg-like preciseness of the Metric System, that elegant combination of base stats and various suffixes like "giga" and "mega" and "micro" that can be slotted as easily to units of distance as to units of penises.
Hershey's Chocolate Is Just Blah
When talking about true-blue American chocolate, there's only one name in the mix: The Hershey Company. Despite being the gas station box of chocolates of, well, chocolates, Hershey's has cornered the American market, selling nearly one in every two pieces of chocolate that are being shoved down American throats.
But it's not America's fault. Like a manipulative, pre-diabetic boyfriend, their main chocolatiers have put in effort only to lower expectations. Go outside of the US and Hershey's is regarded as subpar chocolate -- or not chocolate at all. That's because, due to lax FDA regulations, American chocolate makers only have to have 10% of cacao solids in their products to qualify, well under the minimum of more Wonka-approved countries.
That same stinginess goes for its milk. Hershey's managed to get American regulators to okay making their chocolate last longer through a trade secret experts believe to be partially lipolyzed milk. That process also creates butyric acid, also present in parmesan cheese and breast milk. That's what gives Hershey's its very distinct tangy sour/umami flavor, something other US chocolate companies have just blindly copied, thereby creating entire generations of Americans almost genetically partial to chocolate that tastes like they stole it straight out of a baby's mouth.
And while the US chocolate market is getting more diverse, Hershey's also does it best to eliminate the competition fairly or otherwise. Take Cadbury chocolate, which most agree is better than Hershey's in the same way that eating mediocre chocolate is better than receiving dental surgery. Instead of allowing some free market competition, Hershey's bought the exclusive rights to manufacture Cadbury chocolate in the US, only to then muddle the taste to conform more with their cheesy chocolate. But Americans and expats who've tasted the real deal can't go back, which has created Cadbury smuggling rings that Hershey's has unsuccessfully tried to suppress in an attempt to make sure that the majority of Americans only eat the chocolate that they squeeze out of their corporate buttcheeks.
America Is Decades Behind On Cashless Payments
Whenever there isn't a depression roaring, America prides itself on their great economy, business smarts, and devout adherence to the free market. Yet the American people, these savvy financial leaders who'll put a twelve-symbol alphanumeric password on their dairyqueen.com account, are completely accustomed to handing over an unprotected VISA with a credit line of $20,000 to a cashier they just told to smile more.
Up until 2018, Americans were still writing checks like they're trying to buy a hamburger during the Depression. And while every other single developed nation in the world has used the simple, bottom of the barrel security measure that is microchipped cards or "chip and pin" to buy all their chips and pints for decades, it wasn't until 2016 that US credit cards stopped relying exclusively on some stone-age magnetic strip tech, a system so laughably easy to defraud that Americans are the only people in the world who think it's normal that their credit card company calls them like a suspicious spouse asking to explain those weird purchases at partyclownsexdoll.com.
No wonder, then, that Americans are streaming to digital services like PayPal's Venmo, a shitty service to be sure, but at least one that has a level of encryption that rivals a Dave & Buster's Power Card. So much so that the traditional, lazy banking industry has teamed up to take Venmo down by ... launching a less secure competitor.
US Netflix Keeps Getting Worse Compared To Foreign Versions
Unlike the other petty, petty complaints in this list, Netflix once was a grand institution that proved that, yes, America's still got it. But it is rapidly becoming the latest example of America kicking America in the nuts as its membership in the grand capitalistic scheme has now caused its latest empire to start crumbling.
American Netflix was once the dream. Huddled masses of foreign consumers yearned that their local, moldy old potato of a Netflix could ever be as exceptional as the amber waves of grain that was US Netflix. The world's VPN market boomed due to a desire of people to sneak into the US Netflix to give their families something the old country could never give: nine seasons of The Office. In fact, American Netflix was too great so it had to build that firewall. Due to pressure from licensers, Netflix put in restrictive security measures to keep all those illegal (as per the Terms & Conditions) foreigners out.
But when the civil (as in, polite) streaming war began and Disney and Sony and, I guess, The Peacock stripped the streamer of all its most precious resources (again, we're talking about The Office), it was the American Netflix library that took the biggest hit. And this has allowed its colonies to prosper. The US still has a decent selection of movies and shows but, like its cuisine and domestic terrorists, it's all quantity over quality. An yet, it's not America, but Japan that now has the biggest Netflix library due to tons of amazing anime. And when Yanks take their monthly trip to Montreal they'll find that somehow Canadian Netflix has tons of blockbusters they don't have. Or that, thanks to greater media cooperation, the British Netflix is allowed to feature a ton more cool, intelligent, retro UK shows. (And also Doctor Who, hey-yo!)
There Are A Ton Of Countries With Better Mobile Internet
America is the land of high tech, of Silicon Valley, the birthplace of the internet. Yet somehow, the nation that can get a man on the moon and a robot on Mars can't get Google on its phones more than five feet outside of a Fuddruckers.
As harped upon previously, the utility that is American internet is dominated by such overpriced garbage service that presumably in some towns the only place you can get WiFi is the local county jail. But when you finally decide to remortgage your child's liver, the one or (illusion of) two telecom oligarchs that own your state are at least able provide you an end product that will get the job done. Not so with mobile internet. Not only is a gigabyte of mobile data more expensive than half a tank of gas in America, its speed is also so bad a 2017 survey ranked the US 28th in the world, behind places like Kenya, Taiwan, and Greece.
That's because, unlike America, many Asian and African nations are putting in the work when it comes to its peoples' mobile connectivity. Even Europe, that squabbling Scrabble letter dump of a continent can pull together to unite its six thousand countries, principalities, archduchies and independent Isles of Man, going so far as getting rid of the highly lucrative roaming market in 2017. Which is why today, even its loneliest Nazi hiding in a Swiss mountain cave has a smoother time watching TikToks on his phone until the cows come home than the average New Yorker.
Cycling To Work Is Still A Death Trap
Biking is the bees' knees for just about everything except your knees. Not only does a two-wheel commute reduce traffic, it's also great for the environment and your health, with studies showing that cycling to work can cut your risk of cancer and heart disease almost in half. Unless you're peddling in the USA, where all those long term health benefits don't matter much when you're a bloody streak across the road.
Of all the developed nations, America has the least cyclists per capita in the world. Which is something the country is trying to change, with many cities and states encouraging people to get banana saddle rash for the good of the community. But that progress gets slowed down by the fact that America does top the charts in killing its cyclists. And those numbers are rising. In the past decade, cyclist deaths in the US have gone up by a whopping 25%. New York City saw a fatal boost of 10% in 2018 alone.
America is just too much of a car culture to not kill its bike culture -- quite literally. While Americans do seem to be allergic to wearing bike helmets, almost all cycling accidents themselves are caused by four-wheelers, from chauffeurs just swinging open their car doors to the dreaded hit-and-run. And if it isn't being crushed by a 4x4 that gets them, it'll be the fumes, with health-conscious cyclists breathing in three times as much air pollution as the drivers pushing it out of their tailpipes.
But the real hypocrisy lies in the fact that while cities are encouraging people to hop on a bike to avoid deadlocks and sardine-like public transport, without investing in the proper infrastructure they're just guiding strong-legged lemmings to their doom. American cities still barely have any slow-speed zones or separated bike lanes, and just painting a line on the road surprisingly doesn't protect squishy cyclists from getting monster-trucked to death. And while budget is always the main issue of making such drastic changes to the traffic landscape, a New Zealand study has shown that for every dollar a place spends on making cycling more safe and accessible, it can save up to $24. But unless America becomes committed to making that change, all those cycle-to-work initiatives remain nothing more than a Bizarro Darwinism program sponsored by Ford.
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Top Image: Pixabay/DWilliams