Thursday, February 17, 2011

More Cultural Differences

Have I ever mentioned that according to a statistic I heard, the number one expat assignment that fails worldwide is Americans moving to England? Yup, that's right. Since the language is relatively the same, we assume that things are just like home. Boy are we wrong. The differences pretty much drive us batty until we can learn to embrace them.

After numerous trips to the post office, I finally asked the question: What is the difference between a first class stamp and a second class stamp? Do they just put the second class mail into a pile and let it sit there and hang out for a few days at the post office? Think about it - it all goes to the same place and then is delivered along the same route.

The answer: second class stamped mail gets sorted AFTER the first class mail. Apparently, it is a throwback to the olden days but no one has bothered to change it. So- you send your letter via second class postage and it makes it to the sorting center. Then the mail is put into two piles, first class and second class. Then the first class mail gets sorted via route and then maybe if there is some time left at the end of the day, they will sort the second class mail. Really? I'm amazed at the effort. I wonder if Brits think is strange that the States only has one class of postage for the mail. I swear when the Postal Service was initiated they got rid of the class system for a reason. Down with the class system!

Another interesting difference between countries concerns driving licenses. You may recall that I finally passed my driving test - Did I mention that in the Rules of the Road book it says 'the best approach for dealing with snow is to not drive at all'. Sweet. Anyway, I digress. When they give you your license (please ignore the ax murderer picture if you can see it) it comes with a piece of paper as well. Your driving license is both the card and the paper. The reason: if you get a driving infraction, they write it on the piece of paper. So if you get pulled over or another infraction, you have to give them the paper and they can see your infraction. Apparently, the idea of computerizing the points and putting them against your license is still a work in progress. Oh, and did I mention that you don't even have to have your license with you when you drive your car? Yeah, it's optional. You just have to produce it within 5 days if you get in trouble. Strange. Although on the plus side, it doesn't expire until I'm sixy years old. Roll on Granny!

1 comment:

Barb said...

Isn't the mail sorted by machines these days? Those crazy Brits.