Kostroma, Vladimir BOLONKIN since 2011 has been in the States 3 times, staying there for about 5 months. In his “track record” new York, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, salt lake city, Las Vegas and some other cities. Especially for KOSTROMA.TODAY he agreed to tell about their experiences.

United States of America is now one of the main suppliers of news for the Federal channels. Being careful not to touch politics, from the perspective of the ordinary inhabitant of Kostroma, some time stayed in the United States, will talk about their experiences. Agree with them not calling. Questions and comments welcome.


Tip everywhere

English tips sound short — tips. And “tips” haunt consumers at every turn: not only in cafes and restaurants, where the level recommended tip can reach up to a fantastic 20-25%, but also in ordinary eateries. There when buying cans of coke you will offer to throw top dollar. It is also ubiquitous in taxi or for ordering the various services. Sometimes tipping is by default included in the bill (Yes, and write: price — $10, tips — $2). In General, you can not hide anywhere.

My opinion:

When the tip becomes almost a duty of any manifestation of freedom is not out of the question. Of course, in most cases it is possible is banal not to pay, but under a tacit social pressure to stay a long time is unlikely to succeed.

And in many cases, people do deserve a tip, however, the problem is that normal in our area 10% in the US may find it almost insulting. And it’s one of the downsides of American life.


Tips and Russian debit card

Well, just talk about life hacking. Since people often pay not in cash but by Bank card, and tipping is quite normal to leave too card. First, you usually pay by card on the check, and then enter the tip amount and sign to in the future, the institution itself took off with your money (because the data card she had left). And… With me that never took off.

My opinion:

I don’t know, it’s the Russian origins of the card, its debit status, or something else. But at least it is an effective way of dealing with unjust enrichment.


Feeding for slaughter

Except fattening meal in the US will not name, because in most cafes and casual places the portions are enormous. Order an omelette — you make a huge plate, on one half of which is actually an omelet and the potatoes. Order a steak you bring it up with wagon fries (Oh, she’s everywhere), a large portion of salad and something else. Well, the steak will be at least a pound.

Sometimes one portion is enough for two. And if the menu says “to share” (big enough to share), then surely the third feed.

My opinion:

Well, at least some compensation for the big tip! But seriously, eat it all or not — only your choice. At least in America it is.


Pour how much you want

Another advantage of the local establishments: such simple drinks as soda (Sprite, Fanta, Cola and others like them) or soft drinks, you can endlessly pour. Or under the taps self-service, or just ask the waiter. And the drinks are inexpensive. Apparently, the cost is so small that Americans are not particularly worried. And, of course, the institution expects that along with the endless coke you order something substantial.

My opinion:

Better get used to it, and pay in our cafe 200 rubles for each glass of lemonade (any hot day) seems to savagery.


Gold mobile communication

Mobile communications in the United States on the one hand expensive and on the other is still not particularly high quality — good mobile Internet is not everywhere, coating operators, too, leaves much to be desired. The normal rate to the Internet costs around $ 40-50 per month.

My opinion:

Russian mobile network can be proud of. In spite of government obstacles (Hello “Spring package”) and the widespread growth rates in recent times, our bond and cheaper, and better America will be.


Golden Internet

Home Internet in the US is also not cheap. And again, not the most fast and stable. More or less acceptable rate will cost 50-70 dollars a month. Cable TV, as well as in Russia, usually also attached.

My opinion:

For me it’s amazing, of course. In the homeland of Microsoft, Google, Apple and, in fact, the Internet such a failure as access to the world wide web.


Taxes, taxes around

Unlike tips, taxes with every purchase you definitely have to pay. Well, in most cases they are much lower than in Russia. Basically the sales tax in the US — in fact the sales tax (similar to VAT). And it almost never display on the price tag. You see in the window iPhone XS with a tempting $999, and at the checkout you will be asked to pay something around $1100 (from state to state and even from town to town the number can vary).

Americans are so accustomed to all sorts of bonuses on top of that they sometimes openly fool. Met online services to the main price added tax (tax), gratuities (tips), and on top of some vague Commission (fee). Well, that is a dollar more, a dollar less?

My opinion:

If paying in cash, it is inconvenient when at the checkout turn into smooth 9.99 11.23. And you’ve got a bunch of small things (and small coins to pass then, oddly enough, are always). But since the majority of payments is made all the same card, usually problems non-round numbers don’t feel. And instinctively to any price begin to add 10% on top (except in some cases the tip). Although if you want to buy a bottle of water or a hotdog, most likely, the top did not ask. Then common sense prevailed.


Life without Tax Free

Oh, by the way, since there is no VAT, there is no system of Tax Free. Good purchase in America, count on impressive cash back at the airport, as in any Italy or France, is not necessary. There are some of the attraction for tourists, but it’s not the same.

My opinion:

Of course, with the tax refund shopping in the United States would have been more interesting, but it is often very beneficial.


What does “non-contact”?

You are mistaken if you think that the Americans is a very technologically advanced nation. In some areas they are significantly lagging behind Europe, Asia and even Russia. For example, terminals with contactless payment for them a rarity. Only recently, widespread terminals with service cards with chips. So what about a mass corresponding contactless payment cards or smartphones with NFC is not the question.

My opinion:

Not deadly, but amazing. Somewhere it is still impossible to paste — it is conducted upon the terminal of the magnetic tape. One of my cards, the tape was damaged (had pockets), and in some places I couldn’t pay because the terminal was not adapted for the chip and the piece of plastic just didn’t recognize. Russia’s never been a problem.


The Imperial system of weights and measures

USA — one of the few countries in the world that use English Imperial measure of weight: not miles, and miles, not kilos and pounds, liters and gallons, and so on. She is a former Empire (UK) have moved to generally accepted standards, but not the Americans. However, many packages are metric sizes. Well, the approximate ratio quickly remember.

My opinion:

You can live. For complex cases there is a calculator.


Medication is not for everyone

When purchasing certain medicinal products in pharmacies require a doctor’s prescription. Of course, this practice exists in many countries but in the US, this particularly strict. But without a prescription you can buy a huge number of different vitamins and dietary Supplements, which cost about 1.5-2 times cheaper than ours.

Without a prescription can buy medicine with a lower concentration of the active substance. For example, ibuprofen 800 mg may only be sold on prescription, but the same pain, but in release 200 mg is already available on a General basis. Needless to say that the pharmacist advised that if you need to 800 mg, just take 4 tablets of 200 mg?

My opinion:

With the necessity of the recipes is difficult to argue, and their need for each case to evaluate not ready. The choice of OTC drugs is still huge, and they are often sold in ordinary supermarkets (we kind of also want to allow the sale of drugs in conventional stores, but so far have not been reached).


Homeopathy is the norm!

If our wounds officially recognized homeopathy pseudoscience, in America this phenomenon is expressed more cautiously. Still, the turnover of such medicines here are much higher than ours. And my feeling is that the chances to stumble on a homeopathic remedy in the us pharmacy more than.

My opinion:

Pharmacology, like all medicine in America is so denezhnoemkaya business that any serious ban is not so easy to spend. Although, in my opinion, it’s a matter of time.


Cheaper by the dozen

In the US, a developed domestic wholesale sales: people used to buy one small bottle of water, and immediately a big pack with 20-30 vessels inside, not one beer, and immediately pack and so on. It is more convenient and much cheaper. As the average American usually goes shopping by car, to take away all the purchased stuff is not difficult.

My opinion:

This is a huge plus American retail. In Russia a bottle of water costs 20 rubles, 20 bottles — for 400 rubles. In America a bottle of water is $ 1, and 20 bottles — $ 3-4. I am sure that in Russia such a scheme also would be caught (after all, the cost of such products is much smaller than the final price), but somehow it still survives.


The world of free packet

I have never seen in American supermarkets, so someone has to pay for the packages. I think the idea to pay for the container will cause rejection and misunderstanding at the local. They decided to give as much as you need: at least 20 at a time. The packages are then expendable. Quality really appropriate, but it’s free. And Yes, almost always plastic bags, paper are much rarer (about the plastic like ban, but it’s targeted phenomena). And where GreenPeace looks?

My opinion:

We my opinion, the packages in respecting stores that do not position themselves as discounters, should be free. But those in Russia are less.


Believe in the word

And in the US it is accepted to believe in the word. Did not bring the loyalty card for the local supermarket chain, the store honestly say that I forgot, and I the seller still has a shot at a discount. Or a more serious case. Bought the card added $ 50, however, the code from her service did not accept — said that earlier it is used. I went to a local salon, explained the situation, and when my consultant immediately threw the $ 50 on the account. Similar situation we have, I just can not imagine.

My opinion:

Should learn. Despite the fact that it’s full of scoundrels, the presumption of innocence (by default they assume you’re telling the truth) makes American society more comfortable.


Best service?

However I would not say that the American service is the best in the world or even close to it. In cafes, in stores, in the service sector — all as lucky. Somewhere service with a smile, and somewhere or are completely indifferent, or will create additional problems. Although in General, if you compare the average temperature on hospitals, the American customer overall built better than the Russian.

My opinion:

The service in the U.S. you can learn only some of the examples. To say that differently, they can not, can not. Can bad very can. In Europe, this is still better.


The warm hospitality

Americans are more open and welcoming. At least, on duty, or in the case of the fleeting contact. Close friendship with an American I have no chance. In the United States are usually fairly easy to start a conversation on the street or heart to heart talk with the waiter. A simple example from life. It so happened that along with compatriots I became a member of a small accident.

And while waiting called the police, managed to chat to a COP who was just passing by and decided to see if we’re right: he managed to tell where he came from, where were going to go for a vacation, I heard about Russia, etc. In Russia, the picture is unlikely to see. And here is the norm.

My opinion:

Yes, the famous American smile in most cases artificial (man, rarely smiling, to determine this not too difficult), but again, better feigned cordiality than sincere berzelia or anger. And it should learn.



Sorry — one of the most common phrases that Americans pronounce. Hurt shoulder in the subway — then “Sorry”, will block the road, same thing. On the one hand, politely. On the other — comes to the absurd. Sometimes people, remembering the magic word, do not steamed, and not think about others. One teenage girl on the train has constantly put himself down on the chair, touching me shoes and brand consistently throwing “Sorry” — well, mum has taught. However, think about the consequences of their actions, the mother, apparently, forgot to tell.

My opinion:

To be able to say “Excuse me” — good quality. And even despite the fact that sometimes the Americans are right to apologize openly manipulated, with frequent “Sorry” as something more comfortable than when you pushed or stain clothing without apology.


His legs above his head

By the way, about feet. Throw your feet on a chair or table is another trademark of Americans. It seems that they can not sit quietly. In public transport too, and signs hung, and still someone will clutter. Or, sometimes, collapse on public benches or tables. What can we say, if we walk dozens of photos of former US President Barack Obama’s feet above his head.

My opinion:

It looks disgusting. Americans this habit is not exactly your colors.


Shoes can be worn

Well, another “barbaric” habit of the US population — do not remove street shoes at home, both at home and away. And not see any problems. Sometimes shoes and sit on the sofa and bed bed. Except in the shower don’t go.

My opinion:

Yes, American streets are much cleaner than ours, but, damn, not that much, not to observe basic hygiene. This is a habit I just never accept.

Mr BOLONKIN Director of the Internet company “Inmako”,

photo by the author.

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