Wednesday, June 02, 2010


One of things I've noticed while traveling around Europe, both on this trip and when we went in 2006, is that they do a lot of things better than we do. That's not to say we Americans don't get it right most of the time, we do, but we could learn a few things from the people across the pond. So I thought I would make a list, in no particular order of importance, just put it on paper as it comes to mind.

Cashiers at the grocery stores sit down.

You bag your own groceries in your own bag, or buy one, even the cheap throwaway plastic ones.

You must deposit .50 to get a grocery cart, you get it back when you return it to the covered cart spot. Carts are dry when it rains and not scattered all over the parking lot. They are not in the neighborhoods either.

Many busy intersections have a traffic circle, no signals, traffic seems to flow pretty well with no delay waiting for a green light. Also no one runs a red light, there are none.

In Germany and Austria on the autobahns, there are periodic electronic maximum speed signs that can be changed for traffic and weather conditions.

Also on the autobahns, unless you're passing, you stay in the right lane.

People actually signal when making a lane change.
Most cars run on diesel and get great mileage. Our lease car gets over 50 MPG

When you make a reservation at a B&B, your word is the only guarantee required.

You pay in cash when you leave, not when you arrive.

The same for many hotels, room charges included, with no credit card number.

Breakfast is almost always included in hotels and guesthouses.

In France, when you pay a restaurant bill with a credit, card, they bring the card reader to your table. The card never leaves your sight. In Germany the waiter goes over the bill with you.

You pump, before you pay.

In France, Germany, and Austria, the tip in included in the cost of the meal. You can leave a small amount if the service was especially good, but it's not expected. When you see the price of an item on the menu, that's the total price, tax and tip.

In France it's the law, in other places they do it too, the menu is posted on the outside of the restaurant.

When you get a table, it's yours as long as you want it, no one is rushing you. In fact in France, you may think the waiter is ignoring you. You have to ask for the bill.

Wine and beer are cheap. A six pack in a German market can go for as little as $2. and that's German beer.

California wine in the grocery store is cheaper here than at home with the exception of Two Buck Chuck, which I haven't seen here.

When you order the house wine in a restaurant, you'll usually get a good regional wine.

In France there are speed cameras. First you see a sign telling you of the camera ahead. Next a sign reminding you of the speed, then comes the camera. If you get your photo taken, you're stupid or just not paying attention. If the if either is the case, let someone else drive.

Just about every town of any size, has a tourist office.

In Germany on the autobahn, there are numerous rest stops. The bathrooms suck, unless...

At German autobahn plazas, rest stops with gas, restaurants, and sometimes hotels, the restrooms are very clean, but you pay .50 at a turnstile.

You want a clean restroom? Go to one that you pay a small fee for. The toilet seat gets cleaned and dried automatically with each flush.

The French know how to make bread.
Most people speak some English, just about all young people do.
That's all I can think of but I'm sure there's more. Perhaps one day I'll list what Europeans do poorly.


Dibb Family said...

Wow, quite the list and I like it... Booze is taxed heavily here, that's why it's more... how is it they can get 50 MPG with diesel and nothing here gets that close?

Anonymous said...

A friend to everybody is a friend to nobody...................................................