February 2020
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I knew that I was back in the States once I sat down at the Chili’s in Atlanta’s Airport.

“Hi, my name is Kimberly and I’ll be your server tonight. What can I get for you tonight?”

It was that overly cheerful and aggressive name introductory nature of America, where waiters and waitresses wear nametags, even at the fanciest of fancy restaurants where you would think that a bit of formality would go a long way.

I sort of nodded and figured out what I wanted off of the menu, thus filling my stomach during my 3.5 hour layover in Atlanta. It wasn’t the first thing I did that reminded me I was in America: I bought a copy of Details for $3.95, and promptly forgot that sales tax is added after the fact. I prefer the VAT approach where the price you see is the price you pay.

After my first night’s rest in Bloomington, I realized that I needed to go shopping relatively quickly since I wanted to purchase a couple pair of pants: they are significantly less expensive in the States than Germany. I bought two pair for US$20 each.

However, while I was in Old Navy, I had one of those “Only in America” things happen to me. I picked out several pair of pants to try on and headed to the dressing room, where I was met by an employee.

“Hi, my name is Susie, and I’ll be helping you today. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do.”

I sort of grumbled thinking this was a bit excessive—only to be proven wrong.

In the middle of putting on the second pair of pants, she asked me, through the door, if everything was ok.

4 comments to America

  • ChrisC

    “…no Susie, everything isn’t o.k. I’m a bit horny and in needs of some company. Can you send Billy the stockboy over here?”

  • Adam, do you think the “agressive waitstaff phenomenon” is limited to US chains like Chili’s ? In the city of Chicago, where full-service restaurants were overwhelmingly independent, I didn’t usually experience the “Hi, my name is…” introduction…

  • Jerry, it might not happen in more formal independent restaurants, but it is still far more likely to happen at restaurants in the US than elsewhere–independent or chain.

    I’ve had waitresses introduce themselves to me at small independent restaurants all the time–think Village Deli in Bloomington, or Wee Willies, or… you get the idea…

  • Ed

    No…the nemo in my e-mail address is not from that fish. It is the last name of a very good friend of mine. He is gone now but never will be forgotten. What about the shoe stores in the mall? I tell them I’m just looking and they keep following me around. If they think I might be a shoplifter…How Rude! If they are trying to get up the nerve to ask me out…How nice! At any rate, when they follow me around I usually find a very expensive pair of shoes and when they go in the back to find them, I leave! (Those guys in the prison stripes are the worst)lol, Ed