Biggest Differences Between the US and Europe

Scotland, United Kingdom, England
These observations are purely facts (with just a small bit of my opinion thrown in) and not listed in any particular order. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the remainder. Of course, I have to mention that I did lump Europe, a continent composed of 50ish states (depending on your political views), into a single entity, but I was careful to select things I have personally observed and experienced at least a couple different countries in Europe. So, that should count for something, right?
Smoking
I recall a time in the US when you’d go into a restaurant and they would ask you,”Smoking or non-smoking?” Now, everything is non-smoking. Most public areas are smoke-free zones. As a non-smoker, I really like this. However, moving to Europe may not have been the wisest place to move to get a non-smoker who is bothered by the smell.
The Europeans smoke – in public, at home, or wherever they want. Granted, there are a number of locations where you will see a no-smoking sign, but they are few and far between, especially if you would like to go out for nightlife. And even if there is absolutely no smoking indoors, there are, without fail, at least three smokers sitting right in front of the door of whatever non-smoking establishment. Europe seems to be getting the”smoking is bad for you” rhetoric and scientific evidence to back it up, only slightly later than the United States. Although, I’m aware that France is aggressively tackling the issue, and it has seen decent results.
Driving
I cannot say with any confidence that European drivers are worse than American motorists. I can say that driving expectations are different and so affect how drivers behave. For instance, on European highways there are not exits every 12 miles with food and gas alternatives, like in the states. Or, that you can turn right on red in America, but this is illegal in Europe. And, my personal/least favorite, there are no street cops, and any ticket you’ll get will come from a (sometimes cleverly hidden) camera on the side of the street that flashes a bright white light of guilt at you, and you get to lament speeding, all of the way home.
Food
The grocery store in the countries is quite like a European grocery store, but just add two more cereal aisles, a whole chips-candy-soda aisle, three more health food aisles, eliminate the beer and wine aisle(s), and voila, the shops are identical.
At restaurants, if you order a large meal in the states, you expect to take home what you didn’t finish. In Europe, typically the rations are not large enough that there will be no food left, but if you ask to take the food home you may received any confused stares, and might possibly leave empty handed.
Nature Calls
In America, if you gotta go, it’s fairly easy to discover a restroom at a gas station or a public place (excluding New York). In Europe there are plenty of states that charge you to use the toilets at gas stations and in public places, but there are some others that simply do not even have a bathroom to offer. If you’re accustomed to not going before you leave the house in the states, when you travel to Europe, I would not recommend taking that opportunity.
Customer Service
All of us knew it was coming. Anyone who has been to Europe (or Europeans who’ve visited the US) knows that most European countries are not known for their stellar customer service (cough, cough France & Germany cough,cough). Shoot, if you’ve ever seen a movie or heard someone else talk about their trip to Europe, you probably knew that!
A bad customer service experience in Europe is one of those things that is not necessarily as bad as it seems, but it will for sure happen to you once; just like in the united states! But, the differences are the motives and your refuge. In the US, customer service in restaurants is over-the-top because waiters work for tips. In Europe, they don’t, so kissing your butt is not important to their livelihood. Also, in Europe, there is no Better Business Bureau, so if a bank teller or shop owner is rude to you, you just need to suck it up and not shop there anymore.
So, what do you think?
If you visited Europe and the US, what differences have you noticed? Am I 100% right or just 99% right?

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