Give America a little credit

1 year, 7 months and 26 days.

That’s all it took.

Just 604 measly days until some fucking fucker attempted to use my credit card.

Back in the UK I had held a credit card for over 22 years without any fraudulent activity at all and yet it seems that every American I have met has been the victim of credit card fraud.  I wonder why it happens here so often?

Very strange.

Oh, wait, my mistake, I’m talking total bollocks…it’s not strange at all.

As much as I love this country, they’re unbelievably lackadaisical about credit card security. They’re more careless than a micro-surgeon with Parkinsons; it’s ridiculous.

When I moved to America back in 2015, they were in the process of transitioning credit cards from the strip to the chip. This was for ‘added security’, and I so expected to be asked to enter my 4 digit PIN number[1] on every transaction.

Nope.

Apparently all that changed was that you now insert your card into the card reader at the front, instead of swiping it at the side.

Ooooh!

Basically, all it did was introduce Americans to another type of motion…..or ‘exercise’ as some of them call it.

And a lot of shops and stores don’t even use the chip reader because they don’t work or aren’t set up yet!

Not only are you not expected to enter your secret and secure 4 digit PIN, but more often than not you’re not even ask for a signature or proof of identity!

Petrol stations (Gas stations) vary in the way they take credit.  Some ask for a signature, some don’t; some ask for identification, most don’t. It’s a fucking minefield and thoroughly pisses me off when i’m not asked for ID.  I could be anyone!

It gets even worse at restaurants where the server takes your card away and you don’t see it for 5 minutes until they bring it back with a wad of receipts for you to sign. This, I discovered, is plenty of time for them to make a copy and charge it to some fucking clothing company in Beverly Hills to the tune of $650!

Wankers.

Back home in Blighty, the waiter or waitress (I really don’t like the term ‘server’) brings the credit card machine to your table and you enter your PIN number directly into it. The card never leaves your sight.

Not once.

Ever.

It’s such a simple thing and saves a shit-ton of paper.  Seriously, why am I given so many pieces of paper?  I always pause when trying to figure out which one i’m supposed to sign and which one i’m supposed to take home and wallpaper the house with.

And the scariest thing of all is that no-one in America seems surprised about credit card fraud; a compromised card over here is as common as rain in England…or drunken violence.

So now I had no choice but to cut up my existing card and wait for another to be delivered. Thankfully I have another credit card I can use until some bastard decides to help fund some Nigerian prince with it.

Debit cards, on the other hand, need a PIN number to be entered.

I give up.

[1] Yes, I know that PIN stands for ‘Personal Identification Number’, so saying “PIN number” is effectively saying “Personal Identification Number number”.

A queer insult.

Sometimes the difference in culture between the UK and the USA rears its ugly, and usually amusing, head. Today was one of those times.

At work we have some internal instant messaging software which is great for employees to communicate when they:

A) Can’t call.

B) Won’t call.

C) Have the social skills of a gibbon with its scrotum in a jar of fire ants.

As my department is like a central hub for any questions or issues from our call centre, we get a lot of instant messages to help out with all kinds of weird and wonderful situations.

Here is a conversation I literally just had:

Fran: Hi, I need some help

Me: Hey Fran, it’s Daniel, your favorite Brit 😉

Fran: Hey Daniel! How’s it going?

Me: Pretty good. Busy! So what’s up?

(For security reasons, this part of the conversation is omitted as it’s work related.  Needless to say, I fixed the problem like a boss!)

Me: Done!

Fran: Great! Thanks.

Me: No problem 😉

Fran: Have a great day!

Me: You have a great day too 🙂

Fran: Poof

Now, she meant to imply that she magically and dramatically vanished from the conversation in a puff of smoke, like a genie….or Batman.

To me she ended that conversation with ‘Faggot‘.

I laughed like a drain for at least a minute, solidly.

It was one of the funniest insults I’ve received since living in America, particularly because it was unintentional and from a person who wouldn’t even say boo to a goose (with or without their nuts in a jar of fire ants).

poof

This is also the word we use for an ‘Ottoman’. England is a weird place.

 

This book is a crock of shit.

As I’ve said countless times, there are words here in America that don’t mean the same things as they do back in England.

For example, the word ‘Fanny‘ means ‘Bum‘ here in America, whereas in England it means ‘Vagina‘.

Say “Fanny Pack” in front of ANY Brit and watch them grin, ear to ear. To me, a packed fanny is something completely different, and usually the result of a good night.

And going off that, the word ‘Bum‘ in America means a homeless person, whereas in England we use the word ‘Tramp‘, which means ‘Slut‘ in the U.S.

It all gets a bit confusing,

Anyway, I saw this in a supermarket yesterday:

dumpmealsbook

Isn’t this what we all do, eventually?

Once I’d stopped laughing and shaking enough to take this photo, I wondered if maybe the word ‘Dump‘ isn’t used as an alternative to ‘Poo‘, both as a verb and a noun.

Nope.

The word ‘Dump‘ means the same in America as it does in England, so I can only assume – considering the full title – that this is a book of recipes than can be ‘dumped’ into a slow cooker (crock pot) and left to cook…with ‘5 Ingredients or Less!’

Either that, or it’s a book of recipes that make you shit yourself.

It’s a crap shoot.

Bogey or Booger? You pick.

During a conversation with colleagues at work today, the subject moved to bogies [boogers].

This is indicative of the level of maturity we share.

It strikes me as odd that of all the things in the world to have a different word attributed to it, solidified nasal discharge would never have been on my list.  Now, for a change, I’m not saying the UK word is better than the US word.  In fact, they’re both a bit strange.

The UK word. ‘bogey‘ is also another word for one stroke over par in golf, or an enemy in an aerial dogfight.  Having “a bogey on your tail” means an enemy is coming up behind you and you’re in trouble…or a toddler got a bit too close to the family dog.

The US word ‘booger‘ is another word for…well, nothing actually.  Booger isn’t anything else, so by definition this word should be THE word for our beloved congealed snot balls.

I think that’s the one we should pick (groan).

Now, since living in Las Vegas I’ve noticed a distinct difference in the quality of my nose candy.  In the UK they were slimier, wetter and more malleable.  In Las Vegas they come out like a large piece of tree bark and can be used to saw logs in half.  This is useful when you’re shy a bread knife.

Obviously this is due to the lack of humidity in the Nevadan air compared to Blighty, but I do miss rolling them up and flicking them at people.

Now I just use them as a shiv.

bark-bogey

I thought this was the land of the Free? 

In the UK there are sales and specials in the shops this time of year.  One of these specials is a 2 for 1 offer known as ‘Buy One,  Get one Free‘,  or BOGOF

This is a little tongue in cheek because the term “Bog off” is a playful version of “Fuck off“. Reserved for your kids pre-moving out age. 

Then “Fuck off”  is perfectly acceptable. 

Anyway,  in America they have the same offer,  but it’s called BOGO.

So you ‘Buy One,  Get One‘.  Isn’t that just ‘Buy one‘? 

I mean,  if I  buy a car,  I get a car. That’s what buying something is…isn’t it? 

So why leave out the word’ Free‘?  It’s not like America doesn’t like that word.  

Well,  except maybe ‘sugar-free’ 

Here kiddy, kiddy, kiddy.

There is a little known fact that American children are made of glass.

It’s true; they’re such delicate little snowflakes that the mere thought of them near danger results in the country childproofing everything!

Think of the children!”

I’d rather not; you can get arrested for that shit.

Nothing demonstrates this more than the roads outside schools. There are big signs indicating a ‘School Zone’ with yellow lights that, when flashing, indicate you must slow down to the speed limit shown on the sign.

The Police are VERY vigilant of this I’ve been told.  After all, “Think of the children!

school_zone

These speed limits vary from 25 mph all the way down to ‘Get out of your car and push it‘, and start about 30 miles outside the ‘School Zone’.  “Think of the children!

At face value this is a great idea, but I have never EVER seen an unsupervised child cross the street outside a school. This isn’t The Goonies.  In fact, I’ve never even SEEN a child outside a school when the lights are flashing.

Ever.

Oh, wait, that’s not true.  I have seen kids outside when the school kicks out.

Hundreds of little miracles, hands firmly held by their parents or being loaded into cages.  At these times there are Lollipop men/women (crossing guards) walking out into the street, slowing and stopping the traffic.  These people make the flashing signs redundant.

Take a look at this..

This is a Google street view of the school I actually attended as a 7 year old boy in England, with a school I go past regularly here in Vegas (and the inspiration for this post).

skoolsukusa

Anyone for Frogger?

Back in my day (insert Yorkshire accent here) you left school and crossed the street between parked cars by looking both ways before doing so.  It was called ‘common sense’, or ‘not wanting to be splattered by an oncoming car’.  The speed limit was (and still is) 30 mph.  It’s slow enough to stop if a child runs out, and fast enough to speed up if a child runs out.  We like choices.

But in America we have to drive 15 mph in case, god forbid, an unattended child should run out of the school, across the vast car park (parking lot), past the planters and shrubs and onto the wide open road that has no parked cars obstructing them from view.

Seriously, I could be doing 70 mph and see these little angels coming.

I’d have to work really hard to actually hit one. Believe me, I’ve tried.

Those fuckers are fast.

In this mollycoddling nation of snowflakes and participation trophies, the little lambs are never let out of the sight of their parents who usher them from the school building to their oversized SUVs like a celebrity leaving a nightclub.

papped

So why do we all have to slow down from a measly 35 mph to an awkward kiddy-fiddling kerb crawl?  I get nervous when I have to drive by a school slowly, especially with only one hand on the wheel.

10 to 2.

Eyes straight.

But seriously, where is that healthy respect for traffic we all had growing up?  What happened to looking both ways when crossing the road?  Where is the Green Cross Code?

People need to ‘Stop‘, ‘Look‘ and ‘Listen‘.

Instead they ‘Don’t Stop‘, ‘Don’t Look‘ and ‘Sue‘.

In every country in the world, pedestrians need to watch out for oncoming traffic…but in America, traffic has to watch out for oncoming pedestrians. It’s ridiculous!  I know I’ve touched on this before, but it baffles me how backward this is.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big advocate for road safety…..but not as much as I am for natural selection.

Here kiddy, kiddy, kiddy.

You are what you eat (and you’re full of shit)

Before moving to America, my wife told me how many chemicals and additives there were in American food.  It seems the USA doesn’t have the strict regulations that Europe has regarding the shit that companies can inject into what we eat and drink.

I had no idea to what extent she was not kidding!

I first noticed how much sugar there is in stuff over here.  It’s in everything, but to the Nth degree!  Bread has been the biggest surprise; if you open a bag of bread and smell the loaf [insert toilet gag1 here], it smells like cake.  And cakes here are so sweet they’ve surpassed the maximum sweetness possible by the laws of nature and have shifted into another dimension entirely.

But it doesn’t stop with sugar (ever!).  The adverts (commercials) here use the addition of unnecessary chemicals and additives to promote and sell their foods.

Ice-cream is advertised with “No Growth Hormones!“, burgers promoted as having “No hormones, antibiotics or steroids!” and even dairy products brag about their milk having “50% less sugar“, or cheese being “100% cheese, not 51%“.

51%?  Bit random.

Now, I know this is a scare tactic to make you question their competitors’ products, but was I delusional to assume these products wouldn’t contain this shit as standard?

“Hey! Try our new coffee, made with 100% coffee and absolutely no wood screws or powdered glass!”.

Mmm, delicious.

It’s on a level my wife could never have prepared me for.  Even salt here is packed full of additional ingredients and chemicals, the names of which baffle and terrify me in equal measures.  I mean, it’s salt!  Surely the ingredient of salt should be salt?  I understand the need for an anti-caking agent, but outside that….it should be just salt, right?  Or am I overthinking this?

This unnecessary use of additional ingredients reminded me of something my wife showed me back in England; it was the list of ingredients for McDonald’s french fries in the UK and the USA.  Check this out…

fries-uk-vs-usa

Potatoes, oil and salt.  What more do you need?

And it doesn’t stop there.  Check out this seasonal favourite!

latte-uk-vs-usa

Nothing in red can be good!

So let’s take a moment to digest (or not) that the US version of this beverage has ‘Caramel Color’ in it…twice.  This is an ingredient that has been considered carcinogenic by the Agency for Research on Cancer!

So….Fuck. That.

Now, I’m aware these images have been pulled from the internet and could be utter bullshit….but they’re not.

Or are they? 2

So here are a couple of photos I took of products I’ve seen at work that defy the laws of sense and responsibility.

Recognise these, America?

bottles

I drink a lot of coffee….and it says ‘mate’…what’s not to love?

They’re sat next to the coffee machine looking sweet and innocent (and boy are they sweet!).

They look like cream and they taste a bit like cream….but they’re NOT cream.  They are so far from cream, they might as well be a car.

The fact they’re not stored in the fridge should have alarm bells ringing in your head.  In fact, the word ‘cream’ doesn’t appear in the terrifying list of ingredients at all!

ingredients

Do you notice the first (and therefore largest) ingredient is sugar? It appears BEFORE water!

This shit doesn’t even have milk in it, although there is a milk derivative.

A derivative?  What’s a derivative?

Well, Google defines it as:

Adjective – (typically of an artist or work of art) imitative of the work of another person, and usually disapproved of for that reason.

Or

Noun – something that is based on another source.

So yeah, it means ‘something that resembles milk, but isn’t‘.  I suppose that’s why it ends with ‘Not a source of lactose‘.  That’s great for those who are lactose intolerant I suppose.  But in all honesty, lactose is probably less harmful to those people than the cocktail of sugar, water and oils in this easy-pump jizz.

Yes, it looks like jizz.  You’ve all thought it.

And it doesn’t stop there.  I saw these packets on a shelf yesterday!

popeyehoney

Wait…Corn Syrup, Fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup? What the actual fuck?

It seems Popeye’s took honey and added crap to make it sweeter (what??) and more ‘honey-coloured’!  I can’t get over the lunacy here!  Why not just leave it as honey?  After all, isn’t honey sweet enough?  I didn’t taste it because I didn’t want to be sucked into another dimension.

Also, did you notice the appearance of ‘Caramel Color’ again? Those aren’t pictures of hexagonal honeycomb cells on the packet; they’re human cells dripping with cancer.

soapbox

1 Pun/Play on words intended
2 They’re not