Some pessimists say that with the fall of the Iron Curtain we immediately discarded everything Russian and started to adopt everything American with no critical thinking involved. Like language, food, mass culture… If you think about it, there are a few symbols of everyday America that did not become a part of our lives…
We do not use checks to pay for purchases. Nope. We do not have the oblong diary-like checkbook in our bags and purses. We do not use the term bounce. Well, maybe when talking about breasts, but not checks. Czechs don’t use checks. We have our cash and credit cards, whereas “credit cards” refers to cards to an account where there actually IS money.
#2: Drinking fountains
With a very few exceptions, like airports or some new sports centers you are not going to find drinking fountains anywhere. School kids have vending machines or store-bought soft drinks, and if they really want to they can drink tap water. Also, drinking fountains will probably never be installed at or near places that make money by selling drinks (cafés, bars…).
#3: Boys sacking groceries
Czechs’ shopping habits are incompatible with this part-time profession. Many people have their permanent shopping bags (cloth-made), and there are people who like to have their groceries arranged because they often have to carry them home, usually on foot or on the bus. In the U.S. you would not expect a shopper to walk one mile with their grocery bags. In the Czech Republic many people stuff their plastic bags and walk home.
#4: Automatic transmission
There ARE cars with RND12 transmission in this country, but just like much of Europe, people like their stick. Many students or season workers who spend some time in the U.S. and come home sing odes about driving with only one hand and one foot, but then time passes and they get back to their manual transmission and everything is back to normal.
This used to be a huge surprise. Pagers were making their way onto the telecommunications market back in 1990’s. Telecom providers felt people would want to be reachable everywhere, just like doctors and FBI agents from then-favorite TV shows (I have my pager with me so if you need anything just page me…). Nope. Czechs skipped pagers and went straight to cell phones.
#6: Shoes in the house
All Czechs have hallways in their apartments and houses. When they come home, they lose their coats and shoes right there so that they don’t make a mess throughout the house. How can you walk on your living room carpet wearing the street shoes? they would ask. Take Friends, for example. Chandler comes home from work and he walks right into the living room – and bedroom. Even in winter. And I find it hard to believe that Monica would not have a doormat when there are two feet of snow outside. Yuck. Weird. Czechs like their carpets and parquets clean.
#7: Paperboy deliveries
Newspaper delivery used to be a huge business and if I recall correctly there used to be a huge anti-monopoly dispute when some newspaper publishers established purpose-made company that would muscle out the already established ones. Either way, boys on bikes throwing rolled-up dailies on front lawns? Nope. There are news stands virtually everywhere and people like to purchase their paper on the way to work — and to read it while riding trams and buses. Subscribers get their paper in their mailbox as a part of mailing service they paid for…
#8: Flag pride
We do not display flags on regular basis and we do not “have it everywhere”. We will wrap in it during international soccer events, and during some soccer league matches you can even see the flag with the name of the fan club and city written in bold letters in the white part of it — but even people who are “proud to be Czechs” will not have a flag pole in front of their house…
→ Any other examples?
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