43 Things In The United States That Don’t Exist In The United Kingdom That You Had No Idea About

Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: What does the US have that does not exist in the UK? Here is one of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread. Thank you to the team at Quora for making this happen!
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1. Free refills.

2. A tipping culture. Tipping is rare, and 10% is generous.

3. Guns. Well they have guns in the UK, but nothing like so many. And no real equivalent of the NRA.

4. Large numbers of homeless people.

5. A constitution that is known about and considered important.

6. Free speech. People have been sent to prison for what they’ve written on Twitter. It’s much easier to sue for libel in the UK.

7. Megachurches. There are big churches in the UK, but they’re mostly considered historical buildings, rather than places of worship. (Update from Thomas Johnson – apparently there is at least one megachurch.)

8. Arguments about mixing religion and government. The queen is the head of the church. But she delegates responsibility to the prime minister.

9. Deserts.

10. Extremely long highways. The longest road in the UK is the A1, it’s 410 miles long.

11. Arctic regions.

12. Volcanoes. Extinct ones, but nothing as exciting as Mount St Helens.

13. Corn dogs. I never saw a corn dog until I came to the US.

14. Real Mexican food. There are Mexican restaurants, but they’re rare. And they’re not very Mexican. I never saw a quesadilla in the UK. (Update: London now has Chipotle restaurants.)

15. Cellphone numbers that look like regular numbers. Cell phone numbers in the UK start 07, so you know if you’re calling a cellphone.

16. Police with guns.

17. Huge empty spaces with very little in them.

18. (American) football teams. Well, ones you’ve heard of.

19. Baseball teams. Ditto.

20. Basketball teams. Ditto.

21. A large population of Hispanic people.

22. Handball courts.

23. 30 year fixed rate mortgages. Mortgages tend to be 25 years and tend to be variable rate. Sometimes they’re fixed for a small number of years (10 would be a long time).

24. Acetaminophen (well, they have it in the UK, but call it paracetamol). But you can’t buy more than 24 in one go, and they come in blister packs, not bottles.

25. Earthquakes. Small ones, occasionally caused by mining.

26. Tornadoes.

27. Hurricanes.

28. Rocket scientists.

29. Fire hydrants. They’re called hydrants, but they look nothing like what US hydrants look like.

30. Weirdly restrictive alcohol laws. You can give your five year old alcohol, as long as you’re at home.

31. Medicinal marijuana.

32. Hot weather. I only know of one occasion when it reached 100F anywhere in the UK.

33. Cold weather. The lowest temperature ever recorded in the UK was -17F.

34. Illegal immigrants. Well, there are some, but not many, and it’s not a massive deal. Australians are the most common kind.

35. Private universities. They exist, but there are very few (one main one). I don’t know anyone who has been to one.

36. Grits. Never seen it in the UK.

37. Iced tea. It exists in the UK, but if you ask for it in a restaurant, they’ll think you’re strange.

38. Rabies. It’s a big deal. Bringing a dog or cat to the UK from another country is hard work.

39. Bankruptcy due to health costs. Bankruptcy is much rarer – I’ve never heard a story of someone being declared bankrupt in the UK (although it’s possible), but no one has ever gone bankrupt because of health problems.

40. Cheese whiz.

41. Pancakes. Most of the time. (Pancakes in the UK are rarely eaten on days other than Shrove Tuesday, they’re also thinner than an American pancake).

42. Roof solar panels. (At least, I’ve never seen them, I suspect they’re rare, and unlikely to be cost effective.)

43. Ads for prescription only medicines to consumers. (The only countries that allow this are the US and New Zealand.) TC mark

Travel abroad without leaving your chair. Read A Year Without Make-up here.

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This comment originally appeared at Quora.

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