Simple things that do not work in the US

In the well-established tradition of being a grumpy person who complains, I can't resist describing a couple unexpected things a European might expect would work in the US, which do not work well at all.

In this post, I avoid major things. If I didn't, I'd have to start with the US medical system. Or the extortion-enabling software patent system. Or the gerrymandering of political districts. Or first-past-the-post voting instead of ranked-choice. Or the lack of any accountability by the "news media" - of any brand - to report what's true and important, and to not misinform with what's false and unimportant.

You get the gist. This is about a couple of everyday things.
  1. Dysfunctional Telephones

    Unlike any other country I've lived in, in the US you can expect to be bothered by illegal spam calls with faked caller ID numbers multiple times a day. I'm in the "Do Not Call" registry, yet today I'd been up for 4 hours and had already received three of them. My wife gets a similar amount. If you pick up calls from numbers you don't know, most of them will be illegal spam calls. You can't block them because the numbers are faked and random. You'd be blocking a legitimate person and it's unlikely the number will be reused to call you.

    From what I can tell, this has not been addressed by US telephone companies because they do not consider it their problem. Recently, the FCC has called on tech companies to work out solutions to block the illegal calls, but we know the current administration's FCC is corrupt, and so are the companies. So we'll see how that goes.
  2. Dysfunctional Toilets

    Ever watch an American movie or TV show where the characters chase each other around with plungers? Why would everyone have plungers?

    Well, because over here in Texas, my 5-year old's poos are big enough to clog the toilet. Seriously; this happened a few days ago. To Europeans, it is unimaginable that when you poo as a grown person, you have to use your rectal sphincter to control the size of the resulting poo. In the US, this is what you have to do. Otherwise, you make a poo that's too big. If you make a poo that's too big, it clogs the toilet. And then you're going to need that plunger.

    To be fair, perhaps for some reason unknown to me, there exists an unavoidable tradeoff. In Europe, toilets do not clog. However, they contain much less water. When you poo in Europe, the log goes straight on the porcelain. You can flush, and it never clogs - unless maybe if you try it on purpose. However, because the log has touched the porcelain, it gets dirty with sticky poo. So instead of the plunger, you need a brush to clean the toilet.

    So Europeans have brushes, and Americans have plungers. And of course also brushes. Woo!

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