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Questions about people/lifestyle of USA
I don't know whom to ask - so here it is!
vibgyor79




msg:304063
 8:11 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Having been fed on a fair dose of American culture thanks to Hollywood, TV shows, Archie Comics and now recently - the internet, I am more confused than ever.

I have a few questions on people/laws/lifestyle of USA. These questions have always been in my mind but I never knew whom to ask!
So, everybody, pick a question you like -

1) Why is everybody so crazy about catalogs? Aren't they a bunch of merchants trying to sell you stuff with the help of glitzy shiny printed matter?

2) Is gambling illegal in the US? Why are online casinos based outside USA [webmasterworld.com] even when we have Las Vegas choking with casinos?

3) What are food stamps? I think I read about them in Archie Comics a long time back. Do you get them in groceries? What do you do with them?

4) I hear that most US roads have a speed limit of 70 mph. Why do people buy exotic 200 mph Ferraris and Porsches?

5) Somebody in this forum mentioned that he pays 50 percent of what he earns to the government. Whaaat? Come again? 50 percent taxes?

I am really serious about this - I need answers, and I have no way of finding out - Google is no help either!

 

lawman




msg:304093
 12:25 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hello OnTheEdge:

Mivox was referring to the FORUM CHARTER [webmasterworld.com], and especially this part:

Posting Topics:
Topics related to computers and internet. A virtual back-corner cafe table for general net shop talk with fellow members.

The charter notwithstanding, we don't necessarily always follow the letter of the law - much leeway is granted. :)

lawman

mivox




msg:304094
 12:39 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

taxes when we gas up and commit those sins (alchohol & tobacco)

We've got sin taxes too. ;) Tip for those alcohol taxes, though: Homebrew! (if you live where it's legal, anyhow...)

vibgyor79




msg:304095
 3:18 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

Whoops! Taxes are a very touchy subject - sorry for bringing that up! But believe me, your replies have been useful.

A few more questions - please take your pick -

6) I hear 50 percent of all Americans own stocks. You own stocks because either you don't have a good investment alternative or you like taking risks. What are the bank Fixed Deposit interest rates for a three year deposit? Our banks give us 8 to 10 percent per annum so not may investors bother putting their money in stocks.

7) Probably just a rumor I have been hearing - Is it true that you cannot visit a hospital/doctor unless you have medical insurance? Any truth in that?

8) Lets get serious now - while looking for affiliate programs, I have come across Long Distance telephone programs. Why is this arena so competitive? Why is there such a big fuss over something as basic as telephony service? Are telephone costs really high there?

9) Do you still use dial-up internet? Since dial-up internet uses telephone lines, do you pay telephone charges too? Related Question: During the Banner Era, there were a number of "Free ISPs". Are they still around?

10) When does one get the SSN number? As soon as you come to this world? When you turn 18? When you open a bank account?

I think I will use Google to find out about the history - like the American Civil War (who fought against whom?) and the Great Depression (what exactly happened in 1920s?) - as I'm quite sure not many of you were born during that period ;)

mivox




msg:304096
 5:56 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

6) I hear 50 percent of all Americans own stocks.

Not the 50% I belong to... ;)

7) Probably just a rumor I have been hearing - Is it true that you cannot visit a hospital/doctor unless you have medical insurance? Any truth in that?

Some regular doctors will not accept patients without insurance. I believe hospitals must take everyone who comes into the emergency room, but based on my own experiences with and without insurance, you may get better services if you're insured.

Any non-emergency medical or dental care can be very hard to get if you do not either have cash to pay up front, or insurance to cover the charges. There are private charity groups who can help in some cases, and some states have programs to provide free care to uninsured children and/or low income people also.

8) Lets get serious now - while looking for affiliate programs, I have come across Long Distance telephone programs. Why is this arena so competitive?

Heck if I know. Phone charges are actually rather cheap.

9) Do you still use dial-up internet? Since dial-up internet uses telephone lines, do you pay telephone charges too? Related Question: During the Banner Era, there were a number of "Free ISPs". Are they still around?

Yes, I use dial up at home, as do a lot of other people. However, dial-up service almost always means you are dialing up a local phone number. In the US you generally have Local phone service, which costs a fixed amount each month regardless of how long you spend on the phone, and you have Long Distance service, which generally costs a certain amount per-minute that you spend making lond distance calls.

So I could spend all day, every day connected to the internet at home, and not pay a dime extra in phone fees... but if I tried to connect to my home internet account from another state, I'd have to pay by the minute for the long distance service.

10) When does one get the SSN number? As soon as you come to this world?

Yup. You're branded from day one. But you don't need a photo ID until you want to drive a car, or buy alcohol or cigarettes, or (in many cases) open a bank account or write a check, or rent a car, or rent a house, or do much of anything else involving money... ;)

Civil War (who fought against whom?)

Northern States against the Southern Confederacy... I couldn't rattle off a list of all the states, but I'm sure most people here could tell you which side their home state fought on.

the Great Depression (what exactly happened in 1920s?)

The stock market crashed... not sure why... and a whole bunch of companies went bankrupt, investors lost their life savings, people lost their jobs, and we got stuck in a nasty downward spiral economic slump.

However, I'm quite sure the stock market is driven by some kind of evil magic, so I can't really explain how it all started there... ;) I do know if it happens again, I won't lose my life savings though. (see Q.6)

Key_Master




msg:304097
 6:02 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

6. Some Americans have investments or pension plans that may be partially tied to stocks in some fashion but I'd hardly call that risk taking. I think the 50% figure is highly exaggerated.

7. If it's an emergency situation the hospital is obligated to administrate care regardless of the patient's ability to pay. It's a law.

8. Don't know why the competition is so fierce. Maybe we like to yibber yabber too much.

9. I use dial-up and most people I know do as well. Telephone charges still apply. As for "free" ISP's, I imagine a few still exist.

10. You can get one as soon as soon as a birth certificate is issued. Basically, right away.

gopi




msg:304098
 6:18 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

Lets get serious now - while looking for affiliate programs, I have come across Long Distance telephone programs. Why is this arena so competitive? Why is there such a big fuss over something as basic as telephony service? Are telephone costs really high there

Telephone charges are very very cheap here in US that too compare to india :) ..You see a lot of Long distance affiliate programs because there is that much companies which create a healthy competition.! In india telephony is a Government monopoly and now only they are starting to liberalise ....Also internet access are relatively cheap thanks to competition

Most people here in US can easily afford the basic luxury things like Car ,TV etc...In my opinion one factor that contribute to the american economic success is Consumerism...People love to buy stuff here and most dont care to save much :) ...I think this flow of money helps the economy greately , another thing that help the american consumerism is CREDIT CARDS! , almost all own a plastic here....

In india its reverse...Middle class people save almost 30-40% of their income :) and most invest in gold as saving which dont help the economy :) ...

[edited by: gopi at 6:24 am (utc) on Jan. 31, 2003]

vmcknight




msg:304099
 6:21 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

To go back to "food stamps": if you saw a reference in Archie comics to stamps coming with groceries, it was probably "Green Stamps". This was an incentive program used by a lot of grocers. You would get a certain number of green stamps each time you purchased something. You pasted those into booklets. When you had enough booklets, you traded them in at the "Green Stamp Store" for merchandise. They were also called "trading stamps".

On health care - you can get it without insurance, but it's expensive. There are a lot of government and private programs to help with the expenses, but not many people know how to find the ones that apply to them.

gopi




msg:304100
 6:28 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

On health care - you can get it without insurance, but it's expensive

Its damn expensive...if you fell sick and endup in intensive care for 3-4 days without insurance most likely you will loose almost a years salary :( ...this is another thing i dont understand about US yet...

vibgyor79




msg:304101
 8:19 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

No Gopi.. We don't put our money in Gold anymore. We have become slightly smarter now ;)
Mutual Funds are slowly replacing traditional forms of investment. But people still expect "guaranteed returns" from MFs!

Yes - I think that was "Green Stamps" after all.

After reading the comments about cars and catalogs, I have come to the following conclusion -

These Americans Are Crazy ;)

Thanks All - for the peep into American lifestyle. A few silly questions to end the discussion -

11) What is a LavaLamp? What is it used for? I haven't seen a Lavalamp in my underprivileged life. Yeah - Googleplex has a few - Maybe they will ship one over if I spend more on AdWords...

12) Why do Americans hate Lawyers? I think the profession is well respected in other countries.

13) Do Americans really like golf? Ugh! Plonking a ball with a club and running after it is not my idea of fun!

14) Why is the phrase "used car salesman" used the way it is? How is a used car salesman different from a new car salesman?

15) Love those car chase videos on TV (cops catching drunks). Sometimes I wonder if it is choreographed for the audience. Have you ever seen something like that in real-life?

curlykarl




msg:304102
 9:12 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

Is it true that there are no roundabouts in America?

[rsc.co.uk...]

:)

lawman




msg:304103
 12:04 pm on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

Why do Americans hate Lawyers?

I'm an American and I don't hate 'em. ;)

Love those car chase videos on TV (cops catching drunks). Sometimes I wonder if it is choreographed for the audience. Have you ever seen something like that in real-life?

Seen 'em; I was involved in one. Unfortunately I got caught.

gopi




msg:304104
 1:21 pm on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

Why do Americans hate Lawyers? I think the profession is well respected in other countries

Because this is a country with the highest number of lawsuits in the world...Also i heard the lawyers take a big percentage (like 30-40%) of the money they get for the victims if they win the lawsuit....

Even a couple of days agao some one try to sue the fast food companies for thier obesity :)

Do Americans really like golf? Ugh! Plonking a ball with a club and running after it is not my idea of fun!

I dont think golf as a american mainstream sport....Average american loves football (not soccar) , baseball , basketball , ice hockey in that order....Even tennis is not that famous here...

The funny thing here is all the sport teams are like corporations ...can be bought , sold and the players change teams often irrrespective of their hometown...

The most funny thing is we will connduct matches within US cities ( maybe some canadian cities like toronto will join) and the winner will be called as " WORLD CHAMPION" :) :) while the majority of the world dont know or care about it...very funny :)

But the Good part is people love a large number of games and there are so many games played here with their own fan base....not like in india where 1 billion people are obsessed with Cricket :)

OntheEdge




msg:304105
 3:26 pm on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

Lava lamp>> a product of the sixties, it was a hypnotizing device, designed to mesmorize those under the influence of foreign substance, in order to keep them out of trouble. Some believe it was a conspiracy.

Used car salesman>>> it's a catchall...includes new car salesmen too, also its a modernized version of snake-oil salesmen (back in the old west travelling salesmen selling so-called miracle potions often claimed they offered a miraculous snake-oil product which was usually useless)

Vampyre




msg:304106
 5:38 pm on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

An interesting note regarding lava lamps. Soap Lake, Washington is planning to build a giant 60 foot tall lava lamp as a tourist attraction.

dingman




msg:304107
 7:50 pm on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

CREDIT CARDS! , almost all own a plastic here....

I think a more accurate statement would be "almost all are owned by their plastic, here." At least, that's how I feel.

gopi




msg:304108
 9:07 pm on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)


I think a more accurate statement would be "almost all are owned by their plastic, here." At least, that's how I feel.

Very True :)

Mardi_Gras




msg:304109
 5:02 am on Feb 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Is it true that there are no roundabouts in America?

No - there are some - but here they are not nearly as popular a traffic control item as in Europe...

dingman




msg:304110
 5:07 pm on Feb 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think one of the reasons for the difference in popularity is that here, "roundabouts" (which many of us know as "traffic circles") tend to be larger than the ones I saw in Martinique. I am assuming that Martinique's trafic engineering is mostly European in style, though of course I could be wrong since I haven't made it to that side of the ocean yet.

The ones I'm familliar with over here take up the better part of a city block, and tend to have small parks or large monuments in the middle. If that's what you think a traffic circle is, it wouldn't occur to you to put one at the intersection of a couple moderately busy roads, because buying up the land to make such a thing would cost too much.

Syren_Song




msg:304111
 9:17 pm on Feb 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

6. The only reason I have stocks is because a company I used to work for gave them out as a company benefit.

7. Health insurance isn't a requirement, but it sure helps to get the bills paid if you have an emergency! If you're basically healthy, insurance can be more expensive than paying as-you-go when you need a doctor.

9. I use dialup service. My ISP is a different company, so I have to pay for that as well. I know there are several free ISPs, but you get what you pay for! ;)

12. I don't hate lawyers. I've worked for several. Then I fell in love and married a man who had just been accepted into law school! ;)

14. Some used car salesmen are less than honest when they sell cars. They lie or leave things out about the car they're trying to sell you. They usually work on commission, so they're trying to sell cars and don't care who they're selling them to or how they get the sales. Fortunately, not all used car salesmen are like that. Unfortunately, they've all got the bad reputation.

As for credit cards, just because people own them, it doesn't mean they can afford them. As a result, the number of people filing for bankruptcy increases every year, and the credit card companies don't seem to care. They just keep offering more and more credit to people who don't seem to understand that they still have to pay for what they buy on credit. It's just a bill that comes to them every month instead of a sudden large payment they've got to make to the store all at once.

ade_uk




msg:304112
 12:22 pm on Feb 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

further to the 'World Champion' bit.... thats always confused me :) perhaps some1 can enlighten me?

can other foreign teams enter the world series? ie there are thousands of other baseball teams around the world - are they not allowed to join the 'world series'?

is this also the same with american football - is there a 'world champion' element in this anywhere?

mivox




msg:304113
 7:19 pm on Feb 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Football, AFAIK just has the Super Bowl, which doesn't imply anything about 'world' anything... but the World Series/baseball thing always confused me as well. It's limited to official US Major League teams...

weblamer2




msg:304114
 8:09 pm on Feb 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

While we are on this topic, can I ask a few questions about India? Most of my indian information comes from tv.. and 'apu' from the simpsons...

1) is india really that stuffed with people? Whenever I see a train or a subway of india on tv, it is ALWAYS stuffed with people. I mean they are cramed in there, arms and legs sticking out the windows, people clinging on the sides...

2) Do big indian cities smell bad? Ive heard several references to stinks in india, usualy in sitcoms by people who are indians themselves..

3) Do indians ever get confused with americans calling native americans indians?

4) Are there alot of american films shown in india? I know India probably makes more films than america every year, but if I go to my local video store I can find only one or two indian films. Do you go to a special theator to see american films, or are they just mixed in with other films?

vibgyor79




msg:304115
 9:08 pm on Feb 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

hehehe.. questions about spiritual land of mystery eh? I thought you would ask me whether we still have snake charmers around here ;)

1)Population of India is 1.05 billion - slightly lower than China's 1.25 bilion. Set to overtake China in 2020. Big cities like Bombay (Mumbai) are really crammed with people and travel by train is a nightmare.

2) Some cities are really polluted - especially New Delhi thanks to all those automobiles. A few small "pilgrimage" cities are also quite polluted since they generally do not have the infrastructure to handle the tourist inflow. On the other hand, cities like Bangalore (software hub of India) are marked with trees on both sides of the road and is quite beautiful. Of course, I am a little easy on Bangalore since I stay here :)

3)I have no idea why Red Indians are called so. Yeah - a little confusing.

4) Almost all new hollywood movies are released in India - albeit two months late. Generally, Hollywood movies are shown in seperate theatres and the ticket prices are generally double that of Hindi movies. And yes, Indian movie industry (called Bollywood) churns out more movies than Hollywood.

P.S. -> You will still see a snake charmer or two in remote villages ;)

gopi




msg:304116
 9:23 pm on Feb 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

weblamer2 , I live in america but originally from india so i think i can answer your questions :)


is india really that stuffed with people? Whenever I see a train or a subway of india on tv, it is ALWAYS stuffed with people. I mean they are cramed in there, arms and legs sticking out the windows, people clinging on the sides...

Yup sure , an american if he goes to india the first time ( he will sure feel its too crowdy ( that too the 4 big metros) ...India is almost 10 times smaller than usa with 4 times more population . When i first landed in USA at Boston i thought the city looks deserted :)


Do big indian cities smell bad? I've heard several references to stinks in india, usualy in sitcoms by people who are indians themselves

Depends where you are , hey i think NY subway trains stink that dont mean american trains stink , right?


Are there alot of american films shown in india? I know India probably makes more films than america every year, but if I go to my local video store I can find only one or two indian films. Do you go to a special theator to see american films, or are they just mixed in with other films

Most of the american films especially the action flickers will be released in india , there will be no special theatres or something ... it will run along with indian movies ...Nowadays as a new trend , this movies are also dubbed in indian languages ....its fun to watch Brendan Frazer speak hindi with mummies :)

There was a lot of misconception about india in western media...They used to show india as a country of elephants/snake charmers/gurus ...now only its changing a bit. I lived in india for 22 years and i saw a snake charmer only once :)


Do indians ever get confused with americans calling native americans indians?

I dont think ..hey , we learned in history class that columbus landed in a new land "america" when his intention was to find a short sea route to india so i dont think there is a confusion

gopi




msg:304117
 9:31 pm on Feb 4, 2003 (gmt 0)


Hollywood movies are shown in seperate theatres and the ticket prices are generally double that of Hindi movies.

I dont think thats the case in all cities vibgyor

weblamer2




msg:304118
 9:32 pm on Feb 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Heh, native americans are called indians because when Europeans first landed in America, they thought they were in India.

Its only in the past 30 years or so that the term 'native americans' have been cropping up.

I want to see a snake charmer!

gopi




msg:304119
 9:54 pm on Feb 4, 2003 (gmt 0)


Heh, native americans are called indians because when Europeans first landed in America, they thought they were in India


Thats why i said there will not be a confusion among indians as we learned it in history and know that only Amerigo Vespucci explained that its not india but a new continent to europeans

mivox




msg:304120
 12:41 am on Feb 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

I want to see a snake charmer!

Get a cobra, and wave something back and forth in front of it while staying out of striking distance... :) If you have someone videotape it, you'll be able to watch a snake charmer afterwards! I'm actually surprised there aren't a lot of people doing that in India just to con money out of stupid tourists.

Personally, I just want to go because of the food... hehehe.

gopi




msg:304121
 1:06 am on Feb 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Personally, I just want to go because of the food

Me too..My mouth waters when i think of the spicy curries my mother used to make back home :)

vibgyor79




msg:304122
 2:45 am on Feb 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

My mouth waters when i think of the spicy curries my mother

Mama's Boy ;)

nutsandbolts




msg:304123
 12:12 pm on Feb 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

You should travel to the Curry Mile in Manchester, England - lots of fantastic curry houses there! Personally, I can only eat the ultra-mild Chicken Korma.

please, don't laugh.

Moving to the states myself soon(ish)... just so I can buy that lovely Biltmore Chardonnay wine ;)

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