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Life in the US
Old 02-16-2012, 06:39 PM   #1
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Life in the US

As I went to the airport to pick up DW a tire blew out (I-95 no less). Took the first exit, took off the ruined tire and replaced with the mini-spare, picked up my bride. On the way home we stopped off at Whole Foods to pick up some dinner, because it was late to be cooking (7:30pm). I then looked up the Michelin website for local dealers, called two, got a fair price for one tire and scheduled to have it mounted tomorrow morning.

We complain so much about life here in the US, but I think it is amazing I can get that done so easily (hopefully not counting my chicks before they hatch). Not sure if it can happen like this anywhere else, but certainly not anyplace I have lived or traveled to.
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Old 02-16-2012, 06:50 PM   #2
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I've never lived outside the US...I probably take my way of living for granted sometimes.

Thanks for the reminder of how fortunate I am to call America home....
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Old 02-16-2012, 06:54 PM   #3
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As I went to the airport to pick up DW a tire blew out (I-95 no less). Took the first exit, took off the ruined tire and replaced with the mini-spare, picked up my bride. On the way home we stopped off at Whole Foods to pick up some dinner, because it was late to be cooking (7:30pm). I then looked up the Michelin website for local dealers, called two, got a fair price for one tire and scheduled to have it mounted tomorrow morning.

We complain so much about life here in the US, but I think it is amazing I can get that done so easily (hopefully not counting my chicks before they hatch). Not sure if it can happen like this anywhere else, but certainly not anyplace I have lived or traveled to.
I couldn't agree more! We are so fortunate to live here IMO. We tend to notice the aggravations we have, more than the aggravations we do not have here in the U.S.
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:19 PM   #4
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So, you find it amazing that a tire store will sell you a tire and a food store would sell you some food?
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:27 PM   #5
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I think your particular example could be dealt with in a similar manner in most developed countries but even compared to other first world countries, I think we have it a little easier than most, especially in terms of availability of services and consumer goods.

Comparing the US to my home country of England, I'd say that on average they have an equally high quality of life (perhaps higher) but that the way of life is a bit less consumer-oriented. As a disclaimer, I have not lived there since leaving in 1987 and only make relatively short visits every few years.
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:59 PM   #6
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Make two phone calls at 7:30 PM, get a competitive price and commitment to have the tire delivered to the shop and mounted the next morning? It is a level of service that I think is hard to beat. Maybe I've had a sheltered life, but it seems to me life has become quite convenient.

Just some random thoughts...
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:08 PM   #7
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You have a point. I do notice when I go back to England that most places of business close around 5:30. That was why I chose my wording carefully to add a bit of extra room for error
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:08 PM   #8
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And even more remarkable, with the right insurance coverage, a single call could have summoned a man with a big truck with flashing lights, who would have changed that tire for you...Now that is cool.
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:09 PM   #9
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Dunno, from prior experiences of working in South America - Have customs "expert" meet relative at airport and then hand off to driver who delivers said relative to residence. Maid/cook in the meantime has prepared a nice meal so that everybody is comfy - works pretty well too. (but it certainly wouldn't if I was doing it on my own)
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:45 PM   #10
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Make two phone calls at 7:30 PM, get a competitive price and commitment to have the tire delivered to the shop and mounted the next morning? It is a level of service that I think is hard to beat. Maybe I've had a sheltered life, but it seems to me life has become quite convenient.

Just some random thoughts...
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You have a point. I do notice when I go back to England that most places of business close around 5:30. That was why I chose my wording carefully to add a bit of extra room for error
I also left the UK for the US in 1987 but spent 10 weeks there in 2010 and 7 months there last year.

I can confirm that most businesses outside of major cities would be closed by 5:30 - 6:00 (many grocery stores may stay open longer). Life is very convenient here in the USA.

Christmas 2010 I also happened to be England. I went for a walk down to town center on Dec 26th and it was empty, all shops closed. I found it quite refreshing.
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Old 02-16-2012, 09:02 PM   #11
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Here, I would have fired the driver (upon return) and with one phone call I could have more drivers (then you could shake a stick at) lined up outside before the DW ever made it home.

My second call would be to the doctor asking him to stop by with a Valium (Doctors make house calls) in the event DW was in the car at the time of the blowout and suffered emotional trauma.

Since I had a few extra minutes (till the cook prepared dinner) I would probably have a second cocktail and reflect on how bad life as an expat can truly be!
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Old 02-16-2012, 09:12 PM   #12
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I'm glad you got the tire changed so quickly and were able to meet your DW's plane on time and then got the replacement tire lined up, Michael. And anyone could have done it, not just the rich people.

You also prove one of my pet theories that happiness/satisfaction in life comes from within--another person (okay, Mr. BWE ) would have been fuming about that stupid tire and road debris and having to wait until the next day before the tire replacement could be made.
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:56 AM   #13
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And even more remarkable, with the right insurance coverage, a single call could have summoned a man with a big truck with flashing lights, who would have changed that tire for you...Now that is cool.
in the past I have used it. This time, however, I was in a rush and didn't want to wait for the AAA truck. It was only a tire change, DW was at the airport and had already had a stressful day so I pulled into a parking lot, changed the tire and was quickly on my way, dirty hands and all.
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Old 02-17-2012, 06:12 AM   #14
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Dunno, from prior experiences of working in South America - Have customs "expert" meet relative at airport and then hand off to driver who delivers said relative to residence. Maid/cook in the meantime has prepared a nice meal so that everybody is comfy - works pretty well too. (but it certainly wouldn't if I was doing it on my own)
Most of the time we lived there we saw others live like that, and for a short while we too had the resources but chose not to. I find some priviledge excessive when there is such need. No one else but me went to the airport for DW, the kids, or any family member. We had help, but just one person who was with us for many, many years and was paid and treated fairly and with whom we still stay in touch.

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I'm glad you got the tire changed so quickly and were able to meet your DW's plane on time and then got the replacement tire lined up, Michael. And anyone could have done it, not just the rich people.

You also prove one of my pet theories that happiness/satisfaction in life comes from within--another person (okay, Mr. BWE ) would have been fuming about that stupid tire and road debris and having to wait until the next day before the tire replacement could be made.
Right on both counts. I admit to some fuming but had it over with by the time I reached the airport.
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Old 02-17-2012, 06:55 AM   #15
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I must live in the Third World part of the country. Getting a new tire and having it installed is a whole day 100 mile trip event.
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:40 AM   #16
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Michael, I totally agree that life in US is very comfortable, convenient and we should be thankful. OHOH, there’s always some tradeoff.

For example, I read a post from an expat lady who went to Italy with her family from US. She lives in Milano. She said she weeps every time when she buys new clothes and shoes for her daughters, and she weeps again every time when she buys big fresh pears from local fruit market near her home because she doesn’t know where she could find such a good deal (previously when she was in US). When I visited Siena, I saw old people casually strolling on those hilly and narrow streets, very relaxed without breathing heavily at all. That’s some kind of cardiovascular and joints exercise we definitely need more at home here. Most houses put out only a VERY small trash bag on trash collection day when I was there. Also from time to time, you can buy Frizzante Acqua (carbonated sparkling natural spring water) in 1.0L for as low as 0.5 euro. It’s an irony that Coca’s price is much higher there than water, totally opposite from here.

Of course, I don’t know how much a Michelin tire will cost there (percentage wise per individual monthly income). Glad you could take the flat off all by yourself without resorting to the desperate measure (impact wrench) from AAA.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:03 AM   #17
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As someone who has recently seen firsthand what it is like to track down a mechanic's shop in another country and get the work done, I'd definitely say you've got it right, Michael. It is way easier and more convenient to get this stuff done, albeit it may not actually be cheaper at the moment.
I can tell you that the efficiency of the "American way" is only available here--when we had to hire a truck last month to haul our motos part of the way, this wasn't done by looking up truck companies online or in the phone book. No, actually it was done by parking near a large lay-by at the edge of town and flagging down possibilities that might be going in the direction we wanted to go, then negotiating on the spot. It worked, but we'd never have figured it out without local help.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:22 AM   #18
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What a pleasant thread to read first today, we all need to be reminded of these "truths" (IMO) periodically.

Though it takes years of sacrifice to achieve FI, ER is a blessing some take for granted at times. For at least 80% of the world, the scenario the OP shared isn't even a possibility, and retirement at any age is completely out of the question.

Cheers to all...
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We complain so much about life here in the US, but I think it is amazing I can get that done so easily (hopefully not counting my chicks before they hatch). Not sure if it can happen like this anywhere else, but certainly not anyplace I have lived or traveled to.
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Thanks for the reminder of how fortunate I am to call America home....
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I couldn't agree more! We are so fortunate to live here IMO. We tend to notice the aggravations we have, more than the aggravations we do not have here in the U.S.
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You also prove one of my pet theories that happiness/satisfaction in life comes from within.
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Michael, I totally agree that life in US is very comfortable, convenient and we should be thankful.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:36 AM   #19
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As someone who has recently seen firsthand what it is like to track down a mechanic's shop in another country and get the work done, I'd definitely say you've got it right, Michael. It is way easier and more convenient to get this stuff done, albeit it may not actually be cheaper at the moment.
I can tell you that the efficiency of the "American way" is only available here--when we had to hire a truck last month to haul our motos part of the way, this wasn't done by looking up truck companies online or in the phone book. No, actually it was done by parking near a large lay-by at the edge of town and flagging down possibilities that might be going in the direction we wanted to go, then negotiating on the spot. It worked, but we'd never have figured it out without local help.
That you were able to do that is quite an achievement. Stressful then, but as time passes it becomes a memorable event. A good way to test yourself, eh?

I'm not sure there is a "better" way of life. My convenience last night has a cost, as described by Alan and Ratto. Also HaHa in the thread on double sinks (this post). Back in Caracas this would have meant losing a half day work minimum and serious aggravation. At the same time, the unpredictability and spontaneity had a certain attraction, and I miss it.
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Old 02-17-2012, 10:31 AM   #20
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We complain so much about life here in the US, but I think it is amazing I can get that done so easily (hopefully not counting my chicks before they hatch). Not sure if it can happen like this anywhere else, but certainly not anyplace I have lived or traveled to.
I can relate - I spend a lot of time in the bahamas, and little problems can take forever to resolve down there. A spare part for a car may have to come over by boat and take three weeks, at that's not uncommon - unless you want to pay to have it flown over...

And, most of all the emergency services (EMS), is easily taken for granted in this country, until you see it done poorly elsewhere.

Where I live (in the US), I can have a brand new ambulance at my house, staffed with paramedics in under 5 minutes usually - and my town has a population under 1000. I've witnessed horrible car accidents in the bahamas where it took hours to extricate people from crashes, only to be followed up by being cairried on an old door (used as a stretcher), and loaded into the back of an 20 year old open-bed pickup truck for a 30 minute bumpy ride to the clinic - staffed only by a nurse.

There is a lot to complain about in this country - but an awful lot to be thankful for as well.
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