When we first moved to the US we were offered a ‘cultural exchange’ course. At first we thought things can’t be that different, after all, they do speak “English”.
After living their for a few weeks you do begin to see differences between the way we live. Obviously you would expect there to be some differences, you just don’t think about all the little things.
Take the good old postman. Post is post right? Here in the UK we expect our mail to be delivered in the morning, (although gone are the days of first and second post, where if you didn’t get your mail in the morning, you’d hope it would come later on that day). Then there are the old jokes and stories of postman being attacked by dogs as they made their way to the front door. In the UK, when I want to post something, I have to go to the post office or find a post box. There are 1000’s of postboxes dotted all around the country, some dating back hundreds of years.
Now they still have the humble postman in the US, but delivery and pickup is much different than here in the UK. I actually preferred the US version, (though I am not saying the UK doesn’t do a bad job).
Every house would have their own mailbox at the end of their drive.
Some places would have them attached to the house, but in our area, most were curbside. Some just had a box on a post, others had the builders leave enough bricks so that the postbox matched the house.
The mail vans were all right hand drive and the driver sat at a height whereby he just drove past each post box and delivered the mail without even getting out of his van.
In apartments or gated communities, there was often a central mail collection point.
So rather than your mail being delivered to your door, when you left for the morning and/or on your return at night, you would drive by the post collection point and pick up your post from the security mailboxes.
Unless you actually wanted to buy some stamps, or drop off a large parcel or letter, when you wanted to post something, you would leave it in your post box. Each post box would have a flag that you would raise to let the postman know you had mail to collect. On his rounds, he’s see the flags, drop by and pick up your mail to send.
We brought our dogs back from the US with us and they just cannot get used to some stranger stuffing paper through our letter box in the front door. Most often they will just rip the letters out of his hand before he gets a chance to drop them. Whereas in the US, they never got near the postman because he was tucked safely away inside his van (and the dogs were usually out the back yard).
It was only because I came across a web site that it got me thinking about it.