Smitten by Britain

Honors in Oxford: Reaction Essay #1

As one of my six 350 word essays, I had to write about the differences between American and British culture–so, I thought it would make a pretty descent post (at least this one doesn’t have as many typos):

The British and the Americans have many different cultural aspects, but one in particular is the way the British use their money. Firstly, British pounds come in different colors, sizes and shapes. Taxes here are included, not added. Tipping is uncommon, and their shopping bags cost money. Lastly, and the most unfathomable of all, their social class ranking is not affected by one’s financial status.

Contrary to the American currency, which include green, uniformly sized bills, the British use colorful notes. Not only is this aesthetically more appealing, but the size and color also provide a more efficient way of identifying the worth of each note, especially for the seeing impaired. Moreover, efficiency is also increased by including the taxes in the original price, so I can pay the exact amount without having to perform extra calculations.

In addition to aiding the efficiency in purchases, the British money culture is also fair. Instead of penalizing the waiters and waitresses for the lack of gratitude from their customers, the workers are paid with a consistent salary. Tips are, thus, not the norm.

Furthermore, the British also use money to deter careless usage in natural resources. Plastic shopping bags, usually made from petroleum (a nonrenewable resource), is not complimentary with most purchases, unlike in the states. Because the bags cost a little extra, citizens are psychologically less likely use them. Evidently, this system effectively cuts back on the amount of plastic used, keeping the Earth greener.

Contrary to a typical American social structure, where the ranks are usually determined by our financial standing, the British only use heritage. If I was descendent of a prestigious, or royal, British family, then regardless of my economical standing, I would be considered an upper echelon. Royalty is heritable. Only the few are lucky. This just proves that money cannot buy everything.

The money culture in the UK is far more complex and bizarre than the states’. However, its complexity allows for a more efficient system of exchange and is also used for frugal environmental sustainability. The British social standards are also not based on one’s financial standing, exemplifying that money alone does not, nor should it, define every aspect of one’s life.

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