You will learn a lot while traveling the world. While there are many “big concepts” related to government and laws of a country there are also many little things that make an impact on you. Over the past month I’ve traveled through Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands. Here are three little things that The USA needs to get onboard with.
Shopping Cart Rentals
You know the scene. When you walk through any American shopping center parking lot you will see carts everywhere. Some are in the proper cart corral, others are placed in an empty parking spot, or propped up on a curb. Of course when the wind picks up carts can easily crash into vehicles causing damage.
When you walk through a European shopping center lot you won’t see any misplaced carts. They are always returned to the proper location.
Why is that?
In Europe you deposit money into the shopping cart handle before it is released. Typically these will take a 50 Euro cent or 1 Euro coin. Once the coin is inserted and locked into place the lock on the cart opened and it can be removed. When you finish shopping you return the cart, plug in the lock, and your coin is released.
Automatic Cleaning Toilets in Public Restrooms
Have you ever had to use a public restroom on a long road trip? I’m going to guess that you have a memory of an disgusting public restroom. Throughout Europe there are two different types of public restrooms along the motorways. You have free rest stops like the USA. These are typically disgusting and somewhere you don’t want to visit.
The alternative is using the restroom at a gas station. To access the bathroom you will pay somewhere between 50 cents to 1 Euro. Once you are inside you will find a well maintained bathroom that is frequently cleaned. As an added “bonus” the toilets here clean the seat after every use.
These toilets take it one step up from those that automatically flush. The seat is sprayed with a disinfectant and then spins through a device that wipes the seat. After the seat makes a few turns through the cleaning mechanism it is placed back onto the toilet for the next use. Click here to see a video of one in action.
There are times when you don’t have a sanitizing wipe for your fingers. After touching high traffic areas you shouldn’t put your fingers near your mouth. Sure we do it all the time with fast food..but we shouldn’t.
In Europe they give you a miniature fork when you order fries or other finger foods. I’ve loved using these since my first order of fries here. My kids have enjoyed them too. I don’t know how they will function without them back in the States.
Aside from sanitary reasons these pieces of miniature cutlery keep your fingers grease free. No one likes greasy fingers on their phone or tablet touch screen.
These three “little things” have amused me since coming here last month. There are others, but these three made the cut for this list.
Have you been “across the pond”?
If so what “little things” do you wish we had in the USA?