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UK plus and minus Wed, Oct 01, 2014
Traveling to Scotland made it easy to see some everyday differences between the US and the UK.  For example, here are some things they do better: 
  1. Hallway lights with motion detectors that shut off after a certain amount of inactivity.
  2. Bathroom fans that run for a few minutes after you leave.
  3. Drink measurements.  There's a difference between a medium glass and a large glass of wine.
  4. Paying the check at a restaurant.  You can pay on your way out or they can bring a wireless credit card reader.
  5. Gas mileage.  Our ridiculous little rental car got 45 mpg.
I make note of these things because they legitimately impressed me, but also because I try not to be overly enthusiastic about supposed American exceptionalism.  That said, here's what the UK does poorly: 
  1. Sinks.  For some reason, almost all sinks in Scotland had a cold spout and a hot spout.  How are you supposed to get warm water?
  2. Shower enclosures.  It was common to see a glass door that only covered half the length of the shower.  The obvious and immediate result was that water went everywhere.
  3. Door locks and knobs.  My favorite example was this one hotel where the lock was located under the knob, and it wasn't obvious which orientation the metal key should be in, and the knob was about two feet off the floor.
  4. Road sign size and distance from turn.  If I can't see what the sign says until I'm making the turn, how am I supposed to make the turn?
  5. Lack of screens on windows.  This was an issue in Italy too.  Isn't it a relatively established fact that window screens reduce the spread of insect-borne disease by like eleventy billion percent?  They at least would've prevented that giant spider from crawling across my pillow.  True story.