British Home vs American Homes

Politics in the USA is making some people on both the left and right threaten to leave if the other person gets elected. OK. Don't forget we can help you sell your house.

Also, things are a bit different in other countries. Just an FYI.

For example...

Wherever you may go around the world, it’s easy to conclude that if a home has four walls and a ceiling, everything else must be broadly the same. Well, even if that were true (and it’s not) there are still tiny differences between a house on the other side of the world and the house you normally live in that can be quite unsettling the first time you encounter them.

So, having conducted extensive research into American and British households (by comparing notes between the traveling experiences of Anglophenia writers) what are the things that are commonly recognizable to most British households that will come as a surprise to most American visitors?

To avoid getting stung by unexpected bills for gas and electricity, some British households use a system whereby they go to a local shop and have credit placed on an electronic tag called a PayPoint key. Just as a pay-as-you-go phone gives you a set amount of credit to make and receive calls, so the PayPoint key gives you a certain amount of gas, electricity or even water. This is just a modern update on the old system which relied upon putting coins in a meter.

Due to a healthy fear of electrocution, British bathrooms don’t tend to be wired up for electricity, as it does not play nicely with water. The noble exception to this rule is the two-pin electric shaver socket, which can either be wall-mounted or part of the light over a mirror. Some bathrooms don’t even have the light switch in the room: It’s out in the hall or landing, just by the door. It’s worth checking this before you find yourself feeling a wall in the middle of the night while busting for a pee.

This is worth getting right before you’re in too much of a hurry. Should you need to use the conveniences, ask for a bathroom and you may be directed to a room with a bath in it, but no toilet. The Brits are terribly literal like that. By all means, ask if you can use the toilet, or the lavatory, or the loo, and they will immediately direct you to the nearest room in which you can do your business.

Curated from 10 Things About a British Home That Will Confuse Americans | Anglophenia | BBC America