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What Does America Have That Does Not Exist in the U.K.?

What does the US have that does not exist in the UK?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Answer by Jeremy Miles, Brit living in the US for past 5 years

Oh my, lots of things. Here are a few:

  • Free refills.
  • A tipping culture. Tipping is rare, and 10% is generous.
  • Guns. Well they have guns in the UK, but nothing like so many. And no real equivalent of the NRA.
  • Large numbers of homeless people.
  • A constitution that is known about and considered important.
  • Free speech. People have been sent to prison for what they've written on Twitter. It's much easier to sue for libel in the UK.
  • Megachurches. There are big churches in the UK, but they're mostly considered historical buildings, rather than places of worship. (Update from Thomas Johnson - apparently there is at least one megachurch.)
  • Arguments about mixing religion and government. The queen is the head of the church. But she delegates responsibility to the prime minister.
  • Deserts.
  • Extremely long highways. The longest road in the UK is the A1, it's 410 miles long.
  • Arctic regions.
  • Volcanoes. Extinct ones, but nothing as exciting as Mount St Helens.
  • Corn dogs. I never saw a corn dog until I came to the US.
  • Real Mexican food. There are Mexican restaurants, but they're rare. And they're not very Mexican. I never saw a quesadilla in the UK. (Update: London now has Chipotle restaurants)
  • Cellphone numbers that look like regular numbers. Cell phone numbers in the UK start 07, so you know if you're calling a cellphone.
  • Police with guns.
  • Huge empty spaces with very little in them.
  • (American) football teams. Well, ones you've heard of.
  • Baseball teams. Ditto.
  • Basketball teams. Ditto.
  • A large population of Hispanic people.
  • Handball courts.
  • 30 year fixed rate mortgages. Mortgages tend to be 25 years and tend to be variable rate. Sometimes they're fixed for a small number of years (10 would be a long time).
  • Acetaminophen (well, they have it in the UK, but call it paracetamol). But you can't buy more than 24 in one go, and they come in blister packs, not bottles.
  • Earthquakes. Small ones, occasionally caused by mining.
  • Tornadoes.
  • Hurricanes.
  • Rocket scientists.
  • Fire hydrants. They're called hydrants, but they look like this.
  • Weirdly restrictive alcohol laws. You can give your five-year-old alcohol, as long as you're at home.
  • Medicinal marijuana.
  • Hot weather. I only know of one occasion when it reached 100 Fahrenheit anywhere in the UK.
  • Cold weather. The lowest temperature ever recorded in the UK was -17 Fahrenheit.
  • Illegal immigrants. Well, there are some, but not many, and it's not a massive deal. Australians are the most common kind.
  • Private universities. They exist, but there are very few (one main one). I don't know anyone who has been to one.
  • Grits. Never seen it in the UK.
  • Iced tea. It exists in the UK, but if you ask for it in a restaurant, they'll think you're strange.
  • Rabies. It's a big deal. Bringing a dog or cat to the UK from another country is hard work.
  • Bankruptcy due to health costs. Bankruptcy is much rarer -- I've never heard a story of someone being declared bankrupt in the UK (although it's possible), but no one has ever gone bankrupt because of health problems.
  • Cheese whiz.
  • Pancakes. Most of the time. (Pancakes in the UK are rarely eaten on days other than Shrove Tuesday. They're also thinner than an American pancake).
  • Ads for prescription only medicines to consumers (The only countries that allow this are the US and New Zealand).
  • Sourdough bread (You can probably get it, but it's not common).
  • Cheese on sandwiches. In the US (in my experience) every sandwich comes with cheese, almost by default. You want a ham sandwich, that's going to be ham and cheese. A cheese sandwich seems to be a rare thing.
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