A couple of weeks ago, while doing some grocery shopping at WalMart, we had a puzzling scene at the cashier. Since I was buying a bottle of wine, the cashier, as it is common in the US, IDed me. I dutififully presented by Connecticut driver’s licence. On a side note, I have learned to take this as a complement every time they want to check my I.D. when buying alcohol. The legal age for doing this in the U.S. is 21.
Anyway, after checking my I.D. Ania appeared by my side at the cashier bringing some more grocieries. Seeing this the cashier requested to see her I.D. as well. Since it was not a U.S.type of I.D. but a Polish passport, the lady requested to see Ania’s U.S. visa. When challenged why the Polish passport was not a sufficient type of identification she just shrugged her shoulders and recited some stupid regulation.
This is one of many stories and experiences we have had in the U.S. for years illustrating the stupidity and the amount of the rules and regulations here. At first we were frustrated by this appaling bureacracy and mad with those executing the rules. Over time we have learned to laugh at it and collect some remarkably peculiar restrictions to share for good laughs.
Recently, for example, while driving in Oregon, I learned that it is illegal for non-gas station staff, i.e. customers, to touch the gas pumps.
BTW, Canada is no better, when it comes to over regulating life. You cannot keep alcohol in the front seat of your car there. Why just to avoid the temption
Often times the smaller the institution the more zealous it is in enforcing its rules. The other day, while registering at a campground I witnessed a conversation between a campground ranger and some guests who stopped their car by the booth to pick up a few bundles of fire wood. Here are the highlights:
Madam, could you move your car over to the parking lot?
When seeing the woman’s lack of understanding for this request the ranger added:
You are blocking the state highway?
The woman, very dissatisfied with this insistence and lack of understanding (carrying a lot of wood over a longer distance) gave up and moved the car over. To me the road looked like a campground connecting loop with no thru traffic and there was plenty of space for others to pass.
I am far from accusing Americans of being in love with rules. I would even bring some of that rule-instilled order sometimes to Poland where there is rather high disrespect for obeying many rules. Having said that I am totally convinced that American obsession with order is way too extreme. This is a country where rules come first, people second, period! What is even more irritating is the blind enforcement of those often senseless rules. Do not even bother to dispute the sense of a rule you face with a person executing it here. They are masters of the “broken record technique”. It is ironic that a country taking so much pride in civil liberties has accumulated such a mass of regulation-nonsense.
Let me end with one more, funny sounding end seriously executed rule at many swimming pools in the US:
”One Bounce Per Dive on Diving Board”
Ask little Wojtek about the punishment for not observing the above