When I went abroad I bought a flat fleece jacket in the South Tower, purple fleece with gold buttons, and I thought it was so beautiful. I walked across the Lo Wu Bridge happily wearing the jacket, but the smile immediately disappeared because when I touched it, the buttons all came off. The jacket was immediately a second-rate product. Since then I have been impressed by the poor quality of some domestic products. I later found out that in the US, some Chinese products were similar. I knew a Chinese restaurant owner at that time, and she told me about an incident where she had a Chinese company that washed tablecloths and napkins for her, and it was cheaper than the American shop. When she got them back, there were a few unclean and torn napkins in them. From then on, she never went to a Chinese company to wash her napkins. They come back clean and untorn. So, I don’t believe in cheap prices, you get what you pay for, the amount of work you put in is there, you can’t get paid for it. Unless you are doing volunteer work.
Older Americans do take their work more seriously. Even if you wash a dish in a restaurant, you will get a clean job, but you are too serious and rigid. They don’t do any more work, they leave on time at the end of the day. When I first arrived, I lived in a small flat and there was no laundry facilities, so I had to go to a laundromat nearby to do my laundry. The shop made it a rule to close at 8pm. There was also a big notice on the door: the last time to put the laundry in the washing machine and the last time to put it in the dryer. It also includes a 15-minute sanitary cleaning time. Closes at 8 o’clock sharp anyway. The owner doesn’t pay them for overtime anyway, so why should they work more?
Sometimes this approach is very unsympathetic. It makes you feel very unpleasant.
I was driving at night once and it was about midnight. I saw a McDonald’s open on the side of the road, so I went in to order, and the waiter inside told me that I could only order takeaway and could not eat inside because they had 15 minutes to close and they had to clean up. I had to buy some takeaway and sit outside to eat. This kind of practice is probably not seen in Chinese companies in the US, not to mention in mainland China. When you go to a company in the US to do something, the staff there are certainly very polite, but if it’s not her responsibility, she’ll make sure she doesn’t know anything about it and doesn’t care at all. I used to see people in China who were very enthusiastic about taking you to do this and that, but I don’t think you’ll find that in the US. It’s a good thing that you don’t do your part. The old American kind of dead call really can really kill you.
The post office in our area has an odd rule that if no one picks up the mailbox at your home for a week, you must go to the post office for temporary storage or the post office has the right to throw your mail in the trash. The post office does not hold your mail for you. I order a mailbox from the post office because I fly to other states a lot for work and put my mail somewhere. When I get home I go to the post office and pick up my mail. Being lazy, I always went to the post office to pick up my mail just before I left home for my flight. It was never a problem, I didn’t have a big deal anyway. But there was one time when something happened and it was extremely messy. Our community collects management fees and never takes cash. It’s just a little book with your name, address, account number and the monthly management fee payable, and you just send a cheque to the bank every month at the address according to the fee. I lived there for a number of years and it was never a problem. But one time, the community changed banks. For some reason, I didn’t receive a new bank booklet. Nor did I check the bank’s accounts. In fact, I’m rather thick-skinned and I don’t check the accounts for months. The electricity and water bills etc. are all contracted with the electricity company and they automatically withdraw from my bank account every month. Otherwise I don’t know how many times I would have forgotten. So I didn’t even care this time. This time as well, I didn’t go to the post office to pick up my mail until I was about to leave home and saw that I hadn’t paid my management fee for two months. The management office informed me that if I didn’t pay the management fee, they would call the police to seal off the house. I was so frightened that I rushed to the office and said a lot of nice things before they helped me to collect the cheque and that was the end of it.
Once the district office asked all tenants to put new paint on the balcony railings, I was not informed because I was not at home. When I got home and slept at home, I went to the post office to pick up the mail before I left, and only then did I learn of the notice that if I did not put it on right away I would have to pay a fine of several hundred. I immediately ran to the district office to explain and they agreed that I would paint it two days later and gave me a referral to a master, but unfortunately it was cloudy on those days and could not be painted. I had to fly off first and a few days later the master set up a ladder from outside onto the balcony to work. No one was home and they couldn’t get in, for which of course I paid &600.
My house is actually a minute away from the office and I left them my email address. It’s easy for them to contact me. But they just want a letter from the office to inform you. It’s a lot of delays, but that’s the rule and there’s nothing you can do about it.
And now I understand.
The United States has an extremely large number of lawyers and an extremely large number of lawsuits. Somehow, you can also get into a lawsuit. It’s a good idea to follow the company’s rules and regulations. Besides, it’s not your area of work and you really don’t know a lot of things, so it’s inevitable that a lot of mistakes will be made. Stay out of other people’s business and reduce errors. If something goes wrong, the company is responsible. Companies usually have lawyers, and it is much better for the company to take responsibility than for you to take responsibility.