Comparison Paper, Katie Wheeler

When I first saw this excerpt about the post office from Bill Bryson's, "Im a Stranger Here Myself; Notes on Returning to America After 20 Years," I knew I could definitely relate to his experiences. Bill Bryson is a native New Englander who moved with his family to England for 20 years and then returned to the United States. He wrote of his noted similarities and differences between England and New England in his book. I was only in Paris for 6 months but I believe that is more than enough time to realize some major differences.
When I lived in Paris, France, the postal system was very important to me with both sending and receiving mail, however it was a different process than in the United States. An experience I can recall vividly was a time when I had to purchase just one stamp (for America) and in Paris, you must take a number which would be called while waiting. I waited for 45 minutes and ended up having to leave without a stamp in hand because I was going to be late for work. I was so frustrated by this that I was completely turned off from visiting the post office again, even though it was inevitable. Bryson also had complaints about the post office system in England, that they were very impersonal and did not care about you as a customer. In my opinion, that was true in France also.
Both Bryson and I agree that in America, "there are never any long lines and you are in and out in minutes," which is mostly the case. He also points out that a weakness of the American system is that they do not try to help if your letter does not have the complete address, whereas the British Postal System is always "ready to tackle a challenge." It is also true that here in America, we receive tons of 'junk mail' each day and Bryson believes that also and comically gives examples of junk mail such as, "Help the National Rifle Association with its Arm-a-Toddler Campaign." I believe that the main principal of Bryson's excerpt is clearly expressed by him acknowledging, " You have to accept that there are some things that are better and some things that are worse, and there is nothing you can do about it." That statement not only applies to postal systems but everything else from cheeses to cars to wines!
I chose this book because I felt there were very distinct similarities between Bill Bryson and myself, both being from the NorthEastern United States, and both travelling to Europe for an extended period of time. I had many experiences in Paris that happened differently then they would have in persay Buffalo or New York in general, but the fact that he wrote about the his post office experience is what really caught my eye. Bryson was there for a much longer time, so I believe his experiences are more concrete, however, 6 months in Paris definitely gave me a taste of their hectic postal system, which apparently is similar to Great Britain's.

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