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March, 2009:


When looking for facts to support my recent post Why Europe Sucks €. 1 Pay Toilets, I stumbled on the little known history of a band of Great American Patriots on Wikipedia.* They were called The Committee To End Pay Toilets In America (CEPTIA), and their mission was to rid America of the European phenomena of pay toilets.

A campaign by the Committee to End Pay Toilets In America (CEPTIA) resulted in laws prohibiting pay toilets in cities and states. In 1973, Chicago became the first American city to enact a ban, at a time when, according to the Wall Street Journal, there were at least 50,000 units in America[1], mostly made by the Nik-O-Lok Company [2]. CEPTIA was successful over the next few years in obtaining bans in New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, California, Florida and Ohio[3]. Lobbying was successful in other states as well, and by decade’s end, pay toilets were almost unknown in America. By then, those remaining toilet owners who had pay toilets found they were losing more money than they made, due to stolen or vandalized pay boxes, as well as lost business.

We are all indebted to this fearless band of Great American Patriots.

Liberty or Death!

*In the true American fashion, I did not start researching my topic until after I had already posted my thoughts.

Why Europe Stinks €. 1 – Pay Toilets

Don and a Pay Toilet

Everyone knows the feeling.

When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go – and nothing better stand in your way.

But what if I told you there was a land ruled by people who will obstruct your path to the toilet and shake you down for money during your time of need? You would be outraged. Surely, such a place cannot exist. Interfering with such a basic human need just to make a buck is perverse, if not inhumane!

But these horrors do occur every day, and it not where you might guess.

No it’s not in Burma, under the sick dictates of a military Junta.

And it is not some profiteering Somali pirate camp.

No sir. These outrages occur daily in Europe. A place that calls itself civilized.

Imagine, finding yourself in the most dire need of relief, and just when you stumble across a restroom facility it hits you: they are going to make you pay to pee. You’re going to be forced to tear through your pockets in search of spare change to hand over to the bouncer or feed to the often broken automated machine before they will let you in.

The horror and indignity of it all.

For all their blustering and grandstanding about human rights, equality and the dignity of man, the Europeans have a perverted tendency to exploit those in need of a toilet just to make a quick buck.  Sure they might have niceties like universal pensions, 6-weeks paid vacation and in-home day care. But the most fundamental right is to pee for free.

Without it they have nothing.*

*Except, perhaps, for a rather acrid smell coming from many of their rivers and side streets, particularly in Rome.

Friday Poll

Every Friday Free Refills America will ask you what your favorite topic from the previous week was.

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#4. Down-Escalators

A Steep EsclatorIt has been a long day and you’ve been schlepping your ass around a European city for hours. Because they don’t have adequate parking, you have to suffer the indignity of descending into the hot, sticky subway to get back to your hotel. Then, when you finally find the subway station, you’re hit with the ultimate slap in the face.

No down-escalator.

Instead of calmly riding the escalator down to the station, you’re forced to take the stairs. What makes matters worse is while your lugging your things down the stairs, you’re force to watch as passengers heading out ride an up-escalator in comfort.

In America this would never happen.

Why? Because we believe in something called equality.

We don’t have a two-tiered system of vertical transport: one for those going up, and another for those going down.

No sir.

In America, we have up-escalators, down-escalators, stairs and elevators so that every American has equal access to the vertical transportation method they desire – no matter which direction they are headed.

God Bless America!


#3. Cup Holders

Toyota Auris 2007

Originally uploaded by Titanas

An American’s car is his castle.

And since it is his castle, a true American motorist will not confine his time behind the wheel to simply driving form point A to point B.

A true America will engage in a wide range of activities while driving that snotty Europeans frown on, such as:

  • Talking on the cell-phone
  • Texting
  • Playing with the radio
  • Watching an in-car television
  • Playing with a GPS device
  • Reading e-mails on a blackberry
  • Eating & Drinking (generally non-alcoholic beverages)

Which brings us to cup holders.

Although American ingenuity has developed numerous ‘car-ready’ meals, from time-to-time, even the most dexterous motorist finds himself unable to hold his meal and drink at the same time (of course, he is driving with his knees, so controlling the car is not an issue). This problem is particularly acute when trying to eat something while driving that requires two hands, such as carryout Chinese food with chopsticks.

But it is challenges like these that Americans are particularly adept at overcoming. Which is why Americans long ago invented the in-car cup holder!

Now, any true America has at least 4 cup-holders in his car, (2 in front, 2 in back) allowing him to easily juggle a two-handed meal and multiple beverages while driving.

God Bless America!


#2. Drive-Thrus

Starbucks Drive Thru

Originally uploaded by AchimH

It is cold and rainy outside, but you are warm and comfortable inside your car. But now you need to go to get some coffee, or make a deposit at the bank, or pick up some food, or even a few stamps from the post office. What do you do?

If you’re driving around Europe you’re likely out of luck. You’re going to have to find a parking spot (which you probably have to pay for), park your car, walk several blocks to where you need to go – all the while your becoming cold, wet and miserable.

In America,  our day isn’t ruined just because we want a cup of coffee when it is raining. Why? Because we have Drive-Thru technology.

We have Drive-Thru:

  • Fast Food
  • Coffee
  • Banking
  • Car Washes
  • Oil Changes
  • Post Office
  • Beer (usually not for consumption in the car)
  • Weddings
  • Casual Dining restaurants (Outback, Olive Garden, ect.)
  • Pharmacy (UPDATED: From the comments)
  • Flu Shots (UPDATED: From the comments)

Today, the dedicated motorist hardley ever need leave their car at all if doing so would inconvience them.

God Bless America!


#1. Ice

Whether your are sitting at a cafe on the banks of the Seine trying to enjoy a drink, or in need of some cold refreshment after a long day of hiking in the Amazon, nothing quite says “you’re not in America anymore” than the lack of ice overseas.

But putting up with room-tempature refreshments is something Americans never need to worry about when we are stateside.

  • We get a full cup of it with our soft drink at McDonalds or the stadium.
  • Its sheer abundance in pitchers of ice water at restaurants causes waiters to spill water when refilling our glass.
  • Our freezers dispense it into glasses without forcing us to go through the trouble of even opening the door.
  • And we even have enough of it to put it in our coffee.

So next time you’re trying in vain to refresh yourself with a glass of lukewarm water overseas, remember in America we have ice in our drinks.

God Bless America!


What Makes America Great?

It’s not our military.

It’s not our government.

And it’s not vague notions of ‘freedom’ or ‘liberty.’

No, what every true patriot understands deep in his bones is that what makes America great are the little things – those day-to-day intangibles that we only notice when we find ourselves without them (usually when traveling in Europe). 

Things like free refills, ice filled cokes, air-conditioning and free restrooms. These are the institutions that make our great nation thrive. 

This blog is dedicated to cataloguing them. 

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