Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Restrooms are not for Rest

I remember my first week in the states. It was a small town in South Carolina, over 100 degrees outside and I was walking with my friend when we noticed this sign outside a restaurant:

We both were puzzled because:
a. why would a restaurant have rooms for rest? and
b. why would they have to warn everyone that you have to be a customer to rest in those rooms?
I know, I sound silly now. But I swear these were our thoughts. 

For all those years I've been learning English by British books, the "rooms for rest" were referred to as W.C. , toilets or lavatories, but never ever did anyone tell me before I came to America that they are called "Restrooms" or "Bathrooms".

p.s. Did you know that in Canada they name them "washrooms"? Oh the beauty of living and learning! 

I'm telling ya, it's fun to be a foreigner :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Want to Become a Millionaire?

How many times have we all heard the good old: "I came here to chase my American Dream". blah blah blah


Sometimes I disregard my own ideas as "too trivial", "too silly" or just because "someone must have already thought about this before me". Then you see another start-up becoming the new it thing and you are amazed at the courage and the risk those people took to make their dream come true. With that said, here are some examples of things that changed the world (or at least they had an impact in America), which had all the chances of being laughed at before they became big.

Example #1. In 1960-s Dr Spencer Silver had an idea of a "low-tack" pressure sensitive adhesive. His colleague Art Fry combined the adhesive with the paper. The result was a random product that was completely ignored for many years had become "a staple" in any office environment and more - the fun, handy and "how did people do without them?" Post-It Notes.

Example #2. I've got no facts on this one, but something tells me this was invented by a clean-freak, perfectionist housewife who loathed the daily ritual of removing her pet's hair from her husband's suit every morning before he would head to work. I'm not sure how she came up with this, but the Lint Roller was invented. If that's not true, I don't care. That's my story and I'm sticking to it (yes, like a lint to a roller).


Example #3. Slimming underwear, Shapewear, Spanx. Call it whatever, it's still the same - a clever underwear that makes you look skinny. I have no doubts it was another smart woman's creation. It's not really an innovation, corsets have been known for centuries, but bringing the idea back to life was certainly a great one! Again, not that noone else even though of it. Someone just brought it to life and voila - an unstoppable trend and a hugely successful business was born.

Example #4. Foam clogs now known to almost anyone as Crocs are a very recent "baby" invention, which is hard to believe looking at the number of people sporting them all over the state. Most likely you won't like them at first site: they are shapeless, goofy and absolutely not cool. But wait till you wear them. They are light and weather-proof. These days they've improved significantly and come in a variety of colors and styles. I own a pair and I love them.


Do you have an idea that you are too ashamed to voice? Don't waste your time, speak out. You live in a country where dreams come true, after all :)