The USA provides many free benefits when you enter a restaurant or store, but is a bad value in hotels.
I always have thought it was cheaper to live outside the USA, but I am starting to think I am wrong. I have lived outside the USA for 14 years, and after traveling around in the USA for the last 1.5 months I have learned a lot about my own country.
Examples of Free Services in Restaurants and Stores
1. Free Toilets - Note: The Europeans get annoyed when I say "Restrooms."
2. Free Internet
3. Free Air Conditioning
4. Free Condiments
5. Stay as long as you want.
6. Free Parking
7. Free Newspapers to read
What you get for your 1.25 in the USA
I can walk into the Panera Restaurant, buy a cinnamon bread thing for around 1.25 and enjoy all the benefits above, PLUS --- Get something to eat.
The hotels are radically overpriced for the list of benefits you get and the service is about the same as any third world nation. I think only by staying in a 5 star chain hotel can you get exceptional service. Providing the people in the Hotel were born in the USA and understand the culture.
The Mom and Pop Hotels are overpriced.
Small Hotels and Bed and Breakfast do not have the systems in place to guaranteed the staff give high priced services. The depend on memory the same as third world countries, and fail. Great service is best provided by a chain mentality.
The Economy of USA is Drive by Temptations to Buy
"99 Percent of what the American purchase is a want and not a need."
- Andy Lee Graham
The profit of Paneras or McDonald's is all earned by tempting the person to buy more than they need. Places like Starbucks are the epitome of bad deals for the money, there is just no way in Starbucks to optimize the value, truly this coffee place represents what is bad about the USA.
I estimate that only 1 in 55 American realizes a good deal in the USA, and the rest just spend their whole paycheck. Yes, the poor shop better, but when they have more money, they spend it all.
But for me, the list of benefits above are purchased for 1.25 USD, and is a windfall. My self-esteem is bolstered by watching the people around me spend money foolishly, I know why I can travel the world, it is easy to understand.