“Where there’s blame, there’s a claim.” 

Until about 15 years ago, many people would sue over futility’s. The defendant would file an insurance claim and the insurance company would give a small compensation to the plaintiff. This way the plaintiff would go away and the defendant wouldn’t have to take the time and trouble to deal with the trouble of the judicial system. On account more and more people would scam the system with the consequences that insurance rates sky-rocked and people no longer could afford to just “roll over and pay”. Since then people decided to protect themselves by documenting all applicable policies and terms. The best way of preventing a lawsuit is to put to ink all applicable policies and terms. A well-drafted regulation that records critical terms of an agreement or event can prevent a misunderstanding from devolving into a lawsuit.  

Now that I am better informed on this subject it’s easier to understand their ‘You better C.Y.A.*’ mentality. The question is if I ever become accustomed to all the applicable policies and terms and the many restrictions and regulations which comes with that. 

Americans might be used to signs like the one at the laundromat: ‘We are not responsible for: bleeding, fading, shrinking, or damage due to weak and tender fabrics’, but I am not. Back home a sign like this would give a whole different impression. It implies that they are the worst nightmare to your laundry. Or what about the instructions manuals, the playground rules or all the forms you have to fill out and sign so you can’t sue them. When I had my eyelashes done in Chicago they would not help me unless I signed the 24 hour cancellation policy even though I’ll never come back! 

Over the years I spend a lot of time in the USA. For a long time I was convinced that moving to New York would fulfill a lifelong dream. Today the straw broke the camelback. 

I was offered a free pass to the most fancy gym I’ve ever seen; Chelsea Pier Gym. A few days before I dropped by to get some information. After I got the information I asked if I could use the restroom. The guy at the front desk assured me that it was against their policy, but when I would fill out a form and hand over my ID for a photocopy, by the grace of God, I could use their restroom. ‘Please don’t break anything’ he commented. 
The boxing class start at 7:00 pm sharp. In pairs we have to do some boxing drills. Immediately I am warned to ‘slow down’ and I am matched to an other partner who is more skilled. Even though my sparring buddy is fine I get an other warning. I can’t give any diagonal punches because there’s a chance that I will hit my opponent by accident on the nose. My buddy tells me that they are so afraid someone gets injured and will sue Chelsea Pier Gym. Fortunately after 30 min I can unload myself with some free style boxing on the bag. This time I am not warned by the trainer but by one of the participants. ‘They don’t like people to kick the bag, you might get a warning’. 

I’ve probably seen more of the United States than the average American. There is something about it, especially New York. Since I doubt that I ever get use to all the restrictions and regulations I will not settle here permanently, but I will come back any time soon. 

Catch you on the flip side New York… -by Bregje 

*Cover Your Ass

   

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