Cultural differences Czech republic - other countries-Part 1

Discussion in 'Culture' started by Dannae, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. Dannae

    Dannae Well-Known Member

    OK, so as I promised, I started this topic as a follow-up from my previous post at ... c&start=10

    But how to start? Since the day I left my country (CR) I experienced so many "shocks" that it is very hard to find out where it would be the best to begin. Again; I relate all my comments from my Czech cultural background feelings (not offending US, just comparing and making fun - mostly from myself) and, as I said, I can only compare Czech Republic & the USA.
    But any comparison Czech Republic vs. other country - is more than welcome!

    For today I start from the most obvious difference, e.g. measurement systems.
    Before I got to the US for the first time, I did not have any idea that there can be anything else than ISO as far as measurement units go.
    To my big shock, before I got out from the plane in Dayton, Ohio (it was in March), I asked about the weather outside. The reply was simple: it is 50 degrees; but since other passengers saw my absolute shock in my eyes (I was thinking about that burning hell :twisted: outside and I was getting mad at myself that I took my winter coat with me) they confused me a bit more by saying “it is cold”. I could not possibly have imagined 50 degrees as cold but outside it was a bit chilly – however I did not think about it anymore for the time being.
    As far as the remaining units go: I somehow saw the difference as the time went by but since I was in US for a couple of month, basically vacationing, I did not have any need to learn the local system. My boyfriend already knew I was freaking out every time he said “It is 90 degrees outside” so he just used to say “it is hot”, etc. – so I was fine. Till one day: we used to live in a motel with kitchenette, a very nice place. I already wrote I did not possess many kitchen skills but I tried to cook for him the best I could. On the stove top, I was fine. One day I decided to bake chicken; so I prepared the chicken, added spices etc. and I put it in the oven on 180 degrees. Every Czech would say normal temperature. So I was cool, waiting. After 1 hour the chicken was raw. After 2 hours it was still raw. After 3 hours no change so far (I started to panic because chicken usually takes 1-2 hours). I waited the whole 6 hours but chicken started to get a little suntan, that was all. I almost called up front to report a broken oven but at the last moment I realized that that dammed oven is in Fahrenheit too!!!
    Since that day I realized I have to abandon my unawareness and start learning … (continued) …
  2. Sorsa

    Sorsa Member

    The measurement issue is always an interesting one, good observation.

    How about the difference in electric outlets? That is one thing I noticed right away. :shock:
  3. SMZ

    SMZ Well-Known Member

    I found it difficult, at first, to adjust to the CZ way of banking. I am used to writing paper checks and to getting a paper check for my salary. Of course, we also have "direct deposit" to the bank for our pay if we wish, but I still write paper checks to pay for bills.

    I actually prefer the paperless system, but it took me a while to get used to it and figure out how to fill out all the forms properly -- thank goodness I found a young man at CSOB who was very patient and helped me take care of these things correctly!
  4. gementricxs

    gementricxs Well-Known Member

    And Czechs don't know how to used checks. My friend bought 50 dollars Western Union check for 10 Korunas at the Kolbenova flee market, signed it and went to the bank for the 50 bucks. And he got 50 bucks for only 10 Korunas.
    People don't know what they are selling.
  5. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member


    I'm gonna have to visit that flea market next time I'm in prague :wink:
  6. stepan

    stepan Well-Known Member

    Paperless - I love it.

    I have my pay directly deposited into my checking account. The bank then pays most of my bills, either electronically or by mailing out a check, based on the amount I tell them to pay. I have set up my mortgage such that it gets paid every month without me having to remember - and it gets paid on time. I write very few checks - usually to the church or to the doctor.

    I also use my Debit Card for most purchases. This way I hae a record where my money is going. I carry little cash - and the cash I do carry is for occassional coffee, lottery tickets, and little purchases under $5.00. When I need more cash, I simply get cash back from a purchase I make at the grocery store.

  7. ollie1

    ollie1 Active Member

    I love the paperless way too!!!!!
    We get paid electronically straight in to our bank account, bills then get paid by direct debit through the bank, internet banking is growing very fast here and you can have several internet accounts which you can transfer funds between and view statements online. There is even a cash machine that you can pay cash into and it goes straight in to your account, can,t remember the last time i used my cheque book let alone saw the inside of my bank.
    Just wish they would give more interest back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :evil: :x
  8. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member


    same here
  9. Karel_lerak

    Karel_lerak Well-Known Member

    same here 8)

    The exception - cash back is not very common (but in our nearest shop is available).
    I have seen the money accepting machine for direct money exchange only, but I never missed them. The ATM are more usefull, as cards (both debit and credit) are not accepted everywhere, but almost everywhere. I was in my bank personally some years ago as I use my internet account and get money directly to the account.
  10. Dannae

    Dannae Well-Known Member

    Agree; paper checks ... this is something my husband used to tease me about "No checks in Czech republic?". Well, we have some of those but this way of payment is not a very common one.
    Nowadays we prefer a direct bank transfer. I remember my father used to pay the most of his bills at the post office (postziro). Now I deal with Australian customers and those guys are used to bring their money to the post office and pay their bills there. It seems kinda funny but some 20 years ago we had the same thing in Czech Republic.

    Than everything turned around; some companies even established bank accounts for their employees in order to be able to deposit their wages directly to the bank. And employees received debit cards; at the same time the majority of merchants introduced the debit/credit payment options. So for many people there was no need to have much cash on them. Well - many Czechs treated the debit card the same way as a credit card as long it had Masters/Visa logo on them; I believe that there are not many real "credit" cards yet in the respect as Americans perceive them. Because credit is a loan and obtaining a loan in Czech republic is not that easy as it is in the USA (we do not have any credit scores etc. and also Czechs are much more suspicious because of executors; unlike in the US executors in CR can come and expropriate your house completely even if you own a few bucks).

    On the other hand Czech online banking seems to be more sophisticated that the one in the US. For instance as Stepan said
    if you send out a payment via online banking in CR, you never make a bank to print out a check. The amount of money is directly deposited to the others' party account, e.g. if you pay via E-banka, the payment is completed within 5 minutes. So we skip the intermediate step, we never make checks - just a direct bank transfer which is frequent but not that much common in the US.

    On the other hand the way we can handle our payments online is something those guys in Czech republic can just dream about. Usually I setup my payments online and than I just click - paypal, ebay, mortgage etc. ... but we have to have in mind that in CR they DO NOT HAVE AN OPTION TO effectively DISPUTE a transaction. For instance, if you pay for something using Paypal or your using your credit card in the US, you can protest the transaction - question you authorize it and the merchant is responsible to prove you are wrong. In Czech republic you made a transaction and "that it is"; you will have to pay for it no matter what; Bank will never bring the merchant responsible (bad attitude, but that's how it is). The bank will not investigate if it was you who paid for the purchase using you credit card - the transaction was made with YOUR credit card and you are responsible for it no matter what. In the US you can dispute the transaction and you can be successful in most cases; in CR you in most cases end up paying for the deal anyways.
  11. BMoody

    BMoody Well-Known Member

    Hmmm... does the Czech Rep. have mandatory fraud protection on credit cards? I know my wife's Czech step father treated his credit card like gold and was always nervous that someone would steal the numbers and rob him.

    Here in the U.S., no matter the amount stolen from your credit card, the bank must write it all off as "cost of business" and deal with the theft themselves. You only have to pay $50 at most to get the bank to correct any theft and balance your account. So, for Americans, a stolent credit card sucks, but truly is not a big deal. Correcting credit is tough though, but it is achievable.

    So, do Czech credit cards have state mandated protections? If not, would you feel safer useing an American credit card?
  12. Dannae

    Dannae Well-Known Member

    Well, I do not know about fraud protection on credit cards now, but 3 years ago I would treat it like a gold too.
    I remember I had a debit card only; recently I saw a show that somebody's credit card was stolen and the girl was done. Because this card was used by somebody else and the merchant (as I understood) is not responsible to verify persons' identity. Even signatures did not match but this girl ended up paying for all anyways.

    P.S. I saw recent shows online about the behavior of collection companies (executors) in Czech Republic. One extreme was that a lady's ex boyfriend had his mail sent to apartment but collection agency confiscated her belongings. And it took more than a year before this lady was able to get her stuff back.
  13. BMoody

    BMoody Well-Known Member

    Wow! I would be enormously PO'd. In this regard, I like the US being sue happy. I would sue the compay and the collection agency for repayment of my lost items, comfort, and time.

    Also, here in the US, an executor cannot enter your house to take your belongings unless there is a court ordered constable with him or her. Does the Czech Republic allow banks to just take your property not included in a secured loan, or do they need a court order like here in the US?
  14. Dannae

    Dannae Well-Known Member

    Well, executors they have some sort of court order but, unfortunately, people who are concerned are not even notified (in some cases). So executor can appear in front of your house even while you are not home and ask the police to open the door for him ...

    P.S. what sucks is that executor does not need to verify if the stuff belongs to the debtor or somebody else. They are trying to change it now but ...

    Well, you would be able to sue the executor's company but it would take years to process your case (Czech courts are sooooooo fast).
  15. BMoody

    BMoody Well-Known Member

    ooouch! :eek:

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