American Attitude

by metricpioneer

Exterior Dimensions: 61 cm wide x 32 cm tall x 31 cm deep.

How could any Earthling (even an American) possibly think the above words describe dimensions in inches? Well I experience that scenario all the time, because I sell stuff on Craigslist and I only use measurement units of the SI. I recount here a recent episode:

A potential buyer makes his initial inquiry Friday early afternoon while I am still at work. I give him my home address. He comes by to purchase our Craigslist item. He interacts with my wife. (I never meet the guy because I am still at work).

My wife Michele describes him as a reasonably intelligent Caucasian in his fifties. Upon seeing the item, he exclaims “That’s too small” then politely wishes her well and off he goes empty-handed. His fundamental misunderstanding of measurement results in another wasted trip in the United States of America.

Of course, this is not as bad as crashing a craft on Mars, but it is the same thing on a smaller scale. It happens in America every day with varying degrees of waste, ranging from minor things like this to even loss of life when parents give the wrong quantity of medication to their own children.

Such a scenario could only happen in measurement-challenged places on Earth, because the vast majority of humanity measures everything using the International System of units (SI).

I could not resist a follow up exchange of words with him so I could figure out what makes this guy tick. American attitude can truly be unimaginably narrow-minded when it comes to thinking outside the American box. Even though I tried, I failed to win him over to SI. Here is our text message exchange that at least brings a smile to his face:

19 Jul 2014 10:19 am
Metric Pioneer: I listed dimensions on Craigslist. So sorry item is too small.

20 Jul 2014 6:29 am
Craigslist Shopper: Sorry. I thought those were inches

20 Jul 2014 6:56 am
Metric Pioneer: 95% of people on Earth measure with centimeters. I clearly wrote cm after each number.

20 Jul 2014 6:58 am
Craigslist Shopper: Not in usa

20 Jul 2014 7:01 am
Metric Pioneer: American scientists and medical professionals and progressive Americans use the International System (SI) every day.

20 Jul 2014 7:05 am
Craigslist Shopper: American engineers and surveyors and architects dropped that crap long ago. Oh by the way they no longer teach it in schools anymore

20 Jul 2014 7:09 am
Metric Pioneer: Kill the inch!

20 Jul 2014 7:09 am
Craigslist Shopper: 🙂 [Smiley Face]