strange, but true
People really do say, "Mam" and "Sir" here a lot. Especially when I've been washing people's windows or moving their rocks I've come to regret that it's not my natural impulse to use those words. Not only am I not going out of my way to be extra courteous and polite, but I'm actually failing to meet the normal acceptable standards for the bear minimum of common decency. I worry that I come off as a degenerate!
Panera Bread is called "St. Louis Bread Company" here. We couldn't figure out why at first. Then we learned that, actually, "St. Louis Bread Company" is called Panera when it's not in MO, which is where the company was founded. Ah... this "national" chain that I recognized was born and raised right here in the gateway to the West.