Saturday 23 February 2008

The best little differences about the USA

This is a pretty random list, but here are the best little differences about the US:

  • Not having to sign for credit card purchases. If you buy stuff under about $10, you usually don't have to sign. Quick, easy, and signatures are a waste of time in the US anyway because the cashiers never check the back of the card. Once I put a $1.40 newspaper on my credit card because the newsagent didn't accept cash for ANY amount!
  • Restaurants being perfectly OK with splitting the bill across multiple credit cards. Makes paying for meals as a group really easy.
  • Never going inside to pay at a petrol station - lots of places don't even have an "inside", just pumps. Swipe your card, pump, and go. This approach is good for petrol stations owners too because there are no "drive-offs" that are a constant problem in Australia.
  • The little clip on the petrol pump that clicks the pump off automatically when the tank is full. Means you can put your hands back in your pockets when it is cold.
  • Big-brother style supermarket card that records every purchase you ever make, and lets you build an automatic shopping list online to have your groceries delivered.
  • Everything in the supermarket has a dollar-per-ounce price, which pretty much removes the last use for maths in everyday life, but makes comparing product prices really easy :)
  • Cheap consumer goods: clothes, cars, manchester, cookware and outdoors gear are all way cheaper. Strangely, electronics are only slightly cheaper.
  • Attentive staff in restaurants (product of tipping).
  • Awesome roads. Seriously. This country loves to drive. Unfortunately Americans bear a heavy tax burden for the privilege, with income taxes levied at the federal, state, and even county levels.
  • If you are a school kid, you get a day off or late start at the drop of a hat. Any little bit of snow, ice, or even fog(!) can cause schools in Maryland to call a delayed start or cancel school altogether. No so fun for the parents when this happens.
  • The price of food is cheaper in restaurants, although it works out similar to Australian prices once you add the tip. Guess this is just a different way of paying staff, but it feels like it is cheaper :)
  • Automatic counting machines in the supermarkets that let you turn useless metal (ie. coins) into usable currency.
  • I got a haircut and they vacuumed my head to pick up all the little bits of hair. Went back to work without being itchy! Oh, and the haircut cost $9.50 and took under 10 minutes. Awesome.

That's all I can think of for now, but I will keep adding as it occurs to me.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Ha. Many of these were my pet hates about Oz. Minimum purchases for credit or EFTPOS, lack of EFTPOS terminals everywhere, so you'd have to walk for miles to get some cash and walk back to pay for a meal!

Having to stand and hold the petrol pump till the car fills up, lack of swipe and go petrol stations, people in restaurants looking at you funny when you want to split the bill.

All good fun!