Who gets it right?

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Last night while I was looking for boarding passes for my trips to the USA in 2000 and 2004, I found the travel diaries I kept along the way.  There's some funny stuff in them.  One of them, from 2004, talks about "Who gets it right?" - observations I made about stuff and which country does it better.  The diary just had a list from each country, which I've expanded on here.


Pedestrian crossing buttons - presumably American crossings don't have buttons at all and you just have to wait.  Although I read somewhere that they don't really do anything in Australia.  Unless I suppose it's a dedicated pedestrian crossing where the lights will only change if you press the button.

No 1 and 2 cent pieces - omigosh this is so true!  I *hate* these coins and having to use them overseas - you end up with piles of the stoopid things because they're completely useless!  New Zealand has gone one step further and taken away 5 cent pieces as well.

Stop signs, or lack thereof - in America most minor intersections have Stop signs.  In Australia we have Give Way signs.  Which means you don't actually have to stop, but just need to make sure nothing is coming.  Sooo much better on a quiet intersection!

Number plate laws - not sure what I meant by this?

Toilet seats - again not sure what I meant by this.  Although I do think American toilets are weird with their huge bowls of water so that everything floats around - gross!!

Know how much you're paying - in Australia the GST (goods and services tax) is included in the price tag.  In America (at least the states that add sales tax) you never know how much something is going to cost until they ring it up at the cash register.

Minimum wage/tipping - in Australia people in the service industry are paid sooo much better than those in America.  They don't need tips to survive.  I figured tipping was basically like a service tax that went straight to the service staff, rather than the government.

Orange blinkers - I think in America a lot of blinker lights are red (or white).  In Australia they're always orange, so don't get mixed up with brake lights.

Metric - enough said

Seat belts - not sure what I meant by this

Footpaths - Americans don't believe in pedestrians.  They don't think they exist.  They assume everyone uses a car to cross a road.  At one point we were at this open-style mall with carparks and stores on either side of a busy road.  We wanted to get across to the other side.  We would have been safer getting in the car and crossing to the other side that way than to try and walk across like we did.

Self service service stations - presumably a lot of service stations in America have full service.  I *hate* that!  I never know what I'm supposed to do.  Just let me pump my own petrol!


Street sign labelling - in general street signs are much better in America (or at least better than Sydney!)

Freeway exit labelling - these are relatively decent in Australia now

Bags in supermarkets - not sure what I meant by this.  Maybe I meant the whole issue of taking backpacks into stores.  In America they'd never dare violate your personal rights by asking to search your bag on the way out of stores like they do in Australia.  In Canada they're a bit more forceful about not letting you take bags in at all, so I didn't even go in some stores.  As an honest shopper, I prefer the American way - I hate being made to feel like a criminal by having to open my bag on the way out.

Right turn on red after stopping - this is a given on just about all lighted intersections in America.  In Australia it's pretty rare, but should definitely be more common.


Dave2 said:

But when it comes to escalators and footpaths, the US is on the right... Aussies stand on the left!

November 8, 2011 12:59 PM


Kazza the Blank One said:

What's more mental is that in London and Osaka, countries where they keep left everywhere else, they keep right on escalators!!

November 8, 2011 4:40 PM


Missy said:

A quick reply to some of these.
- In America, or at least the parts I've been to, we do have pedestrian crossing buttons. They're all over in my neck of the woods.
-Yes, we have too many Stop signs in the U.S., but often they are there for safety purposes.
-I don't think blinkers are ever red...could be wrong...because as you said they can be confused with brakes. I think the are mostly orange/yellow.
-I don't think I've seen a full-service station in over 20 years! Where did you see that?

November 9, 2011 5:10 AM


Kazza the Blank One said:

Our trip was "Denver to Seattle via Canada" - so the north western quarter of the country, in 2004. Presumably a lot of things are regional and might well be different in the cities.

November 9, 2011 9:06 AM


Missy said:

I correct myself! Was out for short time this evening and saw three cars with red blinkers! Shocked. However, they blink so consistently it's clear they are not brakes; still odd though.

November 9, 2011 11:38 AM


Kazza the Blank One said:

hehe cool :)
Yes they still blink, but having them a different colour makes them more obvious

November 9, 2011 10:31 PM


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Kazza's "Boring Life Of a Geek" aka BLOG

IT geek, originally from Sydney, moved to Canberra in 2007. Married to "the sweetie", aka Stu. Prolific photographer, Lego junkie and tropical fish keeper.

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