Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted by N~R~G
not to take this off topic, but I'm interested in the difference that you perceived?!
It's hard to even know where to begin as there are so many, but lets try a few:
- Beer can be bought pretty much anywhere in the US. Gas stations, stores, corner shops, you name it. I thought Alberta had really lax liquor laws, such as being able to buy liquor in a separate annex of a grocery store unlike a provincial run LCB outlet.
- Not seeing things in French. In Alberta we totally ignore the French "side" of our products but oddly enough we were conscious of it not being on your packaging.
- Energy drinks galore. Wow, I mean...you guys have A LOT of energy drinks. Even a Clamato juice energy drink (which was totally awesome), weird energy Pepsi, and Envigas. Here, all our energy drinks taste like Redbulls with the exception of Jolt colas.
- You have a very large Latin community (Mexican?) which is really weird to see. We drove into this one town called Brewster, Washington and noticed there were no signs in English. Not one. We stopped at a gas station to grab a drink, noticed everyone was speaking Spanish in the store and were giving us odd looks, like we did not belong there. We found this absolutely fascinating as there is nothing like this back in Alberta. When we stopped in Omak, several people asked us what was going through our heads stopping in Brewster. So this was our first dose of intentional cultural segregation (with the exception of Indian reserves and Hutterite colonies, of course).
- I am still trying to wrap my head around American liquor laws. We figured that we would stay in Wenatchee for the day and have a good piss-up. So we went into a store with Spanish signage all over it and were quite impressed with seeing your beer beside the baby diapers, lol. Anyways, there were a lot of different brands to be had, mostly American and the odd case of import Canadian beer like Kokanee and Molson. Wanting to try something new, we asked the fellows working by the beer cooler what beer they would recommend. Their choice was Modello and so we bought a case for $10 (Wow, your beer is cheap!!!!! In Canada, my trunk AND backseat would be loaded to the nuts with beer at $10). So, we got back to the hotel room and noticed that the alcohol percentages were not labeled on the cans. This bothered us somewhat, but we drank anyways. Not so much of a buzz after drinking the case which has never happened to me before so I was upset with the fact that while the beer was cheap, it was very expensive near-beer. We were relieved to find that you had microbeers with labeled percentages and were certainly pleased with the taste and effects as such. So why do most beers not have percentage labels on them, but after a certain percentage, they do? Some law? Canadian beers use percentage points as a sales gimmick, some beers hitting 12% alcohol. So we have grown accustomed to checking alcohol content on our cans and bottles. Weird, eh?
- Dialects and mannerisms. Canadians defuse confrontations (ie accidentally bumping into someone or leaving a shopping cart in the way for example) so we are inclined to apologize and accommodate the situation. Here is an example: A Canadian bumps into another in a shopping center. A sincere apology is given which is then followed up with either another apology, or confirmation that the apology has been sincerely accepted, like "Oh, that's alright, my fault!". Both parties leave without any negative feelings. This applies even if the other person was the one that caused the initial incident; you just apologize. It is something culturally wired in us (not EVERYONE is like that, but you really stand out if your rude). In the States, If I bumped into someone or vice versa, I would sincerely apologize but I was always replied to with a lazy "Mmmmhmmmm...." (Wow, even if they caused it!!). Perhaps this is part of a local dialect (like how we can tend to accentuate with "Eh" to stress a point) but we were just horrified at what seemed quite rude. You just never hear that up here used like that. This may sound odd, but that was the absolute hardest thing to adjust to; the "mmmmhmmm".
- Going into stores while the clerks are on the phones only to have them ignore you and continue talking. This was all so amazingly odd! One guy talked on the phone for almost 20 minutes while I stood in front of him. This seemed "normal" I guess?
- Adjusting to the way your currency looks was kind of hard because it all looks the same at a quick glance. I think the lady at Starbucks must have figured I got off the short bus as I was just staring at the wad of bills in my hand, lol!
- Fuel is dirt cheap! I actually filled my car with $20!!!! (compared to $45 in Canada).
- Getting ID'd for liquor was a blast, lol!
- Your skate and snowboard shops are REALLY great!
- Walmart carries a pill called Alieve, one of the most awesome painkillers I've taken. Sadly, they do not sell them in Canada, so I bought 8 bottles of this amazing stuff!
- Food portions are HUUUUGGGE!!!! We went to Kentucky Fried Chicken and this is what your restaurants have that ours do not: mashed potatoes, fry wedges, beans, biscuits (more on that next) and this weird "bowl" concoction that had all of the above thrown in with gravy all over it. We bought a family meal, and while in Canada we would receive one bag, in the States we received three. I felt like we had left a grocery store. The chicken peices were so big portions had to be held with BOTH hands. That was a BIG F_CKING CHICKEN!!! I mean...they were HUGE peices! Awesome value but we suffered dearly for it later as it was so high in fat content (washing down greasy chicken with American microbrews makes for a story not meant to be repeated). You have very large food portions down there!
I could go on and on about good and bad things but this post turned out much longer than it should have already. Don't think I'm slamming the States here, I'm just looking at the situation as a foreigner with likely equally odd cultural habits. To just poke my head into a couple of towns even some Americans have probably never heard of, certainly does not qualify me to say that this what all America is like, but it was noticeably different to a degree that I truly felt like an outsider there. Yet, I found that when I got back to Canada and the experiences settled in, I wanted to go back and see more of it. I'm thinking Montana next and this time I know which beer to buy, lol!
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