Thursday, February 3, 2011

Little American luxuries.... that aren't up here.

To follow up on my Canadian sticker shock post, I have put together a list of little pleasant things that make life easier in the States.  These things do not exist OR are hard to find in Canada (or at least, here in TO).  I'm not trying to whine; it's just an interesting look at a place ridiculously like America.... but just a little bit different.  Here they are:

Free checking accounts.  Cannot find them.  I think only America does these.

Carbon-copy checks.  Also called duplicate checks.  Apparently they weren't available at my bank, or else I would have gotten them.

Free pickups of tickets at venue locations (aka "will call"). Eluveitie is playing at the Opera House Sunday night, and I would love to go, but there is a small problem.  You can either get your tickets FedExed for $14 (this is NOT overnight, but rather the standard rate; welcome to Canada), or you can pick them up at any number of inconvenient locations throughout the city.  Picking them up at the place they're playing is unfortunately not an option, and I've never heard of this from any venue.

Coupon doubling/tripling.  I LOVED and took full advantage of this in the States.  It's a foreign concept here.

Hulu.  WANT.  But, no dice.

Nationwide wireless long distance at a reasonable price.  In the States, it almost doesn't matter what area code you have, because all cell phones can call nationwide.  In Canada, you're usually limited by province, unless you pay a huge chunk of change.  I will be limited to Toronto and the U.S., and luckily, that'll work for me.

Non-outlandish wireless plans.  The big three (Bell, Telus, and Rogers) have a fantastic monopoly on cellular service here in Canada.  Contracts are 3 years and sometimes offer as little as 50 minutes/50 texts for some ridiculous price.  Luckily, this is changing with discount carriers such as Fido, Wind, and Mobilicity, many of which do not require a contract and will even give you U.S. calling for cheap.

Free plastic shopping bags.  I've tried to cut down on these.  I use my reusable bags almost wherever I go, unless I've really got too much stuff to fit into them.  In Canada, there is definitely an impetus to do this, because the province of Ontario, in trying to cut down on waste, has mandated that sellers must charge at least 5 cents per plastic bag.  Because I'm a complete cheapo, I've scrounged all the plastic bags out of my car and made them into shopping bags.  It's worked, Canada!

Anything you want on amazon.  In Canada, you get just books.

TargetSoon.... soon. 

Am I forgetting any?

1 comment:

  1. I was blown away to discover nationwide long-distance when I moved to the States. Yup, look forward to getting gouged on cell costs. Cheques are highly unpopular outside of the US anyways, why do you need them? Banking in general is way better in Canada, if you're Canadian I assume, because of the nationwide unified banking system. Costs for plastic shopping bags are all over the States too - for instance, here in DC.

    Finally, if you've got a problem with Hulu/Amazon, complain to US distributors and their ridiculous licensing arrangements. The Wall Street Journal just ran an article about how studies have shown that content piracy is most rampant in places where that content is not available legally. American movie distributors are working on a very archaic framework, unfortunately :-(