Tuesday, December 16, 2014

American Convenience Versus Canadian Value

People often ask about the differences between the U.S. and Canada.  There are many societal and political differences, but one that is not often mentioned is the difference in consumer culture.  In Canada, the key thing is Value - getting the most and the best for one's money.  In the U.S., it is Convenience - getting what you want as quickly and easily as possible.  A lot of folks ask why, and I am not really sure, but perhaps Canadians have less cash due to high taxes and need to make the most of it and Americans work too much and need to make the most of their free time.

What are some examples of Canadian Value:

  • The most popular car: the Honda Civic - not too expensive, high quality, good gas mileage, room for the family, somewhat stylish, great trade-in.  A good value.
  • When you buy a car, you wait a few days to pick it up so the dealer can "prep it" and get the paperwork done.
  • The most popular restaurant: Tim Hortons - coffee tastes good, is inexpensive, lunch for around $5.  Starbucks is for the 1% people and special treats.
  • Shopping: Canadian Tire - hard goods store, lots of practical items at good prices, gives rebates in Canadian Tire money.
  • Cross Border Shopping - drive 2 hours and wait in line at the border to get inexpensive towels, clothes, electronics booze in the States and bring (smuggle) it back across the border, a great value.
Some examples of American Convenience:
  • When you buy a car, they expect you to drive it home right away.  Paperwork and dealer installed options will be added later, but by Thor, you get that shiney new car in your driveway now!
  • Drive through banks, pharmacies, grocery stores, beer stores (Texas), Dept of Motor Vehicles (Virginia), and of course fast food restaurants.
  • BBQ tank delivery to your home, can also be attached by the deliveryman to your BBQ for utter convenience.
  • Call ahead to get on waiting lists at Urgent Care clinics (Canadians would rather wait 5 hours but it's free).  Less waiting when you get there.
  • Next day measuring and installation of blinds, flooring, heating systems, air conditioning, artifical hips, and lots of other stuff that takes weeks  in Canada.
  • Amazon Prime, an American invention.

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