Aussies Are Pointing Out Subtle Differences Between The USA And Australia And It’s So Interesting

Our fascination with Walmart is unmatched.

I’m well aware that there are some pretty obvious things that differentiate us Aussies from our yeehaw-shouting friends across the Pacific Ocean. But what are the less obvious differences? Reddit user u/scarletmanuka pondered that very question when they posted this thread asking Aussies to share their thoughts.


They asked, “We all know the usual suspects like the height of the toilet doors and not having tax included in the price on the shelf, but what is a less spoken of difference you’ve noticed between Australia and North America?”

Here are the best responses!


“Walmarts are truly, almost unfathomably, huge and, for an Aussie, actually make for a tourist attraction in their own right. It’s like a Bunnings that’s still a Bunnings, but is also a Woolworths, a Kmart, as well a bottle shop. Oh, it’s also a huge chain chemist (and gun shop).”



“I went to a McDonald’s inside a Walmart once. Not just in the same mall — inside the actual store.”



“The constant ‘you’re welcome’ after every ‘thank you.'”



“For me, it’s that a lot of American-made cars have red indicator lights, not orange ones. I thought for a moment the guy in front of me was braking erratically, but he was just indicating.”



“Even though we’re experienced with ‘US English’ thanks to Hollywood, there are still a lot of local terms that are just baffling to us. My example is ‘will-call tickets.'”

“I was in the US years ago (before phone internet was really a thing, so I couldn’t really look it up), and I was trying to book tickets on the phone to events and was told they were ‘will call.’ I had no idea what that meant, and trying to ask staff for clarification just got me around in circles when they told me, ‘Oh, those tickets are will-call, sir.’

Long story short, turns out this is an American term for what we’d call ‘pick them up at the box office.'”



“Posting mail from your own letterbox in the US, rather than going to a post box.”



“My brother got his driver’s licence in the US while my family lived there. He almost got failed during his assessment for 65 in a 65 zone, because the other cars were doing 75. This was in Texas, which has roughly the same population as Australia, but 10 times as many road deaths.”



“I found that Americans didn’t like my ‘Not bad’ response to their ‘How are you?’ questions. They wanted something more upbeat like ‘Great’ or ‘Peachy!'”



“When I was in Hawaii a few years ago, I asked a place if they did takeaway. The bloke looked at me like I was having a stroke. After I explained it, he said, ‘Oh, you mean takeout.'”

“Then, I ordered a hot dog and chips off the menu. I got a hot dog and a packet of potato chips.”



“Americans use ‘ma’am’ and ‘sir’ a lot. You don’t hear it in Australia.”



“Americans calling a sports coach ‘Coach’ like it’s a formal title is so weird to me. Even ex-coaches seem to hold onto this title. I was watching the NBA, and they referred to commentators who used to coach as ‘Coach’ too.”



“Remembering that they drive on the other side of the road, so you have to look left then right before crossing the road, rather than right then left as you would here [in Australia]. It’s a minor thing, but getting it wrong (say, when you’re tired or have had a few drinks) may not turn out well.”



“Getting into your car as the driver and looking in front of you, confused as to who stole your steering wheel.”



“‘Fortnight’ is replaced by ‘bi-weekly.'”



“The way they speak to serving staff. I’ll say, ‘May I please have’ — I heard a lot of people saying, ‘I’ll have,’ or, ‘Give me.’ Their tones were very polite, but they didn’t seem to use please and thank you often. Obviously not everyone, but I heard it enough to notice the difference.”



“Sugar in absolutely everything, including bread! I once came back from a five-week US trip so addicted to sugar that it took me months to wean myself off!”



“I tried to pay for something with card in the US, and the guy at the checkout wanted me to sign a paper receipt.”

“I was baffled because I don’t even put in a PIN when I pay here; I tap my watch. Signing a receipt to use a bank card is something from old movies — I’ve never had to do it. When I commented that I’d never seen that before, the bloke laughed and said something like, ‘Well I don’t know what backwards place you come from.'”



“People in Australia will think that certain areas are unsafe, and they might be. But the US has actual areas in most cities that feel immediately unsafe — and they might only be streets away from a fine area.”



“Every American restaurant has a toilet INSIDE the restaurant. In Australia, it’s usually ‘out back, turn left, then right, then through that door, another left, and toilet on your right.’ Feels like you have gone to a different city to get to the toilet!”



And finally, “The light switches flip the wrong way.”


Have you noticed any of these or other subtle differences between Australia and the USA? Let us know in the comments!

Note: Some Reddit responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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