Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Missed Opportunity

Sitting in Copley Square, taking advantage of the Boston Public Library's complimentary wireless. I seem to have essentially recovered and am enjoying some light convalescence in the sun (and unfortunately, the wind). I am currently eyeing off a nearby hot dog vendor's wares. I think he and I could reach some sort of mutually beneficial arrangement.

America has a couple of issues that are causing me ongoing frustration, and nothing fixes problems like complaining about it on the internet.

I experienced the first problem in Canada, and thought it was some quaint local custom, but alas, no. Nobody will tell you how much things cost. Doesn't matter is it's a meal, a game, a t-shirt, there's the price displayed prominently on the menu/sticker/whatever, and then they just whack some arbitrary amount of tax on top of it once you decide to buy it. So suddenly $29.99 becomes $31.87. It's not a big difference, but it's something easily remedied: include the applicable taxes in the advertised price. Magic.

I speak English. I speak quite good English, almost like I was born to it. So why is it when I order some food and say "no pickle, thanks" I have to repeat myself three times? Side note: it doesn't matter what food you're ordering, it comes with at least some pickle. Is it my indecipherable Australian accent, or staggered disbelief that I might not want a half kilo pickle sitting on my plate while I try to eat?

Damn, it seems it was a lunchtime hot dog stall. Now I must look elsewhere. One of the lesser known perils of blogging, I guess.


  1. There is nothing more annoying in Canada than their refusal to tell you what things cost! (Except maybe having to wait 3 months to be eligible for healthcare, or having to resit the driving test to get your license because they don't recognise your past driving experience, or not being able to get any credit because you don't have a credit rating, or...)

    What's worse is that some places _do_ advertise the full price, but you never really know if the tax is included or not.. so you can go and buy something from the $1 store and pay $1.13 (it's not really a dollar store then is it!), but then you get a $2 coke from the newsagent and it actually costs $2. So infuriating!

  2. Ahhh my favourite travel rant topic.

    Americans (bless them) argue that if the tax is included in the advertised purchase price that you don't know the actual cost of what they are buying. Yeah, nice argument. Other annoyance: Tips. Just pay people properly, and tips become a proper "gratuity" rather than a forced tax.

    And yet, language barrier. It took me 5 mintues to oder a take-away coffee rather than coffee "to-go". Don't even think of asking for capsicum in a sandwich (peppers...).

  3. Paying extra because somebody did the job they're paid to do does seem somewhat strange. Like you say Tom, maybe they could just pay service staff a decent wage in the first place.


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