February 13th, 2014 at 04:24pm
A friend in Canberra collects fridge magnets and it is not uncommon for people, when they go away, to buy some fridge magnets for him and give them to him upon their return. Long before I left Australia I decided that, as I’m out of the country for about four weeks, it would be more fun to buy and post a fridge magnet each day than to simply return and dump a pile of fridge magnets in front of him. Buying a fridge magnet each day might be a bit tough, so instead I’ll be buying one on most days…and because of the cost of international postage, I am not going to post them each day, but once every three or four days instead. That said, today’s fridge magnet was posted today as it was a useful exercise in getting to know the minor differences in the US postal system compared to the Australian postal system, and it came with a bit of a story.
Until today, the only places I had seen any fridge magnets in the US was at airports (admittedly I haven’t looked around much), so after having lunch at the diner half a minute’s walk away from the TWiT Brick House (Hallie’s Diner), I asked the nice staff there if they knew where I might be able to find some fridge magnets (I figured that, being a popular local diner and probably receiving plenty of custom from tourists who happen to be TWiT.tv visitors, it’s a question to which they might know the answer) and they suggested Ace Hardware a couple blocks away. At first I thought they had misunderstood me as I certainly wouldn’t expect to find fridge magnets at my nearest Bunnings, but one of the diner’s customers chimed in and also suggested Ace Hardware. So I went along expecting to find a hardware store, and instead found a store which was part hardware, part general home-making stuff, and part tourist gift shop. Among their selection of fridge magnets I found this one:
You wouldn’t know it if you didn’t venture out of the urban town section of Petaluma, but the surrounding area is rich in dairy farming, among other agricultural activities.
I came across something else earlier this evening which may be of interest as well. In the wee hours of this morning I mentioned my first purchase with physical US currency. This evening while looking for something else, I came across the receipt.
This isn’t entirely irrelevant when talking about the fridge magnet as when I bought the coffee I was simply asked to pay the total amount of the transaction ($2.61) and didn’t notice that item prices are listed without taxes applied, and indeed this has been the case in all of the food outlets I have visited. It was only when I went to pay for the fridge magnet that the difference became apparent as they sales assistant had to look under a few fridge magnets until she found one which had a price on it…this price was an amount that I could easily make out of the notes and coins I had on me, but then as I was about to pay for it, she ran the magnet through the register and informed me of the after-tax price. It was a small difference, but it was one of those useful bits of knowledge which I had completely forgotten about.
Entry Filed under: US Trip 2014