Posted by: dsduffy | November 18, 2011

It’s official, they don’t give a &*%$

While at the South Melbourne Market today, (the BEST place in the world to buy fruit, veg, meats, etc) I was at my favourite cafe ordering my favourite coffee. A soy flat white, 1 sugar. The guy behind the counter repeated after me, “soy?” “Yes,” I replied, “SOY.” He gave me a puzzled look (one that I am accustomed to receiving) and again, said, “SOY?” I wasn’t sure if was making fun of me for ordering soy (sorry, lactose intolerant over here!) or of the way I pronounce SOY.

In any case, he repeated my order to the barista and proceeded to ask me the question of the day, “So, you’re American? Or – uh – Canadian?” I shifted my weight and answered with a sigh, “American.” He nodded yes and the usual questions flowed my way. For how long, why, do I like it, etc etc etc. Oh you have NO idea how annoying this can be. Especially when being asked by a person who doesn’t know me, will probably never know me and who I frankly, don’t give a damn about! But the nice person that I am – I answer away.

But when he asked me if it is better here in Melbourne, my answer was a little different this time. I like to play around with my answers from time to time, mix things up, ya’know? So this time, I said well there are few annoying things.

This got the attention of the barista and I now I had two people interested in my answer. I proceeded to tell these complete strangers what I thought. I said, “Well nobody complains here. Nobody stands up for themselves.” The barista made a face and shrugged his shoulders. “We don’t give  shit.” And there it was – they just don’t give  a shit!

I mean, for over three years I haven’t thought about that exactly. I thought maybe they were snobby, or something I just didn’t get. But it is just that simple – they don’t give a shit.

Hey, more power to ya, but I still find it a bit strange at times. Like when you are waiting on line for eons, nobody gets antsy, nobody is looking around for what the hold up is, they just stand there and wait. Patiently. While I am searching for some sort of answers, huffing and puffing, sighing, complaining internally “come on!” but no, the Aussies just wait there unaffected.

They just don’t give a shit.

Or like when I had to wait 45 minutes at the doctor’s office for flu shots for my kids, only to be told that no, I have to go to the Chemist and get the injection myself and bring it back. Only to go to the Chemist, get the injection and then be told by the nurse that she doesn’t do injections on kids under 12, Aussies would probabloy just say OK and go home. No, not this American mom. I raised my voice and told them how ridiculous this was and how I would never step foot in their office again! Only, to walk away, feeling all the eyes on me, that crazy American!

I give a shit. What can I say?

*hopefully I don’t offend anyone, this is just an observation and of course it doesn’t apply to everyone!




  1. Very interesting observation! I think I was with you at that doctor’s appointment when Jake was terrorizing the waiting room while we waited …. and waited …. and waited … all for naught. Those Aussies!!!

  2. First time I’ve commented- makes me an ex lurker now 🙂

    From the other side- I’m an Aussie who lived in the States for two years – this difference is what I adore about Australians (and what I HATED about America).

    I found many Americans to be overly impatient to my Aussie eyes, and more often riled by things which were trivial and very determined to “have their way” – sometimes no matter what.

    Whilst I agree Australians can be too passive – the docotr story is a case in point- I think the continual emphasis on “rights” and constant bombardement of “choices” from sandwiches to insurance leads to a culture that seeems to thrive on being antsy all the time.

    It’s an interseting difference , but sorry to say (and no offence taken) I much prefer the “I don’t give a ….” philosophy.

    • Thank you for your comment! Honestly I see your point, I think Americans are way too sensitive and expect too much all the time. I wonder where the “happy medium” is?

      And no, I’m not offended 🙂


  3. Thanks Danielle,

    You’re a genuinely lovely person!

    Such a lot of interesting differences aren’t there?

    My beloved American DIL, (soon to be an Australian citizen) prepares her North American visitors by saying “Australia is not the US with kangaroos!”. We laugh at the misconceptions from both sides, and are delighted to find all the commonalities as well.

    I , too wonder what the happy medium might be. I wish we could import America’s sense of “service” and general confidence. Mix that with some laid back, more egalitarian Aussie ways and I think it might be a potent mix!

  4. Yes, you are genuinely lovely! I agree with the happy medium – especially living in a town full of people who feel “entitiled” – I am amazed everyday at someone’s “request” about a simple thing (yes, the pta membership is $10/parent and $5/child – no you can’t sign up your family of 4 for $15, cue rolling of eyes and looking around for someone else to give them a different answer, all when their purse cost more than my car!) but I digress, I do try as often as reasonably possible to be patient, pleasant, and kind – it’s the decent way to go about your day 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving and give a great big birthday hug to Cameron!!!
    Love you

  5. Hey Patty M. – I see you more on here than I do around town! Loved your response to this post, I am totally with you – yup that’s life living in “The Hill” 🙂

  6. The happy medium is called:…. a canadian!

    I guess this comment also makes me an ex-lurker…..

    From MC, a canadian who lived in Australia.

  7. I give a shit too. x

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