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Found the answer. Use default format.
NEVER rely on default formatting or implicit data conversions. You are asking for big trouble when you do that. Defaults can be different on different systems and even on the same system an ALTER statment can change the default.
Use explicit formatting and you will never have those problems.
I agree as a general rule. However in this case, it appears that the variable substitution routine is returning the default format. So to compare my expected data to the returned data I choose to use the default format. If the variable substitution routine specified an explicit format, I would use that. In my original question, I asked if anyone knew the format.