Let’s talk about America. As Americans, we oftentimes forget what it’s like to…not be American. It happens. That’s why I’m here! To let you know the craziest things about the country, the things that foreigners can’t stop talking about and Americans can’t stop laughing about it! Now don’t get me wrong, these are not bad things. They are just…things. They aren’t’ all bad, they aren’t all good, and the same type of list could be made for every country in the world! We’re all different and all the same in so many ways! But it’s really cool to take a look at everything from a different perspective every once in a while.
Are you visiting America and need to know you’re not alone? Don’t be afraid of the intense patriotism. Not all Americans have American flag underwear and say the Pledge of Allegiance in their sleep. Or perhaps you’re an American. In that case, have you ever wondered what foreigners thought of America’s food? Have you ever wondered how our service is? Have you ever wondered about America’s little quirks? Well, wonder no longer!
What is the best way to grow? The best way to learn more about each other? The best way to grow closer? Actually try! Or just read this cool list to learn fifteen things that Americans do that foreigners think are crazy! Whether you’re an American saying, “I’ve always wanted to know that!” or a foreigner thinking, “Finally, someone else who noticed!” you won’t’ regret it.
15 Super-Size Me
One of the “biggest” differences in visiting America and other countries is serving sizes. But why are the servings so big in America?
Well, after World War II, farmers found ways to grow more food by using pesticides and chemicals. This led to the testing of serving bigger servings in restaurants. What do you know? It brought in more customers. To be honest, the food servings weren’t bigger because non-food items were being added to them.
In a lot of places, the servings are the same today as they were 20 years ago. But in America, that serving has doubled. Before, at a burger joint, people would order a 6oz drink and a quarter pound burger. Now they order a 20oz drink and a half pound burger.
14 Obsess Over Fast Food
Sure, ask an Italian what to do in a certain city and they’ll list sights to see and maybe a nice restaurant. Ask an American, and they will most likely start with places to eat, not leaving out fast food places, as if this one Taco Bell is above and beyond any other.
Test it out. Tell an American where you’re staying and no doubt, a restaurant will be on the list in the top five places to go. This is understandable. Going on vacation merits a nice, leisurely, luxury trip to a high-end restaurant. But when they start telling you that the $1 menu in the next town over is a must-visit, you know something is up. Don’t’ forget to try their fries! Best in town, no doubt! Treat yourself.
When hearing of a drive thru McDonalds, most foreigners are like, “yeah, yeah. Cool, cool.” But when hearing about drive-thru wedding chapels, banks, Starbucks, and ammo shops, things get crazy.
Americans like convenience and they will take every opportunity they can to make something easier than it already is. I mean, people get paid gazillions to invent stuff that makes our lives easier. But in a lot of countries, convenience isn’t a priority.
Don’t think America has insane drive-thrus? Well, did you know that there is a funeral parlor drive thru? A voting poll drive-thru? An ER drive thru? A law firm drive-thru? Let’s just say if there is a physical location, there’s also a drive-thru. You name it, America has made a drive-thru out of it.
12 The Overly-Pushy Hospitality
This is mostly in the South, Midwest, or in businesses. People in America, business wise, get paid to be friendly and serviceable.
When the waiter comes and asks if you want a refill, even if you have half a drink left, it is seen as wasteful and naggy. “Do you want that to go?” is asked on your first bite. Then “Do you need ketchup?” is asked when you’re eating Mac n Cheese. “Can I get you anything else? How about dessert?” are the questions asked when you try to pay. It makes foreigners often feel patronized and childish.
Others find it rather nice to get away and let others do everything, even the thinking for you. But some think that it’s rude…yet again. As if no one can do anything for themselves.
11 Lying Liar Price Tags
This may go under our noses without us ever knowing it, but in America, price tags don’t even say the real price of the item. In other countries…they actually do a lot of the time.
You see, if you know that there is an item in a store with a $20 price tag, can you take a $20 bill into the store and come back with that item? No! Because…you know, taxes! We sometimes even subconsciously add in taxes in our minds when we see how much something will cost. But did you know a lot of countries know how much something will cost at the register without doing any math? Is this real life?
You see, America enjoys pushing legal limits. If the item is listed for $5, it feels good, even if we pay $7 at the register.
10 What’s A Tip?
This is a pro and a con. In most countries, tipping is a way to say, “good job, you’re the best I’ve ever had.” But in America, people think you’re rude if you don’t leave a tip and with big parties, it is often mandatory.
But foreigners think, “If they weren’t outstanding, why tip? I already paid for my food.” However, the hourly minimum wage for waitresses is often a fifth of the legal minimum wage at $2.13. A lot of foreigners don’t understand this. That’s because it is expected that waitresses make money via tips.
It can even happen with people who are making 100% of the money you pay, such as hairdressers, who often look for tips. Or taxi drivers, who you just paid directly. Maybe this is the same logic as taxes.
9 Having Money That’s All The Same
The American dollar bill and the American one-hundred dollar bill are physically worth the same. But according to seven billion people, one of them is 100 times more valuable. Some countries actually have currencies where the more expensive bills are worth more. But more than that, they at least look different.
In a lot of countries they are different colors, different sizes, even different shapes. There’s more than just a different president and number on it. For example, in Mexico, it doesn’t take more than a split second to tell which bill you have in your hand…you can just…tell. You know why this is so valuable? It’s not for convenience… it’s for blind people! Mind…blown! To think that other countries are thinking of everyone in an equal manner.
8 Friendly Strangers
In America, it isn’t uncommon for a stranger to say hi to you or to wave or even to ask how you are doing. But in many other countries, this is just weird, creepy, and will likely grant you an odd look.
This can actually make people uncomfortable. They will believe you have ulterior motives. This is even true for “city people” from the coast when strangers from the American Midwest ask personal questions. When the coastal native replies with, “Excuse me? Do I know you?” they both think that the other person is rude.
So the foreigner thinks the American is rude for asking questions that are none of their business and the American thinks the foreigner is rude for being snappy with their answer. Crazy stuff!
7 They Have The Weirdest Public Restrooms
For Americans, restrooms are restrooms. They are for business when in public and that’s it. But for foreigners, the restrooms in America are shocking? For Americans, seeing someone walk by and take a peek at you while you’re…you know, is annoying and disturbing, but it happens.
But imagine what it would be like if the first time this ever happened was when you were an adult visiting a foreign country. That would say a lot about the country. Americans even hate this, but it’s just the way it is. Those two inch gaps in public stalls are a way of life now. They are what the image of a public restroom looks like. But did you know it’s not normal?
In Europe, public bathrooms are usually fully enclosed. Each stall is in its own little world, with four walls and a ceiling. No gaps. No peep holes. Rarely even stalls. Wouldn’t this be a dream?
For every other country on the face of the earth, what Americans call soccer is actually football. The world’s most popular sport, football, is an entirely different game to most of the world. There is football and American football.
This fact has created sport wars between soccer fans and football fans. The origins are argued and the name makes people fume. But what is even more ridiculous is that America is obsessed with American football and often belittle soccer altogether. “Boys that play football are tougher than boys that play soccer.”
In my opinion the name football for American football makes little sense since there isn’t’ much contact with your foot. However, the fact that the most popular live event in America is the Super Bowl is quite ridiculous too.
5 The Drowning Of Patriotism With Flags
Many outsiders have been afraid of stepping foot into America because of the overabundance of flags. How could this be scary? Well, at the very least it’s been called cultish, a way of warding off foreigners. Some say it’s a way of saying, “You’re in America now, (insert racist name here).”
However, not all of them say that it’s obnoxious. The more gracious, confident of visitors believe the pride is admirable. But either way, they do see it as odd. Although, the more intense opinions say that people are taking the American flag and de-sanctifying it, in the same way that many Christians believe that Christmas is being commercialized.
With so many opinions, we can’t generalize them, but we can say that…America’s display of flags is…well…really different than anywhere else. Let’s not even get started on Texas.
4 Commercials, Commercials, Commercials
Did you know that one-third of your time spent watching primetime TV is spent watching advertisements? An insider’s perspective sees this as the way that networks pay to stream their shows. But outsiders see American commercials as low quality and as monetization alone, having no aim at making the viewer’s life better in any way.
Take the Brits for example. There are a few commercials that they are appalled at. One is feminine products. Another is toilet paper. You know the “unnamed brand” with the slogan “dirty bottom with tissue paper left behind” that depicts a bear wiping the bottom of another bear?
But according to reliable sources, the worst American TV commercial happened in 2005 when KFC released a commercial with people…eating with their mouths open. Inconceivable!
3 Public Displays Of Affections
It really depends on the region in any country, but a lot of countries believe that the PDA in America is alarming. You can walk the streets any day and it wouldn’t be surprising to see a couple making out on the corner.
In China, touching your love in public is considered taboo and in Dubai, it’s illegal to kiss anyone in public. But in India, known for being one of the tamest countries as far as adult content is concerned, all you have to do is annoy someone with your affection and you could get a few months in jail as well as a fine.
This could be handy in some cases, but in others, it’s a really good way to troll someone or get rid of that “one couple” for a few months.
2 Overuse Of Prescriptions
This is mostly referring to the ridiculous overabundance of “drug” commercials. Natives may not notice that there isn’t a commercial break without a drug advertisement. These aren’t really nonexistent in other countries, but they are rare in comparison.
On the same note, more people are on prescription drugs in America than any other country. Over 70% of all Americans are on prescription drugs. This may not even be shocking, but in the UK, the country was flabbergasted when they reached 50%.
To make things incredibly crazy, Americans consume 80% of the world's prescription pain pills. That’s 5% of the world taking 80% of prescription pain killers. How is this possible? Well, all you have to do to get drugs in America is ask your doctor, and bam! It’s done. In many ways, this is a life saver; in other ways, it’s a life taker.
1 Flushing Fish
Okay, this is a weird one. But in almost every other country, the idea of flushing a dead fish down the toilet is both disgusting and heartless. But in America, ever since we could walk, that’s what we thought that we were supposed to do with fish when they died.
But most foreigners really do think that’s just what you do in the movies. Like on The Simpsons. Ha Ha! To think that most of the stuff on The Simpsons is really how America is, foreigners might learn a lot of stuff about our culture. But really, ask most countries as a whole and they won’t believe how many goldfish you have personally flushed down a toilet. Or, if you haven’t, it’s not because you didn’t want to, it’s because you didn’t have a goldfish.
Who knew you were actually supposed to bury the fish like a dog or a human?