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    50 Things Basically Every Single American Thinks Are Completely Normal But Are Actually Very, Very Strange

    "If the Pledge of Allegiance isn't brainwashing, I don't know what is."

    Here in the United States, a lot of people think the way WE do things is the way the rest of the world does things. Obviously, that ain't the case. Over the past few years, people on Reddit have shared the things they really can't quite understand about Americans and, of course, it's juicy.


    Here are the best responses:

    1. "You have a whole aisle in your supermarkets dedicated to just cereal."

    cereal aisle
    Jeff Greenberg / Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Imag

    2. "The huge number of flags everywhere."

    lots of american flags
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    3. "Big glasses of water WITH ICE at restaurants."

    Nawarit Rittiyotee / Getty Images

    4. "Drink sizes! Whoa."

    women drinking coffee
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    "When my family visited in 2017, we landed in Texas for a stopover. First thing I saw in the shops part of the terminal was a dude who was drinking from what looked like an actual bucket. Here in New Zealand, our 'large' drinks would be considered an American 'small' or 'medium.'" —u/The_Sly_Sloth

    5. "Paying for an ambulance."

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    "Seriously, like, WTF?"


    6. "Your news. It’s over-sensationalized. I couldn’t believe it when I visited. Every news program seems much less like news and more like reality TV."

    Simonkr / Getty Images

    7. "Aerosol cheese products."

    spray cheese
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    8. "You can buy milk in gallon-sized containers."

    woman searching for milk
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    "When I visited America, I went to a supermarket for some breakfast stuff — cereal and milk. All they had was milk in gallons! Who could possibly want that much milk? I asked for a smaller carton, and the lady who worked there just laughed at me and asked, 'Don’t you like milk in England?'" —u/memesalwaysdie

    9. "Americans are nice and will stop to talk to strangers."

    Antonio Garcia Recena / Getty Images

    "I have been through a lot of big American cities and a lot of tiny towns. ALL OF YOU — north to south — make Canadians look like bloody savages. I expected something worse, probably because of television and the internet. I ended up leaving your country, after the first time I visited, blown away and with a newfound, VERY REAL love for my southern neighbors." —u/animal1988

    10. "Red Solo cups are not just a Hollywood prop."

    red solo cups
    Kacey Klonsky / Getty Images

    "When I immigrated to the US, my mother-in-law was making dinner and offered me iced tea in a red Solo cup." —u/RavynLearnsBadly

    11. "You can get into university just by being good at sports."

    football players
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    12. "How desensitized they are to violence on TV and movies."

    man holding a knife
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    "I'm too European to understand how swearing and curse words are such a big deal in movies and songs, but violence and guns are taken with a grain of salt."


    13. "That you can get fired just like that and have no income."

    Willselarep / Getty Images

    "In my country, if you are fired, your employer needs to pay you for at least three months after you were fired."


    14. "The Pledge of Allegiance."

    saying the pledge
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    "If that shit isn't brainwashing, I don't know what is." —u/SamCropper

    15. "The toilet water being so high. Wiping was terrifying!"

    Byoungjoo / Getty Images

    16. "The idolization of politicians."

    politician with a halo
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    "They are public servants, not rock stars. You don't need to scream their name, buy their merch, fully commit your life to them, and believe everything they say."


    17. "Tipping. I had zero clue about tipping/how to tip, and I got a lot of dirty looks during my first solo trip there. I felt like shit after finding out."

    bad tip
    Vinnstock / Getty Images


    *NOTE: If you come to the United States, learn how to tip. It's important.

    18. "Yellow school buses are actually a thing in America. I honestly thought it was just a cartoon thing, but nope!"

    yellow school bus
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    19. "There are security guards in the school halls, and some schools even have metal detectors at the entrance like the TSA at airports."

    kids go thru security

    20. "You have those angry sinks* that chop shit."

    garbage disposal
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    *AKA garbage disposals.

    21. "On Halloween, masked people come to your house and knock on your door asking for candy. Mostly it's just packs of kids, but sometimes whole families."

    kids on halloween
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    22. "The minimal number of paid days off you get from work."

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    "A friend of mine from Wisconsin was very proud that he got 20 days off per year. If someone in Germany offered me only 20 days, I would laugh at them and leave." —u/_Warsheep_

    23. "Identifying as your heritage instead of your nationality. Americans will say that they’re Italian, German, Polish, etc., when they don’t speak the language and have no real connection to those countries anymore. In other parts of the world, people just identify with the country they were born in or have lived in for a significant amount of time, regardless of their ancestry."

    Charles Mcquillan / Getty Images

    24. "Attack ads against political opponents, and ads for law firms or lawyers. These kinds of ads are illegal and considered unethical in our country."

    attack ad
    Ted Thai / The LIFE Picture Collection via

    25. "American kids eat straight sugar."

    eating sugar
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    "Walked onto the playground and saw kids chugging these long, thin sticks. I tried one and realized it was just colored sugar. They called them Pixy Stix." —u/whowantsrice

    26. "Talking really loudly in public places. Default volume of most Americans seems to be about 10 decibels higher than that of every other country's inhabitants."

    guy talking loud
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    27. "The honking...I thought it was a movie stereotype, and then I went to New York."

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    28. "Your country is huge! I got off the plane and asked the cab guy how far the hotel was and he said about 30 miles. I almost had a heart attack."

    long road
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    29. "Free soft drink refills in restaurants."

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    30. "Higher education can cost upward of $50,000 per year."

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    31. "Huge gaps in the sides and bottoms of toilet stalls that people can see through."

    toilet gap
    Sarah Palmer / Getty Images


    32. "The TV ads for prescription medication always get me."

    woman holding a pill
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    33. "That you guys don't include taxes in your prices? I went to a convenience store to get a drink and was very confused when the price labeled was different at checkout."

    holding a receipt
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    34. "Having massive student debt."

    student debt
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    "I pay 20 euros per semester for tuition in Austria."


    35. "In many US states, some criminals can't vote, even while on parole."

    voting booths
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    36. "The drinking age being 21."

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    "You can join the Army, get married, have children, and drive at a younger age, but you're too immature to drink???"


    37. "Expensive required textbooks that you HAVE to buy to take a university class."

    Mariia Reshetniak / Getty Images

    38. "There was a 24-hour pharmacy across the street from our apartment. Nothing shocking there, except that it ALSO sold booze and cigarettes. What the actual fuck, like..."

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    39. "Wearing outdoor shoes inside the house."

    shoes on the couch
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    "Do you want to get dirt and mud and dog shit all over your floors?"


    40. "Saying, 'How are you doing?' or 'How's it going?', etc. just means 'hello.' I've noticed non-Americans tend to think this is an invitation for them to share their life troubles while most Americans just use it as a greeting."

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    41. "The size of your SUVs and trucks."

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    42. "The size of rats and the amount of cockroaches. I saw a roadkill cockroach the size of a tennis ball at the Grand Canyon. I have lived in Berlin for years, and I have yet to see any rat that comes close to New York rats."

    Memoangeles / Getty Images

    43. "The extreme variety between the states."

    state border
    Education Images / Education Images/Universal Image

    "I went to live there for a year and on the plane over, the guy next to me said, 'Each state is like a different country.' I thought he meant it in the same way that Manchester is different to Birmingham. But everything is so different state to state: the people, the attitude, the food, etc." —u/Westlifelover

    44. "What the hell is a pep rally?"

    pep rally
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    45. "The coupons. I was visiting a friend of mine who is from the States, and she bought a book of coupons. The discounts you could get were ridiculously fantastic!"

    woman using coupons
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    46. "Putting a ton of sugar in products like bread."

    sugary foods
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    47. "When traveling to another part of the world, an American will ALWAYS say the city and/or state they’re from, not the country. We’ll be at a hostel and someone will ask where everyone’s from: 'Denmark, Germany, France, Australia, Japan, Canada ... Sacramento, California.'”

    shaking hands
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    48. "Not owning kettles and microwaving water for coffee/tea."

    microwaving cup
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    49. "The fear of clowns. This is pretty much anecdotal but the fear of clowns seems to be a VERY American thing yet with other countries the reaction goes from 'meh' to 'I guess they're scary?'"

    scary clown
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    50. "Chanting 'USA!' for no apparent reason."

    people chanting
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    Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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