63 Things Basically Every American Accepts As Completely Normal But Are Actually Very, Very Strange
"If the Pledge of Allegiance isn't brainwashing, I don't know what is."
Here are the best responses:
1. "The obsession with high school. I have friends who say their best years were spent in high school, and I think that's really, really sad."
2. "People have lunch at their desks. And usually it's just a snack. Where I come from, lunch is the most complete meal of the day."
3. "Having an average of only 10 days of annual leave. And then sometimes even being looked down on for taking it."
4. "Why kids have a social pressure to leave their parents' homes at 18."
5. "Homecoming. Who the heck is coming home?"
6. "Complete strangers asking me how I'm doing."
7. "There's so much water in your toilet bowls...you could go for a swim in there."
8. "You have a whole aisle in your supermarkets dedicated to just cereal."
9. "The huge number of flags everywhere."
10. "The fact that swearing is such a big deal and you bleep out everything is so weird."
11. "Big glasses of water WITH ICE at restaurants."
12. "How American towns and cities are generally designed so that you have to drive everywhere."
13. "Processed cheese. There are so many delicious cheeses that are actual cheese. Why eat the gross fake stuff?"
14. "The more credit you take the better for your credit score. Here in Germany, your credit score will suffer the more credit you take. Even if you pay it back on time."
15. "What I will never be able to understand is this: How can it be completely normal for you people for Amazon to leave the package on your doorstep???"
16. "Just the general weird attitude about alcohol. I was carded to get into a bar in the US when I was 29 years old...meanwhile I'd been drinking in pubs in England for 13 years without having to show ID."
17. "Walmart. I went to buy a SIM card and some groceries, but I also discovered that I could also buy pet fish, car parts and shoes...all in one building?!?!"
18. "The portion sizes. A meal in a restaurant back home will usually leave me fairly full, but I felt as if I had to be rolled out of everywhere I ate in the US."
19. "I went to pay with a credit card in a restaurant and the waiter just took it and walked off."
20. "Drink sizes! Whoa."
21. "Paying for an ambulance."
22. "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."
23. "You can buy milk in gallon-sized containers."
24. "Americans are nice and will stop to talk to strangers."
25. "Red Solo cups are not just a Hollywood prop."
26. "You can get into university just by being good at sports."
27. "How desensitized they are to violence on TV and movies."
28. "That you can get fired just like that and have no income."
29. "The Pledge of Allegiance."
30. "The idolization of politicians."
31. "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."
32. "Yellow school buses are actually a thing in America. I honestly thought it was just a cartoon thing, but nope!"
33. "There are security guards in the school halls, and some schools even have metal detectors at the entrance like the TSA at airports."
34. "You have those angry sinks* that chop shit."
35. "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."
36. "The minimal number of paid days off you get from work."
37. "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."
38. "Attack ads against political opponents, and ads for law firms or lawyers. These kinds of ads are illegal and considered unethical in our country."
39. "American kids eat straight sugar."
40. "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."
41. "The honking...I thought it was a movie stereotype, and then I went to New York."
42. "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."
43. "Free soft drink refills in restaurants."
44. "Higher education can cost upward of $50,000 per year."
45. "Huge gaps in the sides and bottoms of toilet stalls that people can see through."
46. "The TV ads for prescription medication always get me."
47. "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."
48. "Having massive student debt."
49. "In many US states, some criminals can't vote, even while on parole."
50. "The drinking age being 21."
51. "Expensive required textbooks that you HAVE to buy to take a university class."
52. "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..."
53. "Wearing outdoor shoes inside the house."
54. "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."
55. "The size of your SUVs and trucks."
56. "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."
57. "The extreme variety between the states."
58. "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!"
59. "Putting a ton of sugar in products like bread."
60. "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.'”
61. "Not owning kettles and microwaving water for coffee/tea."
62. "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?'"
63. "Chanting 'USA!' for no apparent reason."
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.