Skip To Content
  • Viral badge

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

Points were made, folks. Points were made.

Here in the good ol' US of A, a lot of Americans think the way THEY 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 the popular internet site, Reddit, have shared the things they really can't quite understand about Americans and, of course, it's fascinating and often hilarious.

patriotic people

Here are the absolute best responses:

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

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

yellow school bus

3. "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."

news

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

5. "That you have extremely violent shows on daytime TV, but you sensor nudity. How will a boob harm you, but stabbing and blood splashing are normal?"

bomb tv scene

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

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

woman holding a pill

8. "People actually like and buy pickup trucks as their daily vehicle, even if their job doesn’t require them to haul anything at all."

people sit in a pool in a pick up truck.

9. "American kids eat straight sugar."

eating sugar

10. "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..."

cvs

11. "The honking...I thought it was a movie stereotype, and then I went to New York."

12. "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

13. "The huge number of flags everywhere."

lots of american flags

14. "Sending Christmas cards with a professional photo of your family on the front."

obama christmas card

15. "You can buy milk in gallon-sized containers."

woman searching for milk

16. "The Pledge of Allegiance."

saying the pledge

17. "Aerosol cheese products."

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

19. "Free refills. The first time I was in the US, the waitress kept refilling my glass without asking. I thought that was a rude scam to make more money. Turns out, they only charged me for one drink on the bill."

A cup of soda being refilled

20. "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

21. "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

22. "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

23. "Paying for an ambulance."

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

25. "That the waiter takes your credit card when you pay in an American restaurant. Here in Europe you always keep the card with you when you pay."

26. "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

27. "The idolization of politicians."

28. "Drive-thru banks and even pharmacies. This is astonishing to me as we simply do not have enough space for that sort of thing in the UK."

29. "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."

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

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

garbage disposal

32. "The concept of getting into university because you're good at a sport. I was chatting with an American guy online and he told me he went to college on a 'lacrosse scholarship.' This was mind-boggling to me."

33. "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

34. "The lack of annual paid time off from work. My uncle recently moved to the UK from the states and nearly passed out when he realized I get around 35 days of holiday every year."

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

toilet gap

36. "The drinking age being 21."

beers

37. "Wearing outdoor shoes inside the house."

shoes on the couch

38. "The school sequence of freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior. I have to translate this in my head every time I hear it."

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

money

40. "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."

cheerleader

41. "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

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

pep rally

43. "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."

44. "Iced tap water that arrives at your table immediately when you sit down at a restaurant. It's such an amazing thing!"

45. "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

46. "A car culture that is so intense, you can't really live without one. My parents didn't even know how to drive. We use public transport (subway, bus, etc) to get pretty much anywhere."

47. "That fact that you can drive for five hours in the United States and still be in the same place more or less. If you drive for five hours in Europe, suddenly everyone’s talking funny and the cheese is different."

48. "Putting a ton of sugar in products like bread."

sugary foods

49. "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."

guys talking

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

people chanting