34 Things That People Didn't Realize Were 100% American Until They Left America
"At a buffet in Germany, I had to pay for ketchup."
Let's face it, we all have our ~habits~ and ~customs~ that, while unique to our culture, are also things we don't think twice about.
Well, recently Reddit user TJBullz asked, "Americans of Reddit, what is something you didn't realize was typically American, until you went abroad?" These responses will have you asking, "Wait, they don't do this everywhere?"
Here are some responses that'll leave you gobsmacked:
1. Cool Ranch Doritos:
"In the Netherlands, they are called 'Cool American' flavor."
2. Small avocados:
"I was in Puerto Rico and was like, 'Yo, I'll have 6 of those stuffed avocados.' Buddy was like, 'Yo, dude, I think you're underestimating the size of our avocados here. Just have one and I'll bring you more if you want after.'
I had half of one. It was the size of a football."
3. Half-smile greetings:
"It's custom in Japanese culture to always greet someone as a sign of respect, but I feel uneasy that Americans sometimes look at you and do that half-smile thing while not saying anything."
"I'm from Northern Europe but have visited the US a couple of times. Their love of SUV cars and drive-thrus is unreal — like there is a Dunkin', a Subway, and three other kinds of fast food places next to each other, and all of them have a drive-thru."
6. Sales tax:
"The prices abroad don't add tax after the fact. You pay what the price shows. No need to figure out the tax before you pay."
7. Multiple soda flavors:
"Getting to choose from like 50 different types and subtypes of sodas."
"How large grocery stores are here. My wife is not American, and while we lived in China, we frequented Hong Kong quite often. There, they had large international stores that were great, but she didn't really grasp the size of American grocery stores until our first week in the US when we went to one and she saw an aisle of cereal that was 150 ft. long."
"The rest of the world thinks it's a made up crime you only see in movies with corrupt cops."
11. Wide roads and lanes:
"Ireland made me feel claustrophobic, but when I got back home the roads felt like way too much wasted space."
12. Water pressure:
"Y'all's showers are like a flower watering pot. I like to feel my shower. Like, make the pressure strong enough to tear my skin off, then back it off like ten percent."
13. Being loud:
"I never thought of myself as being loud until I went abroad and would hang up the phone after speaking in what I thought was an appropriate volume, only to see that everyone around me was staring at me, and realized how much more quiet they were."
14. Free refills:
"Having your drink constantly refilled at restaurants. I just wanna drink a ton of water, alright?"
15. Being friendly to strangers:
"I moved to England from Texas about six years ago. One of the major things that I noticed was that smiling and being friendly towards strangers was considered bizarre. This is a bit true in any metropolitan area, but especially in the UK. In Texas, I was used to smiling at people, asking for directions if I needed them, and being friendly towards strangers. I learned very quickly that smiling at someone on the Tube, or asking someone for directions on the street, immediately makes someone think you’re trying to scam or rob them."
16. Portion sizes:
"During my high school senior trip to London, being a typical ravenous 18-year-old, I couldn't get over how small everything was."
17. Keeping the AC on:
"I went to Madrid for about a month to visit the exchange student we hosted and found out that they typically only turn on the AC at night to sleep or when it reaches a damned 105° F."
18. Water fountains:
"I've noticed there's a big shortage of water fountains once you leave the US."
"I’ve lived in the States my entire life, but when my Spanish girlfriend came to visit I wasn’t sure what I could show her that really exhibited American culture. There are plenty of American stereotypes you see on TV, but it wasn’t until I took her to a tailgate that I realized how violently-American the whole experience is. It was a huge parking lot full of drunk 20-year-olds bouncing on trucks bigger than most European apartments. Half of those said trucks were blaring country music, and the other half were blasting rap. Solo cups and beer cans were all over the place, as well as grills, corn hole, etc. I’ve traveled to quite a few different countries, and I can’t really see a tailgate happening in any other place."
20. Solo cups:
"So much so that people outside of the US use them as accessories for American-themed parties."
21. Cashiers bagging your groceries:
"I went to Germany and found it strange that they don't bag your items for you. Everyone just brings their own bag or dumps their stuff in a backpack."
22. Excessive use of cheese:
"My British friend makes fun of me for how much cheese I use while cooking."
23. Impromptu road trips:
"Road trips...at least just jumping in the car and driving a few hours without giving it much thought. I live in a large western state and, as a child, I remember at least every other weekend my family and I would hop in the car and travel for a few hours to see some site or visit another state.
I have relatives in Switzerland and they were going to drive us to the Frankfurt airport and I was blown away by how big of a deal it was to them. My uncle had the car inspected, shopped around for gas, and printed off travel and weather reports. All for a trip that my family would have done on a whim one weekend."
24. Root beer:
"It's apparently disgusting and an offense to most of the world's palate."
25. Cold drinks:
"In every European country I've visited, the drinks would best be described as cool, but definitely not ice-cold like in the US."
"It's the unit of measurement I use most frequently when giving directions — the restaurant is 3 blocks away, go south one block and then west two blocks, I live six blocks from the grocery store, etc.
It wasn't until I studied abroad in England and got a complete blank look when I asked someone how many blocks away the library was that I realized using "block" as a measurement only makes sense in cities that were largely pre-planned and built on grid system, AKA, not many places outside the US."
27. Free public restrooms:
"When I visited Europe I thought it was the strangest thing that you had to pay to use a public restroom."
28. Garbage disposals in sinks:
"When I moved to the UK, my flatmates asked why is it that in movies people would stick their hands in the sink drain and it be ripped apart. I told them about garbage disposals and they were very weirded out."
30. Eating burgers with our hands:
"I just assumed everyone did this. I went to Sweden with my boyfriend and we stopped at a burger joint. When the chef heard we were American, he immediately wanted us to try a speciality burger he made and tell him what we thought about it. They were all excited when we picked it up with our hands and we realized everyone else in the place was using a fork and knife. Burger was 11/10, though."
"When I visited Japan, even some of their sweetest desserts paled in comparison to how much sugar is in American food."
"I was in New Zealand having a bonfire on the beach and someone went and grabbed a bag of marshmallows and then everyone just ate them!! PLAIN!! Then, someone from Sweden asked me if s’mores were a real thing or only on TV. I was flabbergasted."
33. Not dressing up:
"We went to the Netherlands for about 2 weeks and we never saw anyone dress in comfy shit. Like, everyone looked nice everywhere we went, at all hours. You ever catch me walking through Walmart at 3 A.M? I'm wearing old PJs, whatever shirt I happened to exist in, and I'm probably not wearing socks."