Things That Seem Normal For Americans But Weird To The Rest Of The World

Image of a confederate statue against the background of the sunset
Photo by Ning Shi on Unsplash

Americans, we sure are an eclectic bunch.

We don't realize just how eclectic until we're outside of the country looking in.

Some of our traditions, several of our rules and TONS of our laws are kinda all over the place.

That's why people love to visit from all over.

Who doesn't want to see the zoo animals from inside the cage?

Redditor Specialist-Anybody3 wanted to discuss the aspects of life Americans found ordinary that others don't. So they broached the question:

"What things are normal for Americans but weird for non-Americans?"

We Americans have some funny ways to live.

And everybody notices.

Privacy First

toilet creeping GIFGiphy

"Large gaps above, below and between the bathroom stalls..."


"Holy Jesus this! So nice to poop in private in Europe. I have no idea why the US does this!"


Travel Tips

"If you drive for five hours in the United States, you’re pretty much still in the same place. If you drive for five hours in Europe, everyone’s talking funny and the cheese is different."


"In the US, 100 miles is nothing, 100 years is a lot. In Europe, 100 miles is a lot, 100 years is nothing."

"The stone retaining wall for the front of our property (here in Germany) is dated 1846, and it's nothing special. Many of the houses in the old part of our small town are 1300 and older."



"Writing the date format as mm-dd-yyyy instead of dd-mm-yyyy."


"This actually worked to my advantage. I’m a Brit and moved to the US when I was 20. I’m not a big drinker but was still mad I couldn’t get a beer. Then I realized that my DOB on my driving license would be read backwards making it appear I was a few months older and therefore 21. It never got turned down and I used it a lot."


"I work 911 dispatch. We have to write it at work as yyyy-mm-dd. Don't know why, but we do."


Mental Gymnastics

"Having to mentally add sales taxes on everything you buy. In Europe 9.95 means paying 9.95."


"I thought we had this problem in Canada but I didn't realize just how much worse it was in the US until I moved here. In Canada, we have a VAT based tax so in Ontario, you just add 13% to the price to find the final price. Annoying, but not complicated."

"In the US, your sales tax changes based on your location increments smaller than a zip code because tax jurisdictions and zip codes were made separately. You have to basically use the exact address to figure out what tax jurisdiction you're actually in. It's practically impossible to know what actual tax you're gonna have to pay unless you've shopped there before or look it up."



cbs wow GIF by Big BrotherGiphy

"The fact that an 18 year old can drive and buy a gun while still being considered too young to drink alcohol."


Some "rules" make no sense to many of us.

Years and Years

back to school college GIF by Rodney DangerfieldGiphy

"Paying for college for 30 years after you graduated."


"That happens in England now, as well."

"But agree, for most developed countries, the idea of having an educated population is seen as a good thing that benefits everyone and should be affordable."



"Attaching medical insurance to employment. One shouldn’t have anything to do with the other."


"Also, having a co-pay when you are covered, and a limit on what is paid. So, people are discouraged from seeking treatment early and for preventative care and can get financially ruined despite having coverage. It is a disgrace."


"I know, I've always thought that was odd. That is one thing I will never understand, America's healthcare system. How can your job be linked with your healthcare?"



"HOAs like wtf. No other people who don't pay your mortgage telling you how to maintain your home."


"I've always thought this was the dumbest s**t. It's usually the fancier neighborhoods too. If I ever strike it rich, I'm buying a plot of land in the middle of nowhere and doing whatever the hell I want with my house. What's the point in having all that money and a house of your own if you decide to move somewhere where your property isn't under your control?"


'Hey, you need surgery'

"Seeing a possible serious medical problem with yourself and going 'ehh.'"


"I straight twisted a testicle. Since I didn't know this was possible, and I grew up on a farm so apparently my pain tolerance is pretty high, I thought it was no big deal."

"11 hours later is when I finally got off work and decided to go to urgent care."

"A total of 16 hours before I went in for surgery. I haven't gotten all the bills yet, but the one I did get has a doctor charging me $500 just to tell me I needed surgery. Not for the ultrasounds, or the surgery itself, or the follow-ups. Just to tell me 'hey, you need surgery.'"

"The worst part is, this is after the bill was run through 2 insurance programs."



the mystery files of shelby woo nicksplat GIFGiphy

"My friend attended his cousin's high school graduation in LA a while ago and he had to go through metal detectors and all that, as if he was going through airport security. So I guess metal detectors at school."


We Americans are an interesting people.

Do you have anything to add? Let us know in the comments below.

Man with head in his hands
Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

"The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

An aged old proverb reflecting on when people perform what they think are well-meaning, helpful acts, but in reality, only worsen a bad situation.

A day seldom goes by when people won't notice an example of this, either on the news, in the book they're reading, or simply walking down the street.

This could be anything from someone making promises to help out, but never delivering on them, to saving money for a less expensive cleaner, which turns out to radiate toxic fumes, resulting in the building being closed for an indefinite length of time.

Ideas which might seem good in theory, but are impractical, illogical, or even harmful, in practice.

Keep reading...Show less
A glowing red sign that says "Nintendo Virtual Boy"
Photo by Senad Palic on Unsplash

Unless you grew up with the most doting parents on the planet, there's probably a toy or two that you really wanted as a kid, but never received.

Whether it was too expensive for your parents to afford, or something like a noisy toy that was going to be way too annoying for your parents, there are probably some toys that you really missed out on as a child.

Keep reading...Show less
cooked fries
Photo by matthew reyes on Unsplash

When it comes to fast food places, no two places are the same. Wendy's spicy chicken nuggets are far superior to those from McDonald's, while no one does milkshakes quite like Dairy Queen.

I have always preferred burgers from In-N-Out, but my brother will always go for Five Guys.

There will always be debates when it comes to which establishment does fast food the best.

The biggest debate surrounds the ultimate side dish: french fries.

No one can ever seem to agree on which fast food chain has the best french fries, but that doesn't stop the debate. Redditors are engaged in that very debate as we speak!

Keep reading...Show less
People Dispel Common 'Facts' That Are Total BS
Photo by Taras Chernus on Unsplash

Some people will just believe anything.

And if you call a statement a fact long enough, many people take it as gospel.

Some facts are absolute truths, others can be malleable.

Science changes.

History evolves.

Lies are exposed.

And research is an actual art form.

Keep reading...Show less