People Explain Which Things Americans Think Are Normal But Really Aren't


When you've lived your whole life in one place and in one way, it can be impossible to believe that there's any other way to do things. You get so accustomed to them that you don't even stop to think about them anymore. They just are.

Except they aren't.

Let's hop on over to the homies on Reddit. One of them asked:

What do Americans think is normal but is actually very weird?

And we're going to be honest here, if you're not one who does a lot of international travel, a lot of these things might throw you off as well. Like what do you mean there's no taxes at the stores? Or credit doesn't even exist? That stuff is just life... right?

Walls And Doors

Your bloody weird toilet cubicles. Why is there such a big gap?! Why does everyone need to be able to see me while I'm doing a number two?! Why can't they have full length doors like the rest of the world?!

- denk2mit

That's A Doctor's Job

For some reason, their advertising system. Like dude, its seriously not ok to show me ads of medicine for me to recommend my doctor to prescribe it to me.

- FreackyChickenMeti


Tip based economics.

I suppose to expand further, I make more money on minimum wage than US servers do, and I don't depend on my customers being generous or wealthy to keep bread on the table

USA right now is a prime example: everyone is screwed because no one feels they have the capital to blow on tips - servers, are you still making bank, or making sacrifices? Honest question

I'm in Australia. We've never had or cared about tipping. Our dollar has almost always weaker than every other major trading power. I'm not a money guru, but I feel like tipping isn't a recession proof salary structure

Also I feel that it's the businesses job to pay the staff, and the customers job to pay for the service and related expenses - including staff rates.

- thyghlander

2 for 1

Astronomical portion sizes.

I went to an IHOP once and the omelette was crazy huge and even the coffee cup was 2x as big as normal.

- geekysandwich

In American casual dining restaurants, it's basically expected that you will ask for what you don't eat to be boxed for take-home. They see good service as offering you two meals for the price of one, basically.

Every time I've been in a high-end American restaurant ($150+), the portions have been very small, because you're paying for the experience.


Medical Expense


Having educated middle class citizens crippled by any medical expense.

- jokes_for_smokes

It's unreal that this doesn't make people disgusted. Like, literally half the country thinks, "Meh, I just won't see a doctor this decade to save money" and yet they are convinced that's the best possible way of doing things.

- Lucid-Indifference


Most Americans don't know credit score is unique to their country, and that their economy encourage people to live in debt, in order to build a credit score, while a lot of other countries' population have savings and don't use credit to buy anything else than a house or a car.

I do think banks are winning this trade by making huge interests rate, and that it also pushes people to consume more than they should or could, which is necessary for capitalism. In a way, when you consider what you can get or not depending only on your credit score, there is a comparison to make with the infamous social credit score used in China.

- DibuleZord

Poppin' Tags

Price tags at the grocery that leave tax off.

- cwills815

As an American, I've trained myself to look at an $9.99 item and say, "Oh, that's $10.89." (The sales tax where I live is 9%.)

- TheRealOne523

Just got back from vacation in NZ and I LOVED the fact that if the price tag said $5, I paid $5.

- ZeroXTML1

A Face Lift For Your 3 Year Old

Circumcision for no reason other than tradition, then acting surprised when someone tells them it's barbaric, then trying to justify it as "I think it looks better" as though the local cultural norms for the cosmetic appearance of children's weewees was vital enough to warrant surgery.

- 99thLuftBalloon

As an american jew I had mixed opinions on this until the local rabbi, who had minimal medical training, cut off half of some poor kids peter because of tradition. To do it with no religious reason seems like giving a newborn a boob job or a face lift for your 3 year old.

While you wont stop religious zealots, having elective surgery on an infant seems a little much especially if your reason is vanity. Because of the separation of church and state here rabbis can perform circumcisions without proper training. That's even crazier than having a surgeon in a hospital do it.- Ruvidman

Dark Business

Might not not be an American thing, might be a Californian thing. Might even be a non-European thing, but seriously, do you need that water level in your toilet bowls?

Us Brits are not used to the cannonball effect when we go about our dark business.

- codydogg

It's because it a 100% different flushing mechanism.

European toilets dump water from the cistern into the bowl to wash the contents away, American toilets dump the water from the cistern down a pipe at the back and the force sucks the contents out of the bowl. The American mechanism is far more vulnerable to clogging and uses more water to flush but covers smells better, is quieter and is less susceptible to having stains on the bowl (hence why a plunger next to a toilet is a common image in American media while it's normally a toilet brush elsewhere).

- Barrel_Titor

Power And Leverage


Thinking that voting is enough. And mocking France for their strike culture. Americans, thus, avoid using their power and leverage in their negotiations for a better quality of life. So no general strikes, protests, and halting the country to a grind to get what they want from the government, politicians, corporations, the wealthy, and the elite.

Even Nordic countries strike way more often (Denmark 116 days per 1000 employees, Norway 56, Finland 37, and USA 5 while France 118)

If Americans want to improve their society, they'll need to be tougher.

- Holiday_Astronomer

Feelin' Good

Feel-good news stories about how a community worked together to help a family pay for a child's life-saving treatment.

Sounds great at first, until you realize that this is literally a family begging people for enough money just to survive.

- Random-Rambling

Rather Than Science

The fact that a good chunk of your lawmakers openly base decisions on religious beliefs, rather than science/reality and yet keep getting elected.

- Jercom


Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Growing up, I've only ever heard of this in American movies and TV shows. When I studied in America and finally tried one for myself, I discovered they taste awfully weird.

- real02

Only One

Having courts and law enforcement at all three levels of government (Federal, state, local).

Most countries have either a national police force, or a combination of national and state. Local governments do not get to run their own police force.

You see someone at UCLA selling drugs. Who do you call? LAPD? LA County Sheriff? DEA? Campus Police?

If you see someone selling drugs at Sydney University in Australia, who do you call? The Police. There is only one.

- OneSalientOversight

Facilitating The Tyranny

A flawed electoral system that has repeatedly seen the plurality winner of the popular vote lose presidential elections, and even seen a majority winner of the popular vote lose an election (Tilden, 1876).

Sticking by said system well into the 21st century.

Defending that with the so-called argument of "preventing the tyranny of the majority", without pausing to think about how ultimately, that means facilitating the tyranny of a minority.

- RandomGirl42

Take A Break

Ads. Ads. Ads. Ads. Ads. Everywhere. All the time.

- Ch_3

Why Not Water? 

Wiping your butt with tissue but not water.

- BoomVroomBob

Hold For Applause


The amount of applause when someone is giving a speech. Like after almost every paragraph.

Guy from a global tech company was giving a speech here in 'straya and kept pausing for the applause that never came. Felt like yelling 'get on with it'.

- wokwon

Obsessively Wipe And Sanitize

Keeping dirty outdoor shoes indoors in your hone still freaks me out. Now? people obsessively wipe and sanitize everything, wash their hands ever 90 seconds... and they still keep the dirty shoes on.

- donttouchthatbrl


Having school children pledge allegiance to the country every day. If Americans saw a different country doing that, especially a non-capitalist country, I bet they would think it's really weird.

- googoomonahan

Behind Bars

The crazy high overpopulated prison system. Like drug addicts in our prisons who have done no harm other than to their own body. We have a crazy amount of people in jail for stupid stuff.

A lot of these jails are privatized meaning they make a profit based on the number of beds they fill, and off of the backs of inmates they house. Then once these inmates leave it becomes hard for them to be gainfully employed because they get a record - which they can get expunged (if its nonviolent, if it's in a state that allows it) and then get regular jobs but it may still get in the way of any professional jobs requiring licensure (particularly healthcare, etc.)

Like other countries are more compassionate and reasonable offering a more rehabilitative vs punitive approach. It just blows my mind.

- Anon2588

Just Everything

Seems like just about everything they do is fcked; politics, eating, education, health care, not using the metric system, racism, child pageants, military industrialism, all denominations of their money being the same colour, being the top third world country etc... you know stuff the rest of the world looks at and thinks "That's just fcking weird."

- Jazbone

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