19 “Normal” Things in the U.S. That Freak Everyone Else Out

By Aaron Stone

The customs and traditions of the United States can be quite perplexing or amusing to those who are not familiar with them, due to their peculiarities and deeply ingrained habits.

Whether it’s dining etiquette, tipping culture, legal intricacies, or societal norms, the USA has a tapestry of quirks and idiosyncrasies that may appear bewildering to foreigners.

We invite you to join us in exploring the fascinating and sometimes perplexing world of American customs and traditions.

Doggy Bags

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While some other countries are latching on to the trend, many people need help understanding the concept of taking leftovers home from restaurants. The fact that many U.S. meals are supersized means that all food cannot be eaten at meal times. Most people think that meal portions should be reduced rather than having to take food home with them on a night out.

Poor Transport

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People worldwide need help understanding why America has such a poor public transportation system. With the focus on climate change, most people think that fewer cars and more buses on the roads is the best way forward.

Advertising Prescription Drugs

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American healthcare is difficult to navigate because of the high cost of medical insurance and the complicated insurance system. Additionally, drugs are advertised everywhere, and the rest of the world is left scratching their heads.

Drive-Through Everything

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Americans take their love for cars to another level with drive-through services for almost everything, from fast food to pharmacies. Grabbing a quick meal or medication without leaving the comfort of your vehicle is convenient and peculiar to onlookers from other countries.

Excessive Tipping

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Tipping culture in America is one of the most complicated things in the world to understand. People outside the U.S. can’t understand why companies don’t pay their staff enough money so that they don’t rely on a tip for every transaction.

Hanging Flags Everywhere

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The prevalence of American flags adorning buildings across the United States is due to a deeply ingrained sense of patriotism within the country. This widespread display of national pride can be observed in various settings, from government institutions to residential homes, commercial establishments, and even vehicles.

Complicated Politics

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American politics can be confusing to people not used to a two-party system or an electoral college. The fact that election campaigns go on for months at a time could be more apparent to foreigners.

Ice Obsession

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In the U.S., beverages are often served with an abundance of ice, even on the coldest days. This icy habit might leave foreigners wondering if Americans have an unmatched love for chilled drinks or if it’s a clever ploy to serve less liquid.

Cheerleaders

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Cheerleaders are part and parcel of American sporting life. Still, people from other countries find it strange that every game you go to has people dancing in short skirts.

Sales Tax

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Foreigners find it unusual that sales tax is added when you checkout an item rather than built into the advertised price. This isn’t very clear for people who want to accurately monitor their spending while shopping.

Constant Legal Action

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U.S. citizens know their rights and are quick to file a lawsuit if they think they have been wronged. However, most people find constant litigation for one issue or another stressful and weird.

Lack of Vacations

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American citizens are not guaranteed paid leave, which means they take fewer vacations than people from other countries. The heavy work culture is something that others find strange and unfair.

Gun Culture

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The fact that you can own a gun and potentially take someone’s life with it is too much for foreigners to get their heads around. While gun crime is a worldwide issue, having the right to bear arms is something that can sometimes not sit well with foreigners.

Extortionate College Fees

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The cost of studying in the U.S. is phenomenal, and people from other countries cannot believe that the government does not step in to support young people in gaining a college degree without getting into tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt.

Car Obsession

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Americans love cars and will drive almost everywhere, even if it is just a 5 minute walk away. The obsession U.S. citizens have with cars worries others who look at their impact on the environment and people’s health.

Writing the Date Beginning With the Month

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Unlike other countries, the U.S. writes the date with the month in the beginning rather than the day. This leads to a lot of confusion for some people, with many thinking it is just very strange.

Drinking Out of Red Cups

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Nobody knows why red cups are the choice for consuming alcohol, but while Americans love it, others feel it is strange. Foreigners once thought that red cups were simply for the movies, but people actually do drink out of this type of cup.

The Color of Money

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Most countries will have different colors for each type of bull, but the U.S. has one color and size for every bill, which people need clarification on.

The Imperial System

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Americans still use the imperial system, which could be more transparent for foreigners as most countries moved to the metric system long ago. However, the different units of measurement can make it difficult for people staying in the U.S. to buy groceries.

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