10 American Things the Rest of the World Doesn’t Do

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Americans have always had a reputation for commanding a room, which can be great. Many cultures consider Americans’ willingness to approach strangers a positive trait, but the cavalier attitude has led some Americans to assume their culture is the world’s culture.

Like Logan Paul ripping his shirt off and diving into the Venetian canal, some Americans quickly learn that their customs are not always the customs of other nations.

1. Free Water

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Some American travelers noticed that they had to pay for water when they are out in some European nations. Sometimes, the American tourists had to choose between bottled water or sparkling water.

While water is free in many nations not named the United States of America, an American would be stunned if a domestic restaurant charged them for a glass of water.

2. Sales What?

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One Brit was shocked that the price displayed on the shelf in American stores differs from that at the checkout counter.

It’s called sales tax, bruv, and Americans are perplexed by it, too. Even in a few states where legislators have scrapped the sales tax, they typically just shuffle that tax elsewhere.

Them’s just the tax facts, Jack.

3. Texas-Sized Portions

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Let’s face it, “America” has become a synonym for “fat.” Europeans may wonder from afar why Americans struggle so mightily with their weight. When those Europeans dine in American restaurants, it becomes apparent (as soon as the food hits the table) why the U.S. has become the Land of the Steak and Cheese, and Home of the Hot Fudge Parfait.

4. Expecting the Waiter to Bring You the Bill

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One American who traveled to Australia waited longer than a crocodile’s tail (Croikey!) for the check to arrive. After almost 20 minutes, the diner finally called the waiter, only to find out the bill was waiting at the hostess counter. Apparently, the pay-when-you-go model is more common in several other cultures than in the U.S.

5. American Holidays

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You may be sorely mistaken if you’re expecting local restaurants in France, Dubai, or Bali to offer Thanksgiving dinner during your November vacation.

6. Pre-Pay Gas Pumps

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Not only may you hear English-speaking foreigners calling gasoline “petrol,” but you may also be confused that the gas starts flowing from the pump before you’ve paid. Virtually every gas station in the U.S. abandoned the “trust me, I’ll pay you after I pump” system decades ago.

7. African-American

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Assigning the phrase “African-American” is a practice that most Americans probably have not fully considered. Who would be surprised if someone who had grown up in American culture called a recent Jamaican immigrant “African-American?” I definitely wouldn’t be. You won’t hear the phrase “African-American” in most other countries.

8. Tipping

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If you’ve ever worked in the service industry, you’ll know that a table of diners with detectable accents may as well be Chernobyl. The waiter will go in if they absolutely have to, but many foreigners’ unfamiliarity with tipping means that servers often get stiffed.

9. Fahrenheit and Inches

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If you’re traveling out of the United States, you better get used to Celsius and meters. What, you didn’t read the classic European novel Celsius 451? Or see that British movie about the football-playing prison squad, The Longest Meter? 

As the rest of the world proceeds in metric harmony, America continues to trudge along to its own beat, foot by foot.

10. The Greek System

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You’ll be hard-pressed to find a frat in Germany. You can get plenty of brats, but not so many frats. Good luck tracking down a sorority in Zimbabwe or Iran. “Rush Week” means an entirely different thing in Spain. It typically involves a scrum of horned-up animals tearing through the city with no regard for laws or decency—OK, maybe it’s not so often from the American Greek university system after all.

This thread inspired this post.


12 European Cities an American Can Live Comfortably for $2500 USD/Monthly

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If you’re looking to live on $2,500 per month or less, we have uncovered 12 culturally vibrant, modern, and reasonably priced European cities that you could call home (if only for a month) on an average salary.

12 European Cities an American Can Live Comfortably for $2500 USD/Monthly

15 Top Things Europe Has That America Does Not

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Are you curious about things Europe has that America does not? From the practical to the whimsical, people online have shared their thoughts. Here are the 15 most prominent examples.

15 Top Things Europe Has That America Does Not

Island Bliss: Discovering the 10 Best Tropical Beaches on the Planet

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Are you looking for a tropical retreat? These 10 stunning tropical beaches are perfect for those seeking a paradise getaway. From the serene waters of the South Pacific to the crystal-clear Caribbean, these beaches provide the ultimate island experience. So pack your bags and discover these breathtaking destinations.

Island Bliss: Discovering the 10 Best Tropical Beaches on the Planet

Discover Springtime in America: The 10 Best Places to Visit

A beautiful woman in a canoe rowing on Colorado river lake, happy, joyful in Austin Texas in America

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Springtime in America is a beautiful season with blooming flowers, pleasant weather, and exciting festivals. From the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., to the bluebonnets in Texas, numerous stunning destinations exist to explore during this time of year. According to residents and visitors alike, these are the best places to visit in America during spring.

Discover Springtime in America: The 10 Best Places to Visit

17 Most Famous Small Towns in America

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Are you seeking a respite from the busy and noisy urban lifestyle? Look no further than America’s small towns! From the quaint and charming to the downright quirky, small towns across the country offer unique experiences and attractions. Here are 17 of America’s most famous.

17 Most Famous Small Towns in America

The Ultimate Hawaii Bucket List: 14 Epic Things to Do in Hawaii From a Local

Snorkeling paradise Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii

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There are so many incredible spots in Hawaii that it can be hard to narrow things down to the best of the best. But luckily for you, as a Hawaii local, I’ve weeded out the tourist traps and highlighted the gems. So, without further ado, here are 14 epic things to do in Hawaii.

The Ultimate Hawaii Bucket List: 14 Epic Things to Do in Hawaii From a Local

Get Ready for Takeoff: How To Use Skyscanner for Cheap Summer Flights

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Seeing the world doesn’t have to cost as much as you might think. Learning how to use Skyscanner is straightforward, and through the company’s app and website, you can find cheap flights all over the globe.

Get Ready for Takeoff: How To Use Skyscanner for Cheap Summer Flights

Where indicated, some images courtesy of Depositphotos.com.

This article was produced and syndicated by The Happiness Function.

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Sam Mire

Sam Mire is a freelance writer who has manned a variety of beats over nearly a decade in the literary biz. He has spent weeks in the Alaskan wildlands, immersed himself in the world of Florida's homeless population, covered live sporting events, and served as a linchpin for media outlets in the legal, tech, and entertainment spaces. Sam has been published in Fast Company, Forbes, Entrepreneur, AP News, Fox News, and, most notably, Wealth of Geeks. In his free time, he enjoys boxing, woodwork, petting his dog, and reveling in good company.

1 Comment

  1. Burt Randall on May 13, 2023 at 12:55 pm

    This was an interesting article.

    European culture is sure different than ours.

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