21 Things in the US That Puzzle Most Foreigners

Published 2019-05-17
When you live in a country for many years, everything looks ordinary and familiar. But an outsider will always spot some curious quirks in your customs and behaviors that make them think, “What’s going on here?” Life in the US can puzzle newcomers in many ways, from buying foods and magazines in a pharmacy to deep-frying almost anything you can think of.

For example, if you’re not from the US, it may be puzzling to walk into a pharmacy and see aisles and aisles of over-the-counter meds, toys, makeup, clothes, and even groceries! In America, if a restaurant doesn’t offer free refills on fountain drinks, it’s kind of strange. But in other countries, once you buy one beverage, that’s it! And Americans speak so loud compared to other countries. Whether it’s talking on your cell phone or chatting with a friend over lunch, Americans seem to really like projecting their voice.

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Sales tax is a guessing game 0:27
It’s not a party without red Solo cups 1:29
Deep-fried everything! 1:55
Fill ‘er up! 2:52
If you don’t like it, return it! 3:18
Tips for everyone! 3:45
The land of ice-cold drinks 4:48
Looking at dollars is a snooze-fest 5:41
The date-writing conundrum 6:40
Pre-baby baby showers 7:03
Where “How are you?” means “Hello!” 7:23
Bathroom stalls that aren’t so private 7:46
No one uses their “inside voice” 8:14
Hopping into the backseat of a cab 8:55
That classic American smile 9:10

#USA #traditions #americans

Music by Epidemic Sound www.epidemicsound.com/

- When you go shopping in the US and see a price tag says $14.88, don’t expect to pay 14.88 at the register! Sales tax is NOT included in the price of an item!
- A lot of Americans don’t feel the need to take long vacations, so they often let vacation and sick hours pile up without ever using them. Plus, most employers only give you 2 weeks out of the year!
- In the States, this red plastic cup is synonymous with “party on, dude!” But other countries apparently don’t recognize this cup to mean the same thing.
- Whether it’s an ugly sweater from Grandma or a heinous pair of earrings from an ex, if you don’t like it, you can just return it!
- Cab drivers, servers, hairdressers – you gotta tip ‘em! Tips are acceptable for almost any service in the US and sometimes consist of 25% of the bill!
- Speaking of drinks, if it’s not a hot coffee or cocoa, then it’s probably got ice in it. Tea, coffee, lemonade, soda, water – Americans like it on the rocks!
- Americans must have an aversion to being hot! In many parts of Europe, people simply don’t use air conditioning as much as they do in the States.
- So many visitors to the US get really confused by the month-day-year thing because most parts of the world write the day, then the month, and finally the year.
- Walk into any grocery store aisle, and you’ll notice at least 10 different options for cookies, crackers, or cereal.
- When getting into a cab, it’s customary in the States to scoot on into the back seat. But in countries like New Zealand and Australia, riding anywhere but shotgun can be a little rude.

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All Comments (21)
    Hey there BrightSiders! Do you like deep-fried food or prefer it boiled?
  • Merkavar
    yeah that sales tax not being included in the price seems 100% crazy.
  • Eric Johnson
    As a former NYC taxi driver with 22 years of experience, I can definitely confirm that I had to tell many a foreign visitor to get in the back seat when they tried to get in up front with me
  • Jon
    I remember my trip to Hong Kong a few years back we would keep getting free second helpings after finishing our food and about to leave and some folks seemed a bit irritated that we declined and I later learned that apparently finishing you plate was an insult because the Server didnt provide enough food which I thought was crazy because at home it's all about not wasting or over ordering what u cant finish haha
  • Big D
    Actually tipping in Japan is not necessarily frowned upon it's just confusing to them because it's actually included in the bill already according to some Japanese citizens I've spoken to about the subject
  • Nicole K
    In the UK there is no shortage of "grape flavoured" drinks. They're called "wines".
  • Côme Vincent
    No, in Europe we do not drink our sodas "room temperature"... They are kept in a fridge usually below 10°C. Adding ice is possible but not necessary
  • Katie Clark
    I think the tax should be included itd make shopping so much easier
  • Nathriel
    When I lived in Japan, #4 was extremely evident for American tourists, and oftentimes in rural areas it would downright startle locals; they would often think we wanted to pick fights or were arguing when we were simply talking! Of course around my local friends, I followed local custom and was much more quiet.
  • ashley klotz
    So gotta share this.. I went camping 1 time and I met a family that was from England and I met them because they walked up to us and asked us "why are there spaces between the door and 'wall' of the stalls?". We didnt know what they were talking about, turns out, their stalls are completely private, the door goes up to a foot off the ground and no spaces anywhere... we didnt know lol. We talked with them for a few hours, we invited them to hang out with us, they did, they were really cool people
  • Trude
    It's a difference between being friendly and smiling bc you have to 😉
  • Not Sosig Ramsey
    Returning items you don’t like is a US thing???

    We do it to here in Europe, but only if you have the receipt
  • JBguitar 1990
    #20 is so true. Yeah not all of us are workaholics and have to take what we can get which like the video said is normally only about 2 weeks out of the year (totally absurd) but I know plenty of Americans who would gladly work 365 days a year with no complaints. If that’s your life then I feel sorry for you.
    "Or maybe Americans are just friendlier"
    Canadians: Am I joke to you?
  • Adam Collings
    Wow. The sales tax thing must be a nightmare. I would live in constant fear if I didn't know how much something would cost until I reached the checkout. How would I know if I can afford it? And the whole tipping thing freaks me out. Tipping doesn't exist at all in Australia. I'm pretty tight with my money so the idea of having to give extr all the time would stress me out something shocking. Anyway, this was fun and educational.
  • sayadelfy
    Well im Greek and the thumbs up in Greece is understandable as good job
  • 04:15 - That's not unusual in the United Kingdom either: I usually see at least half my tram to work in the morning (myself included) carrying a hot drink of some sort.

    I went to America a few weeks back, and I saw a number of people at Heathrow carrying either a Costa or Starbucks drink with them (although, given it was a 9.45am flight - so quite possibly up before 6am - it's quite possible they were being used to help keep them awake for their flight).
  • topmongs
    Here in England we don't even have air conditioning in our homes, we have the horrific British weather to keep us cool
  • American kitchens have huge fridges and pantries and they will shop for groceries for 1-2 weeks worth. I was shocked in 2012 to find how other countries have tiny refrigerators and pantries and they shop every couple of days. Plus, I found groceries stores often didn't offer bags for the purchased items. It makes sense though. Its something that changed my behavior coming back to the US.
  • F V
    Dude I 've lived in greece my whole life and everyone knows that thumbs up means good job😂