If there’s one thing that travel does, it gives you the perspective that all of us on this earth, regardless of where we’re from, are more similar than different.
That being said, each country has its own way of doing things and although the people may be like us, their customs might be totally different from how we do things. Case in point, I don’t know why they eat salad for breakfast in Japan, but there ya go.
Of course, some of the things we do in the U.S. might seem a little weird to those from other countries as well. Like these:
When you buy something in the U.S., the price is usually pre-tax. Once you get to the cash register, then tax is added on. It’s not that taxes aren’t charged in other countries, but they’re already a part of what you see on the price tag.
Drinking HUGE Coffees
Getting a 20-ounce coffee that’ll hold you over for an hour or two kind of screams “United States.” Coffee cups sizes tend to be smaller in other countries, and they don’t always get them to go. Drink up fast and be on your way.
Lack of Vacation Time
According to research by the Center for American Progress, the U.S. is the most overworked country in the developed world. We put in long our hours, sometimes work 2 (or even 3!) jobs, eat lunch at our desk, and then sometimes only get 1 or 2 weeks of time off per year. Some other countries offer 6 weeks of paid vacation time as a standard. We’re definitely losing out.
Tipping In Restaurants
For better or for worse, the United States is a tipping culture. We tip a percent for multiple service industries. Many other countries pay their servers, housekeepers, etc. a decent wage so tipping isn’t necessary or, culturally expected. But for us, yeah, it is.
Frankly, I don’t know how a holiday where you’re supposed to be giving thanks eventually turned into the day before a nationwide shopping spree, but there you go. And until a couple of years ago, no one else did it. Now a few copycat countries are, but it’s still nothing like us.
Ads For Medications
Pharmaceutical ads weren’t always a part of U.S. television, but they sure are now. Know where else they are? Nowhere. In almost every other county, advertisements for prescription drugs are considered unethical and illegal.
Refills On Drinks
Refills of soft drinks is a very U.S. thing. In most countries, you order 1 drink and you get 1 drink. If you want more, you’ll pay for it.
Trick Or Treating
Halloween is Pagan in its background and going trick or treating can be traced back to guising in Scotland and Northern England. But the whole, “Get dressed in costume, go door to door, say “trick or treat” and they give you candy” thing? Uniquely ours.
Using The Flag As Decor
It’s one thing to hang the flag of your country in front of buildings. But to use its likeness on everything from Inner tubes to lawn chairs to napkins? We’re pretty much alone in that respect.
Heaven knows that other countries are as crazy for their sports as we are about ours. But I have yet to see a cheerleader squad for any non-American football (you know, what we call soccer) team.
Putting So Much Ice In Our Drinks
In some countries, you might get 1 or 2 ice cubes in your drinks. In others, you’ll get none. And in other countries, they drink hot drinks all year round, even in the summer. And here we are, with practically more ice than liquid. I dunno…
Bathroom Door Gaps
In the U.S. (and pretty much only in the U.S.), many public bathroom stalls tend to have a 1/4″ to 1/2″ gap between the door and the wall. No one really knows why. And although no one wants to be seen doing their business, it’s something that’s gone on for decades. At least here. Nowhere else.
— The Onion (@TheOnion) January 26, 2018
The U.S. has a thing about sex and nudity. Even today, some women get nasty comments for just breastfeeding in public! And it’s not like Speedos ever really made a huge impact here. For whatever the reasons that we have this weird relationship with sex and nudity, other countries generally don’t feel the same way.
Using The Imperial System
Only three countries still use the imperial system for measurements – Myanmar, Liberia and the U.S. Why? WHY??? (Actually, I know why. They tried to change us in the mid-70s, and no one wanted to change, so we never did, save for bottles of soda)
In the U.S., it’s a common practice to get a doggy bag to bring home. In lots of other countries, it’s considered weird and potentially even rude.
Feature Photo: Joe Shlabotnik / flickr
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary