Source: iStock Photo / Reddit

10 Things Americans Think Are Normal That Are So Weird to the Rest of the World



Americans tend to think that our culture is the default. But plenty of aspects of our culture are unique to the United States or at the very least totally weird to almost every other country. Someone asked the people of Reddit to share the things that are considered totally normal in the U.S. that are seen as extremely bizarre in other places. If you are American, some of these might shock you. 

Medication advertisements

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According to typicalcitrus, it's strange that on medical ads and commercials in the U.S., they list every single side effect until you're basically convinced the medication they're advertising is going to kill you. There are legal reasons for this, but I never thought about how this probably doesn't happen in other countries. 

Asking about others' professions

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Apparently, "What do you do?" is a rare conversation starter in other parts of the world, but it's definitely par for the course and considered an ice-breaker or small talk topic in the U.S. Ssffxx writes that they live outside the U.S. and realized that there are people they've known for years whose professions they don't know.

Being able to vote before we can drink

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This is a big one. The U.S. has a notoriously strict drinking age, and it's lower in most other countries. It is kind of strange, as dingdongimprblywrong points out, that we can vote in our nation's elections before we can legally drink. 

The Pledge of Allegiance

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I didn't realize how weird it was to stand up every day and pledge your allegiance to a flag until I'd been doing it for many years. That's bonkers. It's not something that is expected at all in other countries, as r93gd4dg1t points out. One commenter wrote, "When I first saw footage of Pledge of Allegiance, I thought I was watching some dystopia fiction, like 1984." Yeah. I don't blame them.

Having flags everywhere

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Similarly, Americans love their flag way more than people in other countries. It's everywhere, as doughydonuts writes. They said they traveled throughout Europe and the Caribbean and saw other countries' flags pretty much only on their government buildings and in a couple of other places. But in the U.S., it's plastered on everything.

Ambulance rides costing money

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We don't have time to get into all the ways in which the U.S. health care system is broken, but one of those ways is something that "seems pretty absurd" to people who aren't from here, according to Meemesfourdayz. And that is the fact that ambulance rides cost money. A lot. And as a patient, you could be saddled with a huge bill just from your ride to the hospital. People in the U.S. have gotten used to calculating potential cost in the midst of health emergencies, and that should not be normal!

The amount of space under public bathroom stalls

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TitanicBeta has a problem with the amount of space under public bathroom stalls in the U.S. "People not only can peek, but an adult person could crawl into" it, they write. I don't know what to say about this one. I don't have a good explanation. The only thing I can think of is it makes it easier for bad guys to find you if you're hiding in the bathroom in a thriller movie.

Price tags not showing the final cost

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Here in the U.S., it's typical to have tax added to your final purchase, meaning what you see on the price tag isn't the actual, final amount of money you're paying for an item. To TitanicBeta and many others, this is insane. 

Restaurants giving out large glasses of ice water

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This one might be a plus for the U.S. Bunnysnitch notes that in the U.S., restaurants often provide tall glasses of ice water when you sit down. But in Europe, this is not the norm at all. If you get water at all, it's usually a tiny, lukewarm glass. Drinking water in restaurants just doesn't seem to be as much a part of the culture. "The free water and refills is what I really liked about the U.S.," one European commenter wrote.

Wearing shoes inside

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Growing up, there were a few friends' houses where we were supposed to take our shoes off, but for the rest, it was a free-for-all. I've never been the "shoes off in the house" kind of person. This is, apparently, a supremely American thing and quite shocking for people in other countries, as SpohieAuz points out. When you really think about it, it is fairly gross to stomp all over your house in whatever germs and grossness you were walking in outside. Maybe we should rethink this one.

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