17 Things People Think Americans Do Every Day But They Don’t

Whether it’s through movies and TV or stories they’ve heard about Americans, people in other countries have some interesting ideas of what a typical American does every day. Some of these may be things Americans do indulge in, but most aren’t involved in their daily lives. Here’s a list of 17 things people think Americans do every day, but they don’t.

Eat a large breakfast with pancakes and bacon

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Whenever a family breakfast is portrayed on the big screen, it seems to be eggs, bacon, and pancakes, leading many to believe this is how Americans eat every morning. However, cold cereal tops the list of most common breakfast foods, with 31 percent of those who eat breakfast grabbing a bowl. About two in 10 usually eat eggs (with or without bacon or ham), and just over one in 10 usually has a bagel, toast, muffins, or pastry.

Go to Starbucks

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American celebrities are often photographed with their coffee in hand, and influencers upload their TikToks and reels about their addictions to iced coffee, which is almost always purchased at Starbucks or another large chain. While many Americans do purchase coffee every day, many also make coffee at home. They also frequent smaller coffee shops, not just Starbucks.

Work 12-hour days

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Watch any TV show with corporate offices, especially law offices, and you’ll see Americans working from before the sun comes up to long after it goes down, sometimes overnight, and always answering calls while on vacation. While it’s true that Americans work longer hours than many other countries, the average American work week is only 40 hours, and they leave when their shift is done.

Sit in traffic for their commute to work

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Statista notes that 73% of American commuters use their car to move between home and work, making it by far the most popular mode of transportation. This makes part of the stereotype true—Americans are far more likely to drive to work every day instead of taking public transportation. However, the average American commute is 27 minutes, not the several hours of stopped traffic in many movies.

Eat Fast Food

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USA Today says, “People all over the world associate America with supersized food portions.” They’re picturing Americans stopping at the closest fast food chain to grab lunch for their desk and picking up dinner for the family at the drive-thru on their way home. While sometimes this may be true, many Americans are beginning to be more mindful of where they eat and looking for healthier, local options.

Make small talk with strangers

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Americans are certainly known for smiling even when others think it’s unnecessary and talking to strangers about things like the weather. Other cultures may not be as open to superficial conversations as Americans are, but they certainly aren’t out walking around looking for a stranger to ask about the game last night.

Singing and dancing in high schools

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The insane amount of musicals based in high schools has given people the impression that American teenagers are breaking into song and dance regularly. While some kids in the drama department may wish that was real life, they would be met with confused looks if it actually happened.

Say the Pledge of Allegiance

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In many parts of the United States, schoolchildren and sometimes adults are expected to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. This is an expression that they will be loyal to the U.S.A., and is usually performed daily while looking at the nation’s flag, which there is no shortage of. While this may have been a widespread practice in the U.S., it has seen a decline in recent years.

Raise their American flags at home

American flag in home
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The United States is known for its outspoken patriotism, which is evident by the number of American flags on homes, cars, and clothes. People in other nations, with far quieter patriots, picture Americans waking up every morning to raise their flag on a flagpole. Most people with flags on their homes just leave them up all the time.

Drink Budweiser at the bar

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A man walks into a bar and orders a beer. It’s Budweiser. That’s the typical American in the eyes of outsiders. In fact, “There are more than 9,500 craft breweries in the country turning out flavorful IPAs and fruited sour ales—the antithesis of light lager—and beer faces ever-stiffer competition from cocktails, wine, spirits, and seltzers,” states The Atlantic about the fall of Budweiser in the U.S. Beer in general isn’t the choice of Americans today.

Eat processed cheese

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The most commonly used cheese in America seems to be American cheese, the slices that come in individual cellophane wrappings, or processed cheese, which is made by taking scraps of cheese left over from cheese manufacturing and adding emulsifiers, preservatives, water, salt, artificial coloring, and artificial flavor, to form a cheese-like substance. Despite perception, many Americans prefer un-processed cheeses and few are squirting Easy Cheese in their mouths daily.

Toilet paper people’s houses

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It’s in every coming-of-age movie; TPing (toilet papering) someone’s home because they’re the uncool kid or just because it’s Halloween. It may seem as though everyone is running around with toilet paper in case they get offended, but in fact, most people have never TPed a home.

Shoot guns

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The U.S. has a historic and enduring connection to guns. Integrated into the fabric of the country since its earliest days, guns remain a point of pride for many Americans. PEW Research found that “three in ten U.S. adults say they own a gun, and an additional 36% say that while they don’t own one now, they might be open to owning a gun in the future.” A large majority of Americans don’t even own a gun, much less make a pre-work stop at the shooting range.

Eat pizza every single Friday

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Another common scene in American entertainment is the family having pizza night every Friday. The scene always shows the younger kids excited for pizza and family game night while the teens groan and complain about not being able to go to a party. In reality, pizza is a family staple any night of the week, though family nights have become far less common.

Boil water in the microwave regularly

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Americans in the movies have no time between work and running their children to sports to cook. On the rare occasion that they throw together pasta, it’s done in the microwave, starting with boiling water that way. I can’t even say where this stereotype comes from, but the average American boils water on the stove.

Use red Solo cups

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Believe it or not, Americans do own china and glassware. The image of parties and tailgates with the almost cliché red Solo cup can lead people to believe that’s all Americans drink out of. The song by late country singer Toby Keith didn’t help the image.

Take their kids to sports

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Americans live and die by their sports teams, and that begins with schoolchildren. The importance of sports and extracurricular activities in American schools, including the significant role of high school and college sports, is something that non-Americans find unique. The level of school spirit and community involvement in sports is much higher in the U.S., but the average American isn’t running their children from sport to sport regularly, and not every child is an athlete.

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